The Circle Widens

I flew to Virginia this weekend and told my family of my plans to join the Peace Corps. As expected, they were supportive and I've invited them to join this blog. My oldest sister, Becky seemed a little apprehensive when I asked my two sisters and my parents to come downstairs because I had something to tell them. Becky's comment was "you are scaring me". However, once I made the big announcement she was the first to say congratulations and give me a high five. In fact, later Saturday evening after everyone had left, Becky and I got on her computer and started looking at the places I could be going.

"Where are you going" was obviously one of the first questions that my family wanted to know and one which I would like to know myself. However, the Peace Corps doesn't share that information until they give you an official invitation. My recruiter told me she was recommending me for a business development program in the Pacific. The Peace Corps web site shows six countries with active programs: Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia and Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. My best guess is Vanuatu since it is the only one that specifically lists a business development program, but my recruiter says that doesn't really mean anything since the programs are constantly changing.

Becky, with help from my nephew Isaac and I spent time looking at different web sites about Vanuatu including the State Department Site which I had not visited before. Isaac suggested we look at Google Earth so he could see exactly where Vanuatu and the other islands are located. Becky says she has always wanted to visit Australia and said that if she can't come to wherever I am stationed, that we could always meet there. Isaac promptly announced he wasn't going to get on a plane and go that far away.

I didn't get to spend as much time Saturday evening talking with Maria, my other sister and with Mom and Dad, but I'm hopeful they will come visit regardless of where I am stationed.

The big hurdle left for me is my medical examination. I am not aware of any medical issues that would prevent me from going anywhere, but you never know what may be discovered. My recruiter had originally requested to be sent to Africa but was not able to go there after it was discovered she was allergic to the medicine they use to treat Malaria. I also have to have a complete dental exam, but that one doesn't worry me. Any dental problems can be fixed.

I've started making a list of the many things that I need to do in preparation for my assignment. I don't want to do anything permanent until I have the official invitation, but certainly I need to do some pre-planning. My parents have agreed to take my dog, Lady during the time that I am gone and my sister Maria may also think about taking her pending a discussion with her husband, Andy. Becky and her husband Bill, an attorney said they would be happy to serve as my "Power of Attorney" to deal with any issues during my time away.

I also have some financial planning I need to do which I can begin to do even before I get the invitation. One of those is making sure I am receiving all of my bills electronically. I'm hopeful that wherever I end up, I will have access to the Internet. Even if I don't have that, having everything electronically will allow someone else to check on how things are going and to pay any outstanding bills. Once my house is sold, I should not have any additional bills.

At this point, the circle of people who know of my plans still remains limited to my three references and my immediate family. I'm going to keep the circle tight until after I get my year-end bonus, even if I should get the official invitation before then. I probably won't broaden it until the invitation arrives so that word does not leak out to my staff and my company.

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