Moving to Avondale

Tomorrow I move out of my aunt’s mom’s house and into my new roommate’s home/my new home. I’m really excited, even though “moving” is going to consist of putting my clothes and shoes BACK in my car and taking a drive down to Roscoe Village/Avondale. The rest of my stuff remains in Caldwell and my bed is still at my brother and sister-in-law’s. Think a full-size bed would fit into a mini van? Because renting a U-Haul in December is going to suckkkk. My dad can’t help me caravan my stuff here until after Thanksgiving, when his school break is. It’d be nice to come home for a few days, but we’ll see what I can take off from work.

Speaking of work, I did my training today. On that note, there was a small thing in their employee handbook about blogging, and so, from now on I’ll be referring to them as the department store. It’s never a brilliant idea to blog about where you work, even if I’ve been guilty of it in the past.

I’ve been sick as a dog since Wednesday night but I’m finally starting to feel better. That made today’s training pretty horrible, and for some reason we weren’t told to take a lunch break between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Maybe we were supposed to ask, but I didn’t want to look like a slacker my first day and whine about taking a break.

Next week, I get to be an audience member for a taping of some talk show (NOT Oprah) as the result of my answering some Craigslist ad. I don’t know anything about it other than it’s about women’s issues and they needed a studio full of ladies. It tapes Wednesday from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., but I get paid minimum wage to chill out there for the day. I fill out paper work Monday morning.

I had an interview at Old Navy, but I think they were a little discouraged when I told them I’d just gotten on part time at another store. In any case, they said they’d call yesterday but they never did.

I miss home, but I’m glad I’m here. I am trying not to rely too much on Christina and Liz, the only people I know here, but lucky for me, they both seem very willing to show me around and help out when they can. Christina’s already got me straight on how to buy a CTA pass, where my nearest bank and Target are, where to get my dry cleaning — should I ever be able to afford a luxery like dry cleaning. Someday, you guys. Someday.

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Getting better all the time

This time last week, I was driving away from Ohio in my Cavalier with two duffle bags and a winter coat. It was a surreal day, although nothing compared to the week that would follow. So ended the weirdest week of my life, just yesterday. And today, I feel a lot better than I did, because I found a placeholder job and an apartment, much to my own surprise.

This morning Macy’s offered me a part time gig in housewares. It’s only 12-17 hours a week, but I also have an interview Wednesday at Old Navy that might be able to offer a similar schedule. Between the two of them, I might be able to pull off full time, minus the benefits and security. But anyway. Now I actually have time to work toward getting a full time job in my field. With this newfound time, I am of course blogging.

I met a huge group of Christina’s (my future roommate, a lawyer and full-time awesome human being) friends Friday night, including a woman who does PR for an environmental non-profit. She is excited to help me get some possible project work or a full time stint, and I am excited to let her do so. She moved to Chicago from New Jersey years ago under similar circumstances, without a job or friends or a home. What is it with us crazies?

Christina introduced me to Chicago’s own Old Style, a beer my dad had mentioned the week before I left. “It’s swill, but it’s our swill,” she said as she pushed a can toward me from across the table. She and I are watching the election returns tomorrow with the third roommate (or I guess I’M the third roommate now).

I went to check out the second place Saturday morning with my aunt’s sister. It was a beautiful home, but I decided against it. Christina is great, and I think I will have a little more freedom and less awkwardness staying with her. She seemed to have a lot of rules and she’s used to hosting exchange students who don’t have people over often. And that’s fine, it’s her house, but I think I am ready to finally have a place where I can come in at 3 a.m. and not feel like I have to answer to anyone about it. I can’t think of anywhere I’d realistically be until 3 a.m., but I like having the option.

The argyle fairy

On Saturday night, Liz took me to Lincoln Park and we hung out in a couple different bars. First was Mickey’s, the OSU one I was all excited about. It was fun, although as Liz pointed out, it wasn’t so much like going to a Columbus bar on game day as it was like going to any bar anywhere on Halloween. There were definitely more people in costume than in scarlet and grey, but that was just fine. We decided at the last minute to dress up; Liz got out all the costumy accessories she already had and we went from there. She had a tiara and a pair of wings, so I added a wand and a tutu from an Evanston costume shop. She bought a cowboy hat and threw on her most western style jeans, boots and shirt. Presto chango.

On Sunday I spent the day with my aunt’s mom and did some more job hunting. She and I went to Border’s for a little while, and she bought me a David Sedaris book. The first essay in it is about his stint as an elf at Macy’s, so it seemed like appropriate reading. She also took me out to dinner at a place called Grandpa’s by the train station and I got best burger I’ve had in a long time. I’ve really enjoyed staying with her and I think we have really gotten to know each other in a week.

