Crazy Things Have Been Happening!

Its been a while since my last post…..Life turned crazy! A good brutal crazy!

Crazy Event #1: I decided to start looking for a different job…. So I have been working with kids for

In Front of Mooseheart

In Front of Mooseheart

about 4 years now, through the Peace Corps and through my employment at Mooseheart Child City and School. Now I will admit that I loved both of those jobs. Kids fill your life with the unexpected every day, and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit that I had grown attached to the kids I worked with. There were even times while talking with family about my work that I referred to them at ‘my kids.’  So as I mentioned in previous posts I am seeing a wonderfully brutal man. (I might have to think of a new nickname for him…he might have took offense to the previous one…hahaha) Anyhow my job caused major restrictions on having a personal life. I am 31 years old, never married, and I have no  kids….. yeah a personal life seems like a good thing to have. So my job at Moosheart required to me live where I worked. I worked basically 24 hours a day for 5 days a week. Now I was allowed to sleep, but you are on-call while you sleep. My days off during the week were generally 2 consecutive days and they were generally on Thursday and Friday. Now that doesn’t seem too bad. Being off on Thursdays allowed me to go line-dancing with the girls, and I got to see the boyfriend on Friday, but with having to be back to work early Saturday morning lat

e nights out were not an option which limited us basically to staying in and watching TV… Though we are quite enjoying watching Game of Thrones and Modern Family together!:) After a lot of thought and struggling over what was the right thing to do…. because I was basically going to leave kids after having built a relationship with them, and that is hard on the kids as well… In the end I decided that if I were going to give my boyfriend a

nd my relationship a fair chance, and if I were going to get back into the workforce at normal office hours so I can have a stable routine, Now, at 31 years old, was the time to do it. So I went for it and started the job hunt. I blasted my resume out on Monster and Careerbuilder, but all of the jobs I saw on there were generic and most of them didn’t tell too much about the company. Though I wanted to get back to having normal office hours, I still wanted to work for a company that was helping people in some way, shape, or form. Then my friend told me about idealist.org. I had never heard of it before, but it basically is a site that lists jobs, internships, and volunteer positions available with non-profit organization and the like. Their mission statement says: “Idealist is all about connecting idealists – people who want to do good – with opportunities for action and collaboration.”  I read that and was like, “How freaking cool is that! A job board right up my alley.”

The Subaru is All packed!

The Subaru is All packed!

So I started to look and the postings were amazing. So much going on in the world and opportunities to get your foot in them. I applied for jobs in the Chicago area for jobs as an Administrative Assistant. About a week after applying I started getting calls for phone interviews! I didn’t expect everything to go so quickly. I had an awesome phone interview where they asked me to come in for an in person interview the next week. That interview went so amazingly well! I left there saying, “I crushed it!” The of course gave me the whole, “We will finish interviewing this week and inform the applicant we choose by the end of next week.” So I waited in anticipation to hear that I got the job that I desperately wanted!!! While I was having breakfast on the next Wednesday (5 days after my interview) I got an email with a job offer contract in it! I was so excited. Of course I accepted it! Then the hard part came…. telling my boss and the kids that I was putting in my notice. The kids were really upset and my boss was completely confused. I felt really bad.  Then the next hardest thing was packing up all of my crap and moving in with friends. I hate packing and moving! And I had over 2 years of stuff that I had accumulated while working at Mooseheart that I need to go through and purge. That sucked! I threw away a lot of stuff and donated even more. Finally I packed up my little Subaru Impreza to the max and got friends to help me get everything out. I will admit that I cried as I drove off campus.

