midwest diaspora v2.0

i stole this name from soren

being an adult
Is not all it's cracked up to be? Duh, I guess. I guess I don't know that many adults who come home to roommates screaming into their computers about killing zombies (Soren's playing Left4Dead, anybody who reads this is a video game addict? Probably not).

I started my "real job" this week. I like it. Weirdly, it's a lot easier than my fill-in job, with the SF Unified School District. This week I worked M, W, F at the Exploratorium (www.exploratorium.edu) and T and R at two different schools (Jefferson Elementary, in a 3rd grade room, and James Denman Middle, in a mixed "ED" room).  

And I find myself once again spread out across the board, with little to tie the things I do together (this is something we actually discussed at my Exploratorium interview) besides the fact that I do them.  Working as a substitute teacher's aide (being a teacher's aide is about as glamorous as working in a tollbooth, and being a substitute, well... I guess emotionally it's like working in a tollbooth without your respirator) for an understaffed, underfunded, and underorganized school district versus working in a relatively cushy position at a well-funded, well-infrastructured (I won't go so far as to claim that the Exploratorium is "organized", nor would any of the other staff there, I'm sure) and well-established museum of really neat shit, where there do happen to be a lot of kids running around, but my job requires absolutely zero interaction with them.

And the question is--are either of these things what I'm "supposed" to be doing?  There's plenty of pressure from the teachers who I meet, work with, and abandon after a day to get my teaching credential and master's degree in special education.  I could probably be happy doing that.  But my idealistic, theoretical, (selfish?) side thinks maybe I can do something grander--work this Exploratorium thing, get in on some badass projects, meet some famous scientists and do something interesting and unique that a few academics really get a kick out of and maybe some kids at this museum will run around and pound on an exhibit about it.

Can I do both of these things?  Special ed (this includes students with emotional and mental "abnormalities") is as foreign to me as the places I was visiting a year ago (yeah, that was a YEAR ago...) because I was always that annoyingly smart kid, latched on to school and learning and perfection as my coping mechanism... I wonder if I'd be more well-balanced (less neurotic?) if I'd acted out a little more when I was a kid, gotten in some trouble every once in a while...

Anywho, what to do, what to do. 

the hottest summer i ever had...
Was a winter in San Francisco. For the moment, I can legitimately flip-and-reverse our favorite quipper, Mark Twain. Today's November 16, and it's been over 70 degrees for the past three days in this ridiculous city I now refer to as home.

Mark Twain is still right though--it never once got this beautiful or warm during August when I was here. The really stunning thing for me is that all the trees are still green, the grass is green, and nobody's even preparing to hibernate.

Yesterday I spent the day tootling around downtown, the piers and North Beach, which I haven't done in a very long time (I think the last time I explored around there I was about 20, and visiting for a weekend). The thing that is great about cities in general is the high concentration of everything. Good stuff, bad stuff, it's all here, all in one place. And we have a beach, too, which is pretty badass.

let's see
It's foggy today--I can barely see the high-rise student apartments of San Francisco State that reside down the hill (a little less than a mile west) from our house... and I most definitely can't see the ocean today. The fog could rise by the afternoon.

I can't tell if I'm gearing up to be a meaningless twenty-something for a long period of time, but I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable with the fact that I don't have a full-time job, and might not have one for a while. I'm starting to enjoy the openness of my schedule, and find myself things to do, even if they aren't directly helping me pay my rent (ie: volunteering with an after school program, doing some pro-bono translation from English to Spanish, trying to be a volunteer mechanic at the Bike Kitchen).

Eventually these things will either distract me enough that I won't feel unfulfilled, or they will lead to me finding a "real" job of some sort, right? Let's hope so. I am still toying with the idea of graduate school, but hesitant to really stick my whole self into it, because I don't know how long it will take or if I'm ready for that kind of commitment. And what that really means is, I'm still holding onto my "freedom" (whether that exists or not I'm unsure) so I can move someplace else to be with someone important in a year, a few years, whatever the case may be.

