Thursday, August 11, 2011

A list of things I have done in the past 2 months

So I actually became an official PCV about 3 ½ weeks ago and it looks like I haven’t updated my blog for almost 2 months.  Opps!  Peace Corps training kept me pretty busy.  So many things have happened in the past 2 months.  If I try to write it in paragraph form it will be all over the place and it might not make any sense.  So to make my life easier and for your reading pleasure I decided to write a list of things I have done/thoughts on the last 2 months.

List of things I have done in the past 2 months:
·         Worked at the Health Center in Antigua 4 days a week
·         Went out to dinner with my host family and my real brother, his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s mother and sister.  They were on a 10 day trip through Guatemala with my brother’s seminary.
·         Climbed Pacaya Volcano
·         Turned 26 years old – had a birthday lunch with my host family and site mates, and baked a gluten-free cake!!
·         Gave a 2 hour HIV workshop to Sex Workers in the Antigua Health Center with my site mates
·         Went on Field Based Training with 8 other trainees to San Bartolo, Totonicapan and Uspantan, El Quiche for one week
·         Went on Individual Directed Activity with one other trainee to stay with a volunteer in Cuen, El Quiche for 3 days
·         Played soccer with my host brothers in the evenings
·         Ran a 12k race in Antigua with Kathy in 1 hour 40 minutes – I wasn’t last, I was second to last!
·         I took my first Yoga class ever.
·         Found out I have to live with a host family for the next 2 years, they just changed the rules
·         Found out where I would be living for the next 2 years – Aldea San Ramon, San Cristobal Totonicap├ín, Totonicap├ín, Guatemala
·         Had a one day class of K’iche – the Mayan language I will be learning
·         Had a 4th of July party with most of the 280 Peace Corps Volunteers/Trainees in Guatemala
·         Visited my site for 5 days the week before I swore in
·         Met my new host family in my new town
·         Met the health promoter group that I will be working with.  The day I met them they were learning how to give injections.  The nurse used me as an example of how to give an injection in a person’s butt.  I showed a quarter of my butt to my entire health promoter group, what an ice breaker!
·         Rode in the back of a pickup truck from my town to the nearest bigger town, Salcaja – since then I have probably done it at least 15 times
·         One time I was getting out of the back of a pickup truck when I had my backpack on and 2 shopping bags.  As I was getting out I hit my head on this metal bar and I fell backwards on my back.  Everyone in the pickup was laughing at me, I hope it made their day watching the American make a fool of herself.
·         Had to say good-bye to my host family from my training town =(
·         Rose my right hand and recited the following oath as I became a Peace Corps Volunteer at the Ambassador to the United States’ house:  I,________(name) do solemly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, domestic or foreign, that I take this obligation freely. And without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps, so help me God
·         Shook Ambassador McFarland’s hand and took a picture with him, which I no longer have (see next item)
·         Left my camera in my hostel room after I had checked out, came back an hour later and the camera was gone. =(
·         Bought a new camera
·         Thought I was going to lose my life because I was on the bottom step of a VERY crowded bus holding on very tightly to the metal bar.  As the bus went around curves I had to hold on even tighter otherwise I would have fallen out of the bus.  The palms of my hands were sweaty and my knuckles were white but I survived.
·         30 seconds ago (from writing this blog post) I felt my first tiny tremor – I will call my first earthquake -  it actually felt like a cat jumped on my bed, I looked down on the ground where I had a bottle of water and the water in the bottle was moving around a little bit.  Awesome!
·         I am learning how to wash my clothes by hand.  Today I washed 10 pairs of socks and 10 pairs of underwear in a little over an hour; I would like to get my time reduced at least by half.
·         I am using an outhouse/latrine at my new family’s house, something to get used to.
·         Teaching my new host family to wash their hands with soap
·         I am now living at 2300 meters or 7900 feet which I believe is higher than Denver, CO
·         I go to sleep wearing a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, either one or 2 pairs of jogging pants, socks and I use 2 warm blankets
·         Have seen rain almost every afternoon since the middle of May and will continue to see it until November – Yeah rainy season!
·         I have stopped carrying my umbrella everywhere I go.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain, it means I don’t care if I get wet anymore.  Even with an umbrella I still got wet.
·         I love my waterproof Keen hiking shoes, I wear them every day and I could not survive rainy season without them.  I don’t care if the rest of my body is wet but I can’t stand wet socks and shoes.
·         Love the view of the mountains and Santa Maria Volcano from my bedroom window
·         I love the slow pace of life and how calm my town is.
·         Sometimes I am worried I am not doing enough work even though they have told us the first 3 months are to get used to the health post, community and the work
·         I have started running in the mornings with my host mom and her friend
·         I have heard I could walk/climb to the Inter-American Highway from my house – I am going to learn how to do that
·         Paid $0.10 for a pound of bananas
·         I bought a lighter because one night I was by myself and it took me 8 book matches to light the gas stove.  I thought if I don’t light this stove I won’t be able to eat.
·         One day I found Rasinets at a gas station and it made my day.
·         My family started using the garbage can I bought them for the outhouse.  Before my family used to put the dirty toilet paper in the corner of the outhouse and let it pile up.
·         I tried liver for the first time ever.
·         I still haven’t mastered the art of making tortillas by hand.  But I should soon since there is no place to buy tortillas in my town, everyone makes them by hand.
·         I think it is ironic that my host family is also the only bakery in town, and I have to be gluten-free.  But I do enjoy the smell of baking bread every few days.
·         I found gluten-free rice bread at a bakery an hour from my house.
·         I couldn’t eat every meal with a spoon so I bought myself some forks and knives.  My family can eat any meal with a spoon, including steak.
·         I eat all cereal with hot milk here. Ex. Corn flakes – it makes the cereal go instantly soggy but it is still really good.
·         I look forward to the adventures I will have in the coming 24 months

