Highly, Highly Unusual

In July I received an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan, leaving in October of 2007. It was tempting, especially considering that the next invitation to Peace Corps would probably be sometime in 2008, but after several days of thinking it over and discussing it with my friends, family, and other Peace Corps volunteers I decided it was not the kind of experience I was looking for. There are a lot of reasons, including misunderstandings regarding how the invitation process worked, but as I called my Placement Officer Yung-Mei to decline I knew it was the right thing to do. I wrote her an e-mail explaining my reasons and then I didn’t hear anything from Peace Corps for two months.

Then, this past Thursday night I received an e-mail from Peace Corps:

Dear Travis,

My name is Patrick and I am the Placement Officer currently reviewing your application materials now that Yung-Mei has assumed other responsibilities within our office. I’ve reviewed your application and I have read your past emails to Yung-Mei.

It is highly, highly unusual for our office to extend a third invitation to an applicant. That said, in reviewing your explanations for declining the first two invitations, and with a good word from Yung-Mei, I am willing to consider you for one more assignment. I have transferred your application into consideration for a health extension assignment departing for Asia/Central Asia in early June. The delay won’t affect either your medical or dental clearances.

Although your file is currently “clear” in every way (legal, medical, etc.), we don’t begin issuing invitations to the June programs until mid-November so please keep us updated if your contact information changes. If not, then you can expect an invitation at your Hickory address in November.


After pulling my heart out of my stomach and re-reading the words “highly, highly unusual” and “June” I started to appreciate where I was in the process. It’s true that the process to get into Peace Corps has taken longer than I anticipated and patience has been very important, but I think it’s also true that all of this waiting and thinking and preparing will be worth it. I am very excited about what’s coming next and about receiving my third invitation in mid-November. If I had to guess, I would say it’s for Mongolia and that would be fine by me. : )