Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm like a bird, I'll only fly away

Plans have been dashed (again?). I don't know if this is some sort of sign from the universe/God, but my plans to move to the Windy City have been postponed. I won't go into the nitty gritty details because as much as I enjoy throwing my random whinging into the great void that is the Intertubes, I don't really like the idea that things THAT personal could be floating around.

In any case, I'm unemployed (once again). And I don't know when/how I will get my next gig. So I'm approaching this period (until mid-January) as a prolonged vacation. That way, I can sort of maintain an ounce of sanity.

Today, I deep-cleaned my room and used a labeler on several tupperware bins. Then I resumed my "Supernatural" marathon. I think tomorrow, I will start a schedule of early morning workouts, then a nap, then studying French and statistics, then a walk. These are the things I will do to stave off the insanity that my 3rd round of unemployment in 7 months is sure to provoke.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nuts & Bolts. Bits & Bobs. Part I.

I will leave you to your own devices for getting a passport and sorting out your flight details. But one of the most important parts about your stay in London? The place you'll rest your weary feet at the end of touristing.

I am incredibly cheap when it comes to hotel-age. When I visit London, I usually have the luxury of crashing on people's couches. But failing that, I will stay in a hostel (or a hotel if someone else is paying). Though I'm kind of a lazy tourist, I do not spend too terribly much time in the bed wherever it is I'm staying, so I don't typically choose luxury accomodations. I look for safety, location and price.

With that in mind, here are two standbys for trips to Londinium:

London School of Economics Vacation Accomodations
This is definitely my top choice when travelling to London. I stayed in Passfield Hall, located just off Tottenham Court Road and a short walk from two tube stations (Warren Street and Euston Square, both short rides to the Picadilly Line, which will take you to Heathrow). Reasonably priced, safe area, free breakfast, and if you're a couple, you can stay in the same room. The rooms are pretty bare bones, a bed, a sink, a desk, a phone. Think the inside of a dorm room before it's furnished (they do provide towels and blankets/pillows, as well as daily linen changing). You will need to share a bathroom. There's a common room with a TV, books, etc. But you didn't visit London to stay inside all day! There are several internet cafes and a grocery store nearby, and you're about a 15-20 minute walk from Oxford Street (I need to quit talking about it, it makes me want to shop). The only downside is that many of the halls double as residence halls, so you may only be able to book accomodation during school holidays.

London House Hotel
This is a really awesome location in Bayswater. The rooms are a decent rate (can get pricey), but if you're a couple, you will be able to share a room here. There is a TV in each room as well as an ensuite bathroom. The Tube station is just across the road and there are a ton of great pubs nearby. Negatives for me at this hotel? The woman who checked me in had a very loose grasp on the English language and there is no elevator. But if you don't have much luggage, shouldn't be a problem. This place books up quickly, so book well in advance.

If you're travelling solo and want to meet people (or if you are travelling in a group and can book enough beds in a room to get it all to yourself), I recommend St. Christopher's Inn in Hammersmith. Located directly across the street from a Tube station, above a great, cheap pub (and you get discounts for staying at the hostel) that has live music some nights. Free wi-fi in the pub, and actually really comfy beds. I have stayed here a number of times and I absolutely loved it (plus I met my London Partner in Crime, Steph, at this hostel!).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...And now, for something completely different

I have been really bad at updating this journal as of late, and it is not for wont of material. Mostly, I get caught up in my 9-5 (or, 7-7) routine and never finish the journal entries I start. But last week, my friend and I were discussing travelling to London and I decided that there would be no better way to exercise my weakening writing muscles than through a few travel-related entries.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I absolutely love Paris. Surprisingly, I don't visit Paris as often as one would imagine, especially given the amount of black and white photos of Paris I have in my posession. The city I go back to when I have any extra money in my savings account? London.

London and I have had a difficult relationship. I first visited Paris at 14, and it lived up to all my starry-eyed dreams of romantic, cobble stoned streets lit by gothic lampposts and the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower. So when I first visited London (at 21, mind you), I fully expected to live out "Love Actually" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." Instead, I nearly got hit by cabs (several times, once while taking a picture of a sidewalk sign directing you to "look left" before crossing the street), ate an insane amount of Chicken Tikka Masala, hung out with Germans and was followed through a park by a pickpocket. I left London slightly disappointed that I hadn't found my own Mark Darcy and that I rarely ever heard English, let alone English spoken by English people, on the Tube. What I learned during subsequent visits, however, was that all of the experiences I had in London were indeed genuine London experiences. London didn't meet my expectations because London isn't just one thing; it is red telephone boxes, but it is also curries in Brick Lane. It's hearing a lot of Italian on the Tube, but going into a pub and hearing someone speak with such a thick Scottish brogue that you have no idea what they're saying.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing entries about specific London (or southern England) adventures I took that helped me find my second home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

One of the wonderful things about my unemployment (there are...a couple, I suppose) is that I really couldn't have timed it any better...I got summer vacation as an adult. About a week after my last day at work, I left Seattle for Houston to stay with my mom for a while. The weather change couldn't have been more abrupt, but waking up every morning to a cloudless, robin's egg blue sky definitely has its perks. The 30 degree temperature increase took a little getting used to, but soon enough, I was decked out in my finest sundresses and letting my pale legs and arms get some sun.

I wake up later than I generally would, make tea and feed the dogs. I eat a breakfast of Cheerios and watch the news with my mom. Then I begin a day of job hunting and occasionally, a little bit of writing as well. Halfway through the day, I take a lunch break and indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure; Judge shows. There are so many to pick from! After I've numbed my brain a sufficient amount, I round up the tiny dogs and take them for a walk. When we've returned and the puppies have been watered, I resume my job hunting. There's dinner and another walk for the puppies and some TV watching with my mom.

