A Big Ol’ Monthly Roundup

April and May came and went, and I’m sitting here thinking how the heck is it already June?! Fortunately I can say I actually did things the last two months so they weren’t just withered away binge-watching Netflix, which is more than I can say for those winter months…

Like I said in my previous post, one of my goals for April was to start running consistently. Well, I started running and I’m happy to say I’ve been able to stick to a schedule and do it regularly each week. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it is for this girl. I was worried I would start wheezing and coughing up a fit like every other time I tried to run, but thankfully I’ve been fine! Seems like that surgery is paying off after all!

Also in April news, D graduated Ranger School! This was a big, exciting accomplishment. He likes to act like this was no big deal, but it’s huge. He also got his airborne wings in May, so that was another accomplishment checked off his list, and I am so so proud of him.

I made my way down to Portland in May for a weekend. It was…honestly super weird. I know that’s Portland’s claim to fame/thing, but I really was not expecting it to be as weird as it is. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected, but it caught me off guard. I think it came down to how empty it seemed. It felt like there weren’t any people around us, and we were staying in the middle of Downtown Portland! Aside from that though, I did enjoy the few touristy things there are to do there. This list is great if you’re planning a trip to Portland any time soon. I recommend Voodoo Doughnuts. It is popular and busy but the lines aren’t as bad as you’d expect. Also, the tax-free shopping doesn’t hurt either. I also really enjoyed all the food trucks everywhere. That was pretty cool. Overall, I probably won’t be going back to Portland anytime soon, but it was a nice experience.

I surprised my family and went home for Mother’s Day, and the look on both my parents’ faces when they saw me was priceless. Unfortunately I was only there for 36 hours, so it was a quick trip, but it was still great to see my crazy loud family and spend some time together. Traveling back and forth across the country is not easy, and with my dearly beloved boyfriend staying in Georgia longer than the Army first said he would, it’s safe to say I’ll be racking up those frequent flier miles in the next few months; starting with next weekend when I travel to GA for D’s birthday! Woohoo!

And for the last bit of news, I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to share that this week I completed my first week of graduate school! Going back to school has always been on my mind since graduating two years ago. For a while, I just gave up on it and figured it wouldn’t happen or be a good option for me, but thankfully I have an amazing boyfriend and great friends who encouraged me to pursue my goals and take the leap of faith. So I did! The program is completely online, which fits in with my lifestyle, work and commute schedule. The first week was challenging, and I know it’ll only get hard during the next 10 weeks, but I am thrilled to be starting on this new chapter in my life. That’s going to be taking up most of my life now to say the least!

 

In The Land Of Sideways, Misty Rain & Occasional Sunshine

I always do this; start blogging again only to give up just a few weeks later. I used to convince myself it would be different this time, but at this point, I really can’t say that it will be any different. That, however, is not the main point of this post. Seattle, aka my new home, is the focus here today.

Around April 2016, I started feeling the need to do something new, live somewhere different. I wasn’t sure where I’d go, and I had no idea how I would explain my newfound desire to leave New York to my family and friends, but regardless of that I did some research and figured out where I wanted to set my focus on: Seattle. I applied to quite a few jobs, and heard back from a couple every few weeks, but being across the country made the interviewing and hiring process difficult, so I was easily overlooked as a candidate. I kept trying though, writing cover letter after cover letter. after a few weeks of that I knew I had to let my family in on my plans. As I suspected, no one was too thrilled about my decision. It was hard to explain why I felt the need to move, and I know some of my family members took it personally, which is definitely was not. this move was about me, for me.

Weeks and a couple of phone interviews went by, and in late July, I had a Skype interview with a company. I thought the interview went well, and I was figured if I did get a call back I would have to fly to Seattle for an in-person meeting. I was pleasantly surprised when I was called back a few days later with a job offer. If I accepted, I would start my new role in 3 weeks, just enough time to give my two weeks notice and get my car out to Washington. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for, finally coming through. I thanked the office manager for the opportunity and accepted the position. 

My mom was the first person I saw after the call. my mother is the strongest woman I know, and I could count one hand how many times I’ve seen her cry, so when she started crying when I told her my big news, it naturally led to a sob fest between us both. (Unlike my mother, I cry over everything. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.) Despite her tears, she managed to choke out words of support and encouragement, and I know that was not an easy thing for her to do. 

