Even though I’m still filling out the primary (even though it was second) application for the Peru program, negotiations and option-weighing about the second part of my gap year have been somewhat continuous. The reason for such an immediate start on the planning for my life during the spring 2012 semester is an impending deadline: namely, the deadline for requesting an enrollment deferral from college. Speaking of college, I don not think that I have yet made clear that at this point I intend to attend UNC-Chapel Hill upon my return from my global adventures. Since I already applied (to avoid the inconvenience and pain of trying to fill out college applications from out of the country during my gap year) and was accepted, I must send in a written request to some certain person, in which letter I put forth all of my plans for my gap year and, in essence, beg the person to let me begin my freshman year of college in the fall of 2012 instead of 2011. According to what little I have read on the deferral matter, not many people ask for them and most are granted them if they have decent reasons and explanations and plans for their request (an insufficient reason, probably: I want to stay home and eat my parents’ food and read Lord of the Rings instead of going to school). Anyways, I have to request my deferral by July 1st, a date which is rapidly approaching, much to my dismay.
Now, after that digression, on to the real reason for this post and its title. For the second part of my gap year, I will be doing a DTS. That, my dear people, is short for Discipleship Training School, a program made possible by YWAM (which itself stands for Youth Without Any Money, or Youth With A Mission, depending on if you ask my dad or someone else). YWAM (pronounced why-wham) is, according to my vague understanding, a mainly evangelistic missions organization that has bases around the world. When they feel so lead, these bases choose to host DTSs, upon which occasions youth-ish people (say 18 to 25 years old; just kidding, their website says 17-35 – yipes that’s old! no offense to people age 35) descend upon their base en masse for three months in order to learn about evangelism and other things. The participants go to classes daily, where “speakers” – perhaps some person from the base or perhaps someone from elsewhere – teach on various topics. After the three months of the classroom-type factual learning, the group takes their knowledge and goes somewhere else (typically another country) to evangelize while doing something like teaching English. [Okay, I’m getting tired of describing this. If you are really desperate to read more about it, just click on YWAM and DTS phrases I linked above.]
The way it was decided that I would do a DTS for the second part of my gap year went as follows (and I paraphrase):
Claire: Dearest Mother and Father, I wish to go to Spanish school in Peru or Ecuador for the first part of my gap year, and for the second part I would hope to do some wild animal rescue work in Ecuador or Costa Rica.
The Parents: Okay, the first part sounds great! Apply now. But, we don’t like the second part. You need to work with people, not animals.
Claire: Woe is me. I really want to play with monkeys and parrots.
The Parents: We really don’t want you to do the animal rescue thing. We want you to do a DTS.
Claire: There are not any DTSs at the right time.
… Some time passes and Claire realizes there are DTSs during convenient dates …
The Parents: YAY!
… Some more time passes …
Claire: I still don’t want to do a DTS. I’ve already mentally thrown it out the window. And I don’t want to reconsider it or change my mind. That’s against my principles.
The Parents: Ohhhhh, it’s against your priciples! That’s really the problem, isn’t it?
Claire: Maybe…probably…yeah. But still! I shan’t change my mind!
… Time passes …
The Parents: We really REALLY REALLY think you should consider doing a DTS.
Claire’s Translation of The Parents’ Most Recent Words: You are going to do a DTS. It is your DESTINY!
Claire: Arg. Are you sure?
The Parents: Yes, in fact now we think God’s telling us you should do a DTS.
Claire: Oh, well then, I suppose I should. I guess.
Claire to Herself: And, besides, they aren’t giving up. And that would be kind of bad to be like Jonah.
Claire to the Parents: *sigh* Okay.
The Parents: GOOD! Now, pick out the locations from which we, in conjunction with you, of course, will shall choose.
Claire: Here we go again. More research for me.
And now, after the aforementioned more research, the location options are (in no particular order) Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Spain. If you have your geography in mind at present, you might note that some of those countries are not in South America. You might even observe that one is in Europe, of all places! Well, as it turns out, I have inadvertently expanded my gap year options. Originally, I planned to stick to traveling in South America. However, now I have simply limited myself to Spanish-speaking countries.
So, there you have it. I’m doing a DTS in some country where everyone but tourists and expatriates speaks Spanish.
Oh, one last thing. Regarding the application to the Peru program, I’m almost finished. It and some more money need to be turned in by June 6th, which shouldn’t be a problem, providing I can come up with about 500 more words worth of blither blather to say about myself. Until my next post (no duh)!