Monthly Archives: September 2013

Weekly Update #6

Okay!  So I’m back from Seattle and even though I have a few more days of stressing out over moving and working and all sorts of other things, I wanted to get a post up.  If I didn’t post today, I wouldn’t get to post until Monday, which won’t work for me since I want to start a new posting schedule with a bunch of different posts and stuff.  My free time on the plane to and from Seattle was well spent!

First up, I’m sure you’re all dying to know about how the interview went.  It went really well!  Very long, and also the most stressful and terrifying thing I’ve ever done, but I’m pretty sure it went well.  This was the most intense job interview I’ve ever experienced, so let me go into excruciating detail for you, my lovely readers.

You’ve all read about the application process in my previous posts.  Well, there was even more “application” work for this interview.  After I confirmed my interview date, I was sent four packets of information and things I needed to fill out.  Which included a 12 page booklet about ECC’s history and inner workings and an application very similar to the online version I had already filled out.  I was also required to bring a long-form CV and a short-form CV, as well as references, a copy of several pages of my passport, and copies of my three degrees.  That was a lot to get done, considering I didn’t have my diplomas or my passport here in MN with me.  Happily, I got it all done, figured out just what a CV was (it’s a curriculum vitae, which is a more academic version of a resume), figured out how to write a CV, bugged a bunch of people over whether they’d be okay with being a reference for me, and put it all together in a neat folder.

Then, came D-Day.  September 24, 2013.  A day that will live in infamy, at least in my mind.  I woke up at 4 AM, showered, took my time getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup, made sure I had everything I needed for the day, then I left around 9:15 AM.  I was only a block away from where the interview was being held, but we were told to be there around 9:30 or so, ideally starting the whole process at 10 AM.  But I was desperate at that point for some caffeine, so I left earlier to find my way to a Starbucks and get some sweet, sweet coffee.

When I got to the Westin (the hotel where the interview was), I finally met John, who I’d been emailing with, and Dustin, the HR head honcho.  They had us fill out yet another sort of application while we waited for everyone to show up.  There were eleven of us all together and we got going right at 10 AM with the two hour long information presentation.  I took notes, but most of it was stuff I’d already gone over in the booklet they’d sent.  Not too bad, if a bit long and slightly boring.

Then, slight break and then the grammar test.  100 questions, multiple choice, needed 70 to pass and proceed with the interview process.  Doesn’t sound too bad until your future is depending on you knowing what a modal verb is (hint: I still don’t) and knowing some teaching terms like realia.  I passed, but four people got cut.  That left seven of us after lunch for the teaching demonstrations.  I was placed in a group of three and we were given “run” “jump” “skip” “hop” etc to teach, along with the “Can you [blank]?” “Yes, I can./No, I can’t.” thing.  Anne had told me that you just need to be energetic and willing to make a fool of yourself (which I do on a daily basis).  So, I was energetic and very much made a fool of myself.  I got the “students” (the other potential hires) to laugh, and I’m pretty sure I got John to crack a smile when I was trying to teach “Can you walk?” “No, I can’t.” I took a step and fell to the ground and crawled on my hands and knees – “No, I can’t.”

After that, there was another break of sorts where the remaining potential hires got to sit outside while John and Dustin debated over whether to continue with each one of us or to send us packing.  We laughed to keep from crying, and three more of us got cut.  That left me, two other girls, and a guy.  Four of us.  Out of eleven, we were now four.  We did our one-on-one interviews and then that was it.  That was the end of the day.  And the kicker is we STILL don’t know whether or not we got the job.  We won’t know for nearly two weeks.  The earliest I’ll know, John told me, is by October 8th.  And that’s just if they want to offer me a job.  I might not know when and where until 90 days before I would leave.  I still get to sit and worry over my future until October 8th.  Awesome!

But to relieve that stress, the four survivors went out for dinner and drinks.  It was nice to hang out with them outside of the interview setting and blow off some steam.  They’re all cool people – Miranda, Charles, and Cheryl – and I wish them the absolute best!  I hope we all make it over to Japan, so we can get a round together again.  Besides, I owe Cheryl two drinks since she was unable to partake with us that evening.