Crazy Event # 2I go on a road trip to Colorado…. The boyfriend has been entertaining that idea of taking a job transfer to Colorado. Neither one of us had ever been to Colorado, so we decided that we should take a trip out there to see what it was like. And neither one of us ever does anything the easy way, so we decided that it would be a GREAT! idea to drive! all 16 hours. I love trips! I get so excited that I have a hard time sleeping the night before. Steven (the boyfriend) didn’t know that about me…though I did warn him that I would probably wake up early. I was up at 4:00am and gently started to nudge him…. he opened an eye and mumbled something about me needing to go back to sleep… at which point I started jumping on the bed and shaking him… I became an annoying 5 year old! I even ran and turned on the light…. He might have definitely yelled at me at the point… I laughed and turned the light back off, but the damage had already been done!!!! He was awake! (I won). So we got dressed, packed the car, made sure that Slayer (the cat) had plenty of food and water, and we were on our way! 16 Hours! That includes us stopping for gas and food, but still. That is a long time to be driving in a car… In hindsight it might have been better to break the trip into 2 days, but we didn’t really have the time for that because I was started my new job on the 1st of June and it was the 27th when we left for Colorado. The first night in Denver we just ate and went to bed. I was passed out drooling before Steven even finished saying good night. The next day we decided to explore downtown Denver. We had so much fun. I had done a little of my Type Awesome researching, and found a few things I wanted to get pictures of and places I definitely wanted to go. So there is a huge blue bear peaking into the Convention Center Windows. Totally cool! I also wanted to picture in front on Union Station just because it was a ‘touristy’ thing to do!:) I also found a place called Voodoo Doughnut that I really wanted to go to because their Doughnuts looked amazing, and they had a captain crunch one that I HAD TO TRY!!!! There was also a Brewing Company that I found called TRVE that I wanted to go to because I love craft beer and Steven loves Heavy Metal…. so a heavy metal brewing company sounded awesome! We decided to try a local diner for breakfast, I believe it was named ‘Doug’s’. It was amazing! I had a breakfast bowl full of potatoes, eggs, veggies, gravy, and other sauces I don’t even know what

Breakfast at Doug's

Breakfast at Doug’s

they were… but all together is was like heaven in a bowl! It was a great way to start our Colorado adventure. So we got to downtown Denver…..after I got us a bit lost, and we started walking around. It was awesome. They even had a free bus that took you up and down the main street mall. We saw a lot of things and I was not disappointed seeing the big blue bear and Union Station. I love doing touristy things. We didn’t make it to Voodoo Doughnut the first day but we were able to get to it on the way out of town (More on that later in this section). In the evening, before meeting an old coworker of Steven’s, we went to Trve Brewing Company, and it was better than anything I had imagined. Steven loved it too! The atmosphere was completely relaxed, dark, and you felt right at home. They had a HUGE long table to sit at, and the bartenders were awesome. Steven and I both tried one of their in house craft beers called Whiskey Funeral.  From the moment they Bartender put the bottle in front of me I was in

Hanging out at Trve

Hanging out at Trve

love. Then I tried it, and OMG! It was so smooth! Now I love a whiskey/bourbon barrel beer….this blew anything I have ever tried out of the water. It was 11.4% and went down like water. By the end of one bottle my nose and lips had started to go numb (of course I am a light weight and I hadn’t eaten anything). It was a good night! Buzzed off of one beer…..I am a cheap date.  The next day Steven and I decided to drive an hour and a half to go to Colorado Springs. We heard there were good trails and hiking, so we just wanted to see the area… and Steven wouldn’t be Steven if he didn’t have a plan for running. So of course we went to a park to run. When we got there we started to doing a few sprints to warm up and then we took off on our run….. I died. Breathing was so difficult, those ‘hills’ were murderous, and I blew out my knee going downhill.  The only satisfaction I got from that run was seeing that Steven wasn’t exactly happy with how his run went either.:) (Misery might love a little company.) We tried to go to a couple of other parks like 7 Falls, but they were closed and not due to open until the next week.  That was a bummer. We ended up going to another area to do a scenic railway tour but we missed the damn train and it was the last train of the day. That sucked. So we explored to cute little town that was at the base of that mountain, had lunch, and then headed back to Denver. It was not the most successful of trips, but we had a good time together. We had planned on leaving Colorado on

Swimming in Style

Swimming in Style

Sunday morning, but the more we talked and thought about everything, with my job starting on Monday morning we figured it would be better to head back on Saturday….. well Steven decided that. imageWe started to morning getting our exercise… Steven went for a run and I went swimming. Then we checked out and started back.  We stopped downtown on the way out so I could FINALLY go to Voodoo Doughnut. The line was out the door, but I was content to wait! I got 4 doughnuts, a Captain my Captain (Captain Crunch), Dirt (cookies & Cream), Memphis Madness (Peanut butter & chocolate on a banana fritter), and a Diablo (chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and a pentagram design) for my brutally metal boyfriend. 4 doughnuts came to a little under $10… That Memphis madness fritter broke the bank at almost $5. Then we started our drive home. What a CRAPPY DRIVE! I got pulled over in Nebraska for speeding. I was going 86 in a 75 zone.  That cost me $123, and I was as sweet as can be. So after I cried and got pissed off that I had gotten a speeding ticket Steven took over driving cause of course I was then going under the speed limit, and he looked like someone was torturing him as he kept leaning over to glance at the speedometer. So Steven took over and then he got pulled over in Iowa for going 80 in a 70 zone…. He came back with a freaking WARNING! I was so pissed. He laughed and I didn’t talk to him for an hour. Our terrible drive home finally ended at 4:15am. We ate a little snack and then passed out.

Crazy Event # 3: I started my new job…. So I got an email a few days before I started my new job, from my new boss. He informed me that they were moving offices, so that I would not be reporting to the building I had interviewed in…… Great. Now I had no idea where the hell I was heading. I

Bathroom Selfie in my New Outfit

Bathroom Selfie in my New Outfit

immediately started to have an anxiety attack because I don’t know downtown Chicago, the loop, or any of that nonsense. I was imagining myself getting lost and being late my first day on the job. Not to mention that parking in the city is stupid expensive and I hate driving in traffic… so driving to work was not going to happen. So I frantically started looking up how to take the metra train in to Union Station and how to walk from there to the new address. Steven assured me that I would be fine and even took me shopping

Relaxing after work

Relaxing after work

for a new outfit for work to help calm my soul (retail therapy is amazing!). They first day of work was awesome. I like the new office space… it very open and bright. I have an amazing view from my desk. We are on the 21st floor. So COOL! The people I work with are laid back and fun. Everyone is helpful. I feel like I have made the right decision and choosing this place to work. Thus far I am very happy.  Another great thing about changing jobs is that at the end of the day I got HOME. I do not think about work. I am done until 8:30am the next morning. I go home and I get to have a glass of wine (there was absolutely no alcohol allowed on campus at Mooseheart), and sit in the hot tub or watch TV. Just being able to unwind from the day and start fresh in the morning is an amazing thing!

 

View from my desk

View from my desk

Crazy Things I want to Get Started:

I am the type of person who is never content to sit idle. I always want to be trying new things, and now that we are halfway through 2015 (how crazy is that!?!?), and my life is going I. A. Ew and exciting direction – I want to start adding different elements into my routines.

1. YouTube Channel…. Want to talk about all of the things that make up my brutally blissful life…. Kind of an echo to this blog.

2. Add more elements to this blog…. Product reviews, planning craziness (I love planners), book reviews, etc. Maybe even cooking adventures.

3. Starting an Erin Condren Life Planner….. I have been coveting the life planner for about a year. I think I am ready to take the plunge and get one. I also want to try my hand at creating stickers, dashboards, and accessories for it. I LOVE being crafty. I would of course put tutorials and views on my YouTube channel.

4. More outdoor adventures. Now that it’s summer it’s time to get out and see things and take lots and lots of pictures…. Maybe even start a brutal bliss Instagram account!

So those are just a few ideas. If any of you have suggestions please feel free to share the with me.  I also want to revamp the layout of the blog and make it more personalized. So I will be figuring that out shortly.

I will keep everyone posted on how these things are coming along.

More Pictures from Colorado:

Bear Outside the Convention Center

Bear Outside the Convention Center

Union Station

Union Station

Whiskey Funeral Bottle

Whiskey Funeral Bottle

Mother of Nine…. None of which are mine!!!!

Nothing equals brutal happiness like having a family and taking care of kids. There is joy, anger, sadness, and pure WTF moments.  I technically have nine boys. They are all middle school and high school…. Now before you think that I was a very buy young woman… please know that none of those boys are mine. I have no children of my own.  I work for an organization called Mooseheart. I am a live in family teacher…. for those of you not up on the “Mooseheart Speak” that basically means that I live in the home with the kids. All of the kids come for ‘at risk’ backgrounds. I spend my days taking care of them, helping them with their studies, taking them to doctors appointment, and teaching them family values, social skills, academic skills, and independent living skills. I work 24 hours a day 5 days a week…. and my job is a rewarding one…. though, like any job, it has its pros and cons, and its ups and downs.

