I was one of the happiest days of my life as I opened up my email and there it was the email I’ve been waiting for. It started out
“Dear Mai Sia,
Congratulations! On behalf of the entire Peace Corps family, I'm delighted to invite you to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia. You've been selected to serve as a/an Secondary Education English Teacher, departing March 20, 2016. By accepting this invitation, you will join hundreds of thousands of Americans who have answered the call to service and made a difference in communities around the world.”
A wave of excitement took over me as I shared the information with my boyfriend, who happened to be in the room with me. Minutes later, the reality of the situation struck me, “Am I really ready to do this?” For a few minutes there, I hesitated to accept my invitation as a million thoughts ran through my head. It wasn’t that I haven’t thought about being away from friends and family for two years, but it was because Peace Corps seemed so far out of my reach and now that it was actually happening, I was scared.
Despite being a little unsure at the moment I accepted my invitation and shared the good news with friends and family. There was a mix of reactions from everyone. Some were very supportive knowing this was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, some questioned my decision and others simply didn’t understand why someone would choose to work for free.
In order for applicants to officially be accepted into Peace Corps and become volunteers they have to do a series of medical task to ensure they are healthy and capable of fulfilling their duties at their site for the next 27 months. These medical task included vaccinations, pap smears (for women), mammograms (for women over 40) among various other tasks and any dental work one would need. All of this had to be done (in my case) within 4 months.
With mixed emotions, I chugged along with all the paper work and doctor visits that came with the application process. Over 3 months, I’ve been to the doctor’s and dentist’s office more than I’ve had in the past 5 years combined. Although I was going through the motions and fulfilling all the tasks I needed to, there was still a part of me that kept questioning myself rather or not I was really going.
In the mist of doctor’s appointment, I had to apply for a visa and passport (Peace Corps issue their own passport). This required me to send them my own personal passport and it wouldn’t be returned to me until all the volunteers meet at an event called Staging (occurs the day before we all fly out to Indonesia). At this point, I knew I had to make a decision. I could no longer just “go with it” because I was handing my passport over to them.
It still feels like I’m just going through the motions. It’s an odd feeling knowing that my staging date (date I leave) is right around the corner and yet I still feel like it’s not happening. It doesn’t feel real yet. However, amongst the mixed emotions, at the end of the day I know one thing for sure. Volunteering with the Peace Corps is one of my biggest goals and I’m ready to live out that dream.
T- 1 week!! I can now say I’m excited!
This is where I share my journey in the Peace Corps. The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang