Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “school

I Literally Make Life Decisions Because of Christmas’s Commercialism

I received a great suggestion a couple of weeks ago. The short version is, “you should start blogging again because you need an outlet for all that shit you keep bottled inside.” The medium version is that a lot of our career coaching at my school seems to be therapy in disguise, and the professor assigned to this particular group saw me, felt that I felt invisible, and was doing her very best to give me even one useful suggestion for how to cope. I will keep the long version to myself for now.

The last couple of months specifically and last year in generally have been a period of upheaval in my life. According to all my social media feeds, almost everyone feels this way. There’s a lot I could dig into there, but instead, I’m going to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about almost constantly in the last few days.

I live in Belgium y’all. I won’t live here permanently, I’m not about become anyone’s expat, especially not here. But I feel so good about my decision to come here and get my MBA. My class is very international. There are 42 students from 20 countries. Something that comes up a lot is the reason that each of us decided to come here.

My answer feels a bit silly sometimes, but I value honesty over appearing to be a very serious person. So here’s the reason I decided to uproot my life and move across a whole ocean:

 

A trip to Paris for New Year’s with my husband at the end of 2016 included a trip right after the new year to Brussels. Purely because of it’s proximity and affordability, we found ourselves in Brussels. And when you are in Brussels, you find yourself in Grand Place. When I walked into the area pictured above, I fell in love.

I’m not sure if this will make sense to everyone who reads it, but energy matters to me. It matter to me for people, places, and things. And the energy of Grand Place appealed to me. And it didn’t hurt that it was still gussied up from Christmas 2016. When I was 6 or so years old, I picked out a bedroom set based on the red & green decorative pillows they added because it was December. Yeah, I’m that chick, and have been my whole life. I was already considering trying to come to Europe for a 12, 15, or 18 month MBA program. But I came back from Brussels and googled “MBA programs in Brussels.”

Once I researched my school, I realized it would be a really good fit and it was the only school I applied to. I was happy to pack up my shit and move to another country, but made sure to leave roots behind in New York for when I’m done.

Christmas is here again, and I went to Grand Place, as you do when you’re in Belgium. They have the tree up again, and I was eager to get a look at it with all decorations in place. It was a bit underwhelming in the daylight, but when I went back the next night, it was better.

It was a really nice moment for me. Standing in Grand Place in early 2017, this new seed of a dream felt near impossible to make happen. And perhaps the huge upheaval of the last year made it more possible, but it didn’t change the fact that it felt huge every step of the way. So when I was standing there in late 2018, I felt really proud of myself.

I made one of my dreams come true. 2018 has been a year of doing a lot for just me, which is something I might be a bit rusty at. I’m still figuring out how to balance all of the things that matter to me. But it was really nice to take this moment and just feel pride and happiness. Christmas is my jam, and I’m excited for getting to spend this Christmas here, even if I have to deal with Zwarte Piet. I might have to do a whole other post about that shit… But for now, let’s just focus on the happy dreams-coming-true, actively-pursuing-my-goals thing for now, okay?


And Now He’s Leaving Me

The husband just arrived to New York three Thursdays ago. So he’s only been here for two weeks. And he’s leaving already. He just freaking got here!

He has a good reason for leaving. Summer is quite a busy time for a musician in Chicago. If you remember, from the time of the job offer to the day I was supposed to arrive in New York, I only had three weeks to make it happen.

With that lack of warning, he already had a lot lined up in the city for himself. When he looked at his schedule, it became clear that he needed to be in Chicago from the end of August until the end of September.

So now I have another month without the husband. I really do need to make some friends here because I have no one to hang out with. There are the musician friends of the husband and their wives, but we’ve all been here for weeks and I still haven’t met these women, so I’m not counting on that.

I’ve been making efforts to begin to fill my time, but so far it’s not much.

There is, of course, my never-ending effort to get on a consistent workout schedule. Since the husband has been here, I’ve done a lot more cooking. Eating home-cooked food is always better that restaurant or processed food.  Everything I’m used to frying (catfish, plantains, etc,) I’ve been making in the oven instead. I’m feeling pretty proud of the healthy versions of my favorite foods I’m coming up with.

Outside of the hours each week I’d like spend working out, there are volunteer opportunities. As soon as I learned that we lived so close to a homeless shelter, my first thought was that I really wanted to get involved and help out.

