Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My.. Um... Future?

                I got an email about two weeks ago from my city coordinator asking us if we wanted to do a second year of LVC.  Are you kidding me?  I feel like I just started my time here in Baltimore.  Okay, its been 4 months exactly today since I started as a volunteer and I’m finally comfortable with my day to day.  I’ve made friends outside of LVC and I really like it here.  It took four months to get to this place of content and now I’m forced with the decision to do it all over again.
                In all honesty, I thought doing a year would be enough for me.  It’s great that I’m out of my element, I have got a great job to put on my resume and now I can go on my merry way to start my life.  Right?  I’m starting to think not.  I started researching grad schools and all the programs I’m interested in I easily qualify for except for 2 years of prior work experience.  I’m pretty sure camp counselor and babysitter don’t really count for my MBA.  So as I started researching more I realized that I really didn’t want to be a volunteer in Baltimore next year, I love it here and could live here, but I don’t think I could do exactly what I’m doing for another year.  So I thought to myself, what could I do?  I could go sleep on my mom’s couch for six months while working a retail job until I figured things out.  I could jump on a cruise ship and work for a while to save up money.  I could start applying for jobs and see where life took me.  None of these sound like bad options, but none of these sounded exactly ideal either. 
Then it hit me, what do I consider my home?  Its where the heart is right?  Well I have never been so in love with a place like I have been in Northern California.  It has everything I think want. (I’m 22, I don’t know what I want.)  But financially I get just afford to move back, I need a game plan.  Then I really started to consider doing another year of service in the Bay Area.  The truth is I love living in community and I love being a volunteer, so why not?
So here I am, 2 days and 8 hours away from Southern California, and I’m already planning my next excursion when I should be thinking about that In n Out Burger I’m getting as soon as I’m picked up from the airport.
I really don’t know what I should do.  I should comment on the fact that American culture has gotten us so stressed with the idea of being happy and making it that we can’t just enjoy what life has to offer us.  I should just relax and let the cards fall into place.  I could jump into action and plan my life and not be afraid of failure.  But alas, I’m confused and okay with it.  So on January 18th I may be signing up for another year, I may not.  Am I stressed about the decision? Heck yes.  But that’s okay, right?

It could be worse, I could move home.  Right Mom?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Buy Nothing Christmas?

    So living this life of simplicity, we are encouraged to participate in “Buy nothing Christmas” where instead of spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on expensive, not really needed gifts, we focus more on the family and spending time with each other.  Now granted, living on a $105 a month leads me to want to celebrate Christmas this way, because let’s face it, I can afford to show up to family events and that’s about it. 
                My question isn’t really should we spend lots of money, but should we spend the time to go out there, face those malls from hell, search with all of our might, and end up with a present that you know the person you are buying for will just adore?  Why yes, I don’t see the harm in this.
Don’t worry, I love homemade gifts too, (this isn’t a gift registry blog, don’t worry!) they make me feel all warm inside to know my loved ones worked hard (and thought ahead, which is something I’m not so good at).  But to no avail, homemade gifts can cost just as much as a gift plucked from the aisles at Tar-jay.
So stuck in this conundrum of materialist woe, what as consumers are we supposed to do with this commercial holiday where gift giving is the American version of a prophet being born?  I could throw in cheesy slogans like shop smart, not hard; be thrifty and nifty, etc.  In reality, just buy stuff the person needs.  Not needs like I need a new corvette, but like need as in my last pair of socks have a hole in them, I guess I should get a new pair (in my case tights).
 I look around my bedroom sometimes and feel that I have a lot of “stuff” and I can tell you exactly where I got it and usually how much I paid for it, especially if it was on “sale”.   Don’t worry I’m not getting rid of any of it to join a commune, but it’s just interesting think about our thought process of “need”.  Though I adore every shoe in my shoe collection, each a reminder of the hard work I put in to be able to afford the beautiful artwork I put on my feet, would my life be any different if I hadn’t bought those particular pair of pumps? Probably not.  Would I buy them all over again? Heck yes.
So this Christmas, one of financial scarcity (though even in good financial times we believe this to be true), my goal is to focus on needs, not  wants, because in reality, our wants will change in a month anyways, right?  Then again who am I to talk, with $105 a month, I need everything! J  Or I could pull out my business side (the one that’s torn every time some preaches their anti-consumerist ideals) and say go shopping, spend lots of money and help our economy, gosh darn it!
So pick and choose who you are this holiday season, the only answer I can come up with this war of morals, is to choose wisely.  Great advice, huh?  I feel like Yoda.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey What?

