Saturday, September 5, 2009

99: A Look Forward

Now that we all know how this adventure got started, let's talk about how its going to end.

At the end of your service the Peace Corps flies you back to your address of record in America. You have the option of letting the office book your flights or you can take the cash and handle it your self. Cale and I will be taking the cash, as we do not plan on flying straight home. Instead we are planning a Southeast Asia and then maybe China and then maybe Tibet and then many Nepal trip. I know there are lots of maybes in there. It will all come down to how long it takes us to spend all our money.

When you leave the Peace Corps you get a readjustment allowance. They give you one-third of this allowance right away (I think before you leave even if you ask for a paper check and not direct deposit). You get the other two-thirds after you have left. I have a slight problem with the portioning out of money thing. I am sure there all sorts of excellent reasons for it, but what if feels like for me is more of this assumption that PCV are kids that need to be directed. It has this "if we give you all the money right away, you won't go home and use it responsibly, like on a deposit for a apartment or a new couch." Granted, Cale and I have no intention of going home and using it responsibly, but I am a grown up and can make these decisions on my own*. 

*I first blogged about this in training. Things do get better after training. However, there are still a lot of things about the Peace Corps that clearly separates it from a true professional aid organization, like USAID. These differences seemed to be based on the assumptions that we are all recent college grads who must be cared for less our mommies and daddies in America get angry and sue.

I am sorry, I wandered off on a tangent.

Anyway, the concern is the timeframe it takes to get your second check. Apparently, you are supposed to receive it 30 days after you COS. However, we know volunteers who took five months to get their second check. The flight home money will get us to our first destination, Kuala Lumpur, but we are going to be hard pressed to travel much (read: at all) and then get back to America unless we get the second check in a reasonable time frame. So here's hoping for speedy checks.

Originally our dream was to take trains from Singapore to London. HA! Silly, silly Sara and Cale. The first thing to go was London. Europe is expensive. We would stop in Moscow. The next thing to go was Russia entirely. The trans-SIberian is expensive and it would be January or February in Siberia when we got there. Also, getting a Russian visa is a pain in the ass. Next thing off the list was Singapore. It just didn't interest us that much, so why not skip it to save money. Next we waffled on Beijing. We were going to train up to Beijing and then over to Tibet (stopping at Xian on the way). However, some couchsurfers who lived in China for three years recommended against it. It is a long way to travel they explained, why not just stay in southern China? We are still not sure (Beijing has the Forbidden City and they Great Wall). I think that money will decide for us.

The only thing we know for sure is that we are coming home broke. Friends? Family? Prepare thy couches!

So, once we are back in America it is time to go back to being grown ups again, right? Eh. Who wants to grow up?

Cale is incredibly interested in going back to school and getting his degree. He has been looking into it and I think he has pretty much settled on getting a degree in business from IU. It is in-state tuition and they have a highly-ranked business school.

We have also been talking a lot about what we want to do when we grow up. I am pretty much done with newspaper design. However, my degree is in newspaper design (well, journalism) which means I might need a new skill set. Our work here in Samoa has really piqued my interest in international development. Also Peace Corps jobs as APCDs and CDs (country directors) look really interesting (and pretty sweet). However, I am not actually qualified to do any of these things and having a Master's degree is a big help. So it looks like I am going to do the last thing in the world I wanted to do: go back to school too.

After finally coming to terms with the need to go back to school, I recently discovered I would have to sit the GRE. Whose freaking idea was that? It has a math section. I haven't taken a math class in a decade! Also, if I am going to be eligible for the Returned Peace Corps Fellows program at
IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (where I would focus on non-profit management) I have to be accepted into the school by February. Which means I have to sit the GRE soon. Right now it looks like I am going to sit it in December when we are in Kuala Lumpur. I should probably get my study on.

Once we are back in school, Cale is really interested in being involved with

If all things go as planned we will probably be in Bloomington for about three years.

Hot damn, this is a long blog post. I am shutting this thing down.

Tune in tomorrow.

— Sara

Way back machine.


annette said...

your plans sound exciting!! an outline of the future with alot of room for spontanious adventures. you can always crash here when you get home - hopefullly the cedar cabin will arrive soon and will await your arrival!!!

Teresa said...

You are so much more interesting than me! I wish I could just go where the wind blows... but I would prolly die of anxiety!

P.S. I have a spare bedroom and bathroom you can use whenever... however you will have to put up with my animals! ;)