Monday, May 23, 2011

An update on my Guatemala life

 Time for another blog update.  I divided this blog post into different sections.
A typical day
I feel like I have developed a pretty good routine here in Guatemala but it is already changing.  I wake up every day at 6:45am, take a shower, eat breakfast and get ready for class.  I had Spanish class from 8am-12pm and 1pm-4pm with the 3 other trainees in my town every day of the week except Tuesday and Sunday.  Our classes are at one of the other trainees homes.  For the first week we were at one trainee’s house and last week we were at another trainee’s house. At noon I got to go home to have lunch.  After lunch we would either finish up Spanish class, go to the Health Center in Antigua where we are working, or have technical training with all the other Healthy Homes trainees.  After afternoon activities I go running with one or sometimes two of the other trainees in my town.  The roads are kind of dangerous to run on so we run around the parameter of the soccer field.  Sometimes we have spectators watching us run.  We have actually seen 2 local people start running the parameter of the field also.  We are setting a good example for other people to follow.  After running I walk across the street and I am home.  While we are in training we must be home before dark which is usually 6:30pm here.  I usually work on homework until dinner is ready which is usually between 7:30pm-8:30pm.  I usually end up talking with my host parents after dinner until 9pm.  After that I hope my homework is done because I am usually pretty tired then.  I end up crawling into bed about 10pm.  Now some of my schedule will be changing.  Because we are in an advanced Spanish class we only had 2 full weeks of Spanish class.  Starting this week we will have Spanish class with a different teacher only on Mondays.  On Tuesday of every week I have to get up at 5:45am to go to the Peace Corps Office.  I get on the bus at 6:30am and it drops us off about 1km away from the Peace Corps Office.  We have general sessions all day and I usually get home by 5:30 or 6pm.  On Wednesdays, Fridays, and half of Thursdays I will be at the health center. (see below what I am doing at the Health Center)

