Thursday, May 17, 2012

Afflicted with Restless Applicant Syndrome

Disillusionment. Extreme curiosity. Frustration. Crazy ass dreams.

All symptoms of Peace Corps Restless Applicant Syndrome, or RAS for short. Of which, I've self-diagnosed myself as having a moderate to severe case. Please, allow me to elaborate.

Unfortunately, not the prescription.
Disillusionment: Between waiting for the Office of Medical Services to clear me, frustrations at my job, and desire to embark on a career of sustainable development, it feels as if the sky is falling every day I don't hear from Peace Corps and I have to deal with vocation shenanigans. Regardless of the rational thought that my September departure I was nominated for is a mere four months away, even making it through an eight hour work day is laborious. Every day that passes without communication from PC, is another day I'm convinced my medical information is just rotting on someone's desk and that I'm going to have to wait another four months to depart. RAS is sucking dry my ability to always be positive and know something better is always on the horizon. With the Peace Corps, it always seems that the light at the end of the tunnel moves back three feet for every two you advance towards it.

Cry more, right?

Extreme Curiosity: How many of you can quickly point to exactly where Togo rests on a map? Or know the official language of Cape Verde? Or study the political stability of Francophone Africa? Well, I can supply you with the answers. If I'm not working or sleeping, there is a good chance that I'm researching Peace Corps, PC blogs, Peace Corps Wiki, and/or any news pertaining to service. Given enough time, RAS will likely infuse me with enough knowledge to be a genius when it comes to African trivia.

Frustration: I feel like my late Grandma Geri, lately. If you don't know the unwritten rules of the world, I have little time for you. Working at a behavioral facility for kids does not mesh with this too well. And by "too well," I mean I facepalm innumerable times a day.

The Picard is fully aware of the undignified actions that prompt a facepalm.
I imagine my patience as a big tank that dwells inside me. It starts full every morning and as I make it through the day, drama, pettiness, racist remarks, things being thrown through the air, being called a "dickbag," having little authority in my own classroom, being disrespected, and openly being mocked all tax it. Being afflicted with RAS, it appears as if the tank size is steadily shrinking  and there is a direct correlation to an increase in facepalming.

Crazy Ass Dreams: Seeing as how my days are permeated with thoughts of Peace Corps (research, daydreaming, waking up at 200 am to see if I received an application status update), it's understandable how I've begun dreaming about it as well. RAS is like a combination of obsession and depression. It infiltrates your thoughts and actions and demands your obedience all day every day. However, it is debilitating and immobilizing, ensuring your dutiful frustration and negativity, convinced the process will never end.

The first Peace Corps related dream [that I remember, at least] starred Craig and I wandering aimlessly through an airport. We were totally lost, unsure of the gate to which we needed to go because PC never told us definitively the country we were serving in! For some reason (beer, likely), I wasn't freaking out; I only began harboring negative feelings towards PC (perhaps indicative of reality) for putting us through such inanity. I recall thinking that we were serving in Greece due to their economic crisis and then making our way to a flight that was destined for Athens.

My second dream involved myself with a number of very good friends and various dream people populating a very rural farm for staging. I had dream knowledge that it was Peace Corps staging, but there was otherwise nothing that would indicate it. People were all dressed as country bumpkins- red long-sleeve Ts and denim coveralls. Everyone. We definitely shucked hay and boozed the entire time (and from what I gather, this isn't actually too far removed from most PCV's staging experiences). Even Kaitlin Olson, Sweet Dee from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, arrived and apparently had the hots for me. Not only that, courtesy more dream knowledge, I understood she and I had been engaging in adult relations (sorry, Mac) long before this farm hoedown and while this dream remained PG, I did at least get a handful of ass, which is shocking because Kaitlin is... Well, skinny is an understatement.  Regardless, as soon as Kaitlin arrived, dream conversations changed pretty rapidly from Peace Corps related talk to naughty talk. Go fig.


  1. Haha, it was so great to read this and know that someone is experiencing RAS as well. I have been feeling pretty much the exact same way as I wait to hear about my final placement. I can't even concentrate on homework because I spend all my time reading Peace Corps blogs and books. My friends and family don't even want to be around me because all I can do is talk Peace Corps! I've started waking up almost nightly at 2am to see if I've received that little e-mail saying I have a toolkit update... It's crazy! Haha. Just know there are more of us out there that are painfully awaiting the time when our invitation will arrive! :)

    1. We're all in this together!

      I have been cleared with medical, dental, AND legal for almost a month now and nothing from a Placement Officer. I'm nominated to leave for Mexico in August and I need to plan my summer...

      I think that my RAS is beyond unhealthy at this point with how often I'm checking PC related things online.

      Fingers crossed for all of us!