“We’ll be falling in love
to the rhythm of a steel drum band
down in Kokomo” — The Beach Boys, Kokomo
One of the most interesting things about joining the Peace Corps was being able to watch others’ reaction to the news. My friend Jaime had a particularly memorable reaction. When I told her I was moving to Kosovo, she asked, “Didn’t The Beach Boys write a song about Kosovo?”
My mind went blank. (Uh, did The Beach Boys write a song about Kosovo … ?) And then my friend David, Jaime’s husband, started to laugh. “That was Kokomo,” he said.
And now I am going to segway into talking about vacation time in the Peace Corps. And how there isn’t much.
We get 49 days total, during our 2 years of service. Seven weeks of vacation may sound like a lot of time, but consider this: Weekends are not free. If I travel on a weekend, I still have to count those days as time off.
It is not uncommon for people to have Saturdays and Sundays off from work. (I realize not everyone gets off two days per week. When I lived in Chicago, I worked a full-time job + a part-time job. I usually worked 6 days per week. But I’m trying to make a point here). So that’s 2 days x 52 weeks per year, or 104 days off total in each year. Multiply that by two years, and that’s 208 days of free time.
So, 49 days off doesn’t sound like a lot anymore, does it?
I’ve made an Excel spreadsheet to track potential trips and how to allot my remaining 40 days (I already used 9 days for Paris and London). Oh, Excel spreadsheets. What would I do without you to manage my budget and my time off?