status update

17 Jun

Our last check in was May 15th;  though we have yet to hear the best news of a place and time, we have taken numerous baby steps on our road to becoming volunteers.

To begin, here’s a quick snapshot of this past month, in numbers:


Number of volunteering activities we have explored to boost our knowledge and give some lovin’ back to EC: 7

Blogs I have obsessively read regarding current volunteers/application process/PC in general: 16

Teaching jobs received: 1

New recipes explored to become a better, more sustainable, knowledgeable, healthy chef:  5

Times I have thought about future (hopeful) Peace Corps placement: 104 (give or take a few dozen)

Weekends we have used our tent to explore Wisconsin before we leave for who-knows-how-long: 4 out of 4

Number of Peace Corps application status updates: 1!

One glorious beautiful update!

Though we have yet to find out when and where, we have officially –  according to our online application status –  been nominated as Peace Corps volunteers. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

To be frank, while this is stunning, amazing, beautiful, glorious news – and without sounding overly confident – we had kind of already assumed we were still in consideration and moving forward.  As our interview was a month ago, we stuck to the ol’ “no news is good news” theory of life; as we hadn’t yet been told we were not being considered for nomination (in other words, that we were just not good candidates) we assumed that we would be in, but just didn’t know where.

At this point, we are still waiting to find out where, but I am beyond pumped to see that it is pretty official! In our contacts with our recruiter, it seems that their office will be placing qualified and suitable applicants for positions over the next few weeks.  In our previous 3 days to 3 month timeline, we still have nearly two months, so I’m banking that getting more specific information will not be happening anytime crazy soon.

As many of you may know, I am kind of impatient.  And by kind of impatient, I mean maniacally impatient.  I have bad road rage when people drive slowly and rather stupidly; as a child (and, okay, maybe now as an adult) I would search around for my Christmas presents, and often unwrap them and play with them and then wrap them back up; I Google the ends of movies because I just can’t not know what happens; I always read the end of books a chapter or so in so I know how to prepare myself; I may or may not have gotten one or two speeding tickets; I eat really crunchy noodles because boiling is just a horrifyingly poky process; sometimes my clothes are damp because, let’s face it, dryers cannot keep up with me.

Obviously, this waiting and waiting and waiting does not bode well with my lifestyle.  And as I cannot change this situation, I clearly must need to change my lifestyle.  Which, I have!

I have developed a new set of goals to help push me through time until I accomplish my biggest life goal.  While this is a growing list, here’s what’s happening in the life of one O. Nelson:

Goal one: Cook more, and cook better

I wouldn’t say I am a poor cook, I just don’t cook.  The other day my charming mother sent me a message with a plaque she had found:

Ha. Ha.  When we do end up leaving, I know that I will not be able to call up Quick Wok and order Moo Goo Gai Pan on a Tuesday night, nor should I.  I like to cook, and I want to feel confident that I am eating appropriately and can create a great meal for myself and others.   And I am making progress!  On Friday, FROM SCRATCH, I made shrimp and chicken gumbo, with green chili cornbread – also from scratch.  And it was kinda fun.  I might just become a foodie, yet.

Goal two: Volunteer more, and expand our horizons

 Our recruiter encouraged us to work on getting hours in different areas as to make ourselves more competitive and applicable to other environments.  As I have a variety of teaching/tutoring experiences, she suggested I look into both agriculture and health-related opportunities.  Starting tomorrow, I will be working at a local CSA to get some farming knowledge, and I am as happy as a pig in a mud puddle.  Up until this point in life, I have limited experience in agriculture.  And though I am not quite sure exactly what I will be doing yet (it seems a lot of weeding and eventually harvesting), I am really looking forward to getting more hands-on, helping out, and gaining some skills.  (An update on this will hopefully follow soon.)

Goal three: Spend more time exploring Wisconsin (and maybe a bit beyond…)

I am constantly obsessed with the idea of traveling and exploring the world and learning everything and anything, and yet I often fail to see all that is right here in our beautiful state.  Matthew and I both love camping, and now, for the first time since I was 15 years old, I FINALLY have weekends off!  It is practically incomprehensible.  We have already taken full advantage of our new found freedom and have hit up three state parks in the past four weeks.  Someday I will write a lovely novel on growing up with my family camping every weekend, as it bordered on obsessive, and I am so happy to finally get back into the swing of pitching up our tent, hiking, roasting s’mores, sitting around the campfire, and reading in the glorious sunshine (and rain – it always rains when we go camping).  Before we (hopefully!) head out of the country, I want to explore all the great regions and activities Wisconsin has to offer.  I wanted to make this a nation-wide goal, but fiscally and temporally, I figured Wisconsin would remain a solid target (and there is just so much to do!)

Goal four: Spend more time with friends and family

While there are many aspects of serving in the Peace Corps I can’t help but think about nearly non-stop, the one thing I have been avoiding is the thought of being away from those we care about for so long.  I know that in the big picture, the pros outweigh the cons, but I love these people.  A lot. Really, really a lot. The thought of missing any important moment in their lives cuts me up inside.  I have been trying to convince myself to breath, and know that great friends will always remain great friends, no matter the time or distance.  As a relatively recent grad, I have already been losing some great college buddies I thought would never leave.  The sad fact of the matter is cliched but true: if people want to remain in your life, they will make the time.  And sometimes – hopefully – it works.  And I never want to step back and realize I failed to make the connection to keep people close.  I will not wish this time away for anything; as anxious as I am to leave, I want to soak up every moment with those I adore.

And that is goal four.

So, here we are.  Hopefully big news will arrive soon, but if not – little news on keeping goals alive will.

Until then, enjoy these words from my lover, as they seem applicable and pertinent (as always):

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, 
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
– Walt Whitman

2 Responses to “status update”

  1. Aunt pony June 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    I love your writing. This one brought tears to my eyes. I love you madly P.J.!!

    • livjnelson June 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      you are wonderful. thank you – i love you madly-er.

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