Happy New Year

It is now officially 2007 and as I write this I can't help but think about where I may celebrate the beginning of 2008. Hopefully it will be somewhere in the Peace Corps. I have to admit starting to feel a bit impatient about the process, but everything I have read says to expect a long application period. I have been targeting mid-January to early February to hear something based on what my recruiter told me. However, the Peace Corps officially says they will only give you six weeks notice before you depart, which means that if I receive an invitation to a program in June, as expected, I might not hear anything until Mid-April.

My family continues to support my desire to join the Peace Corps. For Christmas, my parents gave me a nice pair of Gore-Tex boots by Ecco to wear during my service. My sister Maria gave me a watch that doesn't require winding or a battery and is waterproof and my sister Becky gave me several books, including one called "So, You Want to Join the Peace Corps...What to know before you go" by Dillon Banerjee. I read that book cover to cover at one sitting. It has a lot of good information and some useful tips including suggestions on what to take. For example, he suggests taking a roll of US Stamps with you. That way, you can hand off letters and small packages to people heading back to the US that can be dropped in any mailbox. He also suggests external speakers for your music player so you don't have to wear headphones in your house. Both are very good suggestions. The book also includes good information about what it is like to be a volunteer and what you can expect.

I spent part of my Christmas vacation visiting friends in Orlando. It was somewhat of a reunion, because all six of us who went to Europe together in September 2005 were all there. It's the first time we've been together since we left Paris. Naturally the talk turned to where we should take our next trip. I pushed them to try for a trip in April without explaining to them why. I must not have been very convincing since we decided to take a trip in September again. I felt a bit guilty about not telling them what I was planning but two of them work in television and it is a very small business. I don't think either would intentionally say anything, but I've kept the number of people who know my plans very small. Once I get the official invitation, I will certainly tell more people.

I'm also sending an e-mail tonight to my recruiter just to make sure everything is okay with my application. Her office was closed today due to President Ford's funeral.

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