Two Years Later

It’s been nearly two years since I last posted on this blog. Two years ago I was approaching my second to last semester of graduate school. (I graduated in December 2014 with my Masters in Social Work). Two years ago I was struggling to find my place in this city (and in this world), to find people to form true connections with and to figure out where this journey of life would take me next.

Now two years later I’m having similar feelings. I’ve realized recently that my adult life unfolds in two year increments. Over the course of 730 days I get a new job, get a new apartment, immerse myself in a new city and new friends.  I experience the joys and challenges that accompany newness and change. But as the novelty of a sparkly new city wears off, as the monotony of a 9 to 5 existence sets in, and as the promising first dates become disappointing second ones,  disillusionment creeps in.  My need for change becomes my solitary, almost desperate, focus. 

So now, two years since I last wrote, I have passed my 730 day mark in New Orleans. In July it will be three years. I have a stable job with a good salary. The job is fine but the schedule is wonderful. It allows me to travel far more than a 9 to 5 every did. I’ve lived in the same apartment for most of my time in this city and I feel at home within its bones.  My New Orleans circle has expanded and contracted along the way but it has taught me the importance of quality over quantity.

Yet throughout my nearly three years here, a current of disillusionment always finds its way in.  Sometimes it’s just a trickle. Other times, a steady gush. A few times, like now, a deluge. In these times, the best way to sort through my jumble of thoughts and ideas is to write them down. Figuring out what’s next is always a difficult and rewarding process. There are so many things I want to do in this little life of mine.  Time will tell what path I will skip down next.

This long essay is all just to say, hello, I’m back and as lost and found as ever.

IMG_2347

Prescott, AZ

 

Monday update

Hello faithful readers (Brian, Mom), here’s a little update on my life.

I haven’t exercised in two weeks. I read an article yesterday about how sitting is taking years off our lives and immediately began googling “is lying down bad too?”. Results inconclusive.

I am interning at an assisted living home. The residents all have some degree of dementia and are sweet and hilarious. I’ve been writing down quotes from one of my favorites, a sassy spitfire named Betty.

I have three papers due this week and it’s taking every ounce of willpower to force myself to write them. I am highly unmotivated this semester. “Bare minimum” is my current study technique.

Termites swarm my bathroom every night and I have a visceral, irrational hatred towards these defenseless, evil creatures.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future career and how I could combine my interests. They are as follows: cats, sex/relationships, travel, tacos. If anyone has any ideas let me know.

I am currently looking into teaching english in Asia for a year to help pay off my loans and satisfy my wanderlust. Taiwan is at the top of the list.

I took a “primary archetype” quiz because I like answering questions about myself and the results are dead-on.

My type (the Explorer) is independent, self-sufficient, ambitious, tirelessly optimistic, always on the move, always trying to discover new, exciting things.

“The Explorer has one main goal: to find a better world, both inside and out. This goal is driven by the need to
discover things in the external world that meaningfully align with their internal world.

“The Explorer needs to fly freely. They are not afraid to go to new places, or try new things; this is what they live and strive for”. 

We stubbornly march to the beat of our own drums

You are not afraid to be true to yourself, and so long as you stay on your own journey of self-discovery you don’t care what others think of you, meaning you usually achieve what you set out to.”

We simultaneously crave roots and wings, which can lead to internal conflict

“The urge to satisfy these two opposing primal human desires (freedom and belonging) can sometimes leave you feeling
torn – torn between staying put and going off on another adventure”

“Your constant need to be on the move can sometimes leave you desperately needing to feel grounded, although you know deep down that you could never stay still for long”

Oh and sorry Mom:

“As an Explorer, you sometimes have a hard time committing to things that could potentially tie you down – such as having
children, marriage or mortgages”.

If you’re interested in taking the quiz, click here 

Up next?

I graduate from my MSW program on December 12, 2014.

It’s damn near July. How is that even possible?

Time flies when you’re having fun! Alternately, it also flies when you’re not having fun because time stops for no one. Write that down.

So, over the next 5 months I need to decide what’s next for these restless legs (TM). I’ve been craving travel with a vengeance.  Possibly an extended trip to South America. I’m also eager to see more of the United States. I’m an east coast girl and I’ve seen a lot of the South. But, the southwest, midwest, pretty much any region ending in west has yet to be explored by yours truly. I’m considering a cross country road trip, because, when I do things I like to do them big. However, I’ve spent the last year living off Uncle Sam’s loans and my savings are laughable. So, big trips may not be feasible.

I may need to get a big girl job (BGJ) :(. I mean, I guess that’s why one goes to graduate school, right? Well, to get a BGJ will likely require me to stay in one place for a while. That could be New Orleans or that could be another city in the world. I love New Orleans and I planned to stay here for several years (I say that every time I move) but there are several factors (which I’ll discuss in another post) that could lead me to relocate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I would move next. Currently my list of potential cities is as follows:

  • Los Angeles (During my quick trip I loved the weather, the beaches, the people and the overall vibe)
  • Denver (never been, I hear it’s clean, sunny and friendly)
  • Pretty much anywhere in California except San Francisco. I’ve always seen CA as the promised land but I was not a fan of SF.

