Category Archives: Work

Questions

What do you tolerate in your life?

What would your life look like if you didn’t make space for all these things you tolerated?

What do you want to make more space for?

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Teaching the little ones

I have such a greater appreciation for teachers since volunteering in Tanzania. I have never felt like I’ve wanted to become a teacher but I respect and admire those that do and those that are. It’s a commendable job that often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

A lot of the days I was left alone with the older ‘baby class’. Basically the 4 year olds who were more advanced. The other volunteer, Kelsey, would stay with Mama Frida in the ‘baby class’ of 3 year olds and a couple 2 year olds. And the 3rd volunteer, Claire, would be in the big kids class of 5-7 year olds with Madame Eva.The days when not as many kids showed up to school we would only split into 2 classes and Kelsey and I would tag team the ‘baby class’.

Below is myself, Mama Frida and Kelsey.

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My first day in my own class was trying to say the least.The problem was the communication barrier and not having an aide help translate or help keep the kids quiet and focused. Quite honestly, the first time I taught alone I left the school day feeling so frustrated and defeated. My patience was tested and I felt like I failed so I was disappointed in myself.

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I think the best advice I could give when volunteering in such a short period and when never having the experience before is to just allow yourself some forgiveness and patience. Cut yourself a break. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to save the world going into a program like this. There are time and financial constraints. What you can do is give what you can with compassion and love to the children. I had to remind myself when I became frustrated and felt hopeless that I had never done this before. That my purpose isn’t to change the educational system in Tanzania but to help provide support and to do what I can in the short amount of time I was there.I had to woosah and just roll with it. Kids are gonna be kids no matter where you are. I just needed to have fun with it and be patient!

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Any time the classroom started to get crazy and I would feel their focus start slipping away I would break into song. The kids loved to sing. They know so many English and Swahili nursery songs. It was fun to watch them get excited and become involved again. Or I would bust out the camera. The kids loved getting their picture taken and seeing it after. It was too cute.

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The other 2 volunteers and I taught them the hokey pokey when we were there. I forgot how long the song was and how much energy it required. It always left me winded. hah!

My lesson plans consisted of Math – numbers from 0-100, basic addition, problems that highlighted missing numbers etc; as well as English – going through the ABC’s, associating a word with each letter, shapes, colors, and body parts. Kelsey and I made posters for the classrooms as tools. I also used colored post its below to help re-emphasize colors.

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It was fun to go around the room and point at articles of clothing the kids were wearing for colors. They would get so excited and start bum rushing me and yell “teacha teacha” and point to their undershirt or their sock or what have you. Drilling the color purple into them was easy because their uniforms were purple.

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Sometimes I would take the kids outside to the painted mural on the side of the school so I could quiz them on animals and colors. Why there is a dinosaur with all the other animals I’m not quite sure.

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When my patience was severely tested I would break out the construction paper and crayons I would bring to school with me. I would have the kids draw through the alphabet with animals and objects or draw simple shapes that I would first draw on the chalkboard. When that failed, just having them draw anything quietly worked for me. It was fun to see them so excited about the colors. I would hand out each construction paper and have them repeat the color of it to me. I would do the same with the crayons. It was exciting when they knew the colors on their own and would ask for a specific one.

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It was even more adorable when they would show me their drawings proudly.

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Sweet Jennifer below never smiled and was very quiet but was so so lovable.

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One day the classroom I usually taught in was occupied by visitors. So we went to the church and I tried very unsuccessfully to teach them something. They were very hyper and excited to not be in the classroom. What happened instead was we sang a lot of songs, drew on construction paper, and when a couple of the boys ran around screaming through the pews of the church I conceded to what clearly was going to be a play day and I took them outside to do just that. I was told later that they could hear us in the other classrooms. Oops!

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I wasn’t always left to my own devices with my own class. Thank goodness! It was always such a great reprieve to share the responsibility of teaching with Kelsey or with Mama Frida. Kids have soo much energy.

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Look at all these adorable faces!

