Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I can't believe it!!!

I am so humbled by everyone's generosity.

I just finished adding up donations from the last week and a half and realized that through gifts from friends and family, my FSD program fees are almost entirely covered. All I have to worry about now are the costs FSD doesn't take care of: my airline tickets, vaccines and malaria meds, evacuation insurance and living costs outside of room and board. All of that adds up to another $3,400, but that amount is much less intimating than the FSD fees of $6,500.

One month ago, I was soooo worried about if I was going to be able to make this trip work financially and if I would be able to volunteer for six months or would have to do a shorter trip, and if it was even the right decision given the economy. But folks have come out of the woodwork to help make it happen. Old friends and new friends and friends of friends and even families of friends. So many unexpected donors who I could never have predicted would contribute.

I feel so lucky and am grateful that the burden has been lifted off my shoulders. All I have to worry about now is getting ready to go, and studying up on micro-finance and Swahili to actually be useful there.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Peace Corps letter

I recently got an e-mail from Peace Corps with the following message. As you know, I applied to volunteer last January...

Peace Corps sent you an important letter regarding the status of your application on December 13, 2008. Please review the contents of the letter and contact the Peace Corps if you have questions.

I was dying to see what it was, since they've been sending me additional requests for medical information since I started the medical review process last April. Since Peace Corps takes care of your medical insurance while you volunteer, they're notoriously thorough in evaluating the health of applicants. Their examiners' favorite issue of mine to inquire about--though I've got many-- is my lower back. It goes out about once a year, which causes me to limp for a few days and maybe stay home from work for a day to rest it. Annoying? Yes. Painful? Yes. Would it hinder me from serving as a Peace Corps volunteer Africa? Well, not unless the computer instructor assignment I was nominated for required lifting CPUs onto rickshaws.

Since Peace Corps has already requested and received from me: a 3-page Plan for Pain Management, my physical therapist's notes, a detailed orthopedist assessment, and, most recently, a lower lumbar MRI (which, to my amazement, my insurance actually covered),
I couldn't think of what else they could possibly want. A wax model of the two trouble-making vertebrae in question?

You may be thinking "Why is Katy still getting info from the Peace Corps if she's going to volunteer with FSD?" I dunno. I suppose it's curiosity. And pride. Since the whole bureaucratic application/medical review process has taken sooo long to play out, I've been curious to see what their final offer would be -- which country, when the departure date would be, etc. After being strung along for what seems like forever, I want the the satisfaction of rejecting them and taking my sweet time to respond to their Invitation to serve.

The actual letter came yesterday. I could tell from the thin envelope that there was only one piece of paper and a CD inside, which I assumed was my MRI being returned to me. College rejection letters came to mind.

Well, that was that. Rejected.

Even though being accepted was a moot point, my eyes watered up after I read the letter. I don't know why. Because they were saying there was something wrong with me? Because it took away my feeling of being in control and that whether I went to Africa with FSD or PC was my decision to make?

Shawnté, who has seen me open scores of anti-climactic correspondence from PC, saw what was going on and gave me a big hug. Which I needed. And truth be told, it was pretty validating to have an official name ascribed to my issue: "Discogenic Low Back Pain with Disk Protrusion and Sciatica." Super.

So, I guess it just goes to show that things happen for a reason. If I hadn't met Will, and found FSD, I'd be pretty crestfallen right about now. Instead, I'm excited, hopeful and grateful. So, thank you, Universe. And no, FSD will not require me to do any heavy lifting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Save the date — January 10th

Though I swore I wouldn't throw any more parties after the All Things British 30th Birthday, I'm going to make an exception and have one last hurrah for a fundraising/going away party on January 10th. MaryEllen is going to let me use the BEAUtiful photography studio she manages as a venue. I'm kind of excited; this is much more swanky than my usual house/backyard/carport shin-digs.

Maybe we'll do some African trivia... If you get a question right, you get a raffle ticket. If you get it wrong, you'll have to take something from a table of household stuff I'm trying to get rid of. Or donate five bucks! Hah!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today I made a list of all my worldly possessions, so I could get a good idea of what I need to store and what I can loan to Shawnte or Will while I'm gone. I'm looking forward to getting rid of a lot of it, but Will reminded me to be careful not to sell and donate so much that I don't have enough left for an apt when I get back. It's a fine line, I tell you!

If anyone is in need of say, a toaster oven or some nice lamps for 6 months, let me know!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Public Knowledge!

Well, the cat's out of the bag — a colleague announced at a meeting today that I was leaving for a higher cause. Which sounds like I'm going to become a woman of the cloth or something. I don't think they realized that it was not yet common knowledge, but I don't mind. I only have 5 weeks left at work, which is downright startling.

Spent an annoying half hour at the post office at lunch to getting a new passport today. Though U.S.P.S. stipulates that you must come between 10-12 to do anything passport-related, of course the only employee who handles passports wasn't around. She's "in the bathroom" her coworker said. So, I waited. She later walked in with a soda and shopping bag.

In other news, I low-balled everyone else on half.com and sold my 5th edition of "World Religions" for $45. I feel bad underpricing all the starving students, but it's sold!