So I would say that out of everything…. the most brutal part of my job comes at dinner time. Feeding nine preteens and MealTimeteenagers takes a lot of work. For more complicated meals I have to start cooking around 3:00 if not earlier. They eat a TON of food, and there are days that it feels like they have bottomless pits for stomachs. Most of the time the love what I make for dinner…. but there are times when they come home after I have been cooking for hours and I hear… “Uh…. What is that smell???” At that point I see red! and I have to keep myself from getting angry! At that point they earn a consequence for not showing sensitivity to others. Some of you may be like “What!? How do you do that!!!???” Mooseheart lingo makes it all possible.  There are a total of 182 skills we try to teach the kids. From following instructions to how to answer the telephone. When they do something right they earn points which allows them to buy privileges.. like video game time. When they do something wrong they loose points. So a teaching interactions for showing sensitivity to others would go something like this…. “Hey…Joe… I understand that maybe you find the smell of dinner unpleasant… but right now you are not showing sensitivity to others because you did not take my feelings into consideration before you criticized dinner. For not showing sensitivity to others you have earned -6,000 points. Its Important to show sensitivity to others so in the future they will consider your feelings…. Does that make sense?”  So that is how we teach the kids in Mooseheart land.!  Anyhow…. back to eating… They eat… Tons.

Tonight we had lasagna and salad with chicken. This was an instance where they loved dinner and ate all of it.! Which makes me happy since I cooked for hours! So though making dinner for nine boys is a brutal job…. someone has to  do it…. and the smiles and laughter we have over meals definitely makes it worth it!

Lasagna Salad 

Where Would Your Dumb Ass Be???

When I lived in Indonesia, I remember that I was having a hard time dealing with male superiority complex that was present with my host family….. I posted this on that old blog and Just came across it…. I figured it might be something that I wanted to keep…it kind of made me chuckle. So I will share it with you all.   If you want to see pictures from my Peace Corps journey you can take a look at my old blog at fromwenchitcame. There are some pretty pictures:)

*************************************************** This is supposed to be funny and not meant to offend anyone!

Where Would  Your Dumb Ass Be???

Our World has been blessed with brilliant men–men who have really made a difference in the lives of people all around the World. Men like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, just to name a few. Hell, I will even throw in Christopher Columbus for his discovery of America (we will just overlook the fact that he actually got lost, didn’t ask for directions, and thought that he was in India the whole time). And from so many brilliant men we have wonderful things in our lives like the printing press, the light bulb, the telephone, and high heels (come one, you know a man is responsible for those amazing torture devices). So the question remains… How did they do it? How did they get so damn smart? Well, the proof is in the puddin’ my friends. It’s in the written word. Its all there in the Book of Genesis.  I am not going to quote the bible because, frankly, I can’t, but I am going to give you the ‘CliffsNotes’ version from Sunday School:

Back when it all began God created Man, and from Man’s side God took one rib. From that rib God created Woman (and he saw that it was good). He named the man Adam and the woman Eve. God placed Adam & Eve in his paradise garden, Eden. The one rule was that they could not eat the fruit from the tree of Knowledge.

