Posted by: Alicia Phillips | April 7, 2011

Conversation with an Idiot

So, I got my first genuinely negative reaction to joining the Peace Corps this week. I wasn’t expecting it. Most of the time when I tell people what I’m doing I get the initial “Why do you want to do that?”  But after I explain my reasons, they are usually full of questions and seem truly interested in my decision, even though it’s not something they would want to do. Then they wish me luck then go on with their day. That’s usually how it goes…

That wasn’t the case at all with this guy. He asked me why I joined so I told him, and I told him what I would be doing in Fiji. Then he looked at me like I might seriously be crazy, or stupid, or both. Here were his exact words “Why do you want to go to another country to volunteer? Why don’t you just stay here and get a real job and volunteer on the weekends?”

Really? Who says that? How do I respond to that? It’s like he missed the whole point. It was obvious whatever I said to this guy he wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t need him to validate my decision to join. I understand that joining the Peace Corps isn’t something that everyone has wanted to do for as long as they can remember, like I have, but most of the time people can at least see my reasoning and respect my decision. However, this guy couldn’t, not matter how I tried to explain it to him. It’s like he was dead set on making me feel stupid for doing this. What a prick!

Anyways, he didn’t make me feel stupid, just made me realize what great friends and family I have, who have always supported me and my decision to go.

So, in other news, my poor sweet Uli was VERY sick last week; she had pancreatitis and had to be in the pet hospital for a week, in intensive care!  She is feeling much better now, thank god, but the vet bill was a large unexpected expense that kind of threw me for a loop. (Just so you know, Woodsprings Animal Clinic is the best place in town! Even though my bill was expensive, it wasn’t even close to what it could have been, because the nice people at Woodsprings hooked me up big time. So, take your pet there, they rock!) Anyways…in order to pay for the bill I will be selling my beloved car that I love so dearly (see earlier post).  That’s quite alright though; at least Uli is feeling better and will be nice and healthy when I drop her off with Matt in 5 weeks…..

I only have 40 days left for before all the FRE-9’s (Fiji Re-Entry Group #9) meet up in Los Angeles! And only 30 days left at my job! Holy crap! I have so much to do! Then, on top of everything else, I get an email from the South Pacific desk yesterday with language lessons I need to master before I leave and a list of a few additional items to pack, including: A cheap wedding band to wear to minimize attention when traveling, good snorkeling equipment, a good pillow, etc…. How in the world and I suppose to pack all of this in 2 bags that only weight 100 pounds total? Ha! Oh well, I will figure it out.

I am still just as excited about leaving as I was months ago. I’m trying hard not to think about the actual saying goodbye part though, it will be especially hard to say good-bye to a few people. I just keep telling myself it will be worth it. And I have decided that once my time in Fiji is up, I won’t be moving back to Jonesboro. I think it would be easier on me if I come back and start fresh somewhere new instead of trying to start over here at home. I’m open to suggestions? Anybody?


  1. Who the heck does that guy think he is?! I am so very proud of you and what you are doing. We need more people like you in this world!! Alicia, you rock!!!!!

  2. “Why on earth would you EVER want to go anywhere else? I mean, it’s not like ANY other cultures have ANYTHING to teach us! Pfft.”

    …That is all I hear when people say stuff like that. I tend to think that they miss the whole point of Peace Corps, which is their three mission statements.

  3. haha guy sounds foolish. “Sorry, I didn’t realize working to improve US-foreign relations and help people out of poverty wasn’t a real job. My bad.”

  4. You,ll meet all kinds of ‘nuts’! probably more here in the USA than anywhere.. He’s too self centered and ignorant to understand or even LISTEN to you. You’ve made a wonderful decision and I’m glad you’re not letting some yokel bother you. Just consider the source and ignore him. I never felt I had much to offer anyone, since I had no formal training in any direction.. so I went into the US Navy. Some has the same response as you received. But it was my decision and my family approved as did my close friends.. so GO FOR IT. As is often said, “When in Rome…..” so I’m sure you’ll be amazed as how you will be able to adjust. This will make a wonderful story for your future family.. and present family n friends.. Keep the blog going. I get to learn as you go!! LOL LOVE N HUGS from Aunt LouAnn n Uncle Herb

  5. I feel like I wrote the exact same post a few months ago. Basically some people just suck but luckily most people don’t 🙂

    I’m impressed you get 100 pounds even though you’re going to a warm place. I thought only us unfortunate ones who are going to die of hypothermia got that.

    And I feel you on wanting to move somewhere new. I’m thinking West Coast. or maybe Chicago. or Hawaii where it will be warm and happy all the time. just not the north east

  6. Ni sa bula! Welcome to Fiji. Your blog brings back so many memories. I am a former PCV now living in Fiji and friends with all the PCVs here in Ra (north of Viti Levu island).

    My PCV friends and I here in Fiji are excited about meeting the new volunteers. I’ll see you at your swearing in ceremony on July 4.

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