Accepting a Peace Corps invitation opens a flood gate of questions from friends and family. Often times conversations start with “but, why?” As if they meant to say, “Are you crazy!?”There is no pay, limited resources, cultural differences, safety concerns and the ultimate sacrifice: time. There is a sense of misunderstanding that builds and creates a feeling of being, well for lack of a better description, different.
Then there are those who choose to serve. These Peace Corps dreamers know someway, somehow, in the core of their being, that the call to serve is undeniable. We know that this will be one of the best decisions in our lifetime. The legacy calls our names so clearly that we cannot turn away. There is no “but, why?”
Walking into the Peace Corps staging room brought a feeling of excitement. And now that we are with colleagues whom have also heard the call to serve, we no longer hear the same questions of “why?” Sitting in a room of 40 dynamic people who are committed to serving in Uganda brings a sense of calm. No more explanation needed. It’s time to take action. We are a strong team, ready for service!
Big thank you to my sister Christina for organizing the Sunday Funday!
Missing Deerfield Beach already…
Dancing the night away! Romeo Santos concert, Bongos and Birthday Celebration in Miami!
Thank you to my wonderful friend Amelie for the farewell gift
🙂 And a big Happy Birthday to Susana 🙂
Seven days. Peace Corps emailed my invitation to serve in Uganda for 27 months with one request; “Please complete the attached Invitation Decision Form within seven calendar days if you decide to accept our invitation.” At the time, almost 15 months passed since my decision was made to apply for the Peace Corps; but this invitation was much more official.
It was November 2013 when the invitation was received. All of the hoops and hurdles of the application process were completed; merely boxes checked off the list. But this invitation was different. It was time to officially make the decision to change the course of my life in a very dramatic way. A decision to leave my comfy accounting career in order to pursue a dream of service with travel. There was no doubt that fate placed me on the path to the Peace Corps. But life must always throw a curve ball.
The week of my long awaited Peace Corps invitation was also the week of my final interview for a dream job. This was the type of job that would launch my career while working with some wonderful people at an amazing company. On top of that, the job would be in California. Who would not love to work in the beautiful city of San Diego? Seven calendar days. It was time to finalize my acceptance but hesitation began to creep in. The job offer tempted me to reconsider my Peace Corps plans for just a moment. It was at this moment that the most important person in my life put reality back into perspective. Sitting in my car, parked in the same space just in front of the building of the interview, my mom spoke clearly over the phone:
Let’s assume you join the Peace Corps now; you will be 30 years old when your service is over. Let’s assume that you retire at 65 years… that means that you will have 35 more years to work some job. When will you ever have the opportunity to join the Peace Corps again?
My confidence was back, thanks mom! Peace Corps received my official acceptance to serve in Uganda starting June 2014, on time.
Now it is seven days once again. But today there is no doubt, no hesitation and no questions. In seven days a new group of volunteers will be flying with me from John F Kennedy airport in New York to the mysterious continent of Africa!
Follow me through my Seven Day Countdown to Departure from the US!
P.S. I love that we are flying out of JFK airport; named after the President that signed the executive orders for Peace Corps 🙂
Special thank you to Lisa in San Diego for the gift. I love the grapefruit map!
**Note: The featured photo is from the San Diego Farewell Lunch (April 2014).