On Tuesday morning, the day after graduation, Yung-Mei my placement officer from Peace Corps called. Boy, was I nervous. After a few minutes, I lost the call due to bad Campbell reception and ran around in my pajamas like a crazy man trying to get better signal outside. When she finally called back, we continued our conversation and talked about everything from my countries of interest to what it's like to be in the Peace Corps. We had a long conversation about my interest in the Pacific, Caribbean and Asia, the differences between Central Asia and Asia and also, most importantly, if I would be willing to consider an earlier assignment than the September '07 assignment for which I had been nominated. I told her I would be interested. There was a Health Assignment leaving on July 5th, she said, that seemed like a good match. Although she couldn't tell me which country this assignment was in over the phone, the country would be inside the invitation packet that I would receive later. This naturally led me to rack my brain over the possibilities all day and come to the conclusion that I must be nominated for either China or Thailand, based on the hinds she gave me turning our conversation. Luckily this thinking only lasted a day because Wednesday morning I awoke to the FedEx delivery man saying my invitation packet had arrived. It only took one day! I drove over to my dad's house to pick up that package as soon as I could. It was like some kind of television moment, right before a commercial break, where the main character opens up the letter they have been waiting years for! I tore it open, pulled out the sheet and read the country: "The Kyrgyz Republic." Commercial!
I was quite surprised. It was no China or Thailand, but after reading the 50-page assignment packet and 100-page welcome book, reading about Kyrgyz Republic online, looking over the Peace Corps website and talking with my family and friends, I found out the Kyrgyz Republic (also known as Kyrgyzstan) was a very interesting country, even if I couldn't pronounce it at first. The assignment would be leaving July 5th, which was pretty quickly, but it was certainly worth seriously considering. I made a list of the things I wanted to do before Peace Corps, the amount of time that would probably take, and a list of pro's and con's regarding serving in Krygyzstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I reflected and talked with maybe a dozen more people, and then I decided: I would politely decline this invitation and ask for one at a later date. If I could leave in early August or later, I told my Yung-Mei when I called her, that would be ideal: that would give me plenty of time to visit my friends and family, help around the house and then prepare for the two-year trip without rushing. "That sounds just fine," Yung-Mei replied, "I will go ahead and finish up my July placements and you can expect another invitation within a week or two." It's hard to say what will come next, but I am definitely excited to see what it is.