Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Road Block


Good news! I received another medical reimbursement check yesterday.

Bad news! I received all my dental paperwork back as well. Apparently, my panoramic dental scan was "not clear enough". On the plus side, the PC can continue to process my paperwork without my dental clearance; however, I will need to be cleared 30 days before I leave for staging.

Interestingly enough, the Peace Corps included a FedEx pre-paid envelope in my returned dental paperwork package. Today's adventure is to find out if FedEx has an agent here.

(the picture shows my ride here in Nome. Pretty radtacular huh?)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Travel Tips


Okay family and friends who religiously read my blog, this is your time to shine! What are your helpful hints and tips for seamless overseas travel and living?

Got a secret body oil that moonlights as a hair moisturizer?

Do you have a favorite shoe that keeps your toesies comfy and in style?

What do you think I will need no matter where I go?

Who knows, your comment may get its own post on my blog?!
(heck ya!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It's break-up time in Western AK!



P.S. These are the first pictures I have taken with my new Canon PowerShot.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quick Like Orange Juice


Medical Review?

A lot of people don't know that the Peace Corps can afford to be picky. These days, so many people want to volunteer that the PC is laying the smack down on prospective Volunteers. Not only do you have to write an entire novel about why you want to join the Peace Corps, but you also have to submit your body to being poked and prodded by doctors, dentists and burly nurses named "Jake".

But, don't sweat the small stuff. If you are in relatively good health, you have nothing to fear. Plus, if you pay out of pocket, the Peace Corps will reimburse you for your troubles (up to a certain amount which does not take into account the expensive lifestyles we Nomites lead).

Anyway, today I received my first reimbursement check for 165 dollars. First thing I did? Went out and bought my dad dinner.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Meeting Other Volunteers


As I travel to the 15 Bering Strait School District school sites, I have had the opportunity to meet several teachers who served as PC Volunteers around the world! Their stories and antidotes could not come at a better time as I work to prepare myself for my (hopeful) invitation. There is something about past, present and future Peace Corps Volunteers and their willingness to share and encourage others. Thank you all for your helpful words and for being an inspiration! I cannot wait to leave, but now I am excited to return and share my experiences with my family, friends, community and perfect strangers!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Love My Home


Psshaw to six degrees of separation, in western Alaska we are talking two, three tops.

I love being from a small town. I love traveling to the surrounding villages. I love having the Bering Air agent offer me a ride to town and then asking me if my dad is back in his office yet (without even asking me my name). I love sitting in the school office and having every person who walks by introduce themselves, taking a seat and then proceeding to talk my ear off for thirty minutes.

I love my home.

Unfortunately, I just realized that by leaving Nome, I am leaving the comforts of my small-town, know-everybody, leave-the-keys-in-the-ignition community for the great unknown.

Hmm...any suggestion on how to combat my newest problem?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Take A Picture, It Will Last Longer


This post is dedicated to the super greats: Uncle John, Uncle Bob and Aunt Gale.

Woo-Hoo! My awesome relatives bought me my first Peace Corps going-away present: A Canon PowerShot 7.1MP Digital ELPH. This wicked sweet camera is perfect! It even says "mega pixels" on the box (and you know mega pixels means the good stuff).

After tearing open the box, my initial review of its features include:
1. It's point and shoot (thank the Prime Directive for idiot-proof technology);
2. It has a huge LCD screen (I can't wait to show young kids their pictures immediately);
3. You can hook it right up to a photo printer (I am adding this to my packing list as I recently learned most people in unindustrialized countries do not have pictures of themselves); and
4. It has a rechargeable battery!

Thanks Uncle John, Uncle Bob and Aunt Gale! You guys are the best great uncles and aunts ever!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's All About the Löki



I use this short video as an introduction to the career presentations I have been doing around Western Alaska.

Thanks Aaron for helping me. You are awesome!

p.s. Don't forget to turn up your volume!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Step Closer




!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guess what I received today?! An email. And what did this fateful email say?



Hi Löki

Thank you for the correction. I've updated the address in the database.

Is your name Norwegian?

I've given your file to Placement Officer Jason Bowers. He is a Placement Officer in the Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Asia region. They will start reviewing your application, but won't be able to see if they have a program that matches your skills until you get medically qualified.
I am singing again!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Knittin' Busy


I am having trouble imagining life without internet, CSI and large second-hand bookstores.   I thrive on stimulation, but am pretty capable of slowing down and doing quiet activities.  That's why, after reading several PC Volunteer blogs, I realized I would need to create my own entertainment to stay out of the boredom blues.

Even better, with my interim job at Kawerak, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time in small, rural Alaskan communities confined to the local school because of freezing temperatures and a community night life of zilch.  

So, I have caught up on my reading (I just began Upton Sinclair's Oil), watched four seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation and taken up knitting.  I can picture it now, thousands of socks and mittens covering my bungalow in Figi*.

*Don't get your hopes up.  I still have no idea where I will be sent.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's Been Received


It's good to know that the Peace Corps folks are not nine-to-fivers.