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On certain days we had workbooks that we give the children to practice their math. For the younger ones it can simply be tracing numbers for the older ones it was usually addition. They also had homework as well. One day I surprised Mama Frida and the kids with fresh new pencils. She was so grateful and full of thanks. Something so little can make such a huge difference and can go a long way in these schools. The kids were ecstatic! They always wanted the pencils with erasers intact and became really sad when they weren’t. This was huge for them.They broke out into a “Thank you teacher” very loudly and happily. It made my heart swell.

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Porridge time also was a bit of a reprieve. It gave us a chance to catch our breathe and observe these beautiful children.

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The stickers were reserved for really great days and a special treat for the kids. We would hand them out at the end of the day before we were picked up. The kids were so excited they got to choose which one they got.

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Each day that passed I fell more and more in love with these beautiful children. It proved to be very difficult to say goodbye. I’ll share that experience with you all soon…

Vulnerability

Think of this word for a minute.

Vulnerability…

This is a scary word for most people. For me, it’s quickly become a value I’ve learned to hold very dear to my being.

I used to live my life in false bravado. Meaning, I thought I had it. I had moments of vulnerability, moments of joy, of silliness, of contentment, of longing, of reflection, of love, of pure survival. I thought that was it.

This was my life. These moments. These feelings. They are familiar. They are consistent.

Then there was a shift that I experienced. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened. It was around 4 years ago. I decided what I had wasn’t enough. What I felt wasn’t all I could feel. Who I was wasn’t all I could be. I wanted to explore how I got to where I was; and really just more of who I was because of situation and circumstance that was beyond my control. I also wanted to open a door to who I had the potential of being.

I consciously took action and sought out therapy. I’ve always been interested in the psychology of the mind and how that plays out in behaviors. I’m a big believer in therapy and what that world can provide to people if they only opened themselves up to it.

I can’t say that I realized at the time what was happening to me. I can’t say there was a defining moment that was the catalyst of change either. I think honestly what happened was that I became bored of all I knew and I was cognizant that there was more to me. That how I showed up every day to the world wasn’t necessarily how I wanted to present myself. But to change how I presented myself I needed to understand myself. To do that is to be vulnerable and compassionate with yourself.

The shift happened subtly although the work and reflection was tough and is still an ongoing process. Trying to understand things that came about in my life while living in the bias that is myself and my life is really strange and so existential I kind of had to look at it from a new mindset. Like holy fuck, heavy stuff. What I’m grateful for is the ability to do so. All of a sudden things weren’t enough. All of a sudden my passions started to present themselves to me. All of a sudden I had a fire in me that burned through me waiting to erupt like a volcano and I wanted everyone to be on my level.

It had me vexed.

What happened next was enlightening; my ideas and my perceptions of myself expanded. I was trying to process so much of what I was learning from my past and what got my to where I was. Throughout that time of self awareness the relationship I was in no longer became the relationship that fulfilled me. I was made to be aware of things I wanted that my man was incapable of giving me; to no fault of his own. He saw that before I did. I saw potential. He saw truth. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and with that I felt my heart break in ways I never thought possible. I thought that because of the place I was in, my expectation was that everything would ‘work out’ because of timing or that I made myself vulnerable to him or whatever the fuck have you.  I had never been in love like that before. Shit, I had never truly been IN love before. He taught me that. My relationship with him taught me that. I think that because I was in such a place of transformation and self reflection already and I fell in love during that time everything was magnified with such propensity.

Through the time of feeling completely gutted, broken heart in a million bloody pieces laid out on the table in front of me; I shed my soul. Literally and figuratively. I reacted in ways I never would have been able to before. I shared with whoever would listen about my heartbreak. I talked and cried and wrote through it. I had to look at myself, really look at myself and what I had become. I continued to go to thearpy. I asked my friends and family for help. That one was tough for me. I could never ask for help before but I did it in all my broken glory. For the most part my request was received and people supported me and held me in such a loving supportive safe space. In a couple instances it wasn’t but there were lessons there that I also value and learned from.