I’d also like to visit the following cities to assess their livability: Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Austin. IMPRESS ME, cities.

I am also very open to living abroad but with nearly 100k in school debt I would have to be funded by a job or (extremely handsome) wealthy benefactor.

If you know of someone who wants to throw endless buckets of money at me to fund my every whim, please point him in my direction.

While I currently have more questions than answers about my future I’m also very confident that it’ll all work out for the best. Call it naiveté, blind optimism or a new membership to sugardaddiez.com.

Image

Probably all of the above.

Looking back. Looking forward

It’s that time of year when we traditionally reflect on the year past and resolve what we will accomplish in the upcoming year.

2013 was a year of big changes

In January I resolved to embark on an adventure. The planning began.

In February I submitted my  application to graduate school and was accepted two weeks later.

601052_682683110844_67108383_n

In March I had my last day of work and spent the month selling a ton of my belongings and packing up my Baltimore apartment. And having a series of going away parties. I’ll always love you, Baltimore.


18792_686630121004_289542278_n 73144_686630021204_678154225_n 182469_682550366864_1255516977_n 295670_682556873824_975658790_n

In April I moved my remaining stuff to my mom’s house and flew to Mexico. Tulum reawakened my spirit.

7296_686629666914_1953942026_n 603929_688230209414_12092181_n 547320_688231995834_1055375150_n 600869_693260448774_2011587938_n 935464_693260593484_874790345_n 971213_693260274124_485044096_n

From April to May I traveled around Belize. Life was a beach.

547197_688284325964_1881628218_n 521943_688248911934_1202317844_n 408542_693278053494_440167559_n 943366_695801905674_1312550130_n946805_695795044424_809975749_n601890_693272499624_956545654_n935726_695796396714_1961025925_n

971858_695796426654_1522482993_n 984006_695795204104_2141666362_n

In June I traveled around Guatemala and a little bit more of Mexico. Every day was an adventure.

945601_703316441484_242365482_n 971303_703285767954_78640896_n 973475_698040354804_1538905184_n 973624_701431214494_491924481_n 973989_699351981294_1016510013_n 975326_701430685554_1108759146_n  1003650_703308801794_465351046_n 1013074_703317085194_55419109_n 1044458_703332813674_1585062239_n 1044924_703331032244_650419972_n 1044962_703305872664_335711354_n 998993_703333831634_2104851130_n1045036_703299500434_1092519875_n555861_10151730832488964_701183504_n1061753_701926312314_954197223_n

I met amazing people and and made connections and memories that I think about (and laugh about) nearly everyday.  I left a small piece of my heart on that trip.

In July I moved to New Orleans and celebrated my 30th birthday.

968895_711386129764_1262016294_n  1081624_709873526034_245787004_n1082772_709874973134_1021552345_n1080771_709909389164_2082217743_n1075143_709909488964_1357990005_n1081265_709875991094_280972472_n

In August I got settled into my new home. I moved into a new one in November. It has a pool, and a balcony on the parade route.  What can I say, I like to upgrade.

1081143_709745053494_1666111187_n1420557_737074315434_202026110_n

In September I began graduate school – in pursuit of a masters in social work.

1384902_727629737444_1327919007_nphoto 31462201_736994490404_869207698_n1421523_736995653074_1282473709_n

From September to December I was submerged  in the world of social work. I learned so much about the world and about myself. I was challenged and rewarded. I learned to advocate for myself and others. I also made new friends and  entertained many guests from near and far who reminded me that some bonds can not be broken through time or distance.


photo 4 photo 5 photo 1 1289989_721000547394_195897822_n
photo 4 photo 5
1305377_719946589534_496402916_n1420633_735742209984_626534665_n

In December I began Winter break. I decompressed, regrouped and I celebrated. Oh boy did I celebrate.

1527879_747902056554_2109233811_n 1491029_10153628857365063_163266949_n

963060_747902311044_817724680_n1476744_747939885744_796437365_n1491045_747002080114_1608915103_n

  1483692_747508400444_551927508_n 1508222_746822689614_1332811089_n
1508388_747507162924_966024038_n 1533318_747506978294_320526686_n

And now, in January, I am preparing to return to school in 2 days.  A part of me wants break to continue indefinitely. I’m so relaxed, I’m having so much fun, I haven’t witnessed a heated debate about sexism in a while. But a large part of me is excited to go back. I start an awesome internship, classes will be more focused on (my biggest interest) counseling. And I have a thirst for knowledge that can’t be quenched by Facebook and Buzzfeed. (But how I will miss these lazy days).

