Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sneakiness and the Peace Corps

Internetworking is one amazing thing, that's for sure. And I know where I'm going for the Peace Corps, if in fact I leave with the nomination for which I'm scheduled to leave.

But you have to read the story of it first, because I'm rather proud of weaseling it out the way I did.

It didn't start out as weaseling. I originally had called the PC office in Washington, D.C., to try to find out when they'll be inviting me. IF, as they so strongly reminded me. If they invite me, when would it be? The rule says "six weeks before your departure date". Being as half of February is six weeks from early January (which is when I'll have just barely arrived in Kenya for the Field Biology course), and being as I'll only have 10 days after receiving the invitation to accept or refuse it, and being as that will *only* be able to happen if I am allowed to do so via phone or email and parental power-of-attorney-type-stuff. So, basically, I wanted to know if my parents could accept or refuse something for me.

The PC told me that I should be getting invited in early January or very late November (maybe they meant December?), because the program for which I am nominated leaves on--and I should understand that this is highly tentative, without any guarantee of me going with them or of that exact day, so don't make any plans or form any expectations whatsoever--is February 8, 2009.

Then, I was in a yahoo group for PC- stuff (-applicants, -Vs, -Ts, R--Vs, parents of any or all of the above, etc), and the chat was empty except one other person. She told me that for various reasons, she'd learned that the program for teachers leaving February 8 was going to Uganda.

"Don't get all excited yet," I tell you now and told myself then, "You still have no confirmation whatsoever."

I went to the PC recruiter here at Cornell, and tried to beg him to tell me where I was going, but he couldn't tell me, because he didn't know.

So, I called the PC again, but a different desk this time. I said that I wanted to let them know that I'd be abroad from December 28 to January 21 (margins for travel, but I will be functionally nonextant, for purposes of communication, between those dates, for any of you planning ahead...). They said "Great, we'll put that in your file," and pulled up said file. "You're going to sub-Saharan Africa as a Secondary Science teacher..." I interrupted, and said "Yes, I know that if I'm invited to the program I'm nominated in, I'll be going to Uganda," as though it were just another fact. "Who told you that?! Did your recruiter tell you that?!" I said no, that my recruiter hadn't told me anything (I didn't want him to get in trouble, and it's also true), but that I'd been talking to a lot of other applicants and we'd found out the leave date, and put it together from there. But after that, it was confirmed.

And she made a big point of telling me how I'm probably never going to get invited, etc, etc, etc. But, so it goes. They tell you that you have no chance of invitation up until you're invited, and if you express any preference, they'll call you inflexible and a bad match for the PC. It's all in order to keep expectations at a level that they can be dealt with (or not) in an efficient way--I understand this--but it gets a little aggravating.

So, Uganda. My recruiter is sure I'll get invited, and with the number of "file-strengthening" I'm doing, I'll be surprised if I don't.

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