So “Hello World” was the title WordPress named my first post, and I figured it was an applicable title so I am going to keep it. This is my first shot at blogging on my own so please forgive me for any blogging faux pas I may unintentionally commit. So the point of this blog is to chronicle my journey as I prepare for Peace Corps service in Rwanda and the insane experience once I get in country.
My journey to get my invitation to Rwanda was not smooth or easy. And there were tears. Many, many tears. This crazy ride started mid-way through my Junior Year at William and Mary. I remember it distinctly. I was on amazon.com attempting to figure out which LSAT books to ask for, for Christmas. I was reading all the reviews when a moment of intense panic overcame me, and a very clear thought came to my mind. “I don’t want to go to Law School.” Now, this may not seem like a revolutionary moment to you, however, I had been set on going to law school and becoming a lawyer since before I could remember. My family knew and expected it. My major had been chosen to prepare me for the onslaught of reading and writing I was to face as a 1L. Everything I thought I wanted for myself became all too clear in that I didn’t want it. The next thing I knew I was on the Peace Corps website. With an uncanny feeling in my gut, I knew that this was my new path.
So like the good student I am, I did my research on the Peace Corps experience. The good and the bad, I read it all. But I kept it to myself. You see, I have this horrible pattern in which I would get really excited about a grandiose idea or plan, I would tell people about it, and then I would never make it happen. Not wanting to have to admit defeat AGAIN, I decided to postpone telling my parents what I was up to until I knew that I was serious about applying.
I started my application after Junior year ended. Peace Corps had set a date to turn applications by July 1 and I desperately wanted to make that deadline. I spent God knows how many hours revising my essays, making sure I had the perfect people to write recommendations and filling out multitudes of background questions. On June 30 I hit submit expecting relief that the app was finished. Not expecting a 500 question health background, ohhh Peace Corps you so sneaky.
And so began the epic journey of one girl versus the intricate red tape of trying to get into the “hardest job you’ll ever love”. Interviews and waiting and medical forms and dentist’s appointments and Asia nominations and waiting and eye doctors and waiting and calling PC and waiting comprised my next 8 months. So. Much. Waiting.
And then it happened. I received my invitation to serve in Cambodia on the last day of classes at William and Mary. It was so perfect; it was as if it were out of a fairy tale. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was surrounded by everyone I loved at college and of course I hugged every one of them. Seriously. Wonderful. I had one blissful week of knowing my post-college future. One week of furiously and joyfully researching Cambodia. One week as an invitee. However a week later disaster struck [cue melodramatic music]. Due to unforeseen circumstances, a week later I was disqualified from Peace Corps Service for a year and lost my invitation.
Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. Having to put on a smile and pretend everything was okay for the last week of school and for graduation was almost too much to bear. All of a sudden I had no plan, job. However, there was no way I was going to give up on my dream and I was determined to continue to fight to get back in to the Peace Corps.
Luckily, I was not required to wait the full year and I found out in October that I was back in the application process and was not going to be required to re-do everything. I was put back at Placement merely having to update my resume and tell PC my new departure date. My new nomination was for either Africa or Eastern Europe, departing sometime between August and September. Seeing as I was not planning on leaving until late summer, Peace Corps told me that I would not hear about my invitation until January 2012, at the earliest. Knowing Peace Corps and how they love to test your patience, I did not expect to hear anything until March, fingers crossed.
So what to my wandering eyes did appear on February 3 but a My Toolkit update stating an invitation packet had been sent to me. Thus begun the most stressful day of work in my life. Living in Washington DC, the same city as Headquarters, I just knew that my packet would come today. And it did. I brought together some wonderful friends at an after work Happy Hour and opened my invitation. I could barely contain myself.
“Dear Taylor, CONGRATULATIONS! It is with great pleasure that we invite you to begin Peace Corps service in Rwanda.”