Every January when I look back, I am amazed by how much I’ve grown and expanded my mind. When I was a kid, I thought that you became an adult and suddenly you were wise and evolved. It never occurred to me that it was a process. It also never occurred to me that not everyone becomes the best version of themselves as they age.  I now see that it’s something you have to actively invest in.

For me, the  major milestones of my life aren’t marriage or children or my first mortgage. My milestones are the moments I experience that expand me:  when I took the plunge off that 20 foot cliff, when I traveled alone for the first time, when I moved to a(nother) new city, when I read that book that changed my life, when I fostered a litter of kittens, when I formed an instant connection with that person, when I graduate from this program.  In 2014, I resolve to collect even more of those moments, and to write about them here, for posterity’s sake.

I also resolve to exercise my body as much as I’ve been exercising my mind. I’m not after a flat stomach (although, I’m certainly not against it). When I travel, I am constantly active outdoors: trekking, diving, swimming, climbing.  I want my body to feel how it does when I return from a trip: strong, healthy and connected to the planet.  With a shiny new bike, winter temps generally in the 60s, and a park like this so close, I have no excuses.

photo 2

I resolve to continue to pursue the best version of myself. And have a whole lot of fun along the way.

(Come visit!)

 

 

It has begun

This weekend was pretty wild.  It was one last crazy hurrah before school began. That’s not too difficult in this city, especially when there’s a sporting event (LSU game). I spent all of Sunday recuperating from not being 22 anymore.

(Hi Mom!  By “wild” I mean “mild” and by “crazy” I mean “lazy, K?)

On Monday, we had a casual social gathering for full-time MSW students at the gorgeous home of one of the faculty members. Everyone was so friendly and just eager to meet their fellow classmates and dive into the program. It was an optional event, but I was so glad I went because today…

Was orientation. I hitched a ride from one of the girls I met (and instantly clicked with) at the social. It was great to be able to walk in with someone. No awkwardness or wandering around lost and panicky. Orientation was awesome. I met faculty and lots of friendly, like-minded classmates, learned about the program, and attended an information session about the certificate program I’m applying to. I’m now even more excited about the certificate program, it feels like it was made for me.  I’ll get into more detail if/when I’m officially accepted.  We took ID pics and mine was pretty unsexy because the flash made it look like I had a spotlight on my forehead. I was also glistening from the NOLA sun. And it was raining. While sunny. Regardless, I now feel like a real student! As we left campus, I realized I should probably purchase some school supplies before classes began tomorrow? Like maybe a notebook? Some pens?

So, a fellow classmate/new friend and I embarked on a 5 hour, multi-store, highly comical journey that should’ve taken 30 minutes. At one point, after pacing up and down the aisles of Office Depot, I looked at her and said “These notebooks just aren’t…sexy enough, y’know?” and she nodded in agreement. I think we’ll get along just fine.

5 hours later, we still didn’t have backpacks but our notebooks and pens were really turning heads.

Tomorrow is the first day of classes. I’m excited but at the same time it doesn’t seem real.  It felt like this day was never going to come. But, after 6 months of blissful “retirement”, it’s finally here. I never thought I could be so excited about school but I guess that’s what happens when you pursue your passions.

(Talk to me again during midterms)

That’s all for now. I have to go pick out my first day outfit. I just hope I can still pull off something as timeless and fabulous as this get-up.

Image

Forrealz, Mom?

Wi-finally

I’ve been in NOLA for a month and, without home wi-fi access,  I’ve been burning through my cell phone data plan like a forest fire. Today finally, Wifi was installed and I can start to release the blog posts that have  knocking around in my head.

Right after I finish this margarita…

 

Back to the Adult Hood

The funny thing about living at home is you immediately revert to a 14 year old. I’ve lived away from home for nearly ten years and yet the instant I returned I was transformed into a lazy, complaining, moody teenager.

After two weeks of mostly laying around, whining about doing any semblance of chores, going to the mall incessantly and getting all of my meals cooked for me, it’s time to return to Adulthood.  

Image
47th trip to the mall

Tomorrow I will be driving down to New Orleans to start the next chapter of my life. I will find an apartment in the Big Easy, celebrate my 30th birthday with close friends (and drunk strangers) and, in September, begin graduate school to pursue my dreams of getting paid to help people deal with their problems.  I don’t like to pick favorites but 2013 is pretty high up on my list of best years ever.

I still have lots to blog about regarding the Central America trip and I hope to take many more  blog-worthy trips in the future. I do apologize for the inconsistent posting, and the fact that that will likely not change. 

Regardless, I’m very excited for this next chapter and I hope you’ll tag along.

Speaking of me and you, as soon as I get that apartment, consider my couch open for visitors. I’ll have a fridge full of buzz balls waiting for you. 

ImageImage