Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Only 2 Weeks To Go

How did that happen?!

Everyone keeps asking when I'm leaving, so here's the agenda of my last few days in the US:

Fri, March 4: Drive down to DC. Meet up with AU friends. Stay over my Uncle Marty & Aunt Cindy's in VA.
Sun, March 6: Check into the Holiday Inn Georgetown, where my Staging will take place. My mom and best friend Taylor will be with me.
Mon, March 7: Register for my Staging by noon. Meetings/orientations all day.
Tues, March 8: Check out. Head to a clinic and receive a whole bunch of shots/pills. Fly out of Dulles at 5:40pm.
Weds, March 9: Arrive in Dakar at about 6:10am Senegal time.

I must say one of the nice things about being placed in Senegal is that it's so close to the US. I can take a direct flight and it'll only be about 7.5 hours. Not bad at all.

So now that that's out of the way..

I had a GREAT weekend. I got to see a lot of family and friends that I don't see too often, and it was great to catch up with everyone before I leave. A major highlight was that My Aunt Catherine flew in from TN (which I knew was happening), AND my Aunt Maureen and cousin Caroline flew in from CA and surprised me! Best surprise ever! It's great to have family together for a happy occasion, and I really appreciate everyone taking the time to get together :)

It was also awesome having all of my friends together. My amazing roommate from school, Cait, was here all weekend and was a major help. And a bunch of my friends from American drove/took trains so that we could all see each other. Thanks so much, everyone!

Another highlight of the weekend... my best friend Kyle, who is becoming quite the brewmaster, brewed a beer in honor of my upcoming voyage. It was called Saison du Senegal and it was delicious. You can check out his blog (http://hopsandcircumstance.blogspot.com/) to learn more about the recipe, etc.

And now that I'm recovering from this weekend, I'm realizing how much I have to do in these next two weeks. A lot of it is mainly logistical, like contacting my credit card company and telling them I'll be out of the US, putting a hold on my cell phone, setting up my new laptop, etc.

I think the blog posts are going to start to be much more regular now (that's for you, Billy! haha). So it won't be too long before my next one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting Started

In just about a month, I'll be stepping off of a plane in Dakar. And it honestly hasn't really set in yet. Despite the fact that my room is becoming full of all of the recommended PCV supplies that I've been buying (a really cool solar charger, a warm-weather sleeping bag, a rain jacket so thin it can fold to the size of a deck of cards, etc.), it still doesn't feel real. But ready or not, March is going to get here before I know it... so I guess it's time to get this blog going.

I wouldn't necessarily call myself superstitious... but I definitely do believe in jinx-ing yourself, and there was no way I was going to start a blog before I was officially invited to serve as a PCV. But luckily for me, there are a ton of volunteers who blogged throughout their entire application process, so I was able to track how long the process took for most people.

For anyone that comes across this blog that is currently in the grueling process of applying, here's my timeline:

  • I applied for Peace Corps in February, 2010
  • Interviewed in the beginning of April, 2010 (the wait was due to an insane snowstorm in DC)
  • Was nominated immediately after my interview to be a PCV in West Africa, leaving in March, 2011
  • Became medically cleared sometime around September, 2010
  • Finally received my invitation to serve in Senegal on December 18, 2010

    Although now I'm so excited and can't wait to begin my service; the application process was one of the most stressful and draining things I've ever been through. I thought applying and waiting to hear back from colleges was tough, but the Peace Corps application process was borderline evil.

    Now I'm just really wrapped up in getting all of my life together and trying to figure out how to fit two years worth of stuff into 2 suitcases and a backpack. 

    Hopefully I'll have an easy time using the internet over there and will be able to update this a lot. I can pretty much guarantee that I'll begin putting up wish lists of things for people to send over as soon as I get to Senegal and can scope out what I need, crave, forgot to pack, etc.

    Now I'm off to Target to hopefully find a cheap, waterproof watch.