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all!

This year was the first year I didn’t go home for Thanksgiving in 22 years.  It was a strange feeling of missing everyone at home and feeling like a grown up as I helped my housemates cook all the fixings for our Thanksgiving feast.   We had chicken, (with only 2 omni’s in the house, it was all we needed), homemade stuffing, green beans, lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and lots of dessert!  We finished the evening by watching a Semi-Christmas movie, The Holiday, and I fell asleep on the couch as Leslie and I watched Stepmom. 
            The weekend went quite well with Leslie here.  We house sat downtown and so we played tourist in Baltimore and ate a lot of good food (I’m now broke for a while, but it was worth it!)
            We ended the week with a 2 hour community meeting where we discussed the exciting events of the next 3 weeks which include visiting Hampden where there are really pretty Christmas lights, the light of the Washington Monument (a big Baltimore thing), a Christmas Celebration at our house, and a cookie making party.  With work and all this, its going to be a busy few weeks. 
            The meeting also spent a large amount of time discussing what the chores actually mean… Lets just say that was exhausting!
For those of you who haven’t signed up, I’ll link you to the newspaper I put together for work, so you can see all the cool things I do!  I’m working on my first article for it, where I’m covering a trip that a VP went on in South America, it’s really cool because I’ve redesigned the whole thing to make it more user friendly.
I’m really excited to be going home for 18 days!  For those of you who are wondering, I’ll be in Southern California on the 17th at night.  You can find me at the nearest In n Out drive thru.  I’ll be heading up to Norcal the 26th -29th and leave early Monday morning back to Baltimore on the 3rd.
Hope you all are doing well... Until next time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buses, Trains, and Cars, Oh my!

Thursday I was lucky to have my Grandma come visit me all the way from sunny California!  Morgan and I picked her up from the airport and she came home to a house full of people.  We met everyone chit chatted and headed off to bed to get ready for a long 3 days ahead of us!
            Friday we headed downtown and I showed Grandma my office then we walked around Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor.  We decided to head to Little Italy for lunch and we met quite an interesting man at the Bus stop, lessoned learned I won’t become a smoker?!?!? ( Long story….).  We enjoyed a nice lunch and a little bit more of a walk and then headed on over to Penn Station to take the commuter train to Washington DC.  After relaxing for the rest of the evening at the hotel, we woke up the next morning and started trekking our way through the Nation’s Capitol.  We saw as much of the monuments as we could- Lincoln’s monument, the Washington Monument, WWII monument, the Vietnam Wall, The Korean War memorial, and Arlington Ceremony.  On top of that we visit the White House, saw the national Christmas tree, walked the mall, saw the Capitol building, saw the Pentagon, went to the National Holocaust Museum, Museum of National History, the Museum of Natural History, and we rode around in style in one of those double Decker buses.  Are you exhausted as we were just reading this list?
            We also enjoyed some of the most delicious food DC has to offer!  By the end of the trip there just wasn’t enough time to get everything we wanted to done, which just means Grandma has to come back and visit after tax season. 
By the end of the trip we took:
2 Bus Rides
2 Circulator Trips
3 Cab excursions
1 Marc Train
1 Amtrak Train
3 Metro Trips
And quite a few Double Decker experiences….

My feet still hurt!