My favorite thing to do before bedtime is go outside on the back patio, light a citronella candle and breathe in the warm, Texas summer air. During the daytime, the thickness of the air can be oppressive and overwhelming. In the evening, however, the warmth that lingers in the air blends with the smells of flowers and freshly cut grass (always cut your grass at dusk when you live in hot climates!) and it is intoxicating. If I close my eyes, I can feel myself drift back in time, to when my "real life" wasn't immediate or looming, and the days stretched ahead, filled with limitless possibility.

On Monday, I head back to Seattle for a job interview. If I get the job, I will no doubt be thrilled. A permanent, non-contract position will afford me the sort of stability that lends itself to leasing an apartment and finally fully becoming an adult. There's also a shot that I might have a few dates this summer, and that maybe I might get into grad school. Monday will be back to the real world.

Unemployment is an uncomfortable and mentally taxing time. The leisure I have is due to the fact that my parents are generous enough to let me stay with them until I sort out this life of mine. But what I know now is that life moves so incredibly quickly; it seems like it was just last year when I was having full 3 month summer vacations from college or high school. Without the punctuation marks of vacations and exams, dances and football games, adult life drops into a pattern that ticks along quickly and without slowing to remind you that the year 2009 is halfway over. With my break/contract ending, I had one more shot at the languid, drowsy pace of the summer vacations of yesteryear. I enjoyed them more than I ever could have imagined.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What A Feeling

I've never seen Flashdance. I honestly get it confused with Fame quite a bit, which is pretty pathetic. But it's the truth. I've heard this "What A Feeling" song before, but my feelings about the song are shaped by the fact that everytime I heard it, the lyrics were lost in a jittery, thumping techno beat in a cheesy, smokey disco in Paris.

During last week's season finale of Grey's Anatomy, the always brilliant music producers selected this really wonderful cover of "What A Feeling" that made me get that tight, pre-tears feeling in my throat.

I cannot express in non-emo words how much I hate what my life has become. Two failed attempts at grad school. Living at home with my parents. Health issues. And now I'm unemployed. I just feel so helpless and alone but at same time, crowded and without an exit.

Everyday, I wake up and entertain the thought of taking my meager savings and disappearing on a plane to Paris. But I know that isn't realistic at all and I really have to try harder and focus and reach for whatever it is that I want out of my life. I'll be 25 this year and I want to be able to really be proud of something I've accomplished.

Hopefully, as I dig myself out of my Haagen Dazs and Vodka filled pit of despair, self-loathing and self-pity, the words can mean something more to me and help me really acknowledge that life isn't something passive and sitting back and letting things happen is no way to live. You have to take your passion and make it happen, right Irene Cara? And hey, with this extra time on my hands from being sans job, I might even watch Flashdance.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

You're Young Until You're Not

The past week has been a terrible rollercoaster ride. Terrible because instead of soaring highs and then steep, sharp drops, it's just been feeling a lot like I'm nosediving into an abyss. Melodramatic? Definitely. But being 24, single, unemployed with few job prospects and living with your family tends to make you not so optimistic about the world around you. Mostly because being 24 means you're still quite self-centered and focused on what you don't have instead of what you do.

And frankly, there's a lot that I do have to be thankful for. Like a loving family, a roof overhead, money for frivolous things like tall black tea lattes, Netflix and clear plastic bags full of Juicy Pear and Pomegranate jelly beans. A shopping bag full of books I need to re-read, money in my bank account, and, for the most part, my health.

So despite the fact that I'm really actually pretty depressed at the moment, I'm going to try a little bit harder to be hopeful about my future and thankful for the things I have.

I'm going to take ballet classes, join a French speaking group, apply for jobs, visit friends and family members in far flung corners of the country, take more long walks in the rain, buy flowers, garden, build things, take Flash classes and hope that somewhere, there's a job that's just right for me.

I'm going to be 25 soon. While that's still pretty young, I think it's time for some self-reflection and taking stock of who I am right now and what I hope to become. I feel lost all the time because I don't know what I want from life and it's high time I sort that out.

This will be my theme song:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Updates! For all...3 of my readers :)

I haven't written in a long while, mostly because there's not anything particularly noteworthy or interesting going on in my world. But then I realized that the point of this blog had very little to do with life-altering, earth-shattering events and more to do with the banalities of everyday life and my working my way through this odd little life of mine.

In any case, I will soon be unemployed. Not because I've been laid off, but because the contract for my current position expires next month. The behemoth company I work for has actually gone through a pretty sizeable round of layoffs, and I'm pretty sure if my contract didn't end when it does, I'd have been gone in January. My two officemates were brought on after me, and both of them saw their contracts abruptly cut off. And by abruptly I mean their bosses told them on Monday that their last day was Friday.

My days have now taken on a thick and relentless monotony. I come to work, make a cup of tea, check my mail (where there isn't anything for me to do because no one wants to start me on a new project if I'm going to be gone soon), check the blogs, apply for jobs. Repeat for 8 hours. There is absolutely NO REASON I should be exhausted at the end of a day like that, I chalk it up to the emotional toll sitting around doing nothing when you know you could or should be doing something takes on you.

I've been applying for jobs since December and I've gotten 1 interview. I'd feel worse if the economy wasn't so poor, but I just know that this is the way things are going to be for a while. All that I can do is keep trying and hoping for the best.

Ugh. The point of this entry was NOT to be depressing, but rather to offer an explanation of the changes I hope to make over the coming months. Because I'll be unemployed for a while, I plan on writing a lot more. In part because writing is what I love most in the world, and in part because I won't have anything else to do. There are probably 30 or so half-written entries waiting to be finished and posted, and I'm hoping to do a little bit of commentary regarding my job hunt.