Telling the rest of my family and friends was a bit easier, though there were mixed reactions between “yay congrats, a new job!” and “holy sh*t, you’re moving across the country”. Yet through all their own doubts and disappointment about me leaving New York, my family did their best to support me, which meant the world to me. 

I shipped my car out, gave my two weeks notice at work, and said goodbye to my life in New York. As the plane was taking off I started freaking out, wondering if I was making a terrible mistake, but it was too late; I couldn’t turn back now. When I landed in Seattle, I was picked up at the airport by Dalton’s mom. Since she lives alone she offered for me to stay with her for a few weeks while I looked for my own place, which was such a blessing. What was supposed to be just 6 weeks of living with Lisa, my super cool roommate/ boyfriend’s mother (weird, I know) has now turned in to 6 months. It turns out that we get along pretty great and don’t mind each other’s company (actually, I think it’s safe to say we prefer each other’s company, but maybe that’s just me) so Lisa offered for me to stay with her indefinitely, until I felt the need to move out on my own, which has not happened, and she hasn’t kicked me out yet so I think we’re good. We spend our Friday nights drinking wine and falling asleep on the couch by 9:45. We’re quite the roommates; she’s kind of amazing. Also I get to live with 3 dogs, so that’s pretty cool too.

I love living in Washington, more than I ever even thought I would. I figured I’d like it, maybe, hopefully, but I didn’t think I would fall in love with it the way I have. It feels like home, which is crazy to say since no place but New York has ever felt like home, but this feels right, and I have no regrets about moving out here. I love my job and the company I work for. It’ll be 6 months since I started working there, and during that time I’ve already gotten a promotion. It feels great to finally be appreciated and valued for my hard work, and I love working for a company that treats its employees right. I’ve made a few friends at my job, but I’ll save that topic for another time.

As for my family and friends, I think they’re finally coming to understand my move out here. It’s not easy being away from my family though. I feel it most on Sundays, the day we would go to church and all have breakfast. It’s honestly harder than I thought it would be, but I’m getting used to it, and I’m so grateful for FaceTime and Skype that allows me to keep in touch and see their faces on a regular basis. 

Throughout it all, my boyfriend Dalton has been incredibly supportive. He knew how much I wanted this, and I’ll always be grateful for his love and support during this time, despite all the changes he’s been going through himself. He moved to my side of the country while I moved to his, and while it hasn’t been easy being apart and dealing with the different time zones, as cliché as it sounds, I really do believe this has only made us that much stronger as a couple.

As for myself, it’s weird to even type this out but I’m proud of myself for taking the chance, jumping ship into the unexpected and doing something new and different. It was scary to say the least, but it’s been a great journey so far and I’m pleased with the direction my life has turned. 

Anyway, this was a bit longer than I planned but I had a lot to catch up on. So that’s my story! I’ll try to be better about updating regularly, and possibly talking about my adventures out here in Seattle, but ya know, no promises! 

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View from my office rooftop!

Small Moments: Traveling

November is the month when every one starts preparing for Thanksgiving and thinking about all the things they’re grateful for (naturally). As I was sitting in the train earlier this week, I realized that I have a lot to be thankful for, and decided that the best way to acknowledge that appreciation would be to write it down. So with that in mind, I will be writing a new series each week called Small Moments, which will highlight certain things I appreciate from that week.

For my first post, I am grateful for the opportunities my job offers me to travel. I spent the last two weekends traveling to Dallas, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee. It was my first time visiting both states, but I had a great time. One of the things I mostly wanted to do while I was in each state was eat BBQ, and compare the ribs. The verdict: while I liked the ribs in Texas, the ribs in Memphis were amazing. Like I’m still thinking about those ribs a week later. And the biscuits and gravy. Man, I had that for breakfast every day while I was there. It was so good..and now I’m hungry.

It was also nice to see how different people down south are, especially in Memphis. I honestly felt like a super important person because everyone at the hotel and at restaurants were so polite. As a bonus, the Mississippi River was right across from my hotel, so that was cool, too! I guess you could say that while I enjoyed Dallas, Memphis was my favorite city to visit out of the two. You can find some pictures of my trips here on Instagram!

