Friday, August 28, 2015

Putting in the work

In the past month (six weeks, maybe? I've lost track in the job search timewarp) I have built both a communications strategy and a website for prospective jobs. For the uninitiated, that is hours of work. The strategy job turned me down, which was a huge blow, as I love the organization and really wanted to work there. I'm still waiting to hear on the website-related job.

You guys, I have never worked so hard to get a job before. It's customary to take a writing test and submit samples with an application, and I have a kickass portfolio. But these job prospects are asking for way more than I've ever seen at my level before.

I knew working here was going to be different. I never imagined that getting a job here (since my first try was not so challenging) would require so much. I'm not against hard work, in fact I excel at it. But putting in the work without any return has been, well, pretty demoralizing. I am growing weary of the search process. I've been at it for about a year now.

But I'm trying to find the balance. It's way harder to find the things here that balance me than it was in San Francisco.

But I'm trying. Hard. And that work is paying off.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The shiny new sheen has worn off

I want to go home.

I knew this point would come eventually, where I have gone far beyond my limits in new people, new places, and feeling really disconnected from my community. And now that it's here, I am grumpy and cranky and so uncomfortable.

I am grateful for the friends who have gently reminded me that it takes a year to settle into someplace new. I know I haven't even really begun to settle, because I'm not in a work-play-rest routine yet. (Side note: I have never worked so hard at job-interview prep before. The amount of work I've had to do to get to the second round at a couple of really promising jobs is enormous. I am hopeful an offer comes my way soon. The process is exhausting.)

I miss my friends, my communities, and reliably-comfortable weather. I miss the beach and the fog and my trails. I don't like the car culture, and both walking and biking here aren't particularly easy or safe. And Virginia is dirty, both in air quality and litter on the street. I'm constantly surprised and saddened by that.

But California has no water. And wildfires. And Monday's 4.3 earthquake rattled a little bit of sense into me from 3,000 miles away. Good things are happening here. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be right now. And I'm working so very hard to live in the present. I know I'll settle in. I know it will get easier. I'm almost to the six-month mark on this move, and since moving back to San Francisco isn't currently an option, I'm working really hard to make the best of it. And looking forward to the day that isn't so much work.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Posey story

I was going to wait at least six months before adopting a dog. And I wasn't going to rescue a puppy. I was primed for an older dog. There is so much need for older-dog rescue in this area.

But all the research I did showed that most of the dogs in local shelters are large breeds. And lots are pitbull mixes. My building has both size and breed restrictions. Or at least they do on paper. Everyone here owns a pit. 

I was researching local shelters and rescues when I came across Homeward Trails. They had a young Jack Russell for adoption. She'd just had a litter. 
I contacted the rescue, and learned that Lupa was only available to a home with other dogs. But did I want to see the puppies?

Who wouldn't want to visit with a litter of seven week old JRT puppies? I had an extensive conversation with the adoption coordinator about raising a puppy, and spent a week pondering my options. Was I ready for puppy training? Would I have another chance at a Jack in a region full of big breed rescues? Shouldn't I take one of these pups because I know how hard training a JRT can be? Would my breed experience put me in a better place to adopt one of these dogs?

I decided to visit the puppies in mid-April. It was naptime when I got to the shelter. I sat on the floor and waited. All six puppies were softly snoring. 
Then a few woke up and started to sniff around me. The boys weren't too interested, but one of the girls was. After a few cautious minutes of exploring, she crawled into my lap and tried to burrow into the pocket of my hoodie. She stuck out her little tongue and settled in. She had chosen me. 
I left the room to get the adoption coordinator, and when I returned she squealed and wriggled with delight. The shelter staffer agreed that she'd found her person. 

The puppies were born in foster care, and I had to wait a week to pick her up. Her foster family called her Pompeia, but Posey suited her much better. She was about five pounds when I brought her home. She was so tiny I couldn't find a collar or halter that fit her.

I can't lie, these past three months have been really difficult. Even though she's a sweet dog with an excellent disposition, having a puppy is hard. It also really requires a lot more than two hands. She needs a pack to keep her safe and occupied, and it's a lot to manage on my own. But she makes me laugh. And forces me to socialize with everyone we meet on our walks.

The reward is absolutely worth the effort.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"A fiesty edge"

I'm treading carefully around my words this week, after this admonition from my favorite horoscope.
"Some things really are best left unsaid, though it can admittedly be tricky to discern which 'things' those are, Taurus. Under this current astrology—namely, a square between Mars-in-your-3rd and a stationing Uranus-in-your-12th—please be conscious of the likelihood that even your most superficially innocuous or insignificant remark may carry with it a feisty edge, and thus a potential to unleash a stream of cascading reactions (theirs, then yours, then theirs, then yours…) that creates far more turbulence or turmoil than the initiating sentiment could've ever suggested."
Tricky indeed, especially for somebody who already has foot-in-mouth disease. So, how 'bout that heatwave? 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

All the words I haven't written

It's not that I don't have anything to say, because I do. It's not that I'm having a bad time here, because I'm not.

I am tired. Weary. The kind of fatigue that I am pretty sure is just catching up from the whatthefuckamIdoing first five months of the year. And when I sit down to write, there are jobs to search for and emails to send and so much else that is just getting in the way.

I've lived here four months now. I've tentatively made two friends, joined a cycling group and a choir, and been on countless interviews. I'm still finding my way, but I'm not so constantly overwhelmed everyday.

I'm still missing my friends, and I am still sad that many of them don't want to talk now that I'm no longer a lunch date away, but my heart is healing.

I still see the awesome possibilities here. I'm still moving in the right direction. I still have things to say.  The words will wait.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Three months

I have family in town right now, and the past couple of days has been a whirlwind of sightseeing and catching up. 

It's terrific. I moved here so this could happen. I'm exhausted. 

In the midst of visiting monuments yesterday, I realized it was my three month anniversary on the east coast. 

Let's recap, shall we?

I moved in mid-March, with a week to conquer jet lag before I started a new job. Started the job, and worked well beyond 40 hours a week, every week. 

My stuff was delayed in San Francisco, and I lived here for a month without it. 

It became clear early on that the job was not right for me. While I was considering my options, I adopted a puppy and got really sick. 

Without options for staying at the job, I left it after six weeks. It took another two weeks to get well. And until last week to feel mostly moved in. 

Yeah, I'm exhausted. But I'm finally starting to feel settled. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's summertime, and the living is eas(ier)

The construction crews in my complex and along my block have made for some tricky traffic situations this week. And a weekend street closure really messed up my travels on Sat.

But that street closure was for installation of a cell tower. Cell service in my neighborhood has been spotty. It's much better now. 

In the seven years I lived in Laurel Heights, cell service was awful. A guy -just one guy - continuously blocked the installation of a cell tower atop the Laurel Inn, so nobody in the neighborhood could make a call. And here, there's not even an uproar over a day's worth of construction. 

So much about living here is easier. Cheaper, yes, but better in so many other ways. I have a parking space. It's a covered, assigned spot in a parking lot. I don't have to schlep my groceries half a mile to my house. 

I live on the first floor, so I'm
not battling narrow stairways with my bicycle. And if I were up higher, I could take an elevator. My building is fully accessible and even handicap-friendly. It's easy to get around, easy to sleep with soundproofed walls, and easy to breathe in a building with no mold. I have a dishwasher and washing machine in my unit, so doing chores isn't quite so time (and quarter) consuming. 

The job and social struggles that came with moving are still hard, but there's a balance that I never had in San Francisco. Not everything is a struggle here. It's a huge relief and a small joy.