Through my heart break I was still learning of who I was and who I wanted to be. I decided then to be vulnerable. Vulnerable in my pain and my heartache. The people that showed me love and time helped me understand what it meant to have a tribe. There were a few other times in my life I was tested. When that happens people step the fuck up and show you who they are and what you mean to them. It’s a beautiful thing. Through my brokenness I was able to recognize that. It helped me get through the pain. I will forever be grateful for those that showed me kindness, empathy and love. Compassion is huge. It comes from vulnerability. It should never be underestimated. That shit moves mountains.

I have such a hard on for learning and I am addicted to TED Talks. Do yourself a favor and watch the Ted Talk Brene Brown gave on vulnerability below. She is amazing. Then spend your day listening/watching other talks. Expand your mind and learn something. It’ll make you feel good. I promise

 

 

Branding

I’m realizing that what New York represents to people that move here is a dream. It’s as if the only way you can truly ‘make it’ is if you do it in New York. People are walking around hustling to reach their own individual goals. A city of 8 million and a city of even more dreams.

I came here to realize my dreams and in doing so I am starting to live them.

Holy fuck is that a good feeling.
Different people have asked me why I moved here and I haven’t really been able to articulate why. I give the standard “I come to visit the city at least once a year. I fell in love with it 8 years ago. I was ready for a change…” or if I’m feeling cheeky the “well I wasn’t ready to settle down and have kids and all my friends back home are doing just that so I figured why not move to a city where the focus isn’t that…” and sometimes “it’s just for 2-3 years and the only way I could move back to the Bay eventually was to move to an even more expensive city…” Or other variations of these same answers.
In ruminating on it more and having now been here for almost 7 months I’m understanding that I moved because I was longing for something and knew that whatever it was I would find it here in New York. There was something that kept pulling me towards this city. It’s why I came back every year to visit. It’s why different people have told me they could see me living here even before I could. It’s why on a whim based on a conversation that came up when I visited here last May I decided in my heart that I was going to move here and I was going to do it asap.
I could no longer ignore the longing inside me that kept pulling me towards NYC.
From that catapulted so much more fire in me I didn’t know was there.
It’s like Eve eating the forbidden apple and from that knowing how vast the world really was with all it’s good and evil. But with me; the fire is igniting all this shit within me that I didn’t realize were dreams of mine with the true possibility of all of it coming to fruition. Fruition. That’s funny. I didn’t intend for there to be that comparison within my simile and metaphor. Fruition can mean when something, like a plan or project, is realized or it can mean when fruit is produced.
Huh.
Even as I write or try to formulate my own thoughts I realize there could be something good there. Such is the process of writing, I guess.
It is now the first day of February and I’m sitting here in a coffee shop in my ‘hood. This morning Huxley and I took a long walk through Central Park. It looks different everyday although equally beautiful. It’s inspiring to see such beauty.
What I want for my day is to produce some ideas. I wanted to get the creative juices flowing. I wanted to write and I wanted to brainstorm on ways to market myself in my new venture. This is going to be new for me. The whole me being my own brand. I’ve dabbled with it by having this blog and by creating a fundraising campaign but me marketing myself in a way that will help change my career will be big for me.
This seems to be my current theme right now. Believing that I am worthy to be a brand and to have value and to be heard. I just ask that you all are patient in my journey and if you are here to stand with me in my campaigning for me remind me when I get down or frustrated if you feel so inclined to encourage. I’m sheding some old values I’ve had of myself that no longer serve me and it’s not easy. I’m realizing the perception I had of me maybe wasn’t all true. I’m also realizing that a lot of the ways I wanted to be perceived by others is in fact true and so now I’m working on the things that I am not and want to be. So if you are still here as a ride or die’r to support me in this journey a million times I thank you. Your support is felt this many miles away and it warms my heart daily.

Letting love find you

Here’s the deal. Don’t most things worth something require time and energy and x amount of effort? Isn’t the saying ‘with great risk comes great reward’? Or ‘you get in what you put in’? Haven’t we been taught that with perseverance and fortitude we will fulfill all our hearts desire? If that is the case why do the rules change when it comes to romantic love?