One Picturesque day Adam was lounging about because he had nothing better to do. His stomach started to growl. He looked to Eve with a pleading look indicated that he was hungry. Eve rolled her eyes at Adam and indicated that he should go and find his own damn food. With a dumbfounded look, Adam let Eve know that he had no clue as to where to find food, so Eve, being the loving woman that she was, went to search for food for Adam.  On her journey through the garden, a snake happened by and stopped in front of her. “I sssseeee that you are looking for food for the man who can not feed himsssself,” said the snake. Eve rolled her eyes and nodded, silently agreeing that Adam was a lost cause and she had to take care of him so the he didn’t perish. The snake told Eve that he knew where to find food that would not only assuage Adam’s hunger but would also teach him how to feed himself. Eve knowing that Adam needed to learn a bit of independence followed the snake to the tree of knowledge. Upon seeing where they were, Eve immediately recoiled in horror, shaking her head profusely at what the snake was suggesting.  “I know that you were told not to eat from this tree, but the fruit of this tree holds the power to help Adam learn how to survive on his own. You would only be doing him a service,” said the snake. Eve thought about what the snake was saying and agreed that something had to be done to help the ever confused Adam, but she didn’t want any harm to befall Adam…she was just that caring. So in an act of pure selflessness she decided to pluck an apple for the tree’s suspended limbs and take a bite to see what would happen. Immediately her eyes became focused and the world around her appeared in a different light. She identified many food sources around her, and knew what the snake had said was true. She looked down at her person and saw that she was naked and then fashioned underwear for her and Adam out of leaves. 

Eve made her way back to Adam carrying an apple for him to eat and the underwear she had made for him. Adam looked up at Eve with is ever present look of confusion. Eve handed Adam the apple and told him to eat. Without questioning it, Adam took a bite from the apple and like Eve, immediately started to see things clearly. He looked down at his person and saw that he too was naked. Eve handed Adam the cover she has fashioned out of leaves, and Adam began to put it on his head. “No! Adam, it goes around your waist to cover your man parts.” Just when Adam was about to correct his error God appeared. “Adam! Why are you wearing leaves on your head?” asked God. “Because I am naked,” replied Adam. God became enraged that not only had his prized creation, Man, eaten from the forbidden tree of knowledge, but he was also sitting in a garden naked wearing underwear on his head like a jackass. It was all too much to handle, and in his anger God cast Adam and Eve from  the garden forever.

So there you have it. Adam was sitting naked around a garden like a bump-on-a-log, not knowing his ass from his elbow until Eve, being the kind and generous soul that she was, decided to share the fruit from the tree of Knowledge with Adam. Adam’s eyes were opened and he gained knowledge (though it seemed to take a little bit of time for the knowledge to fully sink in). Hence, Man has Knowledge because Woman gave it to him. Woman is responsible for first gaining knowledge and then generously sharing it with the likes of Man.  What would have happened if Eve had decided to keep Knowledge to herself?  I think every man should turn to the women in their lives and give them a big “Thank You!” for gifting them with the good sense to get up every morning, put clothes on (correctly), and function with some semblance of intelligence. After all, it is possible that without woman, man would still be sitting naked in the dirt with a clueless look on his face.

Jousting is Totally Brutal!

Metal Skull recently had a birthday… where the number associated with his age might have brought him closer to a different age bracket….. haha (I am younger and cuter!). Anyway he decided that he wanted to go to Medieval Times for his birthday. I had never been there….so I did what any nerd would do… I looked it up! I discovered it was a feast and tournament! HOW FLIPPIN BRUTAL IS THAT!!! So I obviously was totally excited…. it was like it was my birthday and not Metal Skull’s (he bought the tickets).

When we got to the castle he informed me that he upgraded our tickets so we could get better seats. We were told that the MedTimes3Green Knight would be our Champion and then they took us to our seats…. We were in the first row! It was totally awesome. Both of us were excited. We both got flags which we proceeded to hit each other with like we were teenagers instead of two people in their 30s. The show started and the food started to come out… Holy Cow…. The food! I love food. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to feed people. And it felt like the food just kept coming….and it was Delicious. Now… I don’t eat very much… But Mr. Metal Skull eats tons. So what I didn’t finish found its way on to his plate… including my chicken. By the time we were done eating and our waiter (I assume serving wench is not the right term since it was a dude) cleared our plates… he just looked down at Metal Skull’s plate with his mouth hanging open. He had cleaned all of the meat off the chicken bones and what remained looked like a massive chicken graveyard.

MedTimes1The night’s festivities were awesome. The jousting tournament was so much fun and I found myself jumping up and cheering, waving my flag, and taunting the other champions! The Green Knight held his own until the last battle where he was brutally gutted and carried from the ring. I was a little sad we didn’t win but apple turnover they brought out for desert total took my mind off of my woes. Metal Skull didn’t get one crumb of my turnover….(he was a little put out and mumbled something about it being his birthday….to which I replied that he ate a whole damn chicken and shouldn’t be able to feasibly fit another thing of food into his stomach.) Besides the tournament there was a horse show. They were absolutely beautiful animals. The whole night was a blast and Metal Skull said he had an awesomely brutal birthday.