Turns out, it’s not so easy to reach out to these people to help. I sent an e-mail and got no response. I left a voicemail and got no response. That saddened me a bit, but I didn’t give up.

The need to volunteer increased even more once I started looking into what I have to do to apply for grad school. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to getting an MBA with a focus on healthcare management. That type of degree will really take me places in my career path, and it might be useful for the husband as well.

All three schools I looked at (more on that later) have a few requirements in common: GMAT/GRE, work experience, and extra-curriculars. I haven’t thought of extra-curriculars as such since high school. I’m damn near thirty, but I need extra-curriculars?

All the stuff I used to do had to stop for one reason or another. No bowling league, no rock climbing, no tutoring at church, no nothing. So I needed some extra-curriculars and quick.

I figure I can count on the work I used to do in Chicago since I’ll only have been a New York resident for a few months when I apply. But I need something here as well.

With the desire to get into grad school compelling me, I pushed forward to find a way to get involved in volunteering. My two passions for volunteer work are the homeless population and unwed mothers. As I always do, I started with Google to search for opportunities.

Google led me to volunteermatch.org, idealist.org, and onebrick.org. Well, Google led me a ton of other places too, but these three websites in particular seemed to have what I was looking for.

About three hours after my first Google search, I was signed up to tutor an unwed mother in Math while she’s working on her online degree. I start next week. I also signed up to help feed the homeless on weekends at this church in New York. I start in two weeks. I reached out to a few other organizations as well, so we’ll see what all I end up doing before I’m done signing up.

Even with all the stuff I’m coming up with to fill my time (exercising, volunteering, friend finding), I’m still going to feel every minute I’m away from the husband.

I will see him a week after he leaves though, I’m going to Chicago for the Chicago Jazz Fest, at which the husband and his band are playing. It’s pretty exciting, and I’m so glad I was able to work it out with my new job so that I can go.

Any other ideas of how I can fill my time while the husband is gone? Maybe I’ll join a bowling league…


To Reunion or Not Reunion

I’ve mentioned once or twice that the exercise plan I’m using to try to get back in shape is Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis. There reviews are bad and good, mostly because she doesn’t give you explicit instructions throughout her videos. I happen to prefer it that way. I hate watching an exercise DVD for a week straight, hearing the same voice telling me the same things that stop being inspirational after day one.

Her methods work great for me, when I”m actually working out. Since I’ve gotten back on track, it’s been just as great as the first time. Her plan is that by the time you reach Day 90 of exercising, you’ll have a whole new body.

Day 90 of exercising is your 90th day of working out, not 90 calendar days after the day you start. I have a countdown widget at the bottom of my blog that I had to reset when I started working out again. That counter happened to land on Day 90 of August 16, 2013. That is the first day of my 10 year high school reunion.

I’ve been thinking about this reunion, especially because the husband’s ten-year reunion was last year. The question is, do I really want to go?

All the movies about reunions show people agonizing over their reunions. How do they look? Are they where they want professionally, romantically, and otherwise?

I don’t want to describe me, but I feel like I might be.

I used to attend medical school. You don’t just leave medical school. Not unless you get kicked out or hauled off to the loony bin. I chose to leave on my own because I wasn’t happy and decided I didn’t want to become a doctor anymore.

Hell, I’m not sure I ever wanted to become a doctor. I just made so much sense. I’m great at math and science. I love helping people. I have no issues with blood or injuries (unless it’s a horror movie or a person coughing near my open mouth). Obviously, I’d become a doctor if I tested and interviewed well enough to get into medical school, right?

Eh, but it wasn’t meant for me. I love what I do now, but I feel like former med student is all people will see.

On top of the not-that-easily-understandable career path, there is only one friend of mine in my graduating class. The people from my high school that are still around are from all different classes except mine. One of the people I mentioned in a previous post who is getting divorced was one of the bridesmen at my wedding. He’s the only one.

I’m not even sure if he’s planning on going or not.

But then again, if I can show up to the reunion with my wonderful husband, a great job that made me supervisor in one year, great hair, great body, and genuinely happy, that’s got be worth something right?