Technical Training
Several times a week we have technical training with all of the other Healthy Homes trainees.  At this time the technical trainers teach us about health in Guatemala, how to give informational presentations (aka Charlas), and lot of other good information.  Last week Thursday we practiced giving 10 minute charlas in English to each other.  My presentation was on malnutrition and ways to prevent it.  We ended up running out of time and so we split into smaller groups to give the charlas and I only had to give my charla to 3 people.  But it was still good practice. 
Work at the Health Center
The first few times we went to the health center we just went over the schedule with the social worker we are working with.  Last week Wednesday we started working by helping the center prepare for the Women’s Health Fair that was on Friday.  We made a big sign that had all of the services offered and what room they were in.  On Friday we showed up to the health center a little bit before 8am to help with the health fair.  Two of the other trainees had prepared a presentation to 15-17 years old girls about healthy relationships and safe sex.  There were supposed to be 3 groups of 35-40 girls and they were supposed to come at 9am, 11am, 2pm.  The first group didn’t get there until 9:40am and there were about 75 girls.  They separated the girls into two groups so we could have a more manageable number.  I was there to help out as needed.  The day before we heard 3 current Peace Corps volunteers talk about giving their first presentations in Spanish.  They all had really funny stories but I think ours is really funny too.  So in the middle of giving the presentation the girls were working in groups of 4-5 people.  Apparently a nurse and 2 clowns thought that we were done giving the presentation because they came out and started saying that they were going to give Tetanus shots and vitamins to the girls.  Our show was totally taken over by 2 clowns and a nurse.  After the shots we were able to get some of the girls back to finish up the presentation, what a funny first charla.  We did the presentation 3 more times and they were not taken over by anymore clowns.  The final group at 2pm did not show up. 
On Wednesday I am going to give a presentation on nutrition to people who are waiting in the waiting room to see the doctor.  It has to be observed by a technical trainer and a Spanish teacher.  Then on Friday the 3 other trainees and I will give a 2 hour presentation to 25 health education teachers on respiratory infections.  Sometimes I can’t believe how much responsibility the health center is giving us but it is nice that they trust us.  I hope it all goes well.

Guatemalan Food
Overall the food here has been pretty good.  My breakfast varies from day to day.  The selection can be:
1.       Cereal (corn flakes, Choco Krispy, frosted flakes) with powdered milk
2.       Oatmeal (in Guatemala it is called ‘mosh’)
3.       Refried beans, scrambled eggs, corn tortillas with instant coffee
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and can include:
Rice, vegetables, potatoes, chicken, beef, gluten-free pasta I brought from US that my host mom makes me and with every lunch I usually eat 3-4 corn tortillas.  A meal is not complete in Guatemala without tortillas.  There is a person who delivers fresh warm tortillas to our door at about 12pm every day, just in time for lunch. 
Dinner is usually served between 7:30pm-8:30pm and always consists of black beans and I side dish of something else.  We either refried black beans, whole black beans, or liquefied black beans and the side dish could be fried plantains, hot dogs with tomato sauce, vegetables, potatoes, eggs, and of course tortillas.  I always drink flavored hot tea for dinner.
My training town
My training town is about 20 minutes in bus north of Antigua.  It is really small and tranquilo.  It has the center square with a church and little soccer field/basketball court.  There are 3 little stores that are around the plaza that are out of people’s houses.  The other 3 trainees live really close to the plaza.  I live like a 3 minute walk away from the plaza on the road that goes through town.    There is one elementary school in my town.  Most people go to Antigua if they need to buy something, go to the doctor or bank.  Antigua is probably the most tourist city in Guatemala.  It used to be the capital of Guatemala until an earthquake hit it hard in 1773 and then they built the current capital, Guatemala City.  There are a lot of ruins around Antigua.  There are also 3 volcanoes really close to Antigua that I hope to climb sometime in the future.  There are actually about 34 volcanoes in Guatemala including 4 active ones.