MedTimes2

Its Not Like Normal Happiness…

I would say that its a pretty safe bet that ‘we’ (humans in general) strive for happiness. Most parents say that what they want for the children when they grow up…’happiness.’ We spend a lifetime working and building relationships to achieve it….’happiness.’ But how do we measure happiness? It is a tangible goal that is the same for everyone? What makes you happy might not be the same that things, events, situations, etc. that make me happy. Does that make your happiness or my happiness any less valid?

Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are about as happy as they set their minds to be.”  In my opinion this is accurate…. However my uber geek boyfriend would tell you that I “cherry picked” information to suit my needs…. The boyfriend…. we will call him ‘Mr. Metal-Skull’ says that he is too Brutal to be happy…  in any case I liked the quote so I am using it!…and supporting it.

I am going to let my inner nerd out as well…. and actually admit that I have been known to read Psychology Today. I am not a science nerd by any means, but I do find a lot of their articles interesting…and I can’t only read lifestyle magazines…. Mr. Metal-Skull would gag. Anyhow, in Psychology Today there was an article, “The Role of The Brain in Happiness.” The article talks about the work of Dr. Richard Davidson in field of neuropsychology and positive psychology, and his book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain. In the book Dr. Davidson describes the biochemical interaction between the limbic system and the frontal lobes. He says that the frontal lobes are involved in both higher level thought and emotion… suggesting that our thinking affects the way we feel and vice versa. That article goes on and says “The implication is that we can use our thoughts to change our feelings in a very important way – that is toward happiness… The power of positive psychology lies within the process of intentionally using thought to change emotion.” The article also talks about the roles of the left and right prefrontal cortex… but I wont go into all of that.

Suffice it to say that I am going to use this blog to share what I have done and will be doing to invoke positive thoughts… Some things within the realm of normalcy (though normal is relative), and some things that will make you wonder… WTF?

In any case…..My life is a happy life… I work hard to share that happiness everyday. But its not a normal happiness… It so much more brutal than that.

Welcome to my Brutal Bliss

Braces

Holy Crap! Where does time go!

SO I swear it doesn’t feel like its been that long since I have posted, but apparently my last post was before I started this amazing job! How can that be.

Life is pretty good for me.  I am loving my job. My kids (the boys I am taking care of) stress me out and give me a hard time, but Its worth every second. I mean just today, It took me over an hour to get them to complete their chores correctly! And I even heard myself saying things like, “Just do it and get it over with,” or if you don’t get it done before you leave this morning you will be in trouble when you get home!”  Oh isn’t motherhood grand! And I didn’t even need to have my own kids to experience this joy!

We have had some good times. I have done a lot of cooking and baking for them, and they love it. We all took a trip to Wisconsin Dells, and not too long ago we took a 12 day trip to Pennsylvania to visit Moose Lodges and show our appreciation to them for their continued support. That was a long drive, and long trip, but a wonderful time (even though my kids insist that I went crazy and was mean).

The campus I live on is absolutely beautiful, and every day it worth going out to take a walk… well today its raining, so that isn’t going to happen. :)  here are so pictures of the time I have had thus far.

With one of my kids, Akim

With one of my kids, Akim

@ Wisconsin Dells

@ Wisconsin Dells

Out and about in PA

Out and about in PA

Detour!

Detour!

Photo Bombed!

Photo Bombed!

Gone Caving

Gone Caving

I have had a great time thus far, and have had some not good great times, but those are few and far between. If the weather clears up soon I will take pictures of this beautiful campus and the church with its breath taking windows.

I am back in the swing of blogging again. I have started a raw food diet that has me blogging here. I am Trying to lose some of this weight I have packed on since returning back to the States. Hopefully it goes well.

So again, I am sorry for my disappearance, and hopefully you will see much more of me here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Different Road….

