17 August 2010

A Call From my APCD

Like my new header?  I love doing this kind of image manipulation - knowing me, I'll probably end up replacing it with a new picture every six months or so...

I received a call from the Assistant Peace Corps Director of St. Kitts this morning.  She had a few preliminary questions for me, and informed me of one of my assigned workplaces in St. Kitts: a youth skills training center.  I told her I had special interests in math and music education, and she seemed pleased by this.  I also added recreation; the guy in me is looking for any opportunity to kick around the soccer ball!

She also had some basic interview questions for me, two of which stood out.  The first was asking me to anticipate my biggest challenge, e.g. cultural interference, variant or unstructured work schedule, living in a remote/rural area, etc.  I explained that finding a balance between my future co-workers' expectations and my own expectations was my biggest concern, as I tend to be very goal oriented, even to the point of so-called tunnel vision, while I know the work culture in the EC is far more lax and fluid.  She pointed out that this is a very common concern and had two wise ways to overcome this: first, other volunteers will be there with me to share my frustrations, and second, focusing on building a relationship with those people I will be working with needs to be my focus for the first six months or so, rather than accomplishing things right off the bat.  I took the advice to heart, and will use it to moderate my own frustrations for the first quarter of my service.

The second question was whether I had a "creature comfort" or specific thing or ritual I couldn't live without.  I was caught off guard, because I had not stopped to think about it before, considering such thoughts futile at best.  So I said I had hoped to have semi-regular internet connectivity, and that maintaining contact via e-mail and this blog was important to me.  She laughed and called that a "given" rather than a luxury.  So I feel a little better about that now.  I'm getting more excited and anticipatory by the day now, a big step for me, who for several months went into interviews thinking, "I wonder what's going to go wrong about this one?"  Thanks again for everyone's love, support and prayers.

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