"...He prayeth well, who loveth well, Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best, All things both great and small;
for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all..."

The Rime of the Anchient Mariner -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, June 28, 2010

Do you believe?

The Convergence of Some thoughts:

1) I'm not one of those people who have dreamt of being a Peace Corps Volunteer my entire life. I think the first time I heard about the Peace Corps was from my mom's cousin, who grew up in a poor family in Honduras, being one of eight children. He used to tell us stories about his experience growing up; how somedays the only thing he would have (to eat) was a carton of 'Choco-Lady' chocolate milk distributed at school through a Peace Corps Program.

Isn't it amazing how something so simple as a carton of chocolate milk can change a life? Not just his, but mine too (and probably everyone to whom he tells the story).

2) I believe in making a difference in the world, one person at time & one act at a time. How many times have you walked past a piece of trash laying around and not picked it up? Up until this morning, I would just walk by & just look at it with disappointment, b/c either I was too busy or didn't want to look like a wierdo picking it up.

Today I made a personal committment to pick up trash when I see it (and I did...some people made a bon fire along the Potomac River and just left it there...ughh). [my dad has been doing this all his life for the shear benefit of the environment, the neighborhood, and humanity]

So, I guess I could say, I joined my dad on his One-Man Crusade to Save the World....which leads me to my next thought.

3) What do you believe in? This question can be explored in so many contexts, but suffice it say that if you focus on your beliefs & your mission (in life) then some beautiful things will happen.

What are you willing to do for what you believe in? What legacy do you want to leave behind?...or should i say: "How far will You go?"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Phone Interview with Language Coordinator

I was contacted by the PCMexico Language Coodinator. We set up a phone interview so she can assess my Spanish Skills...but something tells me I better review my resume to make sure I know how to say all that stuff in Spanish.
I chat in Spanish all the time with my mom, but it's not about work... it's about regular life stuff. I doubt PCMexico wants to know how my dog Cleo is doing, lol.
The interview is Monday 5p.m. Central Standards time, 6p.m. EST.
It just dawned on me that a 20 min convo on my cell phone from MEX might be expensive...hmm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reflections on Time & Aspiration Statement

I've never been happier now that my time belongs to me. My most recent birthday occured at the juncture of a wonderful and optimistic time in my life, yet it still became an emotional reflection of what I have done with my time.

While I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished, it has been difficult on an emotional, physical, and spritual level. Thinking that the 'best years of my life' were used doing something I didn't love breaks my heart (but I must mention that I didn't realize what my passion was until very recently...so, it's not like I had a true sense of direction either).

I'm as hopful now as I was 10 years ago to embark on a new adventure in my life, but the difference is that the feeling in my stomach is more of an excited butterfly feeling, rather than the gut-wrenching dread I distinctly remember feeling (over and over again).

Being a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I know that my Coast Guard experience was a wonderful stepping stone for Peace Corps (and beyond). Below is my Aspiration Statement:

A. I see myself as a facilitator of development who will bring new perspective, ideas, and solutions. My goal will be to work with project partners to provide them the support they need for enduring positive impact. I hope that my Pre-Service Training (PST) and my past professional experience will give me a solid foundation from which to provide the support that is needed. I am eager to learn more about my assignment in the Peace Corps, and will dedicate the time it takes learn my job and build relationships with project partners and my community. My strongest professional attribute is my determination to reach goals. I look forward to life in Mexico, where I will adapt to new environments, learn new processes, and meet new people.

B. I intend to familiarize myself with the Peace Corps’ standard operating procedures for the host country, and work within the established process to facilitate objectives. I understand the value of repetitive communication (verbal, written, electronic etc) and its link to better understanding, so I will try to minimize barriers to communication inherent in language and culture, by repeating the message in different ways. Building professional partnerships through conscientious attention and personal motivation has been an important asset in my experience. I believe that building rapport and alliances through personal loyalty are valued traits and will help achieve the program’s success.

C. Adapting to a new culture will be full of excitement, confusion, and mistakes, but most importantly: understanding. There are subtle differences in each country’s culture that can only be understood through interaction and observation. I plan to learn as much as I can about Mexican culture before I depart for Staging and during PST, but I know that I will learn the most through my interactions with my host family and project partners in Mexico. I will try my hardest to use on my intuition and situational awareness to integrate into my new culture.

D. I hope to gain the following knowledge, skills & abilities from PST: a better understanding of Peace Corps’ impact in Mexico; practice good health and safety techniques to avoid sickness; become knowledgeable about local business customs; learn new technical skills and be able to impart those skills to project partners; adapt my Spanish for effective communication in Mexico; interact with local officials, NGO representatives, and community leaders; AND develop an esprit de corps with fellow Peace Corps Trainees & Volunteers.

