(All opinions and descriptions of life in Ukraine contained herein are mine. I do not, nor am I qualified to,
express the official opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Living for today

I recently realized that this process is just blazing right by me. In this past week I went from being medically cleared to realizing that in about two months time I will be on a plane to Washington D.C. for my PC orientation. I have had several really instrumental conversations with both friends and family about how this process has gone so far, and they have all been extremely supportive and have given me some really good insight into how they see me achieving my two year goal. I just want to re-iterate the fact that I feel like I have been extremely blessed to have been invited. I don't remember the exact statistic but I think it's something like 10,000 volunteers apply each year and only about 3,000 make it in. I feel so fortunate to be one of those 3,000.

Anyways, going back to my original point, I need to slow down right now. Everything around me and inside me wants to move so fast, but going back tot he conversations I've had with my family and friends, I have realized basically that I need to enjoy the now-- no matter where I am. This realization, while maybe not the most original and crazy thought out there, has really changed my perception of how I view my life, and this process at the present moment (literally).

By slowing this process down inside myself and really being able to feel how every step affects me, I believe that I will be able to translate that into how I deal with the process over seas as well. Today for example, I awoke with a feeling of great admiration and love for the city that I have been living in for the past three years.

It is an important life lesson for me to be able to slow down. I am such an insanely fast-pace and driven person at times that sometimes in life situations just breeze right by me. I think some of you can relate to this feeling, but it really is something that has got me to realize that I am about to undertake something that could either be an instrument for change or it could breeze by so fast because I'm caught up in the process.

Bottom line, living for today, for the right now, is something that I have been taking for granted for too long now. By slowing down, I have realized how truly blessed I have been in life having the family that I do, having the friends that I do, and having the opportunities that I have had.

All in all, life feels really good right now, almost like I have reached that top of an insurmountable climb up a really steep cliff. I'm a few inches from the top right now, and I think the view up there is going to be realllll sweet. I'll let you all know what it's like up there, but 'til then, I want all of you that have helped me along the way to know how much you are loved and appreciated in my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Україна!!! (UKRAINE)

Well, as I predicted... Ukraine it is! I'm really excited. Scratch that, that's a huge understatement. I'm exhilarated to the point where i can't really sit still... I'm really really happy about this development. I never really thought about it, but Ukraine is basically in Central Europe. I mean ya, it's obviously in the eastern region, but it's really close to everything in Europe. I am really looking forward to studying the region more and finding out whats good. I'm still waiting to see the official packet due to the fact that it got sent to my dads house instead of mine (they have both addresses, so i guess they sent it to the one that i put down as the primary). Anyways, I am too excited to sit still and write right now. I'll post what the details are once i get the packet. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sleepless

Can't really sleep recently. Ever since I got the notice that i was accepted, I've just been really too excited for sleep. I really want to sleep, but here I am at 12 am and there's no way i'm falling asleep. I keep thinking about all the different things I need to do to get ready. Who knows if I'll even be leaving soon though. I keep feeling like i'm the luckiest person on earth. I don't know why, it's probably going to be really hard, but I just have this really optimistic feeling about the whole process. I'm stoked. Just need to figure out how to sleep now...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Waiting for mail


So I got an e-mail this morning that read: your Peace Corps toolkit has been updated... This news always jolts me. It's because while waiting for all my medical stuff, I hadn't seen any movement in this sector for a long time. Now that my medical is done, things have been speeding along, so I have been getting a lot of toolkit updates. Anyways, here's what today's toolkit update has told me:


I think this means that I'm going to find out the country I'm going to through this packet. Man now i'm really nervous... I'm thinking it's going to be Ukraine, because I looked at the departure dates for this fall, and since I've been assigned to the Eastern European sector, I think it's either going to be Ukraine in late September, or possibly Macedonia in October. Anyways, TOO DAMN EXCITED FOR MY OWN GOOD!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Playing the waiting game...

YESSSSSSSSSS!!!

I'm In!

Welcome to my new blog. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Nitai Vinitzky, and I am on my way to join the Peace Corps this fall. I will be posting images and stories of my experiences in the Corps.

Anyways, here we go. Got the call today. Finally. Jesus. It's felt like the longest few months of my life this summer... but before I get into todays happenings, let me backtrack about 7 months...

Here we go... from the beginning that is-- So, I began my application process this past winter. Got my nomination at the end of March, and since then it's been a rollercoaster of a ride trying to get all my stuff together in order to fulfill my acceptance time-line.

