Those of you who've been with me since before the A-Z challenge already know this, but come June 4th I'll be leaving for Ethiopia to serve in the Peace Corps for two years (plus an extra three months of in country training).
It's something I've had on my mind since my sophomore year of college. I wanted adventure, I hadn't really spent time abroad since I toured Europe my junior year of high school, and leaving for my service right after I got my BA was a good time. I didn't have family or a job to worry about leaving. And to make myself more competitive for assignments, I went to New Zealand for an internship, and officially applied November 2010.
The thing about applying for the Peace Corps is there's a lot of uncertainty. For the first part of the summer I was signing month by month contracts to stay in my co-op because I had no idea when I would be called to leave. I didn't get magazine subscriptions, because by the time the first issue came, I may already have to cancel it. I looked for internship and job half halfheartedly, because I didn't know how long I would be here. It impacted my choice of whether it would be worth it to start this blog last May (it totally was).
My departure date was officially announced to be Feb '12 last June, instead of the early Fall I was hoping for, and I found myself scrambling to fill the rest of my summer and the Fall semester. I moved home, became a substitute teacher, and started avidly searching for a job. Peace Corps was nice and all that, but I realized part of the attraction of it had three years ago was the delay of entering the work force, and that idea wasn't that scary any more. I was, and am, ready to jump into a career and start my life.
December rolled around, and I still hadn't heard anything about my nomination becoming something more solid, good thing I was job hunting! But then lo and behold, I got an interview near Christmas time saying my original nomination was gone, but was I still interested? Not successful in finding a job, of course I was.
But shortly after New Years other opportunities came in. Internships and interviews. Life was calling, and Peace Corps would delay it for two years, at least. 5 if I did grad school after it.
So I figured, Peace Corps would be a back up plan. I could always pull out before leave, I could pull out half way through my service if I really wanted to.
And that though continued, even when I got my assignment. I was being sent to Ethiopia to teach English. How does that help me in my professional goals? What happened to the business development tasks I wanted to do? I accepted, but still the though of pulling out circled my mind.
Then came all my other plans falling through, and the only thing left was Peace Corps. Could I try something else? Possibly, but over the year and a half that I've been through the application (which requires a lot of time and money for medical bills) my thoughts that Peace Corps would be awesome never changed. Its no longer a delay to entering the workforce, but an escape from this stagnate life I feel like I've been living since I graduated from uni last April. Plus, I feel like if I have this opportunity, and don't take it, it will haunt me. Not to mention, it's a huge boost for my resume, which my roughly year search proved it could use. And of course, it's adventure and learning and fun and making a difference.
And since I'm a writer through and through, I'm totally blogging about it all. Join me at Adventures in Amharic if you want to follow along. I can't promise I'll update often, I have no idea how steady Internet is (which mean this blog will also have dead times), but I will post about everything. My job, the food, the people. Expect pictures! Except of public areas, government buildings, and infrastructure, as it's illegal to photograph those. Guess you guys will just have to settle for gorgeous scenery ^_^