Chicken Buses
Ahhh chicken buses how I love thee!  Ok maybe not really but it sure is an adventure every time I get on one.  Just imagine an old American school bus that has run its course in the United States.  When they get over a certain number of miles people drive the old buses down to Central America and we get to use them as public transportation.  Once they get down here they get a good paint job done to them with bright and fun colors on the inside and outside.  You might not even recognize the big yellow school bus that it used to be.  Some don’t have to fancy colors and still have the name of the school district on the side of the bus.  I am going to keep my eyes open for the next 2 years for a bus from my school district in United States.  I have been in Guatemala for about one month and have ridden on many chicken buses and have yet to see a sign saying the maximum number of passengers inside the bus because they do not care how many people are on the bus, the more passengers there are the more money they make.  A bus is not full until every seat has 3 adults in it plus maybe a baby or child the mom’s lap plus many people standing in the aisles.  On every chicken bus there is an ‘ayudante’ or a helper who goes around and takes everyone’s bus money and also stands at the front of the bus screaming the destination to anyone who is waiting on the side of the road.  He has to be a skinny person because he has to squish through all of the people standing in the middle of the aisle.  Once he gets to the back of the bus he will jump out the back door and then run to the front of the bus instead of trying to squish his way back to the front.  On Saturday we had an activity where we went to visit another training town.  On the bus to Antigua I was literally smashed up against the windshield in the front of the bus.  I had to stand in an awkward position so that my leg would not hit the shifter and accidentally throw the bus into neutral or something.  Ahhh good times!!
Looking Ahead
Today my brother arrived in Guatemala but he will be traveling around with a group from his seminary.  In a week from Tuesday he will be spending one night in Antigua.  I am going to meet my host family in Antigua and then we will meet up with my brother, his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s mom and sister.  I am excited to have my first visitor in Guatemala.  My brother is nice enough to bring some things I forgot or couldn’t fit in my suitcases from the United States.  So I have 8 more weeks of training left.  In 2 weeks I will be going to Field Based Training where I along with maybe 10 other trainees will be visiting a current volunteer and doing some presentations and see what it is like to be a PCV.  Then I will be back to my training site for a week and a half and then I will be doing Individual Activity where I and maybe one other person will go to visit another PCV and work with them for a couple of days.  I will be ‘home’ for a few days and then I will find out my site assignment, where I will be living for the next 2 years.  A few days later I will go to visit my future site for a week.  Then I will come back to my training town for a week and then swear-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on July 15th.  I hope to run a half marathon on July 16th in Antigua and the next day I and move out to my site for the next 2 years.  It is going to be crazy for the next 2 months but it is going to be fun. 

P.S. If anyone would like to send me something – letters, packages I would not refuse them.  My address is:
Cuerpo de Paz
Apartado Postal 66
Antigua Guatemala
Sacatepequez 03001
Guatemala Central America

Please send it by US postal service.  You could include letters, pictures, anything Gluten-free, candy, trail mix, craisins, crystal light/gatorade type packets to add to a water bottle, and anything else you think I might want.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm here!!

