Monday, July 26, 2010

Haven't yet learned the Cantonese word for pain

But I will. Had my dental appointment today. For the first time in 8 years. Yes, 8 years. I'll let that one sink in a bit. Here I am a 29(!!!) year old professional woman who has insurance and I have avoided the dentist like the plague (or bad breath).
After researching on my insurance website for the perfect dentist, and by researching I mean looking for the one with the funniest name, I finally settled for the one that answered the phone. I was going to Chinatown, so I had to prepare. I downloaded a couple of podcasts designed to teach you Cantonese. I was now prepared if anyone said "hello" "thank you" "good bye" and could threaten to call the police on them. I was ready. Turns out all my research was for nought, no one needed the police called on them.

Remember when I said it had been 8 years since my last dental appointment? Well this was apparently a concern of my Dentist Dr. L. I started to explain that after undergrad I was no longer on my parents insurance, and then I moved and got insurance. Mid-sentence I told him I had no excuse. We discussed Peace Corps and he questioned whether he had to take my wisdom teeth out. I started to like the guy, he seemed as against pulling those things out as I am. It should be said I only had a small anxiety attack when he was doing the exam and said "hmm, that's interesting." Due to his fingers and other incidents in my mouth I was not able to respond "Good or Bad interesting!?!". It turns out he found my baby teeth interesting, before telling me at some point in my life they will fall out. Long story short, I only had one cavity which I will go back in a couple of weeks to fill and have to get a mouth guard due to possibly grinding my teeth in my sleep. And he says I don't have to get my wisdom teeth taken out. Xie Xie.

So now I only have the medical to freak me out and provide numerous anxiety attacks (which is counterproductive to a good health screen).

Side note I have been in a very crafty mood. I discovered how to make paper beads so my apartment is covered in strips of paper. Also working on another blanket. But if one is to look at my yarn pile, there are a lot of unfinished projects laying around.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meat and Medical

Ah, Meatopia. What part of that word does not sound fantastic. A whole day devoted to the glorious wonders of meat. My day at Governors Island yesterday was filled with the wonderful smells and tastes of this heart clogging wonderfullness. After taking the ferry over, I met up with Geoff and Kirsten for a whole day of...waiting in line for a taste. Despite the long lines, the end result was great. We had pulled pork sandwiches, whole hog with bean and corn salsa, smoked duck tacos, pit smoked beef brisket and a MLT (mutton, lettuce and tomato). Andrew D’Ambrosi from Top Chef (yes just as ADD as on TV), Jonathan Waxman were just some of the celebrity foodies that were in attendance. Great day, great people, great food. This capped my birthday weekend wonderfully!

I have received my medical and dental forms for Peace Corps. Now is the difficult part. Setting up appointments and getting all of the forms filled out (correctly!). Of course my pessimistic (prepare for the worst, imagine complete disaster and hope for the best!) nature assumes that there will be some snag on this process. Well I already hit one. Not a major one, just a kind of humorous one. Well in grad school I saw a therapist. Partly due to stress and partly because we got extra credit for seeing one. Well my honesty made me admit this on my Peace Corps application, so now I have to prove that I am mentally stable enough to serve. This means I have to see another therapist to ensure Peace Corps that I am not crazy. Apparently my professional opinion is a little skewed, as I think I am perfectly fine, despite having diagnosed myself with every disorder in the DSM-IV TR. (I challenge anyone to read the DSM and not see that they fit a lot of criteria for every diagnosis. Apparently I did not listen to my professor when he told us not to read into the book too much as we would end up self-diagnosing ourselves with ever disorder)

So I made a call to a psychiatry office near my job. They set me up with an appointment with a doctor. The problem is this doctor is also one of my client's psychiatrist. When I declined him, I was asked why. I can only imagine what the receptionist was thinking when I said "Conflict of interest." So now I am on a search for a therapist that I have not worked with in a professional way. This leads to a whole mess of insecurities and worries. What if I have some mental disorder? What if the therapist does not think I will be able to mentally cope with the service? What if I am mentally unstable (well, in a bad way)? Again, my worry wart thinking tends to imagine the worst. But now I have an excuse to see a therapist! Now I can be the annoying client!

I will try to feel out the consulting psychiatrist I work with on these issues with extreme sneakiness and subtlety to determine if he thinks I can do this. I will probably butter him up with coffee talk.

I want to be honest with this blog and with my progress towards becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer, so I will write about any issues I have. I will also apologize in advance if I use any curse words, coarse language and touchy themes.

Next: Dental appointment. Hello cavities, good-bye wisdom teeth!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Peace Corps? Bound?

It all started 4 months ago, well if I want to be truthful it started a long time before that, I made the decision to join the Peace Corps. Hopefully.

First I would have to write the essays. Like taking speech class in high school and college I put it off, hoping that maybe Peace Corps would change their mind and the essays would be optional. Like high school and college, they insisted I had to write the essays. So write them I did. Over and over and over again. I passed them around to friends and family. Each person corrected the previous, contradicting each other. So I did the only thing I could think to do. I ignored them (well unless it was a grammar mistake, I’m prone to those).

I crossed my fingers and hit send. Well then I had another part of the essay, laying down my health and mental health status. I was looking good. Hit send.

About a week later I get a packet in the mail, I nearly flew up the stairs to my apartment to get it open and go through. Fingerprinting charts and background check sheet. I filled out my stuff and made plans to get fingerprinted the following day.

Writing the essay was, apparently, not going to be the hardest part of the application. Getting fingerprinted was. I walked the next day to the local police precinct, 30 blocks mind you. And waited, for 3 hours before being told to come back the next morning. Defeated I walked back to my apartment. How hard is it to fingerprint someone?

Well, I got caught up with work and Peace Corps took a bit of a back seat until I got an e-mail from my recruiter. She informed me that I needed to send in the rest of my paperwork within the week. So I had to revisit the fingerprinting. The next morning, after calling the Chinatown precinct, I went and got a money order for $15. Well, it turns out the precinct lied to me, it would cost $16 for two sheets, and they do not take cash. I tried to make poor pitiful eyes at the older chinese gentleman who was fingerprinting me (hey it worked on a speeding ticket I never received). No dice. So I run back to my bank, the lady smiled sympathetically at me but could not waive the $4 fee. She suggested I go to the post office as it would only cost me $1. I go through the back alleys of Chinatown, barely dodging the “handbag, handbag, DVD, DVD” ladies. Left the precinct with ink still on my fingers and a package to mail off.

Two weeks later I set up my interview. It was on Thursday June 16 at 10 AM. I leave my apartment an hour and a half before I have to be there. The train was not working. Great, now the universe, and not just the police department, is working against me. I ran out of the train and got a car service. For $30 they could take me. (writers note: I would like to show how dedicated I am at this point I have spent $35 dollars on unnecessary expenses to complete the application)

I get there, go through the metal detector and meet my recruiter. I’m not good under pressure, oh I’m fine with answering questions and giving good answers, the problem is all of the sudden “um” appears to be my new favorite word of all time. I did kind of push the Health Extension assignment. Let me say the only other interview that was more nerve racking was the one for my current job. I had 6 people sitting in asking me questions at the interview for my current job, she had a laptop.

The next day I got an e-mail. I got nominated! I quickly called family members and my boss. I informed my boss that it was quite possible she would have to find someone new. She was just humored that I was giving a 10 month notice. She’ll miss me, no matter what she says.