Greetings from Elizabeth and Perry! Since we both received our medical clearance today, I (Elizabeth) figured it was about time to start a Peace Corps blog. Things are falling into place and this endeavor may just get off the ground!
To begin, I will briefly recap our journey up until today:
- Late September, 2011: Submitted our online applications and references.
- October, 2011: Had our interview at the Peace Corps Offices in Seattle, WA.
- Mid-October, 2011: At our recruiter's request, I began accruing 30 hours of experience teaching English to adults.
- Early November, 2011: Put our house on the market. Completed my 30 hours - teaching English to adult immigrants/refugees at the North Seattle Family Center and assisting in an ESL class at Shoreline Community College. Submitted documenting paperwork.
- November 17th, 2011: Nominated for University English (Perry, who has a PhD in Linguistics) and "Unique Skill" (Elizabeth). Asia, June 2012. Apparently, the main skill sought is University English, making Perry the "lead spouse" on our application. I am labeled ambiguously and could end up in one of several placements, but most likely secondary English.
- Late November, 2011: Received our medical and dental packets and began scheduling appointments.
- December 15th, 2011: Accepted an offer on our house. Around this time, also received notification of a legal hold on our application, which concerned our home equity loan -- we had one, and we needed to indicate how we'd pay it while away.
- January, 2012: Mailed in our medical and dental packets. Closed on both our house and our new co-op. Moved. Resolved the legal hold on our application by paying off our home equity loan. Became completely and officially debt-free! Woot!
- Late January to mid-April 2012: Corrected error on my medical forms: Forgot to check one check box on my mammogram form. We also had to re-submit all our dental films because the heat treatment process all federal mail undergoes fried (melted) the first sets we sent in. Perry had some additional immunizations and medical tests (new glasses for Perry!).
- Late March, 2011: Received dental clearance.
- April 16th, 2012: Faxed in final set of medical paperwork requested by the Office of Medical Services.
- April 18th, 2012: Both of our Peace Corps Toolkits are updated: "Medical: Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail."
I am not sure whether we'll make our original nomination date and/or region or not. One thing is certain, though. I will require placement in a medically accommodating country (MAC), probably because of my asthma.
As warned and as expected, the medical & dental process was lengthy and the information requested was comprehensive. As an over 40 female volunteer, I was required to have a mammogram and to fill out special paperwork indicating whether I'd need a mammogram during the 27 months I'd be away (only certain countries can accommodate this need). As a 50 plus volunteer, my husband needed an EKG and some other additional tests. Be forewarned that the examinations, laboratory work, and tests are not inexpensive, and the Peace Corps reimburses only a small amount (around 300 dollars).
However, readers should also know that older prospective volunteers are strongly encouraged to apply -- Peace Corps recently partnered with AARP and there is an entire section of the Peace Corps site dedicated to 50 plus volunteering. The abundant life and professional experience that older volunteers bring to the Peace Corps is definitely sought.
So, in a nutshell, that's our Peace Corps journey so far. More soon, I hope!