One of the most difficult decisions I have had to make, came once I finished my physical therapy after my back surgery and the doctor cleared me to go back to normal. Do I apply to return to my Peace Corps service in Indonesia? Or, do I forge ahead and take a different road in life? After seeking advice from many people and getting comments about how I am “Not a Spring Chicken any longer” or how my “baby bearing days are almost at an end” I decided to think about my decision and come up with a plan that was best for me. All I knew at the time was that after being in pain and having limited movement from May 2012 to January 2013, It was time to take action and get my life jump started. After much debate, tears of frustration, and talking to other Peace Corps Volunteers and friends, I made the decision NOT to go back to Indonesia, and try to start my life here in the States. My best friend Emily (We banded together in College when we sat next to each other in an African American Lit class with a teacher that didn’t really appreciate our thoughts and views, and have been best friends ever since) told me that she had talked to her parents about my staying in the States and wanting to start fresh, and they were kind enough to make me the offer to move up to Chicago and stay with them while I looked for a job and got on my feet. There would be no rush, and I could take my time looking for a job that I actually wanted. After thinking about it and weighing out all of my options, I decided to take them up on their extremely generous offer and moved up to Illinois smack dab in the middle of winter in January.

Jacket

Where I am living in the suburbs of Chicago is pretty amazing. I am getting used to the cold out here, though there are days that I look like an Eskimo when I go outside. We have tons of farm fields out here and wide open spaces. Every time I take a drive, I can’t get over how pretty it is out here. There are also tons of birds of prey around here. I see hawks and falcons every day. Harry and Libby (Emily’s Parents) took me to go Eagle watching a few weeks back. It was pretty amazing. We bundled up and went out to one of the dams in the area. There were about 5 bald eagles in the tree, and we watched as they flew around and swooped into the water to catch fish. There were a ton of people out there taking pictures with these amazingly awesome cameras and lenses. I WANT ONE! Maybe one of these days I will be out there with them. We have gotten a couple of snow storms and are due for another this week, but nothing too terrible. Its giving me good practice for the future winters. I even went out and shoveled the walkway (it seems just plain wrong to sweat that much when there is so much snow all around you).

Neighborhood

I am not that far from the city. I live probably 5 – 10 minutes from the train station, and just take that right in to downtown. That being said I have only been into the city a few times. I went a few weeks ago for a night out with my friend Travis. We went to an underground circus show that totally blew my socks off. The people were beyond talented and it was absolutely breath taking. I can’t even imagine the stamina and training it takes to do the things that they were able to do… tight rope walking, trapeze, ribbons. etc. Absolute craziness. But it was an AMAZING time and we had a lot of laughs.

Circus2

Circus1

I also started the craziness that is Job Searching. There is nothing that stresses me out more than having to sit down and search for a job. Its not just looking for a job that doesn’t sound like I would want to scratch my eyeballs out while working, it is the nervous wreck I become while I sit and wait for a call back, or go for an interview. I always wonder why haven’t I heard back from anyone? Am I not qualified for a job that I felt like a monkey could do? So needless to say I have been a little stressed and irritable. That being said, I did find a job, and even though it seems like it took FOREVER, it didn’t take that long… maybe a month total. I was hired at Mooseheart Child City and School as a Family Teacher. Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus west of Chicago. Its a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school. The position requires me to live on campus in one of the homes of the kids. I will be there to help the kids with every day life problems. homework, teaching them how to do every day chores and tasks, learn responsibility, how to do laundry, banking, etc. The goal is to teach them the skills they will need to survive after graduation when they are on their own. I will be working in the boys community. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I start mid March, and have to go through 3 weeks of training before I take on responsibilities at the house. This is exactly the kind of job I was hoping to find. I am still striving to do good, and help kids in need. That to me makes the perfect career, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to start my new life.

Moose Statue on Campus

Moose Statue on Campus

Also new… after over 2 years of growing my hair out naturally and not having anyone touch it (not even a trim) I decided to go and get my hair trimmed to remove the split ends and help it grow. To cut my hair they had to flat iron it straight. I love how it looks. It is tempting me to permanently straighten my hair.

Straight Hair

So my new journey has started here in Illinois… Lets hope this one is successful and fulfilling.