I have been here in Guatemala for 8 days.  What a crazy 8 days it has been. I don’t want my blog to be a boring timeline of everything I do, but I will catch everyone up on the past few 8 days and then I won’t talk about everything I do word for word, I will talk more about my experiences.  On April 26th I was in Philadelphia for 1 day for “Staging” or orientation, which is where I met all of the other 52 other Peace Corps Trainees going to Guate.  We went over the goals and objectives of Peace Corps in general.  We had orientation from 12pm-7pm, I then went out to eat with a few other PCT, and then came back to my hotel room at about 9pm.  I laid down from about 10:30pm-11:00pm.  Then I got up, took a shower and was out of my hotel room at 12am.  I had my hotel room for a whole 5 hours but I only used it for 3 hours!  We took a bus from Philadelphia to New York City in which I slept most of the way.  Our flight from NYC to Miami was 3 hours and I slept the whole way and the flight from Miami to Guatemala City was 2 hours but I didn’t sleep at all.  When we arrived in Guatemala we were greeted by Peace Corps staff and a couple current volunteers.  We went through immigration and customs as a group.  Peace Corps welcomed us to the country by loading us up on nicely painted, decked out Chicken Buses (aka old American school buses that are driven down from the United States and then used as public transportation).  We were taken to the Peace Corps office, which depending on traffic, is 1 hour outside of Guatemala City.  We had a little orientation and then we were taken to our host families where we stayed for the next 3 nights.  I was in a home with 2 other cool trainees.  In my family we had a mom, dad, 17 year old daughter, 15 year old son, 11 year old daughter, 7 year old daughter and our mom’s sister lived in the home also.  They were such a fun family to get to know.  During the next 2 ½ days we had orientation at the Peace Corps office.  We had Spanish interviews, immunizations, information about how to stay safe in Guatemala, what to do if we get sick, and received many workbooks that we will be going through in the next 3 months.  On Friday we were told which Spanish groups we will be in depending on how we did on our interview.  I am in a group with 3 other trainees.  Each Spanish group gets placed into different towns around the Peace Corps headquarters.
On Saturday morning we said good bye to our host family.  Then at the Peace Corps office we received our cell phones.  All PC volunteers and trainees receive cell phones and phone calls between all PC volunteers, trainees, and staff is free!  I guess only 5 out of the 76 countries that PC serves in do volunteers get issued a cell phone.  Then we loaded up into big vans and we were taken out to our different towns.  I was the last person in the van to be dropped off at my house.  I was welcomed with a warm hug and kiss from my host mom.  I came into the house and met the rest of the family.  I have a host mom, dad, and 2 daughters in their 30s.  One daughter is married and has a 10 year old daughter, an 11 year old son, and a 15 year old daughter.  The other daughter is married and has a 6 month old daughter, 2 year old daughter and an 8 year old son.  I obviously live with a big family and I love it.  After I met my host family I saw my room and where I will be living for the next 3 months, during training.  After 3 months of training I will become an official Peace Corps volunteer and then live in a different site for the next 2 years.  I love my host family, they are so nice and I have been laughing so much with my host mom and dad.  I also have electricity all the time, hot showers and running water (the water stops from 8pm-4am).  This week we had Spanish class Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, today, and tomorrow.  Every Tuesday we travel back to the Peace Corps headquarters for general trainings about culture, safety training, medical training, immunizations, and technical training.  So far everything is going really well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

4 Days

Two days until I leave my home, city, state, bedroom, nice comfortable bed, and dog.  Four days until I say good-bye to my family, until I leave for Philadelphia for staging, until I meet about 55 other Peace Corps trainees, and until my life changes forever.  On Easter Sunday morning after we go to church my family and I will head to Minneapolis for two days to spend time with my brother, his girlfriend, and my nephew.  Then on Tuesday morning I fly out of Minneapolis at 6:45am to Philadelphia.  I have orientation (Peace Corps calls it staging) from 12pm-7pm.  I then will have a hotel room from 7pm-midnight.  At midnight we will check out of our hotel and a bus will pick us up to take us to the airport in New York City.  We will be about 4-5 hours early for our flight to Guatemala which doesn't leave until 7:15am, but I guess it is better to be early than late.

I have had a quite a lot of emotions lately.  Anywhere from being excited to nervous to scared to relaxed to stressed.  But I am mostly just excited to get to Guatemala to start learning about what I will be doing for the next 2 years, to learn about the Guatemalan culture, and to meet new people.  I am not quite sure why but I feel like leaving home this time is a lot harder than I think it should be.  I left home when I was just 16 years old to live one year in Brazil as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.  I came home for a year, graduated high school, and then went to Mexico for another year of Rotary Youth Exchange.  And in college I studied abroad in Spain for a semester.  I think I have become comfortable living at home for the last two years, which I guess is not a bad thing, just makes leaving a little bit harder, but it is time to move on. 

When I was an exchange student in Merida, Mexico I went on a mission trip with my school over Holy Week. (I had to go to a Catholic school even though I was not Catholic)  We went into a small Mayan village and taught the kids about Holy Week and about Easter.  The people were so nice and welcomed us into their homes, taught us how to make tortillas, and shared their lives with us.  Even though I was sleeping on the floor of a school with lots of mosquitoes and experiencing my first bucket baths I had a wonderful week.  At the end of the week I told myself that some day I will come back and help these people.  When I was thinking that I did not necessarily mean go back to that village but I wanted to go somewhere in the area.  I hadn't thought about this experience when I was applying for the Peace Corps.  It wasn't until after I knew I was going to Guatemala that I remembered that 7 years ago I had told myself I would go back to live in that area and help the people there.  Even though it is not the same country, they border each other and I think of it as relatively close to the same area.  When I think of that story it makes it easier for me to go.