First of all, I signed a contract that stated that I needed to get at least 30 hours of ESL volunteer time (due to the fact that I will be teaching English in the country I serve in). Next, I had to get my medical process done.

Now, let me elaborate on this part a bit due to the fact that it was pretty much the hardest thing i've ever had to do. When the Peace Corps nominates you for a position, they also send you a hefty packet of about 50 pages of paper work to fill out. Now they don't really tell you what to do and in what order, so I just took it upon myself to just rifle straight through process as quick as I could and in turn, that approach kind of bit me in the ass.

I decided to go to my clinic that I grew up going to back home in my small hometown of Nevada City, CA. This was kind of a poor decision on my part, even though I think it was smart in the long run, but at the time, living in San Francisco, I had to take the train (no, i don't have a car) every time i had an appointment. I ended up having like 5 or 6 appointments due to the shere volume of tests I had to undertake. I got blood drawn, eye tests, tons of shots, and my butt cheeks were even spread to see that everything was working in that nether-region of my body.

To say the very least, the medical portion was a pain. Oh, and i didn't even mention the dental procedure. Yes, they had me fill every single cavity in my mouth (about 7 of them, 5 being tiny and 2 being medium sized). Finally, when I got everything filled out and finished I double checked all my forms about a zillion times and then sent them in. I let out a sigh of relief, only for a mili-second though. The next week I got a packet in the mail with a huge "URGENT" symbol in red on the front from the PC. They needed me to get my wisdom teeth pulled.

WHAT THE *#*$*! I#R(*)(R$#!!!!!!!!!! This was almost my breaking point. I had been pretty adament about not pulling my wisdom teeth now for a while since I come from a hollistic medical background with my father being a doctor and all. Now, I really didn't want to do this, but I finally caved in, primarily due to the fact that I had done so much damn work up until this point to get where I was at. So I got my two left side wisdom teeth pulled last week. Wasn't as bad as I imagined it, but definately wasn't easy. Still in some pain from it all, but I had a pretty easy come down time at my parents house watching the world cup with my two awesome younger brothers and eating all the food I could ever desire.

Finally, got all of it together. Luckily, I my work paid for a lot of the medical expenditures, or I wouldn't have even been able to really cut the costs of all of the work that i went through. It probably ended up being around 3 g's for that procedure. CRAZY. Future PC's beware, go find a cheap clinic or a VA, don't rush it if you can help it... I wish someone would have told me that. Oh well, it's gone and done and I came out of it relatively unscathed (except for my poor mouth).

Ok, so now that we have the background of my gruelling initiation to what I perceive will be one of the best things I will do in this lifetime, I got an e-mail this morning following my placement officers inquiries about how I will cope with the stresses and anxieties of isolation and no progress, and all those good questions i already got asked in my nomination interview, THAT SHE HAS QUALIFIED ME FOR SERVICE! YESH YESH YESH!!!

Furthermore, I got a call that same afternoon as I was hanging out with my girlfriend from the Medical staff of the peace corps and they just wanted to check that my elbow that I dislocated was in good condition, and that my allergies to lactose and gluten weren't life threatening... haha, almost laughed on the phone, but held myself due to the fact that I knew this meant I was going to be medically cleared!!!

So as of right now, I am medically cleared, dentally cleared, and there is no hold on my legal status (meaning i'm not a criminal, and i don't owe back taxes to the government). Also, I am qualified, so I should be hearing from a placement officer during this week sometime. So if before (during the medical process) things felt like they were crawling, if not standing still, now... Holyyyyy crap, now things are starting to fly. This is insanity, I may be leaving as soon as September. It's insanity. Pure insanity. I never thought I would get to this point, this fast.

I have read several other applicants blogs, and several of them have stated that they have been waiting for over a year now for medical stuff to clear and for other forms as well. I feel like i've almost breezed through this process given that context.

Starting to realize that I need to already get mentally prepared. Also physically. I have A LOT of crap I need to get rid of. It will be nice not to have all this stuff. Stuff is just a burden, and all I really need is some clothes, a journal, my laptop and my camera. Oh speaking of which, this blog will be mostly for my images, so I will try to not do what I did just now in my first post and bore you to death with words. There will be a lot of eye candy, so stay tuned, I love you all, and thanks for reading my first entry. I promise I'll keep you all up to date with my where-abouts and what not. I also hope that some of you will come visit me wherever I will be (in eastern europe somewhere for all i know right now).

With much Love and Peace (in the very near future)

Your exhilarated Friend,

Nitai