A wise woman who I only knew briefly once told me that these long-distance serious relationships are mostly about compromise. She was getting a masters degree in Europe, while her partner lived in Lima, Peru. She said, "I'm doing this, because I need to, but then after it's over, I'll go where he is. I have to compromise like that, otherwise it isn't fair to either of us, to have this unknown amount of time and distance between us."

Regardless of whether I'm too selfish to make a compromise like that, it's not the only thing keeping me from diving straight into grad-school applications. I have vague ideas for awesome projects, but that's about it. I'm not sure what department I want to be in, I sort of what to do social work, but all my background is in environmental stuff, can these two things be merged, etc etc. I think I need to do some serious research to figure out the best way to approach my ideas and really wow whomever it is I want to study with with a badass and creative proposal.

AND I just started a new part-time job with the San Francisco Unified School district, as a substitute aide with special education. It's pretty intense, but I understand now why a good number of people I respect chose to work with children with special needs. So will that figure into this? I guess what I'm saying is that I need more time to decide. But applications are due either in December (in a month, basically) to start in the fall of 2009, or wait another year, and plan on starting in the fall of 2010... which seems eons away from where I'm at now.

[and part of me still secretly want to leave the country again...]

end radio silence
oh hey. i didn't forget about you after all, did i?

synopsis of the last six and a half months:
-got back to the united states, low-level culture shock ensued
-immediately got an expensive tattoo of an octopus carrying a unicorn (this is called "resettling")
-was a squatter in madison, wi all summer
-got "engaged" to be not married because the institution of marriage is a pile of horseshit, but loving somebody so much you think they shit rainbows every morning (he DOES!) is a good enough reason to spend money at art gecko
-had a preposterously fun and immature summer
-drove or rode in the car to tennesee, north dakota (and back to wisconsin), flew to CA, drove to WI, then drove BACK to CA
-"real life" kicks in: new apartment, new life, new roomates in san francisco, the "greatest city in the world" where i alternate between wondering what the fuck i'm doing here, hating it, loving it, getting excited about a job opportunity, then wondering if i'll ever get a real job.

i've been in san francisco living with bff soren, blb (best little bro) guthrie, and taryn, who i don't know particularly well, since the beginning of september. we have a view of the ocean, if i look left out my living room window i see the peninusla and all of daly city, if i look right i see the sunset district and the hill that i have to ride my bike either over or around to get to the more happenin' parts of the city.

the weather here is confusing. there are really only 2 seasons, but there's a lot of variation within them. july and august can be the coldest months of the year (weirdness) and winter is "the rainy season". a short bike ride from my house can reveal completely different weather.

soren (and jamie) pretty consistently tell me that i have to go through this transition period after college. i managed to put it off for a year traveling and distracting myself by living in madison with two fun and non-professional jobs and surrounded by a good number of people i love... the justification for moving away from such a glorious oblivion? 1 part feeling responsible as an older sister, 1 part adventure, 1 part running away from what i know (hey, it worked before).

my general conclusion at this point is as follows: the united states is kind of a shitsandwich place to live, in general. there are too many rules, too many imaginary things to be afraid of (and my paranoid hypochondriac ass sure does convince itself), and not enough jobs that have decent health insurance.

my recommendations:
my morning jacket's evil urges
ali baba's cave on valencia and 19th st (maybe it's 20th) for delish and cheap falafel
the muni fast pass for $45 a month
NOT the soy mochas at ritual, regardless of how snooty their coffee is, they don't use good soy milk, and the drinks are not fit to be consumed

por favor, drop a comment if you read this, i'm pretty sure this livejournal has been dead for so long nobody looks at it anymore.

cozumel mexico
we had an iguana named cozumel (cozmo for short) when i was a kid. we got him when i was in 3rd grade, and he grew to enormous proportion, had his tail surgically removed, and was peacefully put to rest (in the mississippi?) when i was a junior in high school.

this place is the whole reason we got the scaly substitute for a dog in the first place. cozmo was kind of an attention hog (this is coming from the only-child-to-single-mom in me), but i liked him just the same. i didn't have any other friends that needed an electric rock to digest their salads.

