Well, I’ll tell you what’s going on… but first, let me backtrack and start from the beginning. I’m Ryan. I’m sitting on my couch figuring out how to use WordPress, wearing shorts and a T-shirt (even though it’s December and cold outside), wearing thick socks (because it’s December and cold outside), and drinking some hot tea (again, because it’s December and cold outside).
My story begins 2 years ago back in 2009… December 2009 to be a little more precise, so exactly 2 years ago. During that time, I wanted a change to happen in my life. I didn’t know what change I was looking for, and I don’t know why exactly I was feeling that way. It might have been because of my job, or because of my living situation, or just because I wanted to do something different. All I knew is that it had to be something big. To take a leap and do something adventurous. Daring. I learned that there were Peace Corps Info Sessions being held around my neighborhood and so I went to a session. I met Tori, who would later become my Peace Corps recruiter and interviewer. She did her info session spiel, she showed us a video, and then we had a Q&A session. After that evening, I was hooked. I was jung ho! Hell yeah, I’m gonna do this! But when?
Fast forward to March 2010, and I was still living in the same apt, going to work at the same company – nothing much had changed. There was another Peace Corps Info Session, and again, I decided to attend. Low and behold, it was Tori again! She didn’t recognize me, and I didn’t really say anything to make her try to remember who I was. I just wanted her to do her spiel and get me motivated like last time. She did a great job because I was again very excited to join. But just like last time, the question that I didn’t know how to answer was “when?” Eventually, 2010 passed, and I traveled to some very cool places. The travel bug hit hard, and I went to Argentina, Antarctica (yep, you read that right!), Costa Rica, and to several big cities throughout the United States. All this traveling strengthened my resolve to do the Peace Corps even more.
Finally, in 2011, I did it! A whole year had passed, and in March 2011, I submitted my Peace Corps application. Two days after submitting, low and behold Tori sends me an email saying that she got my application. We set up a time to meet for an interview. Fast forward to May 4th: I was nominated to the Peace Corps for Eastern Europe doing computer education/teaching. During the summer, I completed all my medical and dental exams. Fast forward again to October, I was contacted by the Washington DC Peace Corps office and had a phone interview to determine my qualifications. And finally, on November 30, 2012, I got my placement! It wasn’t to Eastern Europe, as I had been anticipating though. I’m heading to Africa, to the West African country of The Gambia, departing in June 2012!
So what’s going on? I’m going to The Gambia, the Smiling Coast of Africa!