Yesterday I was enjoying my day at Disneyland with my mom and while waiting in line for Thunder Mountain Railroad I felt my phone vibrate. I opened a text from my sister with a picture of a package that had just been delivered from UPS and I nearly screamed with excitement. I proceeded to share with my mom (and based on my level of excitement and as a result the volumne of my voice, with everyone else in line for the ride) that my Peace Corps invitation packet had arrived! Unfortunately I was going to have to make a tough call. I could call home right then and have my dad and sister open it and tell me where I would be spending the next two years of my life, or I could wait nearly 24 hours until they arrived in California and open it myself. I chose to wait.
Today (after a long morning of waiting) they arrived around 1:00pm. After a quick (very quick!) hello I looked at my dad expectantly. He asked if there was something I was waiting for and I gave him an annoyed look which prompted him to hand me the package I have been waiting to recieve since I started the application process last July.
I opened it up and on the front page I found the following information:
Program: Community Environmental Education
Job Title: Environmental Educator
Orientation: August 30, 2011
Pre-Service Training (in communities near Jinotepe, Nicaragua): August 31, 2011-November 18, 2011
Service Dates: November 21, 2011-November 22, 2013
There is a ton of information in the big blue envelope including five or six folders of paper work, three books, and packet for my family. From what I have skimmed over in the last few minutes I will be living in a small town working at three schools in classrooms of 30-45 students teaching environmental education, building gardens and compost systems, and starting community and youth groups when I am not at school. I will probably have electricity (with frequent outages) and probably have potable water from a pipe system or a well most of the time. I will likely take bucket baths and most volunteers have a latrine at their home. I will live with a host family for the entire three months of training, and then the first six weeks in site. After that I might continue to live with a host family or move into my own small home if there is something available. One thing I was very excited to see is that one of the main staples of the diet is gallo pinto (a rice and bean dish) that I fell in love with when I studied abroad in Costa Rica, along with lots of indiginous fruits and some vegetables. So I am less worried about starving to death now (although I also read they eat guinea pigs and boas?).
I have a lot of research to do but after the last few hours of research I have decided to accept the invitation to serve in Nicaragua. I am really happy that I was able to be with all of my family to open the invitation because it was really reasuring to have that support and enthusiasm from the people that I love. I am so excited and I can’t wait to begin this chapter of my life.
I should be posting more frequently as I find out more information, begin preparing, etc. I believe I am one of the first people to recieve an invite for my training group (I know of one other person) which is not uncommon since it is five months out. I have started a Facebook group for our training group (Nica 57) so I will post that on here periodically so that as people start getting invites they can join the group. If you are a member of Nica 57 you can join the group here.Also I have only shared the fact that I was applying to the Peace Corps with a few close friends because I wanted to wait to make it public until it was official. I am linking this blog to my Facebook and emailing it to my family so that I am sure everyone has it and has a chance to subscribe if they want to before I leave for service.
Congrats to everyone else who has been recieving invitations I am so excited for you all. Until next time, paz y amor.