Sunday, August 15, 2004

Nervous

Okay, I've been getting a little nervous lately about whether or not I'll make my "Sometime-in-Early-November" departure date or not. As I mentioned before, I was nominated on the 3rd but, in typical bureaucracy fashion, I didn't receive my medical packet until last Friday (the 13th). That's like 10 days, and they Fed-Exed it! Anyway, so Friday I made some phone calls and discovered that A) all the dentists in Tallahassee have Friday off (except one), and B) the one who was open wouldn't have a spot open until September. Fortunately, I talked to the receptionist and told her my situation, and she thought I was so cool for doing something like the Peace Corps that she told me she can put me at the top of the list for people to call if there's a cancellation. That was nice of her, but come Monday morning I'm still going to make some phone calls and see if I can get anything more reliable.

As for the doctor, I actually jumped the gun a couple weeks ago and got a physical before I received my packet, so I'll have to now go back there and hope they won't charge me to fill out some paperwork. I hope there's nothing in there that wasn't already covered in the physical, because that might mean I'll get charged twice for a physical exam. Also, the damn walk-in clinic I went to hasn't called me back on my thyroid blood test, which means that's two things I have to bug them about on Monday.

Anyway, I'm getting nervous because time is running low. Sure, I still have until "Sometime-in-Early-November," but consider the amount of time it takes to get medical clearance and how long it takes the Placement desk to secure you a spot, I'm pushing the border if not beyond. Hopefully I'll be able to get the medical packet complete and Fed-Exed back to the PC by the end of this week.

I'm also getting nervous because I know what's coming. Sure, I don't know all of what's coming -- I only made it 2/3rds of the way through Training last time -- but I remember the cultural and language and diet and climate struggles and there's a little part of me that is afraid of that. It's like a tiny little voice that tries to argue against the Peace Corps because it's going to be difficult. Obviously not the best of voices to listen to... otherwise I would never take risks and never accomplish anything. Not like I do that enough anyway. But I was thinking: I don't remember this voice last time, and I think that's because A) I was so very, very excited that I didn't have time to get nervous, and B) I had no earthly idea what the Peace Corps would be like so I didn't know what to dread. I kinda miss that old naïvete, I have to admit. In some weird way, it was nice stumbling into an adventure the details of which I couldn't conceive. It was quite a rush, being young and energetic and standing on the edge of an unguessable cliff. Now I know the dimensions of the cliff, or at least some of those dimensions, so it's not as scary and it doesn't hold the same gripping thrill. Some people might read into this to say my heart isn't in this, but I think they'd be wrong. My heart is in this. It's just that it's more familiar, which brings its own set of fears (fear of the known instead of fear of the unknown -- and we all know which is worse).

Want one more metaphor? It's like the second time you ride a roller coaster. The first time was terrifying and mind-blowing. And no part of it was more frightening than that build-up as you stood in line, inching ever closer, and then the fear got ratcheted up a little more as you got strapped into the car, and then it reached a fever pitch as you clanked up the reeeeeally long hill. In this metaphor, I left the Peace Corps 2/3rds of the way up that first hill. So the line and the strapping and the clanking are no longer the unknowns they once were -- I have quantified them. The only remaining unknown is the actual roller coaster ride itself.

-Bri

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