People like to say not to go looking for love because it will find you.  I think that’s bullshit. I used to believe the all good things come to those who wait hoopla but the reality is if you sit on your ass and wait for things to happen life will pass you by.

See that bus that is packed with people homie? See it riding off into the sunset without you?Yeah, all those people are keeping things moving and making things happen and you sad grasshopper are sitting at the bus stop confused as hell that it didn’t stop to drop shit off to you. What you should’ve done dumb ass is hopped on that mother fucker and chased that sunset.

You have to be an active participant in your life. You have to create opportunity to happen for yourself otherwise who the hell will?

I decided what I want in my life is a partner. That shit took a lot of thought to get there. I am very happy being single. I am very happy not compromising my life and my daily needs. I consciously decided that I am ready now to share my self with someone. In deciding that you think now Mr Right is gonna walk up to the 4th floor of my building knock on my door and say “hey baby, i’ve been waiting for you to be ready and since now you are i’m here let’s get married and make beautiful children”. Hell no.

If I want to meet someone I have to adjust my life to be completely open in doing so. I have to be on the modern day dating tip. Get my photos right and start swiping away on Tinder or Hinge or whatever the fuck I need to so that I can garner some traction.

I think people are somewhat ignorant to say things will happen when you’re not looking. What I think is that when you are in right sound and mind and still make healthy happy authentic choices to better your life and work towards your goal with consistent effort those opportunities will indeed present themselves; in whichever way you need them to. Whether it be job-wise, finance-wise, love-wise, whatever.

You gotta work for what you want in anything you do.

– Want a new job? Better update your resume, apply for positions, interview and continue to network

– Want to go on that vacation but you don’t have any money? Better make a budget and start sacrificing things so that you can

– Want to move across the county? Better start researching how you can go about that and get all your ducks in a row to do so

– You want someone to love you? Better make sure you are in love with yourself first

All this shit takes work. So no, I’m not convinced that all you gotta do is sit on your ass and good things will happen and be patient and love will come. Bullcaca.

I am creating opportunities for a life that I consciously and thoughtfully decided I now want for myself. I will continue to work for what I want. I am passionate and I am engaged in life and I am mindfully healthy to do so.

Once I do meet someone that I think is worthy of my time and my heart and all things in between; I will continue to work to maintain that relationship I deem worthy.

Again, the work. It all requires work.

So please don’t tell me to be patient or it will come when it comes. Things come when you put in work and you’re ready for whatever it is you want to come.

I’m the only one who knows if I am ready. And I’m ready.

Watch me ride off into the sunset chasing butterflies while having fun doing so. I’ll make sure to wave at you if you’re sitting at the bus stop.

More changes to come

I’ve been thinking lately of making a career change. Ask me what and I’m unable to respond to that. I’m still unsure of that tiny little detail. I started my job a month and a half ago. Do I like it? Not one bit. Am I happy I’m getting paid? Fuck yea I am. My savings is still sorely lacking. And by lacking I mean it’s nonexistent; but like everything I’m giving it the gift of time. But my closet sure is growing by the day given my penchant for online shopping and pretty new things.

This company is such a chaotic mess. People are constantly pointing fingers and throwing others under the proverbial bus. My boss is basically a bipolar nut job. She huffs and puffs all day long complaining loudly of all the things she has to do and what her calendar looks like. It’s obnoxious and uncalled for. My new coworker started 3 weeks ago and although she’s nice and I really do like her; she can be just as draining with her negativity and incessant talking. I hate how I’m so sensitive to my environment. I try to work with my headphones on but that doesn’t seem to help. I’ve even tried to nicely tell her we should be positive since we are here for at least the interim. She’s not the kind of person to be positive. I’m at a complete loss.

So here I am. I’m struggling to maintain some semblance of sanity as I get through my days one at a time. It’s tough. I’m overwhelmed with my workload and I still don’t know the ins and outs of the business because my boss keeps telling me she doesn’t know shit either but to ‘just go with it’. She keeps repeating her go to mantra ‘it’s all about adaptability, flexibility, and a sense of humor here’. She says that and my immediate reaction is to roll my eyes and/or punch her in the throat. Just kidding. Not really…

With all this said, I’m beyond drained at the end of the day. When I’m riding my 2nd train on my commute home and I approach my neighborhood that’s when I really start to relax. The Upper West Side is a completely different world from where my job is midtown. Once I walk up the subway steps and hit the fresh air blowing from all directions I see trees and sidewalk space. Every time I get off my stop I feel like I’m in a different world. It’s amazing.

