First Letter

My first snail mail letter from the Peace Corps arrived in my Post Office box last week. Very exciting opening the letter to see the Peace Corps logo at the top. The sort of letter to keep in a memory box somewhere. I also received a large envelope from my health insurance fund with an A4 size X-Ray of my head. Must have been taken several months ago just before I had my braces fitted. Most unexpected. I must say it’s quite disconcerting to receive an unanticipated X-Ray of your head in the mail. Quite caught me offguard.  X-Rays always remind me of my own mortality in a seeing-yourself-in-flesh-&-bones kind way. I’ve no idea what to do with it, turn it into an artwork perhaps.

So the Peace Corps letter has three parts. First an introduction & welcome & thanks for applying. It then refers to the other two documents included in the envelope- two FBI fingerprint forms, and a Privacy permission form. It’s all rather official looking and makes me feel important for some strange reason, despite the fact that I’m about 12 months still from a) being accepted into the program and b) being offered a place. I felt the same way when I got my voting ballot form for the last US election. Something about ‘official’ mail and ‘US postage paid’ stamps with the little wavey lines that seems important. Silly I know but it’s like the mini salt & pepper shakers you get on planes…for some unexplained reason I just like them.

So I called the Victoria Police as the fingerprint forms need to be ‘professionally’ done, and signed off by someone in an official capacity. The only police station that does them in Melbourne is in the CBD at the World Trade Centre, and they’re booked up until November which is a bummer as the letter says the forms should be returned within two weeks (although it also states that they can make an exception for overseas applicants to extend that period on advise, which I emailed them immediately). The other stations that can do fingerprints are located in regional Victoria, and I’d made an appointment for today to have them taken in Ararat (about three hours away by train), but cancelled my appointment this morning as I woke up with a headache and didn’t want to risk getting halfway there and have it turn into a migraine. The last migraine I had was followed by three hours of dry-reaching on an empty stomach, and I’d really rather not risk having that happen on a long train journey. It was bad enough happening alone in the confines of my bedroom.

I got an email from the Peace Corps recruiter ‘Shari’ this morning in response to my email requesting an extension of the two week return period. I’m not sure if Shari is a she or a he yet, but they replied that an extension to the two week return period would be fine. They also said that I’d need to send in my uni grades, either via scan or snail mail. I’m fairly sure I’ve got them scanned somewhere so will have to dig around and see if I can find them. They also sent through a second email saying that my preference to be posted to China was by no means guaranteed, and that being flexible in terms of geographic placement is the best way to improve chances of being allocated a post. I replied this morning that although China is my first preference I’d be quite willing to be posted elsewhere. I really am hoping for China, but being posted anywhere will be an experience, so I’m not fussed. Hopefully nowhere too hot!

My next step will be calling to make another appointment to have my fingerprints taken. I might just make it for the CBD in November. I’m just being impatient making the appointment earlier at a regional centre.    So I’ll make that call this morning. Seems ironic that I can’t get them done sooner given my parents house is about three metres from the Victorian Police Academy.


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