81 Days Til Mozambique

I have started counting down my days until I leave for the Peace Corps. In many ways, I have done all I can do, so it is a waiting game. I work. I write. I occasionally go on a date. I watch movies. I try to pay off bills.

I am the kind of person that hates downtime. I seem to live perpetually in the future, so it takes a colossal effort for me to slow down and savor the moment. I do love to take nature walks, but I detest the cold, so I have been home-bound a bit for the last month.

Adult Dating Is Complicated

I had a recent romance that was a revelation to me. He was a wonderful man, and I will forever be grateful to have met him. Sadly, our paths were not to continue for long, but the time that we had was intense and wonderful.

Since our brief interlude, I have had a few epiphanies. One, I am redoubled on my commitment to leave for the Peace Corps. I have realized that I was wavering on my plan because I was infatuated with him. He did not ask me to stay, but he certainly welcomed my desire to stay with him. It was fascinating to see that almost as soon as we ended, the confusion dropped, and I was as clear as ever. It was almost as if I had awakened from some spell.

Pleasing Others Above Myself

Two, I have realized that I have always lived my life to please others. I have held onto desires for myself, but I was always willing to abandon them for love and commitments. That was admirable when I was raising children, but at this point, it is just foolish. If I am ever going to experience what I want to experience, I must do it now. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Three, dating gets quite complicated the older you get. I have many opinions about why that is, but essentially I think it comes to this: we all have a past, and we all have lived long enough to have a good idea of what we want. We are also old enough to recognize that there will be life afterwards if things don’t work out.

Four, I almost unthinkingly fell into a traditional gender role with him. It was frightening how naturally I just allowed his life to take over mine. Part of the reason was because he was running multiple businesses and was always busy, while I am wrapping up my life here, so my schedule is a bit more flexible. I found I was very willing to follow his lead. I have realized that it is a pattern that is almost ingrained in me, and it was scary how it was almost an intuitive move.

Ready For Change

Finally, I suppose I am just ready for a change. I want to be yanked from my comfort zone and be forced to adapt to a new life. I want to get out of my head and do something worthy. I want to leave everything behind and redefine all that I am.

The time is soon, and I am ready.

Dining Out and Keto – Featuring Denny’s


Easy Keto Wherever

I think one of the most valuable lessons when learning to adopt a Keto lifestyle is understanding just how simple it is to eat this way in the many restaurants you find. Denny’s is a perfect example. It is not the kind of establishment that you would consider if you were looking for healthy meal options, and yet, with a few strategic choices, you can absolutely have a healthy, keto-friendly meal.

Breakfast on the Run Does Not Have to be Carb-Fueled

Case in point, while on my summer road trip through New England, I stopped here for breakfast. I had a cheese omelet, bacon, sausage, unsweetened tea, and black coffee. It was filling, delicious, relatively inexpensive, and perfectly acceptable for the keto diet.

As you can see, with relatively minor tweaks, keeping to a low carb, high fat keto diet is easy no matter where you are.

Want to learn more about the Keto Diet? Check out my books on Amazon:

Ketosis Diet: Lose Up To 25 Pounds in a Month: https://amzn.to/2TvNGrY 

Easy 7 Day Keto Meal Plan https://amzn.to/2D5aUya

Never Enough Time

Since applying for the Peace Corps a mere 16 days ago, my life has taken a radical change in direction and I feel like I have no time left! 

As anyone that knows me will attest, I truly believe that things happen for a reason and when it is the right time. When something is meant to be, it will flow, and when it isn’t, there will be one delay after another. I have been wrestling with my next steps for over a year now. 

Through it all, I always knew my time in Charleston was transient. I have made friends, found work, and embraced new loves. This place has given me the opportunity to work through my goals, mindsets, dreams, and sorrows. In some cases, it felt like a tortuous purgatory. Yet, like anything life-altering and painful, there was so much growth. 

This time of reflection culminated in my month spent working in St Thomas. It was there that I was finally able to gain some clarity and begin looking to the future. I realized that my fantasies of what could be would never come to pass without action on my part. 

I could very easily stay in Charleston and find a permanent home. Massage therapy work is plentiful and lucrative by Charleston standards. I could have a very contented life. The problem is, I am not made that way. I have a restlessness and desire for adventure and meaning that will never allow me to settle into peaceful bliss. So, upon my return to Charleston, I finally completed my Peace Corps application. 

That was all I needed to do to irrevocably change everything. In the past 16 days, I have committed to 26 months in Africa. This decision has overtaken my schedule. My To-Do list is filled with medical and dental exams, fingerprinting, paperwork, multiple trips to the Post Office, and phone calls and emails. 

Even though my leave date is not until April, I have realized just how little time I have left to do all of the things that I need to do. It’s not just the big things for the Peace Corps, it’s the little things like preparing to step out of my life for two years. The time that seemed to stretch on in dreadful monotony has now sped up to the point that I am just holding onand trying to cherish every moment left. 

