Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three Months Prep

I received my invite to serve in Thailand on October 11th, 2012, exactly three months prior to the cohort's departure date of January 11. While it seems like it's plenty of time to prepare, it is, in reality, not much time at all.

Think about it like this- You spend your life taking care of things. One day you take care of car issues. Some week you play phone tag taking care of financial details. Another year, you borrow thousands of dollars to put yourself through school. You collect giraffes riding bikes figurines, put together a fancy home theater system, and piece together respectable wardrobes and furniture pieces that will eventually fit your "adult" life. As simple as this sounds, you spend your whole life preparing for your life.

Now, you make the decision to leave your life as you know it- Your friends and family, routines, hobbies, and practices. Even your behaviors and thoughts. Everything you do and know needs to be paused for twenty-seven months. Where do you even begin?

You need to look at every minute detail of your life and make sure that it's covered somehow. To even be able to consider the magnifying glass necessary to perform this task is overwhelming in itself, much less actually taking the steps required to ensure satisfactorily pausing everything in your life,  boggles the mind.

Peace Corps offers a cute little timeline, making suggestions on when to take care of some things, but by and large, are only the things they require to serve. Just to put things in perspective:

Housing (rent/mortgage, utilities)
Finances (credit/debit cards, student loans, phone contract, insurance(s), existing debts)
Job (resignation, training a new hire, goodbyes)
Storage of goods (car(s), furniture, all your belongings)
Paperwork/obligations (Power of Attorney, car registration, travel plans, Peace Corp duties)
Packing (clothes, goods, assignment materials, additional storage)

This is not even an exhaustive list, and each item requires multiple steps. Just for an example, my car- Where will it be stored? How will it be registered, and where? Who will run it from time to time? Will I need to keep money in my bank account to pay for insurance to protect it?

It all takes time. Time that moves swiftly forward towards a looming departure date. 

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