The same questions over and over again, so here are the official answers...
"What brought this on?"
Well, it may be hard to believe, but this actually wasn't a spur of the moment decision. I have been thinking about it since college but have always put it on the back burner. Over the past few years, the level of materialism really started to get to me. I wanted to get out in the world and go somewhere where materialism wasn't a big thing. Where there were serious issues at hand and I could actually be helpful. I had a good job, and I loved the people I worked with but it wasn't something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After losing 3 valuable people that I love within a 12 month period, it really lit a fire. I started researching the Peace Corps in the fall of 2009. I submitted an official application in April of 2010, my interview was in June of 2010, after months and months and months of medical testing, I was cleared in February of 2011 and I was officially invited in April 2011, a full year after first applying. All throughout this year, I read online, books, etc. of extensive research about what I was getting myself in to.
"What are you going to do when you come back?"
I don't know. I haven't left yet so I'm not really thinking about that yet. I have many options but right now, I'm concentrating on my task at hand.
"You know, women in the Peace Corps are sometimes the victims of sexual assault. Are you scared?"
I have lived in Los Angeles for 12 years. I went to college for 6. I'm quite aware of how to protect myself. I do not think I am invincible, but what it comes down to is, I'm not stupid. The same basic scenarios apply. Thank you for looking out, but believe me, you're not telling me anything I don't know. I promise to be careful.
"What are you going to be doing there?"
I won't really have the answer to that until I get there. From what I've been told, I will be doing Community and Organizational Development. There are a lot of programs that can be developed including the Arts, women's empowerment, other after school activities and we are going there to present options. Specific details will be provided once I am there.
"Are you going to come home at all?"
No. Not too many people have the chance to live in Europe. When I get vacation time, I am going to explore Europe. It is not a slight against my loved ones, I just want to take advantage of the opportunity while I have it.
"Are you excited?"
Yes. I am. It has been a very long prep time. I understand why the paperwork is so thorough. They REALLY want to make sure you want to go. And that's okay. I really do want to go. But now, I'm tired of preparing and just want to go.
Don't think this is all in a negative tone, just a more 'on the record' version of answers that I have given many, many times. Thank you for the concern and the inquiries, I hope this helps.