Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I meant to do this yesterday to update everyone, but there was a line for the computers. I made it to Detroit in one piece. The flights were short and very empty. Everyone could have a row to themselves if they wanted to! I had a layover in Chicago and while I was sitting there waiting, I saw this short little guy walking around looking lost. Then I looked closer and thought I recognized him. A couple sitting next to me started whispering to each other about him too. I realized it was Gilbert Godfrey! What ever happened to him anyway? That's my "celebrity" story for the trip!

I got into D-town at about 8:15 p.m. their time (for some reason I thought I would still be on Central time). The hotel provides a shuttle to their guests so I hopped on that for a free ride to the hotel. There were two other volunteers on the shuttle with me as well as the training guy. We talked all the way to the Crowne Plaza and then checked into our rooms. My roommate was already in the room and we chatted about some of the things we've learned or heard about the Philippines. Then we grabbed a quick bite to eat and called it a night. I was up until 4:30 a.m. Saturday night so I was whipped!

We didn't have anything going on until 1-3 p.m. Monday. I wandered to the conference rooms at a little before 2 and checked in. Oh my gosh there are a ton of us! About 80 volunteers are going this time. Everyone has some amazing stories about traveling, studying abroad, working on a Grizzley Bear project in Montana, volunteering multiple times in the Peace Corps. They gave out this fact sheet that had one thing about you and you had to figure out who went with what statement. Compared to everyone else, mine wasn't as exciting...they put down "Was an RA at Briar Cliff University." It was a good ice breaker activity though.

We then went in and had a lot of get-to-know-you activities. The first one was you had to find the person who had the other half to a quote you had. A very simple task, but it got you up and walking around. Then there was an anxieties and expectations activity in which we had to draw what we were nervous and excited about. I was just glad to know that most everyone has the same fears! Our sessions lasted from 3-6. Afterwards, a HUGE group of us went to an Italian resteraunt down the road. Getting back was an adventure in itself...imagine a very busy highway at night and you need to get to the other side!

I have about an hour before I need to start training. I have a few things I need to do before I go though.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Bring it On!

Well, I think I've tackled the task of packing and repacking! Thank you Francey for helping me!!! It would have taken me so much longer if she hadn't been checking off the list for me. I have one duffle bag all packed up, but I have to put the "stuff" in my other. I think I'm going to be very close to my limit...the bag that's packed is getting very close to 50 pounds! I can have two checked bags with a weight limit of 80 pounds; the heaviest bag being 50 pounds. It's all good though, I ain't scared!

I've also been getting asked the same question lately..."Are you ready?" I don't know if I can be fully and completely ready for what's ahead, but I keep telling myself, "Bring it on!" I'm as ready as I'm going to be I guess. I'm just ready to dive in and get into it so I don't have to wonder what's going to happen anymore. I suppose, I need to keep going. There's still so much I need to do before Sunday!

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Final Countdown!

It's the final countdown! I have less than a week before I board an airplane bound for Detroit (Romulus to be exact). In an earlier post, I explained a lot of what I was feeling and each day those feelings are amplified.

Saturday, March 19th was a going away celebration here in Worthington. I think everyone who came had a blast, I know I did, and I was so excited to see everyone that came. I have to thank Becky and my sister, Charley, for organizing this little get together. The night was full of stories, laughing, "awards", and a little drink as well. It was great to see those who came, and I missed those who couldn't.

I guess in closing, I just want to express to everyone that I am very lucky to have the friends and family I have in my life. I will truly miss everyone and invite anyone who has the chance to come visit in the Philippines. The islands are known for some of the world's most beautiful beaches you know! I'll keep in contact as much as possible!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Things are definately changing...this whole adventure didn't seem real until Friday when I walked out of KidsPeace Prairie Academy for the last time (the last time for the next 27 months anyway!). I knew it wasn't going to be a fun ordeal to leave a place I've enjoyed working for the last 2 and a half years.