I might write one more post before I go.  Otherwise, you will hear from me when I am in Guatemala!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Bucket List for 27 months in Guatemala

I made a list of things I either want to accomplish or work on during my 27 months in Guatemala (which by the way is only ONE month away!!)

  • Climb a volcano
  • Learn a Mayan language
  • Exercise daily
  • Read
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Update this blog on a regular basis
  • Live a simpler life
  • Adopt a dog
  • Figure out my future
  • Learn to cook Guatemalan food
  • Run on a regular basis
  • Run at least a half marathon possibly a full marathon
  • Eat healthy
  • Stay Gluten-free
  • Laugh daily
  • Stay positive
  • Knit
  • Appreciate the little things in life
  • Love my work
  • Become a better public speaker
  • Learn to practice yoga
  • Go ziplining in the Guatemalan jungle
  • Visit home (USA) at least once
  • Make Guatemala my home
  • Stay in the present moment
  • Learn a local craft
  • Learn a new word in Spanish daily
  • Make at least on Guatemalan friend - hopefully more
  • Become part of a Guatemalan family
  • Visit Tikal - Mayan ruins
  • Visit my old host family in Merida, Mexico
  • Educate many people about health topics
  • Make friends with my local neighborhood kids
  • Learn to wash all my clothes by hand
  • Live as stress-free as possible
  • Find the love of my life =)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Family

Last weekend I made a trip over to Minneapolis to take care of my nephew, Trevor.  I was able to spend good quality time with my 7 month old nephew.  The last time I had seen him was two months ago for Christmas.  He had changed so much in those two months.  He was now able to sit up on his own, smile a lot at me, laugh, babble, and make cute baby faces.  This visit made me realize how much I am going to miss in the next two years.  I will not be able to see my nephew for a long time.  He is seven months old now and by the time I come home from the Peace Corps he will be three years old, he will be able to walk, run, talk, yell, and who knows maybe he will know how to play chess by the time I come back. 
            As I was driving out of the Twin Cities last weekend a lot of things were going through my mind and I started to cry.  What am I doing leaving everything for two years of my life, to go to a place I have never been to (I don’t consider the time I spent 5 minutes jumping back and forth between the Mexican and Guatemalan border actually being there), and to hopefully help people I don’t even know.  Am I out of my mind?  After the tears cleared from my eyes, I-94 out of Minneapolis was not blurry anymore and a few used Kleenexes sat on the passenger’s seat in the car, I began to think a little sharper.  This is going to be a tough adventure for me.  I knew signing up for the Peace Corps that it was going to be difficult.  On the drive home I was thinking about how the hardest part right now is leaving the people who are important in my life, my family.  We have always been a really close family and love knowing that they are always there for me when I need them.  Even if I am in another country they are only a phone or Skype call away.  I love my family, they are the best.  As I continued my drive home, I said a little prayer asking God to be with me on this adventure and to keep my family healthy and safe while I am gone.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Timeline

This is my Peace Corps application timeline.  I am not sure if all the dates are exact but they are close enough.

Fall of 2006 - Started thinking about going into the Peace Corps after I graduated college.

Sometime in 2007 - Started the application but never finished it.  It was not the right time for me.

2007- July 2010 - Continued to have Peace Corps in the back of my mind.

July 2010 - I went on a mission trip to Honduras to build 2 houses for poor people.  During this trip I kept asking myself could I do this for 2 years.  At the end of the trip the answer was "YES, I wanted to join the Peace Corps."  If I didn't do it now I had the feeling I won't ever do it.

August 2010-September 2010 - Worked on my application.

September 28th - Two of my references submitted their reference letters.

September 30th - Submitted my application and my health status questionnaire online.

October 8th 2010 - Received an e-mail from my recruiter saying they received my application and he want me to submit a skill addenda.  Also my last reference submitted their reference letter.

