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Norbert and Carol Hoffmann's Peace Corps Journal

    March 1999       No age limit

            Norbert couldn't get my question out of his head. What he didn't know but soon found out was that I've had the Peace Corps on my mind for 30 years, since college years at the University of Texas, Austin in the '60s.  The other thing he didn't know was that I already had my application in hand. NO AGE LIMIT! it said. "Well, there you go then!" as the most truly Minnesotan receptionist at my clinic would say.

    Norbert called the Peace Corps medical office and was told his year old bypass wouldn't necessarily disqualify him. He requested his application through the web.

     - Carol

    April 20,1999      Go for it

            The exercise bike and daily climbs up the hills to Old Main did the trick.  My one-year stress test was negative.   When asked about the Peace Corps, my cardiologist, Dr. Fine said: "go for it."  Still, the final moment came after so many words of encouragement from friends on the  Hearttalk-L online support group.  That was it. I started filling out my application. 

    - Norbert

    May 6, 1999    Dotted, signed and sealed

             Completing application forms took weeks. There were college transcripts to dig up, professional licenses to xerox, people to get as references.  Our resumes had to be updated.  Finally came the agonizing work on essays about motivation and cross-cultural experience.

           Then one Friday, a warmer one I might add, it was finished - spelling checked, i's dotted, signed and sealed.  We packed it into a thick envelope, drove to the Post Office on Bridge Square, took one last gasp, and dropped it in the mail. 


    - Carol

    Here are the essays we included and one we didn't:

Carol's Cross-Cultural Essay

Norbert's Cross-Cultural Essay

Carol's Motivation Essay

Norbert's Motivation Essay

Carol's Essay she didn't use

    May 17, 1999   Phone quickly  

          Monday, a letter arrived.  Dear Carol & Norbert, it started.  Enclosed are Peace Corps programs for which you can be considered . . . you must phone me as soon as possible. . .schedule an interview. . . Sincerely, Matt Dufresne, Peace Corps Recruiter.  I took a deep breath and called immediately to make an appointment for our interview. 

    - Norbert

    May 21, 1999     Four critical hours

            By Friday, we were on our way to downtown Minneapolis.   The day was sunny and warm and full of nervous talk.   What if he asks this?  What about that? How can I answer that question!?  Maybe I could say. . .  We arrived before 10 am.  The interview lasted four hours, 1 1/2 hours each and an hour together.  It went well.  Then came the fingerprinting and we headed out of town by 3 pm. Step Two - Done! 

- Carol


After the Interview: Update for Family and Friends