Pictures to follow J

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

5 Things

Its Wednesday here in Baltimore (in case my theories are right and the East Coast really is a different planet) and autumn has begun to creep in.  I’ve found that there are types of chilly in this part of the woods, and believe it or not, I’m not frozen quite yet. 
            Though I’m not miserable as many would have predicted (I’m referring to my  not being in California, not my actual state of being), I would like to take this time to list the 5 things I miss prior to making $105 a month and living in the most perfect state (I doubt there will be any surprises):
1)      First and foremost, I miss my one true love, In n Out.  Every time I smell grilled onions, my heart drops a little bit.  The longing for animal style fries lingers for hours at a time.  And that crisp Diet Coke is just extra spread on the burger (errr icing on the cake).  I haven’t found a replacement for you nor will I ever.  In n Out, I love you.
2)      Sushi.  Those of you who have ever seen me eat sushi knows this one is self explanatory.  Though I will say we did have a sushi night at our house where I prepared everything from scratch (even the sticky rice!) and I have found a new respect for sushi chefs, it sure isn’t easy.
3)      Sunday Morning.  For those of you who know her, she’s a beautiful 2009 Hyundai Sonata whom I adore.  She’s in the trusted care of my 17 year old sister (oxymoron) and she was so dependable at getting me from point A to point B.  I miss the luxury of being able to go where I want, when I want.  She has been replaced by my new friend the bus.  Though I do not loathe the bus like I once had, I still find myself out of luck when she’s running a half hour behind schedule and all I want to do is go home.  I have become friends with 2 bus drivers who pick up Becca and me every morning.  They have been known to tease each other about who got to pick us up today.  To make this story less creepy, Becca and I are usually the last 2 at the last stop, where we see a lot of accidents and randomness that allows conversation with the bus drivers.
4)      Target.  Target is this place on Earth where dreams become reality and you can find your favorite face wash for under $5.  You can get just about anything in your dreams and your price range all under one very tacky yet chic decorated roof.  In college, when I had to wait for Rachel, I would go and simply play in Target.  Now, it’s an hour bus ride to Target, and let’s just say the one in town is less than par.
5)      Two buck chuck.  I enjoy a nice glass of red wine with my dinner (especially on days where the chili powder is used!).  And so when I moved to the East Coast on, you guessed it, $105 a day, I was calmed to know I could afford Trader Joe’s worst kept secret.  Well, little to my knowledge, the state of Maryland doesn’t sell alcohol in grocery stores.  You have to go to an off license (or Geri’s Liquors) to purchase a bottle of wine.  And let’s face it, sometimes a glass Charles Shaw is the only cure to living with 4 other girls.  But I’m getting over this fact and surviving just fine.

Of course I miss my family and friends, but I text/email/Facebook/Call/BBM you all so much, you barely even notice I’m gone!  My next goal on this blog thing is to fill you in on all the cool things I’ve done that you may or may not have already heard about!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How Myspace started my career….

I read my job description about a hundred times before I walked through the doors of the Lutheran Center in downtown Baltimore to join the team at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and had no idea what I was actually going to be doing for the next twelve months.  My supervisor called my first day of work a fire hose of information I probably wasn’t going to remember.  Not only was she right, but by day two, though I felt comfortable in my work environment, I literally had no idea what my actual job responsibilities entailed. 
            Day 2 involved running around the office and learning everyone’s names (which in an office of a hundred people, has yet to happen).  I was asked to look at the website and make a mock presentation about what our organization is all about.  I did these tasks with great enthusiasm, but again I still had no idea what I actually did.  I went through orientations on how to use certain programs and was thrown into department meetings before I was actually aware of what department I worked in. 
            By week two I had turned in my presentation and knew the website in and out- only to realize why I had to do these tedious projects.  Then I relearned an acronym (which by the way- is the way most Lutheran’s speak, so I’ve learned),  HTML.  The last time I had seen the term HTML was somewhere in between a basketball game and an emo stage in the middle of high school posting songs and pictures that identified who “I truly was” on the original internet social media of our time, MYSPACE.  Apparently in the internet world, HTML is more than just posting pictures of you and your friends holding up peace signs- it’s an actual art of design and technique, that I had mistakenly learned when I was 16. 
            Though I was still unsure of what my daily duties were, I knew I could step into the dreaded Sphere program, and innocently maneuver my way around the design of mass emails, web pages, and Enewsletters I now helped manage.  This bit of confidence made me realize that my gifts could include those hours of Facebooking instead of studying for my Ethics final, the hours of silly Skyping I could never get back, and my pointless desire for Tweeting.  In the work place, these activities are called Marketing.
            I have turned my addiction to my Blackberry into a how to guide and have turned the term BBM into daily vernacular and practice in the office.  (As I’m finishing up this blog I was interrupted to start a Skype conference on my supervisor’s computer.)  I am thankful for the opportunity to share my strange gifts with the workplace I have grown to love.  I hope that one day I can turn my college procrastination skills into a full fledged career.  Until then, I am happy to report that I have learned what my job responsibilities include.