Monday, July 30, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

One countdown complete!

Finally! ONE HUNDRED DAYS after submitting our medical packets (No exageration. We were counting), we both got our medical clearance today! WOOHOO!

I got the feeling yesterday that they would be calling so I kept my phone on me all day. While on a feild trip with my kids at work to the KU Natural History Museum today, I checked the time and realized I just barely missed a call! From DC! Oh no! What was worse is that they didn't leave a message! So I made a quick call to Dan to see if they called him as well. He non-challantley said they had. I was about to jump out of my skin to find out what they said.

What'd they say?? What'd they say???

We're finally cleared!!!!!!!

I subsequently bounced around for the remainder of the field trip, in a very pleasant mood. One giant hurdle passed! Now on to the invitation....

Yup. Now it's on to more waiting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quick update

We're still waiting...big surprise. Everyone keeps asking us if we've heard anything, but the answer is always the same--NO!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Peace Corps Time Line

OK--here's a sketch of our Peace Corps time line:

1/10/2006 - Mary and Dan started talking about the Peace Corps

1/14/2006 - Mary and Dan started talking about getting married and serving in the Peace Corps together

2/15/2006 - Mary reopened her application - Dan tried to start his application for the first time but we needed to submit marriage information, so we decided to wait until we were married

4/7/2006 - Mary and Dan got engaged (continued to talk about Peace Corps)

5/18/2006 - Mary and Dan were married in Newport Beach, California

7/8/2006 - Dan started his application online

8/12/2006 - Mary races off to go to the Kansas City Public Library to meet Emily, who eventually will be our recruiter from Denver, for the first time. Information meeting and video. Mary finds out that the placement of couples does take longer - usually 12-15 months from application review. She also said the next application deadline is at the beginning of October for couple reviews, since the next nomination reviews would be in November and then February. Even if we are nominated in November/December, the earliest we could go is probably Fall 2007, but it would most likely be February 2008.

8/20/2006 - We tell Dan's parents that we are applying to the Peace Corps

10/4/2006 - Mary and Dan both submit their Peace Corps applications

-Mary and Dan both finish the Health Review Status
-Mary and Dan both receive the couple questionnaire and discuss the issues that we might have as a couple serving in the Peace Corps

10/12/2006 - Receive confirmation from Peace Corps that they have received our applications.

-Complete fingerprinting, background check stuff, and couple questions.

10/25/2006 - Interview with Emily on KU campus

12/4/2006 - Mary calls Emily and finds out that we did not get a nomination for the August 2007 selection - she said it will most likely be January/February/March of 2008

2/5/2007 - Mary called Emily expecting to get an update on our nomination and found out the applications are still in review--we will actually find out towards the end of February

2/21/2007 - Emily calls and leaves a message that we have been nominated for French-speaking Africa to leave in October--our medical/dental packets would arrive in the mail within a couple of weeks. Dan is nominated to business development and Mary is nominated to community development and health.

2/28/2007 - We receive our official nomination in the mail.

3/8/2007 - We receive our medical/dental forms.

3/14/2007 - Dan's medical appointment

3/20/2007 - Mary's medical appointment

3/28/2007 - Dan's dental appointment

4/11/2007 - Mary's dental appointment

4/18/2007 - Mailed off completed medical packet

4/25/2007 - Received confirmation via Tool-kit that PC received completed medical packet

5/1/2007 - Mailed off completed dental packet

5/12/2007 - Received Dental Clearance!!!! WOOHOO! One shiny moment.

Waiting.... Waiting... Waiting....


7/6/2007 - Mary called Emily (our regional recruiter) and Anthony (our Medical Officer for the African region) to ask about medical clearance status. They informed me that the DC office was very backlogged trying to get through all the August/September departure date nominees before they would get to our clearance. ARGH. Anthony said that they would get to ours within the next 4 weeks.

MORE waiting... waiting... waiting...


7/26/2007 - After 100 days of waiting, we receive our Medical Clearance! AWESOME!!!

8/9/2007 - Dan breaks news to his boss about joining the Peace Corps

8/20/2007 - Deadline to receive invitation for the program we were originally nominated for... We're not invited. :(

8/21/2007 - Reuben calls. We receive invitation to mystery country leaving December 5th.

8/24/2007 - Toolkit is updated: Invitation has been mailed.

8/24 to 8/27/2007 - time spent stalking the mailman....

8/27/2007 - We get our invitation packet in the mail. We go over to Dan's parent's house to open it. WE'RE GOIN' TO GUINEA!


Anticipated Time Line:

9/27/2007
- Move out of apartment and in with Dan's Parents.

10/16/2007 - Dan's 29th birthday

11/02/2007
- Dan and Mary's last day of work


12/1/2007
- Mary and Dan leave for the Peace Corps.

12/08/2007 to 2/24/2008 - Dan and Mary separated for 11 weeks of in-country training :(

12/21/2007 - Brandon returns from mission in California

12/25/2007 - 1st Christmas (of 3) in Africa

1/1/2008 - First New Year in Africa

2/1/2008 - Mary's 26th birthday

2/24/2008
- Dan and Mary reunite! Sworn in as Official Peace Corps Volunteers

2/24/2010 - Close of Service. Travel? Return to US Soil.

The Waiting Game

Soooooo..... I have been going insane without some concrete information or answers. I have been addicted to blogs, websites, online forums, and anything that might give me some information about anything Peace Corps related. (That is how I came up with the country list...) We're going crazy trying to sort through what we want to buy, what we should plan on taking, what to expect, our expected timeline, and more. I'm so glad I at least have the internet to give me some helpful hints, but I want more! I check my email/mailbox/cell phone constantly for messages. No luck.

I'm dying with anticipation. We've been waiting for medical clearance without any word for over 3 months. In less than 3 months from now, our entire life will be changed dramatically. A little foreshadowing would be convenient.

But c'est la vie for the time being. We will survive. Just slightly nerve racking.

Where, oh where....

So here is a list of French-speaking African countries with Peace Corps programs:

Benin
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Guinea
Madagascar
Mali
Mauritania
Morocco
Niger
Senegal
Togo

Out of these countries, we've tried to figure out where we think they might send us, based on departure dates. (Basically, I figured this out only from reading posts from others who just got invitations to some of these countries in programs we have been nominated to) Here is our narrowed-down list:

Benin
Burkina Faso
Madagascar
Niger
Morocco
Mauritania

From there, looking at the programs currently offered in each of these places, the list is narrowed further. (But, there is always the possibility of a new program starting in a country not listed, so this is just a guess for fun right now. Always the chance of change!) Oh. And apparently Guinea pulled its volunteers out a few months ago and we don't know if they've been OKed for return. So this is what we think our chances are narrowed down to:

Burkina Faso
Mauritania
Morocco

We're crossing fingers for Morocco, but they kinda group that with the MidEast and not Africa. So we don't know if that even fits our Nomination to French-speaking Africa. So Mauritania or Burkina Faso?

What it really boils down to though is this: WE STILL DON'T KNOW A THING. And plus, everything could change in a minute and we might end up in the Philippines/Mongolia/Ukraine or somewhere else random or crazy. We are dealing with the government "bureaucrazy," you know.