That’s the misconception with New York. Manhattan is huge. It’s not a 14 mile radius like San Francisco. You really feel the difference in the varying neighborhoods. It’s wonderful.

Because the days in New York are so long (people pack in so much in one day here. ie work, errands, volunteering, a workout, hh [happy hour], walking/feeding the dog, dinner with friends or a date etc all in one day!) I like to decompress by enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail. So I end up coming home, running some errands then I let the lil pup out and feed him then I’m on my way to a restaurant I’ve been meaning to check out. If possible I’d prefer getting together with a friend but if not I still really enjoy solo time at the bar of the reataurant.

The problem that presents itself is that this shit gets fucking expensive. I probably cook 1-2 meals at home a week on a really good week. I miss cooking but I prefer to spend my time out of my apartment. I mean, I didn’t move all the way across the country to New York City to spend all my time in my apartment. Especially since winter is coming, I know that I most likely won’t want to leave my apartment when the weather is shitty and unbearable.

Currently I am siting at a new restaurant that just opened 3 weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to check out. It’s trendy and has an awesome bar. The bartender has been feeding me tastings. It’s great. I’m also 2 blocks from home. Beyond ideal. I have so many restaurants and bars around me I can’t get over it. Ela and my roommate are separately on their way to meet me but I wanted to get some writing in and have some solo time before. I love this shit, I really do. Not just the writing but the being able to go sit a a bar in a restaurant so close to my apt and have a drink and be in my own little world. I recommend you all do it. You will feel empowered, I promise.

Anyways, I recently bought the book ‘What Color is My Parachute’. It’s supposed to help you decide the what’s and how’s of a career as well as providing tips on landing the what’s and how’s. A lot of it I’m aware of (given I’m a recruiter and all) and some of it I don’t agree with; but I figure anything helps. I’ve gotten to the part where I now need to do ‘work’. As in, there are exercises that will help me tune in on what careers I need to start focusing in on. I don’t mind the work. You get in what you put in right? Right. (That shit was rhetorical)

All of this career shit is TBD. I keep thinking that I didn’t move all this way, miles and miles from home, to become complacent in a job I thoroughly do not enjoy. Please send good vibes. I’m very self aware but I want to make sure my next career move truly brings me joy and can use any help in the right direction. And even in of itself I just want a next career move. In all ways possible I want to enrich my life. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am constantly reminded of my mortality and that shit scares me to no avail. I’ve spent so many days, months, and years unhappy. I won’t allow myself to be in that kind of position again. I am telling you all this so I can be accountable. Feel free to hold me to that shit and call me out when necessary. Put me on blast. If any, I will respect you more for calling me out. I dare you.

Phase Two continued

It’s been a lil less than 1 and 1/2 months since I’ve been here. The time is going by pretty fast although the days don’t seem like they are. I’ve had really awesome days and some not as awesome, but not bad. I really miss my friends and family. There have been times that I’ve felt lonely and times I’ve felt on top of the world. These are all to be expected but I wish I could have you all experience a tiny bit of this with me. I’m still trying to get settled into my life here. I’m anxious. I’m very grateful and happy I have a home, although I’m not sure how long I will be staying in this apt. I’m just really anxious to get fully immersed in the Phase 3 part of this big New York move.

There have been days I was focused on finding a new job and super committed to the search, but honestly, there were probably more days that I wasn’t. It’s a bit cumbersome and at times exasperating looking for a job. Besides the fact that just looking for a job sucks, I’m finding that the New York job market definitely has it’s differences than Silicon Valley. Although, coincidentally someone I indirectly reported to in the past at Yahoo! was connected to someone I interviewed with here in NYC and spoke highly of me and coincidentally, another person I phone interviewed with had the same people in common with me and started the project at Google I worked on while I was contracting there, my network doesn’t really extend this far. Tech is a small world. But tech obviously isn’t the predominant market out here in NYC. It’s finance. I know shit about shit regarding the finance world. All I know is that some of them “wall street guys” seem douchey. But that’s neither here nor there.

