I have a plan.
The plan I am actually following through on is to apply
to WorldTeach, to the
funded one-year programs to teach English in Patagonia Sur or in
China. Patagonia is my first choice, not because I have a
particular interest in Chile, but because I don't actually know
how to teach, and I think I'll have enough on my hands with (a)
dealing with the incredible complexity that is China, and (b)
learning Mandarin. I already speak Spanish well enough that it
should be one less thing to worry about. If I really love teaching
English in developing countries after a year (a distinct
possibility), then I'll go to China.
Why not the Peace Corps? A few reasons:
Departure would be in February, but WorldTeach says they'll have a
decision within two weeks of receiving the completed
application. (Which itself is a labor of love: not quite as
involved as the Peace Corps, but still two recommendations and a
specially formatted resumé and some lightweight essay
questions and such.)
- The application would take forever. A friend
who went assures me that if there's anything weird in your
application, they could easily take a year to decide. "Weird"
in this case includes my personal history and the "Has anyone
in your family ever worked for an intelligence unit of the
U.S. government" question. Both should be inconsequential in
the end, but who wants to wait a year to find out?
- It's kind of a crapshoot. You can express geographic
and activity preferences, but learning from the experiences of
others, it's clear they'll just put you wherever. For example,
one woman with a master's degree in agriculture, with a lot of
expertise useful to developing countries, got assigned to
something low-skill and non-agricultural.
- Two years is a long time to leave up to a crapshoot.
- Two years is a long time anyway.
Work: settling down. Things are a little tense in the office,
where I'm spending as little time as possible, instead working at
home and from Peet's Coffee. But I think I'll get it done in
time--some form of it, anyway.
Aikido: starting training for black belt. There is a *lot* of work