Peace Corps Videos

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Little Apprehension

The next thing I'm expecting in the mail from the Peace Corps is an invitation to a specific program. I expect that will happen once my medical clearance is approved. Tonight, I had a little apprehension when I opened my mailbox and inside was a very small envelope from the Peace Corps.

I immediately remembered my days of applying to college. You knew that if you got a big envelope from a school, it meant you got in, if you got a small envelope, it meant "Thanks but no Thanks".

I haven't thought a lot about what would happen if I don't get accepted but it is something you can't help but consider. The Peace Corps turns down something like 1/2 of the people who apply so it would not be unusual.

As I headed inside, I couldn't wait to open the envelope. Was this a rejection I wondered? After setting down my other mail (and giving my dog her nightly treat) I opened the envelope to find a single page letter.

The letter simply told me I had received my dental clearance. Of course, I already knew that from e-mail and the Peace Corps web site.

Now that I got that letter, I won't worry too much when I get the next one.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Process Continues

Joining the Peace Corps is definitely a process. I'm sure part of that is to keep people from making quick decisions and then backing out. The other part is probably related to the fact that it is a federal bureaucracy. It's been two weeks since I mailed out all of my medical forms. This morning, I got an e-mail saying that my paperwork was received by the Peace Corps yesterday. That means it either took two weeks for a letter to get from Florida to DC or it took two weeks for the Peace Corps to open its mail and update my information. Either way, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm happy to know the process is moving forward.

Interestingly, the Peace Corps web site shows that my Dental review is complete and I sent that information in the same envelope as the medical paperwork. The site says most applications are reviewed in four to six weeks. That keeps me on my target of wanting to know my status by the first of February. I have already cleared the legal review, the other step in the process. The only step remaining after that is placement.

My hope is that I can resign from work on Friday March 2, 2007. Assuming a June Peace Corps departure date, that would be three months of paying my own health benefits. Mom and Dad are also planning to visit the first week of March. I'm not sure what else I will do during those months, but I would plan to do some traveling and deal with wrapping up my personal business affairs before I leave.

I spent Thanksgiving night talking with Mom and Dad for several hours about my plans between now and the time I leave and also what to do when I get back. I am planning to keep my house. Mom and Dad have said they would come down a couple of times a year to check on the house and I'm sure my sisters might also be interested in doing that. I am not interested in renting out the house but would very much like to have someone check on the place regularly. There are also home-watch services and I may decide to employ one of them as well.

Keeping the house is not necessary the smartest short-term financial decision. I will pay out a good chunk of change paying utilities, taxes, insurance, POA and HOA fees, etc. It might make financial sense to sell but house, but then again perhaps not. Housing prices are in a slump right now. I would have to sell for less than I want and that amount would probably be more than what I'll pay out over the two years I'm away. And I really do like where I live and it would be great to have a place to come home.

The other thing I am doing at the moment is moving all of my bills to electronic billing. That way, I can pay bills from anywhere I have an Internet connection and if I don't have a connection, someone can log in as me and pay them. I'm not doing automatic debit at this point as that makes me nervous, but it means getting the bills online and then clicking a button to pay them.