Besides tech being a small world, recruiting is as well. In The Bay everyone knows everyone or knows someone that you will eventually know and your reputation may proceed you. You may have heard me use the term “suck at life”. Yes, I know some people in my recruiting network that fit that bill and made me coin the term to fit their persona. I try to stay away from those people. In speaking to a few folks out here I’m hearing more and more that the hardest part is getting “in”. It looks like you really need an in to get in. But how can you get in if you don’t yet have an in? Riddle me that.

Most of my past jobs have been strictly based on networking and referrals. It was convenient and easy. I built really good connections in my past jobs and feel my work always spoke for itself. I tried not to burn bridges because frankly the industry is so small you don’t know who you’re next boss will be or who decides your salary. Moving across country into a whole different job market has proven to be a bit more difficult than I anticipated. Ok, so I haven’t been hitting the job search hard daily and yes, it’s only been a little over a month but my naiveté assumed it would be cake like it’s always been for me. Silly me. Oh, life. You continue to throw me lessons don’t you?

Some have told me I should just keep enjoying the fact that I’m not working and get into all that NYC has to offer. I love exploring and having a lot of relaxing fun solo time but I prefer shared experiences. It’s hard to share these experiences when the only people I know here are a handful of folks and those folks already have jobs and their own lives. Lame. I also haven’t been working for a few months so the feeling of not working has lost it’s luster. Doubly lame. I’ve been working since I was 14. I’m good at it. I like the independence (read: money) it’s always provided me and I enjoy being efficient/productive and like working towards goals. So wtf people. Hire me. I’m awesome. And I’m eager. And I’m awesome.

My last job sucked. I wasn’t getting the mental stimulus, respect or acknowledgment as a human being let alone a valued employee, nor did I feel I was making a difference in the greater good of the company. To say the least I wasn’t happy there. But, I did get paid vacations and I was able to work it in a way that I got what I wanted in the end and even came out on top. I pride myself in being able to frame things my way but make it seem like it was someone else’s idea. I like to call that street smarts. Get on it. Or feel free to email me and I’ll give you tips.

Alas, I’m happy to report that I’ve found an independent contract position. Mama needs a brand new pair of shoes! (No, but really. I need new shoes. My feet are jacked. I’m sad about it but moreso that shit hurts. My feet have never known this kind of pain). Contracting wasn’t ideal initially but the more I think about it the more I warm up to it. I spoke with the CEO in much detail. Homeboy really liked to talk. Like, way way too much. But I liked him and it’s a cool start up. It may or may not lead to something full time. It’s ok if it doesn’t. It’s like we’re dating, me and the company. Gotta ease into it. No commitments up front. Gotta build that trust.  Naw I’m sayin? Naw I mean? Word.

In the past when I’ve contracted at big corporations it was through agencies. They handled everything and I was still W-4’d. Now as an independent contractor I will need to use a W-9 and 1099. Yeah, I don’t know what that means either. All I know is that the good thing is that I can jack up my hourly rate (yea bitches!) but the flip-side is that no taxes will be taken out so I better save a lot of money for when reliable Ol’ Uncle Sam comes knocking at my door early next year asking for my money back. That jerk.

This will be an adjustment for Huxley. Me getting back into the workforce. He’s used to hanging out all day. Going to the dog park for at least an hour a day. Hanging out at Central Park for many more hours a day. Going on super long walks and such. I might need to look into getting him a dog walker. I’m sure the guilt will overtake me and I will have to eventually when I’m a full time 9-5’er. But for now I get to make my own hours and can work anywhere I damn well please. If only Central Park had free wifi..

New York has been good to me so far. I hope it continues to stay this way. I’m sure it’ll be nicer to me once I’m able to buy some new comfy shoes.