It’s Leap Day. Real life is for March.

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2016 is a leap year, known here in Macedonia as Престапна Година. Today is February 29th, a day that shouldn’t exist but does anyway. I always get weirdly excited about February 29th – it’s like I’ve been given this extra day that I should be using to do some kind of really cool once-every-four-years thing (but I’m not – I’m at work like I would be on any other Monday). Maybe I’ll plan better in 2020.

The last couple of weeks have been big for me in terms of work stuff. In Peace Corps we have our primary assignment (mine is with the women’s organization here in Sveti Nikole) but we can also choose to be involved in secondary projects. Some secondary projects are initiated by the volunteer, and some are ongoing projects that are facilitated through Peace Corps. For one of my secondary projects, I’ll be working as the Programming Coordinator for Girls Leading Our World, or GLOW. Every summer GLOW holds a week-long camp for teenage girls to build leadership skills, take classes on a bunch of cool subjects, and just have fun. I’ll be assisting with camp this year, and then serving as one of the main organizers of next year’s camp. I’ll also be on the Small Grants Committee, which mentors Volunteers who are applying for certain grants through Peace Corps and USAID and reviews applications for funding. It’ll be a lot of work to keep up with both as well as my “day job,” but I think it will be really rewarding and worth the effort.

As far as my primary assignment goes, I have a lot of things in the works that are starting to take shape. I’ve been working on our organization’s strategic plan, and was able to attend a really great training session with my counterpart last week about organizational management and development. I’m working on a few health-related projects, mostly trying to find money to fix our hospital’s broken mammogram machine and coordinating with a US-based NGO to have medical equipment donated to a few local hospitals and medical clinics. There’s the potential for some other smaller projects too, mostly doing classes and workshops in the community, but I’ll see how busy I want to make myself before I start those.

The last super cool development is that I passed the FSOT (foreign service officer test)!! I passed it before in 2104 but didn’t make it past the evaluation panel to the interview stage. I’ll have to write my personal narratives again, which are basically very short essays about my personal and professional experiences, but I think I’m more prepared this time around. I bumped my FSOT score up too, so that should help.

PLUS it’s almost March, which means it’s almost my birthday! Which will also mean I’ve officially had this website for three years. The motivation to write is the best birthday present I’ve ever given myself (powered by birthday money from Grandpa, thanks Grandpa!)

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