My school has a reputation for being pretentious and a lot of other negative words. It’s full of smart kids that tested to get in who knew  they were smart. I didn’t have trouble making friends, but I definitely wasn’t the most outgoing person. Most of the time when I attracted attention, it was on accident because I can get loud if I get excited.

I suppose there is a part of me wondering what the old choir members, ROTC members, and ex-boyfriends are up to these days. Yup, high school for me mainly consisted of ROTC, choir, and dating. Oh, and taking hella extra science and math classes to prepare for college.

Aren’t reunions these exciting events, setup so you can reconnect with lost friends and catch up on old times? Do I really care to do that?

I don’t know yet.

What I know is I’ve made it past Day 10 on my 90 Day workout plan. That means I have 80 more days to decide.

Probably less. There’s no way my high school would hold these events without some seriously advanced RSVPs.


Back Away From The Donut

I’ve been trying to get healthy again. There were a few things that happened that made me think it was time to get my jiggly ass back in shape.

First, during the Ultimate Blog Party 2013, I joined in and found some new friends, one of whom commented on my UBP13 post. This comment came from Danielle, who invited me to friend her on MyFitnessPal.

If you are on MyFitnessPal, please friend Danielle and me. Her username is msvip213 and mine is cecerose0211. I don’t know about her, but I’d love more friends to track and get healthy with. From the moment her updates started showing in my feed, I felt more motivated. Just to know I wasn’t alone in the struggle meant so much to me.

The second thing that happened came right around the same time as UBP13. I received a text message telling me about my 10 year high school reunion. I knew it was about that time, but I hadn’t made the decision on whether or not to go yet.

I went to the information page and saw the upcoming dates are August 16-18th. That means I’d likely still be in town and able to attend.

You know what else happens August 16th? That’s Day 90 for the Tracy Anderson metamorphosis when I reset the counter. That day was chosen based on me working out five times a week starting last Monday. It just seemed like fate that I would get my jiggly ass in shape just in time for my 10 year high school reunion.

I have some thoughts about that reunion, but that’s at topic for another post.

On the topic of backing away from donuts, I have failed. I ate three donuts this week. Don’t even get me started on how many cupcakes I’ve eaten. I remember the summer I met the husband. I went low-to-no carb for a few months, and I loved the way I looked and felt.

Perhaps I should go low-to-no carb again? That would be no potatoes, no bread, no cake, no cookies, no anything that makes me happy in terms of food. I tend to overdo it when it comes to carbs anyway, so it might not be the worst idea.

Ugh, it also means no gravy! I can’t go without gravy, can I?

All I know is that with the new goal of truly reaching Day 90 by the time my reunion rolls around, I feel more motivated. I just have to get my life to agree with me.

My work schedule is not conducive to working out. This past week, I only got in three workouts. If I do six-a-week workouts for the next two weeks, I can easily get back on track. Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis is meant for six-a-week workouts, so I should be fine.

If I could just leave work at a normal hour, I could do it. I much prefer working out at 2pm rather than 9pm. Maybe I can  figure out a way to workout during work. After all, there is a small gym at the office with a DVD player and television. It’s definitely an idea to consider because it gets harder and harder to keep my motivation once the sun sets.

I think I have a pretty good psuedo-plan to get myself back on track. Possible no carb, possible working out at work, possible working out six days a week for a few weeks.

I will be posting again about how Day One went. I took pictures because I wanted to post about it. I am feeling so self-conscious about those pictures though, so the post will be password protected.

Perhaps when I no longer look like the pictures, I’ll feel like turning the password off. But for now, send me an e-mail if you want the password. I’ve got no problem giving that password out to my regular readers!

I can turn some of those possibilities into a reality, right?


Are There Any Parts Of Your Job You Hate?

In my continued effort to blog about random things, I turn to my job. I’ve had this job for little over a year and I really like it. Actually, I kind of love it. I’m surprised to say it because I never intended to have the job I do.

I work in organ and tissue donation. I can’t get into too many details, mostly because I would hate for a Google search to bring someone I work with to my blog. I have a potty mouth where ever I go, but still. I can say that a big part of my job is getting families to donate the tissue of their deceased love ones and finding recipients for organ donors.

There’s a lot of different areas I could get into should I make this my career. Right now, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else because I love what I do so much. It’s even hard to imagine what I don’t like about this job, but I’m gonna work real hard and try.

