The year was 1999 and we were talking about retiring from our professions. Retirement was high on our list and we thought about travelling, visiting with our children and just doing whatever we wanted. But something unforeseen happened. I was able to sell the sailboat I had to a couple from California. They flew into Newark Airport to live on the boat before it was shipped back to Oregon, where they had family. We picked them up at the airport and drove them to the marina where I had the sailboat. On the way we asked what they had been doing, they were older than we. They said they had just come back from being Peace Corps Volunteers in Lithuania where they were teachers of English. We looked at each other and in both our minds said, “Does the Peace Corps take old people?” Over the next couple of weeks, each time we visited them, we would ask questions about the Peace Corps. After a few weeks, our couple left and the sailboat was shipped to Oregon. We began to talk about the possibility of joining the Peace Corps and started to look up information about it. Finally we set to find out if we could qualify to join.
The World Trade Center in New York City had a recruiting office and had information sessions each month. We travelled there and sat one evening through the presentation. We were the only over 50 and two of couples there. We picked up the folders with the applications and left a little confused. Peace Corps is a two year commitment with a 3 month training period added on. It involves learning a new language, adjusting to a different culture and having above average health. So we sat on the applications for a few months until it became real that we would be retiring. The process of applying was something we had never experienced before. Beyond thorough. Everything possible is covered. The major items concerned our finances. We decided to “begin anew”, that is, we would give, sell or get rid of most of the things we had collected and owned. Major items included our home in PA, a fairly new Buick, furniture and most tools and equipment. We believed we would come back from our experience more simple in our desires and wants. In the Fall of 1999, we received approval to be Peace Corps candidates and would have about 3 months to settle our finances.
Our house sold and we moved into a rental, the car and other items were taken care of. The one thing left was to find out what Country we would be assigned and what would be our job there. This turns out to be another story. Until we can post again, you can book time at the Walnut Lawn Bed and Breakfast and get to hear more about our adventure from us in person.