On Saturday (that's today) at 1:16 a.m., the Peace Corps announced it had received my medical packet through a very nice email entitled "Application Status Update". The very brief email said:
Peace Corps has updated your Application Status account. Log in to http://www.peacecorps.gov/mytoolkit to see the latest information.
I am so excited and I just can't hide it. I am about to lose my mind and...well, "about to" is debatable. Anyway, to finish my song: I think I like it!!

Hey, hey, hey.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Waiting...

While I wait for my final Medical Review paperwork to be completed, here is a larger slide show of the experience I now refer to as my All Alaska Sweepstakes' Topkok Adventure (brought to you by popular demand).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What's That?


disconcerting |ˌdiskənˈsərti ng | |ˈˈdɪskənˈˈsərdɪŋ|
adjective

1 causing one to feel unsettled.

2 arriving at a medical establishment to submit a urine sample and having the medical professional ask you (the medically ignorant patient) what an albumin test is.

Ugh.

I was not surprised when this happened in Nome. When it happened at a clinic in Anchorage, the shock blew my Danskos off.

Last week, it took me a total of 2 minutes to find the meaning of albumin. .5 minutes to boot up my computer, 1 minute to check my email, .5 minutes to type "albumin" into Google and scan the available links to find the definition.

Words of Advice: Review your paperwork and google unfamiliar medical terminology. This will save you a bunch of time when you double check your medical professional orders and realize they forgot to request a lab test or when you stumble upon your medical professional pouring over medical publications searching for the meaning of albumin.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

In Preparation – Personal Choices


If the Peace Corps called me up today, I would tell them I was ready to go yesterday. Anticipating my placement has been an incredible exercise in patience (above and beyond living with my father).

So, what keeps me excited and positive while I await the review of my massive packet of paperwork? I perform small “mental” tests of preparation (dorky, I know). Here are a few examples:

1. Quitting the Coffee: I quit drinking coffee (not so hard because we didn't have an easy method of making the java at Topkok). Reason: Who knows if I will have access to a French press and quality coffee. I would rather drink old dishwater than bad coffee.

2. Morning Routine Revised: I have paired down my morning routine to simply take care of the essentials. Reason: If I get sent someplace hot, no amount of artfully applied make-up is going to stick to my sweating skin.

3. Reduce, Reuse and Stopping Frequent Showering: I am still working on this. I really like hot showers, but I doubt I will be able to maintain my two-a-day habit wherever I am sent.

What kinds of mental tests of preparation would you perform?

Friday, April 4, 2008

I've Got the Munchies


Visiting a different country does strange things to one's bowels. Imagine what moving there will do...

Although, this thought is not enough to keep me up at night, I am a bit concerned about access to food. Food outside the US is not as abundant (Americans horde), but from what I have read so far, people are always willing to share. In addition, since an estimated 75% of the world's population is lactose intolerant, I am pretty secure in the belief I will be able to eat almost anything set in front of me.

Still, I am a little worried about those odd days where I cannot find my next meal. Good thing I am a regular reader of Uncrate, a shopping blog that offers manly men a chance to check out manly things and shop online (oxymoronic statement anyone?). A recent Uncrate post described an energy bar company that custom builds energy bars to suite any person's tastes.

You Bar allows a customer to "Build-A Bar" or order "Popular Bars". This super neat website even suggests great "Gift Ideas" for those of us who know people who like organic energy bars, but don't have the patience to pick all the options that go into creating a custom energy bar.

This awesome website allows for my two favorite things: cooking and creativity! I getting stoked about experimenting with a couple orders of You Bar before making my big Peace Corps order this fall (this is your warning, taste tester friends).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

So Close...


Word to the Wise: Double and triple check your doctor's, dentist's and optometrist's orders and notes.

Friday I would have had all my Medical Review paperwork completed; however, a doctor here in Nome forgot to order an Albumin test (checks for liver problems). As some may know, it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for test results to show up in Nome so I am a little peeved.

Good thing I am headed to Anchorage next week where I plan to drop by Anchorage Women's Clinic and pee in a cup. It gets even better when AWC lab turn around time is approximately 3 days.

Whew. Panic attack adverted.

(p.s. The pictures are from my recent trip out to Topkok)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

O! The Stories I Could Tell


I'm back. In one piece (thank the Lord) and with much of my sanity still intact.

I only went a little crazy after the 4th straight day of my dad pumping the Coleman stove promising "this time" the pressure would be high enough for it to light. Eventually (after about an hour or two), he would give up and use his homemade blowtorch to heat the coil up enough for the darn thing to light.

...

Anyway, it was fun. I had a blast. I want a sled dog.

My next Nome adventure: Getting my HAM License. Without the constant distraction of the HAM (and Dr. Dan Stang), only one of the two member Team Tobin would have walked away from Topkok.

(p.s. I will post pictures of our Topkok adventure soon. We are having trouble finding our camera in the explosion that we used to call the living room. Also, special thanks to Dionne, Ray and Randy for providing additional distractions)