I don’t like all the policy changes. Every time I come to work, the policy on how we do some aspect of our job has changed. But they just send random e-mails about it. So you can imagine how many different ways different employees get the same task done.

I really don’t like all the meetings. There are training sessions, follow-up training sessions, and staff meetings for all the aspects of the job. Because I do more than one type of job, I’ve got to attend more than one type of staff meeting. There is nothing worse than having to have my butt at a meeting that lasts waay too long talking about things that could be covered with one of those random e-mails.

My job has also taught me things I do like. I love paperwork. Yup, paperwork. Filling out spreadsheets, compiling data, and completing checklists is totally my thing. It’s why I thought I’d like research, but I hate being in a laboratory. Looks like being in administration is in my future, cause I love putting together a data analysis report. I know, I know, I’m a weirdo. Or maybe some sort of nerd. Probably I’m both.

You know what else I like? Answering the phone. I would’ve been an AT&T switchboard operator instead of a maid if they hired black people back in the day. I can answer some phones with the best of them. I work nights and my supervisors marvels and how I always sound pleasant on the phone, even at 4:30 am on a busy night.

The only part of answering phones I hate is when other departments ask me to do their work for them. I know I would’ve been a telephone operator in another life, but I’m sure as hell not one in this life.

I will talk more about my career path in the next week or so with my biannual career path post.

Are there any parts of your job you hate? Please don’t get yourself fired answering my question.


My Future With The Fiancé

In my last post, I said that talking about our future with the fiancé was really helping me get over the hurdle of rebuilding our trust. I’d like to share what we’ve talking about recently.

At first, the plan was to move to New York City. That’s been the fiancé’s plan from even before he and I got serious. He wanted to go to NYC to play jazz and get a Master’s degree in Jazz Music Performance. I’ve always loved NYC and could see myself living there, so I figured I’d just get a Master’s there too in Health Administration. The plan was to go in 2012, which would be this summer.

When the time rolled around for the fiancé to apply to grad school, things hit a snag. He didn’t actually start applying. I think it was a combination of all the other things he had going on taking up all his time and him psyching himself out. I was getting frustrated with his lack of proactive behavior which to me seemed like lack of ambition.

I eventually felt like I should take some of the pressure off and tell him that we could still go to NYC this summer even if he wasn’t starting grad school in August. I told him that next year could be the year he’d take off to focus only on his music, something he’d always said he wanted to do at some point.

Then last weekend, he told me that he was thinking about not going to New York. Rather, he’d thought about putting it off for another year. We’ve been talking about how hard it is for him to teach and do gigs and work on his own music. He figured it would be nice to have that time to just do gigs and his own music.

He reasoned that it would be better to do that time in Chicago rather than New York. It was kind a of a shock because I always thought the plan was New York in 2012 or bust. Now we’re exploring staying in Chicago another year.

This affects me and my career as well. I had been holding off on looking too closely at the New York City version of the job I have now because I didn’t want to get too deep into it before it was closer to that time. I never told my job I might be trying to transfer to NYC because I only got hired in May of last year so I wanted to give it more time (and also blame it on the ambitions of my new husband and the virtue of compromise).

I even signed up for a mandatory work presentation in October (we all had to pick one) because I knew I’d be gone by then. If I’m honest with myself, I always worried about leaving a job a liked for a lateral move into a situation I wasn’t sure I’d like. And I didn’t like the idea of requesting a transfer before I’d even been here a year. But I was more than willing to do all this for a chance to live in NYC and expand my knowledge of organ and tissue donation in multiple regions.

So now things are kind of up in the air. Either option works for me. We could go to NYC this July and settle into our life there with him taking the time to build up his name there and really get into the music. Or we could stay here another year and I’ll have to do that presentation in October.

Either option gives him more time to wrap his head around grad school. It gives him some time to breathe between the wedding and the rest of our lives. It will let him focus on his music in a market he knows supports him. It will give me more job experience as a senior organ placer, which counts (sort of) as leadership experience. We won’t have to leave our friends and families so soon either.

There’s always the worry that we can always find a reason to push things back and wait another year. That’s true, but I feel like our lives are so fluid right now that if we’re going to be changing th eplan, now is the time to make big alterations in the plans.

I must admit I’m a bit excited to have all this up in the air. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I can’t wait to see where we end up in 6 months.