E. In the end, I hope to look back on my Peace Corps experience with a newly defined sense of direction for my life. My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in an Environmental Education & Community Outreach project will give me a practical insight to environmental issues and their solutions. At this point, I intend dedicate my future endeavors towards the preservation and conservation of our natural resources. To that end, I intend to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science or Conservation Social Science from the University of Idaho. I believe that my personal and professional hopes are tied to my goals, and that link will be my key to success.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Post Invitation Musing

Well, I'm still smiling. Everything works out in the perfect time & not a moment too soon.

The Invitation Kit is a 1/2 inch folio containing tabbed folders w/ forms and instructions. It's not exactly as big as a phone book...but it is a lot to read when I am so excited I can barely concentrate.

So, as I worked through my Visa application today, I started thinking...Mexico seems to have been THE place all along. In 2006 I had my promotion ceremony (in the Coast Guard this is called a "wetting down") in Veracruz--which can only have been described as Legendary...a party to top all parties.

One of my car-key fobs is from MEXICO. I pulled out my passport today & it has $40 worth of Mexican currency in it. They were souveniers of my travels to a land which I would likely never return...but life has a funny way of working out & God has an amazing way of reminding me that there is much more at work than my haphazzard plans.

I'm excited to discover what doors open in Mexico.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Invited to MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The UPS Man never look good as he did today, when he pulled up in his big brown wagon & delivered my Peace Corps Invitation!
I'm going to MEXICO! What a total surprise--I didn't see it coming at all b/c the PCMex Blogs that I stalked mentioned they were shutting down those programs!

I'm going to be working w/ the equivelent of their Department of Natural Resources/National Park Service. This is all I know right now. I haven't even read the rest. This is perfect for me!
Are there enough exclamation points in this yet!!!

ahh....perma-smile on my face. butterflies in my stomach. tears in my eyes. What a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Morning Surprise


My conversation w/ PC Placement was on Friday afternoon, and I know in an office it can sometimes take a while to processes applications...so I wasn't expecting too much forward movement on my Peace Corps Application Status Toolbox over the weekend. But yesterday (Saturday), I had all the checkmarks, indicative of the Legal Office removing the Legal Hold--surprising to me.

Then this morning (SUNDAY) I woke up to find another 5am email from Peace Corps App update. I logged in to find a beautiful sight. Imagine the screenshot that says:

Congratulations! You have been invited to become a Peace Corps Volunteer

I continue to be amazed that the seas are parting for me in a way that I cannot even have imagined. I feel like my life can be likened to a race through a densely clouded/foggy street--where I can't tell what I'm running from or what I'm running towards...and you just don't know where you are going until you are there.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Official Invitation-Cleared but not mailed

Chapter 4--The Begining of a new Begining

My Peace Corps Placement Officer called & left a message, letting me know my Legal Hold had been lifted off of my file (thank you DD214). She wanted to confirm that I was still available for placment into an earlier program departing in Mid-August (vice September)!!

Since I was not @ home when I listened to the message, I called my brother/lifeline to look up what countries were departing in August from PCWIKI. Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala & Dom Rep. After a couple of phone calls, I felt that August sounded fine.

My Application Status Toolbox notes all the checkmarks are complete, but the Official Invitation has not been mailed YET! I should get it in the next 3-5 business days!! That is when I will find out exactly what my assignment (job), country, and departure date will be.

A lot of positive life-changes have happened this week (Last Day @ work, 200mi Relay & Peace Corps Placement)! All of my impending deadlines & dates have come to a close & I'm glad that I've been busy enough to avoid obsessing over them.

Next week my focus is to get my house-hold goods storage set up, have a massive garage sale, and follow-up with the sale of my home... should be going to Closing anyday now.

BTW, I really like the programs available in Panama or Guatemala...I hope i get one of these. Dom Rep is technically in the Carribean, so I will likely not go there (but who knows). Nicaragua has a 31AUG departure & since she said 'mid-August' departure...this may not be it.

Whereever I end up going, I'm sure it's exactly where I am supposted to go! Updates to follow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Is It

My last day at work was full of hopful goodbyes & best wishes. I'm genuinly happy to move onto the proverbial 'next chapter' of my life; all my sadness to leave my past & the anxiety of the unknown has turned into a quiet peace in my mind.

I feel a little numb actually (too). "So this is what this feels like" is what I kept thinking as I walked around today. I walked out of the building into the parking lot for the last time, in my Coast Guard uniform and thought...'so this is what this feels like'.

Life is so unpredictable, that Goodbye rarly means Goodbye.
Life is infinite.
Life is finite.

Peace Corps News:
I sent my Legal Specialist my DD214 (military discharge papers) today. I haven't heard back from him/her...but I think my official Peace Corps Invitation should be forthcoming.

This seems unreal, yet it is very REAL. (I'll reflect more on my contridictory nature later or perhaps in another forum!)