I feel very fortunate that I can travel for work. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of being able to do, and now I’m doing it! Next week I’m going to Michigan, but that’s on a personal trip. It’s not every day your oldest niece turns 5! 🙂

Life is catching up with me

I never thought the day would come when I would admit that…I am stressed. Like stressed the heck out. I can’t sleep, my appetite is wonked and I’m paranoid that I’m going to fail and ruin everything. Things have changed a bit for me with work (more responsibilities) and with a 3 hour daily commute to and from work, I have very little time to focus on my online classes. I guess I do have a lot on my plate right now, but I’ve always pictured myself as someone who could possibly get stressed. I mean, really? Me? Why should I be stressed?

My problem, however, isn’t that I have a lot going on. I always have a lot going on. The real problem here is that I don’t know how to properly balance it all without overwhelming myself. I take things way too seriously when it comes to my work. I wouldn’t even be here admitting that I have a problem if it weren’t for the fact that I keep making mistakes. Mistakes at work. Mistakes with my school work. My performance is going down and that is something that really bugs me. One of my biggest fears in life is failure. (Aside from getting eaten alive by a shark or dying in an airplane crash, but lets not even go there right now.) 

So in light of my little issue, I turned to the one person who always knows exactly what to tell me: my momma. ( Mother knows bestAnd what did my dear old lady say? She said I need to calm the freak down. Okay, maybe she didn’t say it like that but she did say that I need to find a balance between work and everything else that I have to do. What happens at work, and all things work-related, should stay at work. She also said that I have to lower my own performance expectations when it comes to work. Since the most important thing in my life should be graduating with my degree in creative writing, work and all its hubbub should not be affecting me so much, so I need to do just what  I can at work. Not more, not less. 

Of course, this is all easier said than done. I’m going to take one day at a time, and try not to take things too personally or let them affect me so much. Or maybe it’s just time that I ask for a raise? 

Started from the bottom

No, not the Drake song. I didn’t even know that was a song until 3 hours ago. I’m referring to my parents’ long journey and struggle to get to where they are now. My parents literally started from the bottom. As teen immigrants from the Dominican Republic, they both had to work every day to help support their families. Mom, being the oldest of six kids, worked even more than Dad did, who was the youngest of his siblings. A couple of times a year, Mom reminds us of all the little jobs she had to do in order to help her parents pay for food and rent. She worked at a factory, making hats, and then at another factory making curtains, all while taking English language classes at night. When they got married at age 21, Mom continued working at the factory. A few years later, she started selling cosmetics with a famous company (at the time), Jafra. It was the Spanish equivalent of Mary Kay and Avon. Dad bought the supermarket where he worked at, and business was going really well. All this happened for them after many years of hard work and suffering. 

But it didn’t just happen to them because business was going well. Dad ended up selling the supermarket and Mom stopped working with Jafra after she started having kids. She became a stay at home mom and Dad got a job as a maintenance man; and that’s the way its been for the past 25 years. 

36 years after getting married, Mom and Dad are the owners of a large house in New York City, as well as of a vacation house in upstate. People always wonder how they manage to afford it all. Now that I have my own bills to pay and money seems to disappear into thin air, I wonder the same thing.

How did they do it? I guess one thing that helped is that my parents are very simple people. Growing up, Mom cooked every meal. We didn’t go out to eat unless it was a special occasion, or unless Mom wasn’t around and Dad ordered pizza. Dad would take lunch with him everyday from home and every one had coffee at home before heading out. There was no need to spend money on lunch or coffee because it was prepared at home. Also, we barely ever went to the movies. Like ever. It wasn’t until we were older and were making our own money that we started going to the movies. Even then, we went on our own. Mom and Dad would stay home. I can honestly say that it has been over 20 years since my parents went to a movie theater. Its the little things that add up. Living comfortably, yet simply. We never lacked for anything. We always had what we needed and more.

Recently I was having a conversation with my sister and she said “Why do parents who never went to college pressure their kids to get a college education so much? They didn’t go to college and they’re perfectly fine.” That got me thinking. Why do they do it? Maybe its because they don’t want their kids to have to suffer through everything they did all over again. Those parents want something better for their kids.

My parents are happy with their lives and they feel accomplished but I know that I would never be able to do everything they’ve done. Through their hard work and sacrifices, they’ve been able to give my siblings and I a very wonderful life, and I will forever be grateful to them. And in the words of Drake, my parents “started from the bottom, now we’re here”. They did it, and so can any one else.

P.S. I don’t listen to Drake, nor do I encourage anyone to do so. The lyrics were just appropriate for the post. That is all.Image

My parents at our upstate house