Well, this post is already too long, so I’ll leave my update at that.  I’m stress-sick now, too, so I need to nurse my poor sinuses.  On top of that, I move home to IA shortly and that’ll be a whole ‘nother thing to post about.  So, look forward to that, dear readers!

However it goes, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Advertisements

My dear readers, I’ve fallen off the wagon of regular posting.  A lot of stress has hit all at once and I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed.  On top of a short stint at the Ren Fair, I caught a bit of a cold that I wanted to kill before my big interview on Tuesday.  (Note: My immune system is notoriously bad at doing its job – when I get sick, I either get really sick or stay sick for months.)  And now, I need to prepare for my upcoming interview with ECC as well as pack everything but the essentials for my big move back to IA.  My mom is coming up again this weekend to take home pretty much everything that isn’t large furniture.

So, as you may have guessed, I’m a bit busy with life and all its happenings.  I’ll resume posting on schedule after my trip to Seattle and potential life-changing interview with ECC.  But until then* you’ll all just have to amuse yourselves some other way.  It’ll be hard, I know, but I believe in you, my lovely readers.  You’ll get through this dark, dark time.  I can already see the light on the other side of this tragedy.

Okay, my sass is starting to show, so I’ll leave it here.  Off I go to get shit done!

Even if you need to take a break, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

*”Then” being Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

National Suicide Prevention Week

As some of you may know, this week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  NSPW is centered around September 10th, which is World Suicide Prevention Day.  This year is the first year I’ve really paid attention to this sort of thing – bringing awareness to suicide and mental health in general.

I debated all week whether or not to post something on the topic of suicide.  It’s a difficult thing for me to talk about.  But that’s what this week is really about – removing the stigmas attached to discussing suicide.  We, as a society, have a long way to go in terms of dealing with mental health issues.  It seems like it’s either throw medication at someone who has a mental illness or simply tell them to “get over it.”  And even then, it’s seen as something worse, something fundamentally wrong.  Not like how physical illnesses or injuries are viewed.  For example, when I had a fractured knee and was in a leg brace and on crutches for several months, I got a lot more sympathy from friends and teachers at university.  But when I was diagnosed with clinical depression (also known as major depressive disorder) and it interfered with my life, I got far less sympathy.  I was told to suck it up and get over it.  I was told that all I had to do was “think happy thoughts!”  But as anyone who suffers from depression knows, it’s not that simple and it’s not that easy.  I’ll delve more into my battle with depression next month, as the first week in October is Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Suicide is the reason I even went in and got diagnosed in the first place.  There was one night in my sophomore year of college where I took a bottle of ibuprofen in an attempt to give myself a heart attack.  At the time, I didn’t know how low the fatality rate was for an overdose of ibuprofen.  All I knew was that I had heard that taking too many would cause a heart attack and that that’s all I had on hand.  I spent the next several hours sitting in the kitchen holding a knife to my wrist, wondering if I should just do it the old-fashioned way.

Clearly, and happily, I didn’t.  A few days later, my roommate confronted me and made me promise to go to the Student Health center.  Again, I’ll detail my issues with depression in another post, but long story short, I did not seriously treat my mental illness until the beginning of this year.  That’s 7 years that I went largely untreated.  And while I never attempted suicide again, I have seriously thought about it.  I’ve made plans.  I’ve done research.  When I moved to Minneapolis just over three years ago, I had to redo all my research and planning.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ventured to the tops of parking ramps or meandered over bridges, looking for ways to jump.  Mind you, I’d long since decided that jumping was the method of suicide for me.  There’s no taking it back, you can’t really fuck it up, and I’d get that sensation of flying before I hit the ground.  I even went so far as to note how many people or cars were around at whatever time I was scouting locations.  I might have wanted to end my life, but I didn’t want to inconvenience anybody.

