Friday, December 31, 2010

All Packed Up

My sister and I spent the day packing up my bags.  I am checking a large backpack and a large duffle each weighing between 40-50lbs.  I then will carry on a smaller duffle that weighs about 20lbs along with a small backpack.  All together it weighs a little over 100lbs. 
Not bad for a two year camping trip, I figured I would worry about walking anywhere when I have too…

My First Package

I mailed myself some books today and it cost around $13 for an envelope like this and it comes with insurance, just save your receipt and customs form. 

It has to weight under 4lbs and you have to fill out a small customs form (CN22) when you describe the contents (1) be vague like books or school supplies.  This is so the contents won’t get stolen. 

Here are a few more hints about mailing letters and packages
  • It can take a month for them to reach me.
  • Lost letters and packages are not unheard of.
  • Number your letters, it will let me know if I've missed one.
  • Packages may be subject to intense heat, small mammals and theft.
  • Padded envelopes will cost less than boxes.
  • Send postcards in envelopes, as they tend to get lost or stolen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My shoe shopping puts my Sisters shoe shopping to shame.

Mr. FedEx brought me my box with my sweet new Merrell Shoes.  They are the “Moab Gore-Tex XCR in Dark Chocolate.” Below is a video of them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One more Peace Corps Paper to fill out...

I received an “Invitee Questionnaire,” yesterday.  This questionnaire is basically the final paper to help determine where exactly I will be placed within The Gambia.  It determines if I will be living near a city or larger town or if I will be living in a rural village.

The first question they ask besides your name is “What kind of setting would you prefer to work and live in?”  I am given a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being a “capital urban area,” and 5 being “village/rural,” I of course put 5 because I would like to be in a more rural area.  A couple of the other questions I was asked are:

“Some activities related to work may be a distance from your house.  How do you feel about riding your bike between your village and into a larger town?” 

“Would you prefer to be posted to a site that has a volunteer nearby (within 5 kilometres) or would you be happy to be more isolated?”

My two cents

I got a check today from Comcast Cable, apparently I overpaid on my last bill

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Packing day #1

Day one of packing and a lot of progress was made with the help of my project manager.  As you can see in the picture she is always working hard. 

I have a huge list of things still to buy.  If anyone has any suggestions as to item you think I should take feel free to share. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

“are you nervous?”

The number one question I get asked when I tell someone I am going to Africa to serve with the Peace Corps is, “are you nervous?”  My response has always been not really.  I haven’t gotten nervous because it really hasn’t hit me yet that I am leaving for 27 months.  I haven’t thought about being dropped into an environment and culture that I have never experienced before.

In the last couple days I have received a couple e-mails from the PC.  These e-mails have information that detail my itinerary for travel and outline what my first few months of “pre-service training” will be like.  As I read these e-mails and the attached information I have starting to realize that this is all becoming very real, very quickly.  I still haven’t become nervous, but I have become more curious. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Latest e-mail from the Peace Corps

I received an e-mail today with my staging information.  This information includes my luggage requirements, when and where my orientation will be in Chicago (Jan 4th).  I also received my international flight itinerary.  Just over 16hrs in the air with a total time of about 20hrs from Chicago to Banjul via Brussels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My peace corps timeline

Below is the timeline of the application process for me from when I first submitted my Peace Corps application to present day.  I started think about the Peace Corps around November of 2009 and really started to pursue and look into it further in January of 2010.
3-31-10 Submit application
4-23-10 First interview
4-30-10 Medical packet received
5-15-10 Dr. apt
5-16-10 Dentist apt.
5-18-10 Dr.apt
5-25-10 Sent off medical information
10-18-10 Phone interview
10-25-10 Accept invitation to serve in The Gambia
11-1-10 Receive packet for paperwork and information about The Gambia