so here we are, i can't scuba dive much these days, because i have a bum ear (that's the verdict)... i'm going to try again today, but prospects are bleak, honestly. i think i just have really finicky eustacian tubes or something, which causes me extreme pain between 15 and 35 feet underwater, where you have to hang out quite a bit when diving. once i get down to like 45, things are ok, but that middle part is just a killer, and after one dive, 2 days ago, my ears are still acting pretty weird.

it is beautiful here (as usual) and touristy, but as far as i'm concerned, a reasonable buffer zone between ecuador and the midwest. and at least i can get a sunburn while i wait for my glorious return to the chicago ohare airport, where, goddamn it, my bestest friends better be waiting for me (last time i flew in the jerks picking me up were late--just kidding, guys, you're not jerks, but you were late).

so now, i have the summer of music festivals, painting decks, slinging espresso, and getting ready to move to the bay area ahead of me. i suppose i'll make a feeble attempt to keep up the blog, but if things aren't interesting, then i probably won't do much with it. but don't give up on me!

things come to a close
sort of. yesterday i had a freak out about the fact that we are leaving ecuador in three and a half weeks, and i´ll be back in the states in a little over a month. i am really excited to go home, see people again, and be a barista who makes more money in a day that i make in a week at my waitressing job here... but it is going to be sad to leave.

i am going to miss my house, which i have become quite comfortable in, despite the mold on the wall under the kitchen window that no matter how many times i clean it comes back after a few days. and the potato bugs that think they own the place, and climb into empty jars, jars with water in them, my coffee cup (empty and otherwise) to apparently just commit suicide, with complete disregard for the fact that i might want to finish that coffee... without protein enhancement.

but, even though i´m sad my trip is coming to an end, i accomplished what i set out to do--figure out what i want to do next. and spend all that money i saved up last year (and had to pay TAXES on, realizing i´d already spent all the money that was being taxed when my mom called me to tell me to first sit down, then send her a check for $400).

so this next week i´ll be saying goodbye to ecuador old-school, because toby is coming to visit. he arrives tonight--and we should be able to rock ecuador so hard, seeing as how we did the same just 4 jam packed years before this. i feel old. the other night nora and i looked at some photos of when i lived here in 2004, and i look weeiiirrrd... i´ve grown a lot since i was 20 and studying abroad. i´ve grown a lot since i was 23 and leaving the midwest for africa 6 months ago. and i´m sure i´ll grow a lot more...

a picture of my house
as requested, here's a picture of our house.

it is sort of connected to this other house, and it's on a big hill, so this is the best view you get.

nora is in the window. i spend a lot of time in that window too.



living life but really its a dream
jamie came to visit, and during that visit, i managed to steal a copy of keroac's on the road, which, consequently, is also in a way "stolen"--the book itself is bound, and like a normal book, but it is very obviously a bootleg copy of said book. it is weird, but i love it that much more because of it, i guess.

ecuador is awesome, sorry i've not been updating much. honestly, my life is not that exciting, on a daily basis. i spend a lot of time staring out the window at my amazing view (which you will hopefully be able to find in a link lower down, if i can get the damned pictures to upload). a lot of time. i work at a little cafe with a bunch of cool co-workers, who make the fact that i earn less than $3 an hour (thats after tips and my cut of the sales each night) less painful. they are awesome, and i wouldn't work there for free, but i work for no tips and shit pay without a real grudge, because i've made such amazing friends there.

i spend a fair amount of time thinking about what's going to happen when i leave, which now, as of a couple days ago, has an official date: i fly out of quito on may 14, spend a week in cozumel, mexico with my mom and john (yeah, we are scuba diving!!!) and fly into chicago o'hare (right where this whole adventure started so many months ago) at 11:32 PM on may 21. just so you all know. on continental airlines. go ahead and plan a big party in the airport for me if you want. i will spend at least a day in chicago, mostly because i want to, and partly because i think i won't make the last bus. obviously, it is the perfect chicago bread sandwich to my crazy world travel adventure. and my bike is still there, which makes me really happy. hopefully i still know how to ride--i haven't been on a bike at all since san pedro de atacama, chile; and haven't been on my fixed gear since i left in november. i miss you, 1983 blue trek!!!!

