*Click* I refresh my email.
*Click* Refresh again.
*Click* I put the lid of my laptop down and sigh.
I’ve been here before, waiting for that ever important email that’ll bring me life-changing news… it was just over 4 months ago when I sent my application off for the Peace Corps (you’ve probably been here before, too, lovely reader)! With just 30 days until my designated departure date, I’m waiting for the ever-so-exciting “staging” email from the Peace Corps. Staging is the few days where this year’s group of Philippines volunteers (aka Batch 275) meets for last minute preparations for our Big Departure. It is when I officially begin as a Peace Corps Trainee (I won’t officially be a volunteer until I get sworn in 3 months later at the end of training), where I will finally meet all the other volunteers from my group, and get my Peace Corps Passport. It will also be my last US destination before departing to the Philippines!
In short, staging is kind of a BIG DEAL. Five months ago, I accepted my invitation to serve in the Peace Corps and in response was given a list of tasks to accomplish in order to prepare for service. There is a very strict and lengthy medical clearance process, where I was poked and prodded, vaccinated, and x-rayed over the course of several weeks before been given the A-OK to serve. Even though I was cleared, I was prescribed iron supplements as my bloodwork came back on the slightly anemic side, and today I am going in for my FINAL blood test. On top of the medical work, there was the legal clearance that involved my first ever fingerprinting at a police station (I like to stay out of trouble 😉 ) and a passport application process that nearly had me in tears of frustration at the Clerk of Court. There were all sorts of forms to fill out regarding student loans, and I had an eerie feeling as I signed up for life insurance for the first time. At the end of it all, I am supposedly good to go… That’s the great thing about the Peace Corps, they like to keep you on your toes! Although, we do get a final medical clearance, we don’t receive a legal clearance notification, you are told to just assume “no news is good news”. Likewise, we apply for a passport/visa and we have no concrete way of knowing that they have been processed as we don’t receive them until staging and there are no notifications prior!
As far as I know, I’ve done everything the Peace Corps has asked of me to prepare for my service. I find proof of this in the fact that they still email me about language lessons or packing suggestions. Okay, so I haven’t been disqualified somewhere, I comfort myself when another email arrives. But staging makes it official. In the email, I should not only be getting the staging location information (it is usually LA, though there has been speculation of change this year) but also my flight details from there to the Philippines, which they can only arrange for you if you are medically/legally cleared AND have a Peace Corps passport! This email is finally, finally, some real, concrete proof that everything was done right and that I am indeed on my way to becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer just NEXT MONTH in the Philippines!
Alas, the email might not arrive on the 1st of the month, anyway, so it could be a few days before my anticipation is satisfied. Even though I kind of want to sit around all day refreshing my inbox I’m going to be brave and get out of the house. After all, I have an appointment with that needle (the last blood test, hallelujah!), the sun is shining, and there is ice cream that needs eating somewhere.
*CLICK* I re… just kidding, it’s 2am EST, I know there’s no email coming my way!
Also, the Peace Corps website just did a big update, it’s much more modern and sleek with a cute new logo! Check it out here: http://www.peacecorps.gov