I have something to do every day this week now, which is weird, especially compared to last week’s vast nothingness. Tomorrow I’m hanging out with Christina all day; Wednesday is my Old Navy interview; Thursday I am meeting one of my uncle’s friends for lunch in Evanston; and Friday is my training for Macy’s. Pretty crazy.

A hostel living environment

This weekend I took another car load of stuff to my dad’s. Most of my belongings are out of Owen and Jamie’s, but I don’t know how to get my bed and small couch out of there and to Dad’s. It sounds like they’re okay with those going in their basement until I can bring a U-Haul trailer to their place en route to Chicago next month.

I have become more accepting of the infeasibility of my getting both a job and an apartment lease signed between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 and am now looking into the cost of living at a YWCA or a hostel for most of November. Most hostels seem to be between $20-$40 a night, but I’m going to call around to some places and ask about a weekly rate. The word “hostel” sounds a little scary to me, but I mostly blame Eli Roth for that. My mom and I stayed at a Y one night in NYC and it wasn’t so bad. We had to share a bathroom but we got our own approximately 12 ft x 8 ft room. Close quarters, but it was cheap and temporary. Just like my future living situation!

No landlord is going to let me sign a lease without a job and my invitation to stay with my aunt’s mom is only for two weeks. I don’t want to make her nervous by asking to stay any longer, nor do I want to be the burden I’ve felt like for most of 2010 for any longer than that. My dad, aunt and uncle didn’t seem to think the hostel idea was so crazy and I know if they had any doubts they’d voice them. Have you ever stayed anywhere like that, abroad or in the states?

Because I am taking vacation days to go to NYC, I only have five more work days left. That is insane.

Considering a career change

So, I sort of got my wish and was mercifully rejected for that job sooner rather than later. But the e-mail from the executive producer who interviewed me sounded positive, and he asked that I look him up once I’m settled in Chicago. It sounded to me like I was a viable candidate and that maybe things would have gone down differently if I didn’t, um, live in Ohio.

Even though I didn’t get this job, it really lifted me up. I interviewed for a job doing what I love: video. When I applied for the position, it was on a whim; I didn’t really think I was qualified to edit a TV show, but someone else looked at my body of work on my online portfolio and thought otherwise.

I went to school to be a reporter. I did that for nine months before moving over to PR. There, for two years, I learned how to make it in public relations. But the whole time, from college until now, I’ve been training myself for a different career, one in video. It’s my hobby, but it’s moved over into my professional life in PR, and I made that happen. Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, but I’m starting to think I’ve been preparing myself for this the whole time without even knowing it.

Additionally, the software the TV station uses is Final Cut Pro, the professional, expensive version of Final Cut Express, which I have been teaching myself. My interviewer even told me they weren’t that different and my lack of Pro training would not be an issue. That software purchase could turn out to be an investment in my future and I need to use this time to excel with it.

So, back to the application process. I’m trying to stay positive and hold onto the hope that something, somewhere is going to turn up, be it a hotel or a TV station. And if it’s got to be a hotel, may it at least be a fancy one.

Apartment and job hunting

Last night I dared check Craigslist for Roscoe Village apartments and was pleasantly surprised; prices seemed to be between $450-$700 for renting a room in a two or three bedroom place. Per person of course, but still awesome, considering I’ve been budgeting for at least $1,000 a month. And these places look really cute. I hope I can find something pretty easily during those first two weeks out.

Basically everyone knows now that I’m moving. And boy, people sure do look at me funny when I say I don’t have a job lined up, nor am I starting grad school. I also keep hearing “you’re so brave” a lot, paired with bewildered but polite facial expressions. Fun! On the other hand, some people seem genuinely impressed that I’m going for my dreams full-force and admit they’re somewhat envious. Envious of my strength and audacity, I hope, as opposed to my caution-to-the-wind crazed mentality.

If I really can’t find something in my field by then, I fully accept the reality of working in a hotel for a while. In fact, I welcome it. Housekeeping was a great job; I was active all day, worked hard, made tips. At some places you’re allowed to listen to music while you clean or in my case, books on tape. It was hard work and the first week left me a pile of raw cookie dough, but I liked it. Obviously I don’t want to do it forever, but it sure would be a nice change of pace from being behind a desk for eight hours a day. Being a reporter was a nice mix of sitting and writing and being out and about on my feet talking to people.

Anyway, I’m getting more and more excited about my plans although I am also starting to realize how many people I will miss and no longer be able to see on most given weekends. I need to have a big going away party or something. Britt’s throwing me one back home but I don’t have a plan for seeing my Columbus friends before I head on out. Something’s gotta get in the works soon.