After work on Friday, I drove down to Sioux City and stayed with my best friend Theresa. We had one last hu-ruh down and around town. I want to take a minute to thank everyone who attended the festivities on Saturday evening. There was time to remember the "good ole' college days" and then make some new memories as well. We started out the evening at Theresa and Becky's apartment and then went to a well known local bar called Rhonda's Speakeasy. The band 10-16 was playing there. I don't know how, but they caught wind that I was leaving for the Philippines and they announced it to the entire place.

I can't wait to do it all over again in Worthington this coming Saturday!!! Many of the same girlies are coming up to attend one last gathering at the A & T Tap...a fine establishment here in Worthington. I'll be sure to post photos when I can.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Staging Info Came Today!

Finally! I got my staging packet in the mail this morning. I was at work and hoping to get it before the weekend. I called my mom (I was at work, but just couldn't wait!) and asked her to check the mail. She had to call me back to tell me that it arrived. The rest of the day at work went so slow since that's the only thing I could think about!!! Anyway, I got home and checked it out and then called the travel agency to set up my flight itinerary.

Here's my flight info:
Sunday, March 27, 2005
United Airlines 6952
Depart: Sioux Falls, SD at 2:47 p.m.
Arrive: Chicago/OHare at 4:29 p.m.

United Airlines 248
Depart: Chicago/OHare at 6:10 p.m.
Arrive: Detroit/Met, MI at 8:28 p.m.

I get to stay an extra night (at Peace Corps expense) in the Crowne Plaza in Romulus, MI. (Click here to see the online brochure.)

Here's what my staging schedule looks like:
Monday, March 28, 2005
1-3 p.m.: Open Registration
3-7 p.m.: Welcome to Peace Corps and start of Training Program
  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Peace Corps Approach to Development
  • Personal Definition of Success
  • Anxieties and Aspirations
  • Safety and Support
  • Nuts and Bolts
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.: Training Program
  • A Slice of Life: Coping with Unwanted Attention
  • Managing Risk
  • Crossing Cultures

Lunch Break

1:30-6 p.m.: Training Program

  • Change 5 Things
  • Policies in Practice
  • Responsibilities and Expectations
  • Revisit Personal Definition of Success
  • Bridge to Pre-Service Training
  • Logistics of Departure
  • Evaluation and Closing

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
10 a.m.: Check out of hotel
10:30 a.m.: Hotel shuttle leaves for airport

International Flight Itinerary:
Northwest Airlines 71
Depart: Detroit Metro at 2:35 p.m.
Arrive: Manila on Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 10:45 p.m.

I guess that's all for now.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Still Nothing

No new news yet. I have been trying to put into words how I'm feeling right now and I found the perfect description on another PCV's blog.

From Meggan who is in Moldova...
When I think about the Peace Corps

I feel
  • Anxious
  • Excited
  • Stressed
  • Frightened
  • Optimistic
  • Adventurous

Sometimes I think “what the hell am I doing?” I feel overwhelmed, scared.

Occasionally self doubt sneaks in… “Can I do this?”

I hope I can do this…

By and large I am excited. I think that this is going to be one of the most rewarding things I will ever do in life. I hope to learn about the world, about myself.

I’m a fish, eager to hop out of the bowl and into the ocean. (I hope I am a salt water fish)

I am an explorer.

I am altruistic.

I am terrified…

I will cry.

I will smile

I will accomplish…

I will have no regrets.

This basically sums up all of my aspirations/fears and what seems to be constantly on my mind. I won't lie and say that all of my thoughts are fluffy...sometimes I get very nervous about being a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. Like what it says above, I find me asking myself every now and then, "What the HELL are you doing, woman?" But then I do get some of those fluffy cloud thoughts about changing the world (yeah right, if it was that easy, why would PC be around?) or at least making a difference for one child/family/community.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Where is my staging info?

I'll probably be able to get on here tomorrow with the information in hand, but I am so anxious for the next package of information to arrive. I really want to make my flight arrangements so I'm not waiting until the last minute! Sounds like others in my volunteer group feel the same way. I'm still busy with work and preparations, but it's all becoming more realistic since it's March! Not much new to report. The Philippines group on Yahoo! is pretty quiet right now and not much new or different on the other Peace Corps Yahoo! group. Have to keep reading and occupying my time I guess. TTFN