let's see, what else. this week nora and i flew to cuenca and chilled out there for a few days, we didn't really do much, but walk around, and went to see a movie, called the something something spiderwick. chronicles of spiderwick? it was a cool movie, in spanish. it would be boring in english, unless you are like 11. toby, you would like it no matter what. that's not meant to be an insult.

jamie and i went to the "amazon" but really we were just on the edge, in a weird little shuar pueblo, where there's a tiny nature preserve. as you will see from the photos (which are currently uploading, as far as i can tell) the trip was pretty self-involved. we spent a lot of time doing that annoying couple stuff, like staring at each other and making faces.

as far as the future goes, i'm planning to do a sweet repeat of last summer: bonnaroo (even more exciting lineup than last summer), working at barriques and some maintenance work on the side (moonlighting for more money in this case, i guess), crashing in jamie's room at phoenix, because he refuses to sleep in the big bed anyways, and someone ought to use it (but it might be leaving us before we want it to, because that bed is actually nahyun's, and nahyun is using nora's bed, and nora is gonna get that bed back from her... so if anybody has a double bed that they want to get rid of, let me know, or i'll be sleeping on a very uncomfortable futon this summer). THEN after the summer of working and rocking madison on my bike and going to as many music festivals that i can afford (they are addicting... flaming lips at 10,000 lakes fest!!!)

THEN, after all that crap, we are in theory moving to San Francisco. in theory, me, my little brother (who's not really that little anymore), soren, and possible others. really we'll probably find a house in oakland. i have some ideas for jobs to look for... there's some cool fucking stuff out there. any ideas, please let me know. i think i would be okay waiting tables for a few months, but really it would be nice to either be working construction (ya'll know me) or doing something that has a little more to do with my declared "interests" being ecology and peoples and making them happy and peaceful together. and gabriel garcia marquez too.

toby's coming, hopefully we will have a badass adventure at the end of april. then nora and i will go to the beach when she's done with class, then it will be time to leave. most of april i will be meditating, applying for jobs in california for the fall, and slinging mojitos at the bar. love to everyone.

photos finally uploaded: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2367336&l=9b789&id=8602808

pics preview
so if you have facebook and youre friends with la norita you can see pix of our house in her newest album.

just in case youre dying to see them.

a ver... i am still on vacay
so, ive been in quito for a few weeks now. managed to find a job (though still havent heard from the prof from ucla that said he would give me biology work here) as a bartender slash waitress (mostly tending bar) at a cute hostel cafe restaurant (vegetarian!) bar in la mariscal (for those of you wondering, and then thinking, duhhhhhhhhhh thats where it is).

i promise, really, i will put up pictures of our house and whats going on in quito soon, at this point i have no excuse except for that i am just lazy about taking photos, and even lazier about bringing my camera and card reader with me to the internets. but, hopefully, my computer (civilization! macintoshies!!) will be arriving on thursday night (along with my someone who is coming to visit me), and that will make it easier to get these computery things done. (and it means i will get to listen to some music on my compy... nora has fabulous taste in music, but you can only get so far with the entire discography of bob marley and a whole lot of usher hits...)

it is good to be back in ecuador. i missed it, but it is winter here, and though we arent having the winter of wisconsin, it is fucking rainy and cold and our house is, how shall we say, moist. very moist. i am enjoying having my own house (really, it is kind of my first house that is "mine", the co-op was mine, but it also belonged to all those other 25 people, and we couldnt smoke handrolled cigs in our underwear at the kitchen table there...) and continuing to pretty much be on vacation, i work from 430 to midnight on mondays, wednesdays, and fridays, for pretty much not money, but all my coworkers are super cool, and a great group of friends to be lucky enough to get hired into.

we all went out dancing last night, and, just a reconfirmation for those of you wondering, its true. latinoamericanos can only salsa. they asses cannot dance to anything else... oh well.


Log in

No account? Create an account