Wow.  those few words took me hours to type.  It’s still very hard for me to talk about.  Even with all I’ve gone through, it still seems like I’m admitting to a fault in myself.  A fault that I’m somehow responsible for.  Like I didn’t try to be happy enough.  It’s this sort of mentality that’s so pervasive in society.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst people ages 15-24.  All the time you hear those left behind by people who’ve committed suicide that they never thought this could happen.  That they never expected someone as happy as So-and-So, whose life seemed so perfect and put together, to do something like this.  But there’s a reason suicidal thoughts go unsaid and suicidal tendencies go unnoticed.  There’s still this huge stigma around the topics of suicide and mental health.  Once society can recognize that mental illnesses are a real thing and cause real harm and are a real problem for those dealing with them, maybe we can get suicide rates across the globe to drop dramatically.  People like me will be more willing to seek help if we stop viewing mental illness as something to hide, as something that can be ignored and still somehow get better.

I’ll end this post before I start rambling and crying as I type.  Here’s a list of suicide hotline numbers, listed by country.  And if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, it’s 100% absolutely okay to reach out to someone close to you.  More often than not, there’s at least one person who knows what you’re dealing with, who can relate to you, or who understands that your problems are real problems.  I’m pretty new to WordPress, but if you feel like talking, I’m available as well.

Whatever the obstacles, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

In A Hundred Words

Today’s post is anther mini-story.  I’ve been on a kick writing them the past few days after marathoning episodes of Welcome to Night Vale and reading some H.P. Lovecraft inspired stories.   And my own writing has definitely taken on the tone of the things I’ve been listening to/reading.

Anyway, here’s a taste of what Lovecraft and Night Vale does to my writer’s brain.

The scent of lavender was overpowering. So much so that the detective shielded his nose with his sleeve. The officer who had responded to the 911 call coughed heavily as he led the detective through the crime scene.

“It’s through there, sir.” The officer motioned towards what seemed to be a hidden door. The detective nodded, dismissing the shaken officer, and stepped into the room.

Lavender covered every surface. Dried lavender hung from the ceiling and plastered the walls. Pots of lavender carpeted the floor. It was woven through her dark hair. Even her blood looked more purple than red.

And there ya go.  Horror and nonchalance about that horror.  My new favorite genre.  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Whatever the genre, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Weekly Update #5

It’s time yet again for a weekly update, dear readers!  This one’s gonna be short since I’m not feeling well.

Last weekend, my mom came up and helped me get a lot of my stuff packed.  After she went back to IA, I continued the cleaning streak by tackling my digital life.  I spent a good two days going through all three of my external hard drives and all the files on my Mac, deleting and rearranging and organizing.  Then I lost my steam towards the end of the week.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to work a booth at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  It was a 9 hour day out in the heat and dust.  It was fun, I got paid, and I get to do it next weekend, too!  The highlight of my day was when a Doctor Who cosplayer dressed as Eleven passed my booth.  I yelled out “Bow ties are cool!” and I got a smile and a bow tie fix in return.  I literally jumped for joy.

But now I’ve got a mess in my sinuses.  I think it’s from all the dust.  But since I got home last night, my head feels like it’s going to explode.  I’ve gone through two boxes of tissues already, and my sinuses show no sign of slowing down.  So I’m taking it easy for a couple of days and hope I’m not feeling shit when I work next weekend.

However you feel, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Toss vs Donate

As you know, dear readers, my mom came up over the three-day weekend to help me pack and start slowly moving things back to Iowa in preparation for my imminent move back in with my parents at the end of this month.  Both my mom and my dad tease me for having too much crap.  And I’ve even jokingly admitted it when moving between apartments.  But this move is different because I’m moving with the mindset that I will be moving to a foreign country in the near future.  I’m not going to be able to take my bed or my desk to Japan with me.  And in that same vein, I don’t need my couch at my parent’s house – they already have several.

So I’ve been faced with the constant debate between tossing an item or donating it.  Add the options of selling it or giving it to a friend to that equation and, for me, it’s like trying to do advanced calculus.  I’ve never been good with numbers.  And I’ve never been good with the idea of throwing things away that I don’t really need.  I mean, I still have notebooks full of school notes from freaking high school.  I graduated in 2006.  I don’t need notes from English class anymore.