Peace Corps Prep

Peace Corp Prep: There is no way to be fully prepared for an experience like this, but I am eager to listen and learn. I am so ready for this!
Peace Corp Prep: There is no way to be fully prepared for an experience like this, but I am eager to listen and learn. I am so ready for this!

It has been a flurry of preparation activity since I accepted my position with the Peace Corps.

First, I had to send out my Passport for my Peace Corps Passport and apply for my Visa to Mozambique. When I went for my Passport photo, the first one was terrible. The lady taking it was very short, and I swear she stood under me and shot the picture up my nostrils! When organizing the paperwork, later though, I realized I actually needed two sets of two pictures, so I went and had a much less offensive picture taken. All forms were promptly sent off to their respective destinations.

Next, I had to find my vaccination records – no small feat for a woman in her 40s who hasn’t had a shot in years! After multiple calls all over Charleston (thank God I am in my hometown at least) I was able to find my childhood records. I needed to get a tetanus shot and I have scheduled my Yellow Fever vaccination for next week.

I then had to find a doctor to have a complete physical exam and blood work. It has been years since I have had a “normal” job, so I have neither health insurance, nor a regular practitioner. The Peace Corps does reimburse some of the costs associated with this, but I still had to find someone willing to see me and accept cash. Blessedly, I did, and I knocked another several tasks from my list including copious blood work, an eye exam, pap smear, physical, HIV and TB test. 

Then, there was the dental visit. For the same reasons listed before, I haven’t had a dental exam in years. I was able to find a local dentist who offers an exam and free x-rays for first-time visitors. I was delighted to be told my mouth was very boring. Thanks to parents who were very diligent with my oral hygiene as a kid, my no sugar diet, and my adult habits of regular brushing and flossing, my teeth and gums are perfect! Another task was eliminated from my to-do list!

Still pending are my Yellow Fever vaccination which is scheduled for next week and my mammogram, which is scheduled in December. What began as a daunting task has been relatively easy to power through with a few phone calls and running around.

Lastly, I need to have my intensive background check. I am waiting for my materials in the mail now. I do not anticipate any problems. I have no criminal history, and have active massage licenses in FL and SC. I’m a good girl (I never understand why friends giggle when I say this).

I have about 5 months before I leave, and yet, it seems like so little time! I need to find a home for my two sweet pups. I need to sell my RV and my car. I need to work through the end of the year to pay off my debts, then go to see my grandson being born in January. Somewhere in all of this, I also need to get down to FL to see my friends and family down there.

It feels strange and wonderful to know that I am going to be in Africa for over two years. It has been a dream since I was a child, and it is surreal that my dream is finally coming true for me. I haven’t even had a moment of doubt since this opportunity presented itself. My darling German and my European friends have been so encouraging, that I have felt unconditional support the whole way. Even my family understands that this is something I have wanted for years, and they support my decision to serve.

I would be foolish to dismiss the very real dangers that are associated with an assignment like this. The Peace Corps suspends service in active areas of conflict, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. I will be undergoing training and living with a host family, while also learning Portuguese to help my assimilation process.

The fact remains, though, I will stand out as an American. I am a redhead with blue eyes and white skin. I will have to learn to exercise caution, perhaps alter my appearance, and dress quite conservatively while over there. I also cannot drink, since it is frowned upon for women. It helps that I am no longer a big drinker.

There is no way to be fully prepared for an experience like this, but I am eager to listen and learn. I am so ready for this!  

Mozambique Bound in the Peace Corps

Last night, as I was dining with friends, I received an email that will change the course of my entire future. This subject line was sitting in my inbox: Peace Corps Invitation to Serve

Last night, as I was dining with friends, I received an email that will change the course of my entire future. This subject line was sitting in my inbox:

Peace Corps Invitation to Serve

Dear Kandace,
Congratulations! You have been selected to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. This letter is your formal invitation to serve as a Community Health Services Promoter in Mozambique departing April 2019. 

Now, the crazy begins! I have a ridiculous amount of steps to take from getting medical clearance, undergoing a background check, getting my Peace Corps passport, to things like eliminating everything in my life.

I am exhilarated. This is the culmination of a life-long dream, and it is finally within my grasp. I can almost see the day (only a mere 6 months away) when I will be boarding a plane to Africa to serve in the Peace Corps for over 2 years. 

I have no doubt that I will have moments when I wonder what I just accepted. I am sure that there may be moments of fear or anxiety, but in truth, this just feels perfect. I applied a mere week ago, and this has just come together so quickly. I went from having no firm direction, to fulfilling a dream I have carried since I was a kid. 

I am so pleased to have friends from all over the world who have encouraged me to take this step to join the Peace Corps as a volunteer. They have been supportive and enthusiastic in their advice and opinions. Through these past few years, I have come to understand that the connections we make with one another are greater than moving ahead with an agenda in a defined relationship.

If I only see my family once a year, we still are able to pick up as if there was never a separation. The friends I have made in Florida and South Carolina are still there and have not disappeared.

I have learned to appreciate without attachment, and my heart and mind are all the stronger for it. Those that have touched my life will always be a part of me, and I will carry them with me in my worldwide travels.