It's getting down to it. My application is finally in the hands of my placement officer (specialist) at the D.C. headquarters.
A few days ago they had me send in an updated resume and an explanation of my relevant Spanish experience since I first applied. Yesterday, I was told that my application would be passed to my Placement Officer and that my preliminary review was complete. !!! I am much less panicked because my 8 week deadline is approaching and the lady I spoke with yesterday told me that placement officers are still working on Mid-January currently. It must be more of a 6-week deadline, after all.
I was also told that I was nominated to leave in early February....and although I had always known I was supposed to leave in February, I did not know it was early February. This is an important distinction. There is a Peace Corps wikki article that my boyfriend showed me that gives the dates of future country departures, as reported by volunteers who have already been invited. This same page also has a placement calculator that gives a better idea of where you may serve, depending on your sector (i.e. agriculture, education).
Here is the February time line:
February 2 = Paraguay
February 2 = Ecuador
February 9 = Uganda
February 14 = Zambia
February 15 = Guyana
February 18 = Namibia
February 22 = Honduras
February 27 = Malawi
February 28 = Costa Rica
February 28 = Madagascar
After using the placement calculator, I found out that Paraguay had volunteer positions in my specific educational sector (Primary Teacher Training), and that Ecuador didn't. So to me this means that I have a fairly good chance of going to Paraguay, that is IF I don't miss my original departure date or if Peace Corps doesn't randomly send me to Africa or something. This could always happen, and DOES happen fairly frequently. Peace Corps never guarantees that you will end up going to where you were originally nominated.
However, I needed to be swept up in something, so I immediately started researching Paraguay. If it ends up being another country, then I'll pour the same sort of joyful curiosity into it, as well. Some key things about Paragauy:
It's very impoverished.
It has widely varying geography and climate.
Meat (red meat) is the main staple of their diet. (Yikes)
I'll be happy wherever I go, whether I eat solely raw meat or mangoes. This was one of my original reasons for doing the Peace Corps. I'll go where they need me. BUt, it's still fun to learn about a potential country. And if I do end up going to Paraguay, I'm going to have to start eating meat sometime before to acclimate my body and so that my soul doesn't explode when my host mum feeds me some undefinable meat on my first day there.