My problem with getting rid of stuff I know I don’t need is that I have this irrational fear that I’m going to need whatever item in the future, regardless of how unlikely it is that I’ll need it.  If I know I’m not going to need it, then it becomes an issue of the item being sentimental.  Even marginally sentimental items get packed into a box where I won’t look at it until I move again.  I still have a diorama I made in 2nd grade because I vaguely remember making it.  That’s really the only reason it’s sitting in my drawer.  I vaguely remember working on it with my mom.  That’s it.  I don’t need it, I don’t display it, I don’t look at it unless I’m going through my massive amount of things and trying to get rid of stuff.  That never makes the “toss” pile.

My favorite option is to donate things that are still useful.  That way I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything, and if it’s something that’s marginally sentimental, then I tell myself that someone else will be able to make memories with it.  Whether it’s donating to a GoodWill or other charity or giving to my friends, this is the option I most often choose.  While this doesn’t make it any easier to move back to my parent’s (because I’m still taking practically all of my crap with me), it’ll be worth it in the long run.  Once I’m settled in back in Iowa, it’s going to be several trips to GoodWill with clothes, books, craft supplies, and other things.

What about you, dear readers?  Do you have a borderline hoarding habit like I do?  Or do you live minimally?  Share in the comments!

Weekly Update #4

Alright, I know I’m a day late again posting this, but life happens!  And by “life” I mean “my mom came up for the holiday weekend to help me pack up as many non-essentials as possible.”  So I’ve been busy working and entertaining.

But that’s mainly what I’ve been up to this past week: packing.  Packing packing unpacking and packing again.  I have a lot of shit.  Too much for one girl to really have.  If anything, moving home has shown me that I need to par down my belongings quite a bit.  My apartment and my room feel emptier.  Mainly because they are, but it’s also a feeling of a sort of sadness.  I have less than a month here in Minneapolis now, a place that’s been my home for nearly three years.  I’m really going to miss it and all the people I’ve met living here and seeing my place so much emptier is making the reality of it all sink in.  That’s life, though.

Otherwise, I’ve really just been recovering from over-socialization.  That wedding I attended last weekend took a lot out of me.  I’m an introvert, so by the end of the last night there I was sort of hiding in a corner going “Can I go home yet?  Please don’t talk to me.  Is it okay if I go back to my room?  Oh god, don’t come talk to me.”  I was running on social fumes, having used up all my energy taking bridal party and family photos earlier that day.  So it’s been nice to sit at home, alone.  To watch movies or TV shows and just sit, unmoving, on the couch for hours.  To lay in bed and read a book.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hanging out with my friends.  But I need a lot of time to myself, too.

Speaking of reading books, I finally finished Good Omens!  I bought my friend John and I a matching pair so we could read somewhat together.  But I don’t think he’s finished yet.  I think he’ll enjoy the rest of the book, though.  We’re both big Neil Gaiman fans, and we both have very similar tastes.  For example, we both adore Welcome to Night Vale.  New episode came out yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.  I had my mom listen to the pilot episode and she, surprisingly, enjoyed it quite a bit.  I didn’t think it was really her style, but she has a habit of surprising me.  She is not, as I found out, a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, though.

On top of brushing up on English grammar for my interview later this month, I’ve also been re-learning Japanese.  I cracked open a textbook I used when I studied abroad at NUFS, couldn’t recognize anything, and went back to my first-year textbook from way back in highschool and have been working my way up from there.  It’s embarrassing to me that I used to be fluent enough to hold my own in discussions about politics and now I can’t think of the word for “homework.”  I’m betting that it’ll come back to me once I’m over there and immersed in it, but I want to give myself a head start.

Well, I think that’s all for the weekly update!  I’m working on coming up with a new posting schedule for this blog, meaning I’ll be posting more than twice a week.  We’ll see.  I wanted to implement it this month, but I’m already off track.  I’ll catch up this week and hopefully get it all up and going next week.  So look forward to that, dear readers!

And whatever happens, enjoy the journey!

-Kate