October 9th 2010 - Received a packet in the mail with fingerprint cards.

October 15th 2010 - Went to the local police station to get my fingerprints taken by a policeman. (I felt like I was being arrested)  Mailed my fingerprints packet back to Peace Corps.

October 25th 2010 - Received an e-mail from my recruiter saying that one of my references was still missing.  Wrote him back saying I was pretty sure they were all submitted.  He wrote back 5 minutes later saying that he found the other reference letter and that he would be contacting me shortly about the next steps.

October 27th 2010 - E-mail from my recruiter wants to set up an interview.

October 28th 2010 - Call recruiter and set up an interview in Chicago for November 10th.

November 10th 2010 - Had interview with recruiter in Chicago.  I was nervous at the beginning but it went really well.  He said that because I was available to go anytime he would have to nominate me for a program that was still open, which would be Central Asia, teaching English, and leaving in March.  He said he was going to check with the Peace Corps Headquarters to see if he could nominate me for a Central/South American health position.  He told me to call him on Monday the 15th.

November 15th 2010 - Call recruiter he is nominating me for Central/South America for a Health Extension Program leaving in April.  So excited I was nominated for my first choice, but I know that things could change so I stay flexible.  I look on PeaceCorpsWiki.com and find out the the only Health Extension program for Central/South America leaving in April is Guatemala. 

November 27th, 2010 - Receive a medical packet from Peace Corps.  Freaking out a little bit with all the information they want to know.

December 6th, 2010 - Dentist appointment and cleaning -12 x-rays taken.  No cavities!

December 24th 2010 - Went to see my regular doctor for him to fill out all the paperwork, pap, blood tests including - Hep B, Hep C, G6PD, HIV, urine sample.  Doctor ran out of time with me said he would finish up paperwork later. 

December 27th 2010 - Went to have TB test placed and repeat urine sample.

December 29th 2010 - Went to have TB test read. 

January 4th 2011 - Picked up paperwork from doctor.  Realized I needed a copy of my pap report, immunization record, and I needed a Polio vaccine, they gave it to me then.  I think the clinic was happy when I was leaving.

January 5th 2011 - Went back to the clinic because the doctor forgot to put his medical number on the paperwork.  Made copies of all the paperwork, then sent in my medical packet just in time because I left for Honduras that day for 10 days.

January 18th 2011 - I e-mail the medical office because I haven't gotten a notification that Peace Corps received my medical packet.  I start having nightmares about having to do all of the medical paperwork over again.

January 20th 2011 - I receive a notification on my online tool kit that they received my medical packet and that I am Dentally Cleared!!  Nightmares are over.

January 31st 2011 - I receive notification that my pre-service nurse is reviewing my paperwork.

February 5th 2011 - I receive a letter in the mail saying I need an ophthalmologist to fill out paperwork about a surgery I had when I was one year old, a repeated CBC because my white blood count was low on the first one, complete metabolic panel, and a personal statement about having Celiac Disease. 

February 7th 2011 - Go back to clinic to have more blood taken.  Drop paperwork off at ophthalmologist.  Picked up completed paperwork in the afternoon.

February 8th 2011 - Go back to clinic to pick up lab work.  Fax all the paperwork back to Peace Corps office.

February 9th 2011 - There was a message on the machine from my pre-service nurse saying she had one more question for me.

February 10th 2011 - Called pre-service nurse back and answered her question.  She told me I was medically qualified!!

February 11th 2011 - Received an e-mail from the Health desk placement assistant requesting an updated resume.

February 14th 2011 - Sent in an updated resume.

February 16th 2011 - Received a phone call from Placement officer at 9am (See blog post below).  Had a 3 minute phone call with Placement Officer.  He told me he was sending out an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps in Central/South America leaving in April, my original nomination.  

February 18th 2011 - My Dad called me at 3pm at work telling me my Peace Corps package arrived at home.  I wouldn't be home until 10:45pm, longest 8 hours shift ever.  Came home from work opened my package and found out I was invited in Guatemala as a health promoter in a program called Healthy Homes!!