A Peace Corps song

I found this on another blog, and then happened across it searching YouTube for Peace Corps videos.

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Interview done

I had my interview at 12:30 AM yesterday (Saturday morning, thankfully). It went just swimmingly. 🙂 Unfortunately their video interview system didn’t want to work on my computer and I couldn’t hear him on speaker phone, so he had to go find a headset to do it with. But he was nice about it, thankfully.

The only hiccup, in my opinion, was that I hadn’t told my family yet. He wanted me to do that before moving forward (which I assume is a sign that I’ll be nominated!!), so I told them yesterday morning. That went… well, it went. Sometimes I feel like I’m a terrible, selfish person for moving around like this, but it’s not strong enough to stop me from doing it. Maybe that’s a sign that I really am horribly selfish. I’m putting my desire to live in foreign countries and move around over my family’s need to see me.

But, even if that makes me a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad person, here I am, still applying, and anxiously waiting for them to receive notice that I told my parents, the vegetarian questionnaire I submitted and my final recommendation form which still hasn’t been submitted. Hopefully that’ll all happen soon and we can move forward!

Fingerprints mailed!

I mailed the paperwork – fingerprints, transcript, security clearance, etc – today. Also scheduled my interview. It’ll be late Friday morning New York time, which is, unfortunately, 12:30 AM my time. And it’s supposed to go 1-1.5 hours. Which means I’ll be finishing a very important interview at 2 AM. Good thing I have half-day Fridays and can take a nap… yeesh.

I’m quite panicky that I’ve got my time zones mixed up. But I’m 16 hours ahead of my family in California. New York is 3 hours ahead of that. Which makes it a 13 hour difference, right? Right? Oh, god, I’m gonna screw it up.

Glory glory, hallelujah

Dear Osaka,

I don’t like you. I’m quite vocal about that, actually. It seems every time I visit you I get lost within a 3-minute radius of where I need to be and am 40 minutes late to a doctor’s appointment, or I buy the wrong $150 train ticket and can’t get it refunded, or end up in a puddle of tears for one of various reasons.

But not today. I managed to catch the only train from here that would get me to you in time for a fingerprinting appointment at the US Consulate; I input the address in my phone’s GPS (freakin’ lifesaver WHEN it’s right), and it told me the wrong way to go and I got on the wrong train; I figured it out in time to only be 8 minutes late to my appointment; and they still let me in. And I did the fingerprints. And I met the Consul and got his business card in case I have questions about Central Asia (where his previous and upcoming posts were/are) or the Foreign Service.

Today, when I needed you most, you didn’t fail me. I appreciate it, Osaka. Maybe I won’t badmouth you so much now.

Of course, when I tried to find the post office after that I was sent three different directions and finally gave up. But I’ll send the stuff tomorrow, so don’t sweat it. You still lead me to find the vegetarian Indian place I’d forgotten the location of, and helped me not miss the train back (barely).

Kudos, Osaka. I don’t hate you quite as much anymore. And that’s quite a feat.

Sincerely,
Claire

Seriously? No but really?

The fingerprint saga continues.

I finally found someone to go to the police station with me, so yesterday I called for an appointment. Getting them to agree to do the fingerprints was much easier than I expected. But then this happened:

“Oh, by the way, do you need this form signed?”

“Well yes, the person should sign his name and the date.”

“Yeah, we can’t do that.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We can take your fingerprints, but we can’t sign the form.”

“… why?”

“We just can’t. You need to get a witness from a verification company to do it.”

So then I went inside and found the office lady, who understands my shoddy Japanese, to talk to them and figure out what a “verification company” is. Turns out it’s a witness company or something, and you have to pay them to come with you and witness… stuff. So we called them, and they’ll do it, but not on US fingerprint cards.

So that’s helpful.

Not sure what’s going to happen, but I emailed my recruiter to say they’ll be delayed again.

Is this the universe punishing me for trying to move to another country where I don’t speak the language? Or maybe the universe is being nice and is trying to develop my patience in advance. Either way, universe, I’m peeved. All I want is someone to put ink on my fingers and stick my fingers on a piece of paper and then write his/her name. Is that so hard?

Possible assignments

I’ve received an e-mail from my recruiter, with lots of info. The most exciting is the programs for which I’m likely eligible (which weren’t a surprise): secondary English teaching, and secondary teacher training. I did some research on those programs.

The teaching one happens in one French-speaking West African country (Togo? Benin? Cameroon?), Eastern/Central Europe, and one Central Asian country.

The teacher training happens in one Central Asian country (Kazakhstan?), one Eastern/Central European country (Ukraine?), and one Asian country where English and Russian are the focus of foreign language teaching (Mongolia?).

Well, those are all exciting prospects, but none of it will matter if I can’t get my blazing fingerprints done! I’ve emailed a friend who got hers done here and is currently in Kazakhstan; she said I’ll probably have to get the Board of Education to have a talk with the police to convince them to do it… fun times!

Hiccup… hiccup

I seem to have hit a small hitch. I got my paperwork in the mail on Monday – a letter telling me how to get into the Toolkit which I had already figured out, and an envelope requesting fingerprints and college transcripts. I ordered my transcripts, but… fingerprints. Er… yeah. So today I went to the local police station and spent a good 15 minutes explaining what I was trying to say. They told me to go buy an ink pad at the dollar store and do them at home. I explained that this was official, and that wouldn’t work. So they spent a good long time making three different phone calls, and I was finally told that if I wanted my fingerprints taken, I’d have to get myself arrested. Fantastic.

Turns out, there are only two times it’s legal to take fingerprints in Japan. One is when someone is arrested; the other is when a foreign national comes here to be a long-term resident – and they have to do it every time they come in and out of the country, too.

So, blurgh. This could be a problem. And I only have 3.5 weeks left to send it in (has to be sent within 4 weeks of getting the letter). Yep, bit of a hiccup.