bits and pieces

Wow. It’s been a while since I last posted, but not much has happened. I just have a few bits and pieces of information about various gap-year related items to relate to you, my dear reader(s).

I finished that second (“primary”) application to the Peru Spanish school program. I sent it in. I reviewed it over the phone with the nice lady with whom I have been communicating. That conversation, by the way, was really just to remind me that I’ll be a minor that and I should obey my host family’s rules and that I shouldn’t try to order a beer or something, et cetera. Besides informing me of things I already knew, the lady also answered questions I had like what the name of my school is (Academia Latinoamericana), what telecommunication option is best in Peru (a calling card), and what to do about altitude sickness (sleep a lot, don’t physically exert myself much, and consume anything containing ginger). A day or two after the phone call, I received an email notifying me that I had been accepted into the Peru gap year program. Attached to the email were six PDF files with everything from a brief Peruvian history lesson to a packing list to advice about culture shock. Printed that. Read it. Twas rather amusing, slightly helpful, and somewhat interesting. Now I am waiting to hear who my host family is, which information I am not guaranteed to have until a week before I leave. Supposedly people are typically informed much sooner. We shall see.

As for the DTS options (for your reading convenience: Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Spain), I proceeded to look at the websites of each location, searching for information about the bases and conformation of the DTSs’ dates (the DTS I attend must start in January 2012). I determined that two of the bases, Columbia and Costa Rica, did not have 2012 DTSs at the correct time or for the appropriate amount of time, so I eliminated those two. Although I had been convinced for at least a week and a half that I really wanted to go to Spain, I concluded after some more thought that I did not. And here’s why: I currently fully intend to spend as many semesters of college abroad as possible (why go to college in the US when I could pay the same tuition and live in another country?). There are not many study abroad programs available in South and Central America as there are in Europe. Therefore, I want to “save” going to Spain for when I am in college and can study abroad there. Oh, and I think the last few sentences make more sense if you know that I don’t want to go to the same country more than once if I can help it; I’d rather experience other countries and return later if I can or so desire. Anyways, I eliminated Spain. About a week ago, I emailed the YWAM bases in Panama, Nicaragua, and Argentina to further enquire about the DTS dates that were unclear on their websites. I also emailed a YWAM-affiliated elementary school in Panama to find out of I could perhaps teach or teacher-assist there. Argentina emailed back to tell me that their single DTS lasted an entire year. That’s out. The Panama school emailed back to say that their school year is from March to December. Can’t do that. Nicaragua replied that their DTS starts mid January. Hey, that works! Panama has not yet answered my inquiry, which is unfortunate since I liked the looks of that base best.
As you may recall, I have to send in my pretty-please-with-a-mango-on-top-grant-me-a-deferral-til-2012 letter by July 1st. That day happens to be this Friday. Fortunately, I have already written a paragraph or three of introductory periphery and blither blather about the Peru program. Now, unless I receive an email from the Panama YWAM, make my decision between it and Nicaragua, and apply within the next two days, I intend to finish that letter with a few paragraphs on my DTS plans, put forth in the futuristic, I-intend-to-I-plan-to-I-will tense, naturally. Then, once I (hopefully) am granted my deferral, and once I have applied to a DTS program, all that will be left will be to send money here and there and wait.

Travel-wise, airline ticket plans for Peru are currently in progress. Mother did discover that it takes no less than two days to travel to Cusco, Peru, unless one desires to arrive in the middle of the night.
From what I have googled, I should not need a student visa to enter Peru (something I still need to call the US Peruvian embassy to confirm) but should simply be issued the sufficient 90-day tourist visa upon entry.
Speaking of travel documents, tomorrow we are going to try to renew my passport for the third time. Yup. Third try. The first time the post office guy informed us that he needed a photo copy of my driver’s license (something that had not been mentioned in all the fine print I had scrutinized on the US Passport website). Of course, I had left it at home since I should not have needed it. The second time, at an office in our local university, the lady thought my taken-at-home-and-edited-with-a-special-passport-tool picture was too dark and complained that I was submitting my old passport instead of a copy of my birth certificate as proof of my identity (neither of which the other guy had mentioned). She suggested they take my picture, but I declined, having already observed the ghastly photographs taken by that office for the university IDs. So, tomorrow we go again, with two versions of a bright, new picture and copies of my driver’s license, Mother’s license, and my birth certificate. Only the US government could deny us. Bah.

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