Three things I'm scared of at the moment

1. Becoming "better than you" - I already feel a small twinge of this sentiment when I explain what I am doing this next year. "What do you do?" "Oh, I'm spending this next year volunteering in South LA in low-income housing." Appreciative murmurs commence.

2. Becoming downtrodden by what I see. (Listen to this song)

3. Not becoming downtrodden by what I see, i.e. working mainly in the office and not getting to know the names/faces/stories of the community.


And it is decided.

Heavens to Betsy, yesterday was the perfect day of unemployment. Gym, beach, Chipotle, watched Mad Men, nap, three beers and a night on the town with Charlie. Well, I better live it up while I can ... because it's all going to be over soon. (Note my greatest achievement of the past three months: my epic tan lines from time at the beach).

That's right, I officially have a purpose in life after three months of being a drain on society. For the next year, I will be a volunteer with Americorps VISTA, working in South LA with the LA County Community Development Commission. There's still SO much I need to learn, but essentially, I will be working with the residents of low-income housing to better assess their needs - say the seniors need a better food program or want to start a gardening club. I will also be in charge of all the volunteers that help with the programs, so I will be visiting colleges like UCLA, USC and LMU pretty frequently to make presentations and get student volunteers.

And, a really exciting part of all this is that I will be living at Ascension Catholic Church and School (right near the 105/110 interchange) in an old convent (!) that was renovated to house 11 volunteers from different programs. So I will be living in an undoubtedly amazing community.

I'm really excited about this next year. For one, it will be a great experience before graduate school (which I honestly get more excited for each time I think about) and will help direct me with exactly what I want to pursue when getting my MSW. I'm sure it's going to be a challenging year - emotionally, mentally, fiscally (living in LA on about $500/month!). But I'm totally excited :)


Thoughts on 2.5 months of Unemployment.

Mind you, I'm writing this immediately after a nap - thoughts may be hazy. By the way, naps are one of the perks of Unemployment.

I have been unemployed for 53 days. This is the longest period of time I've "done nothing" in my life. Since I was 16, I've worked in addition to school. In college, I usually had three jobs at a time, plus 5 classes per semester. I was raised to be a workhorse and it suited me well. I started working the week after I graduated college, and stayed there for a year. Until I realized I was not happy. And I knew I needed to be somewhere else (read: graduate school, working for a nonprofit).

At bars, I've often planned on getting 'I graduated college, quit my job, have no money and no plan' drunk. (It never happened. I'm too cheap to get that kind of drunk). When my roommate with two jobs would come home at the end of the day and eye me suspiciously, I would retort, "Yes, Adam. It's a 'sit in bed, drink wine and be bra-less' kind of day." Yes, I have gotten a lot of time in at the beach. Yes, I generally sit at Tanner's coffeeshop for 3-4 hours, researching jobs, graduate school programs, and studying for the GRE. I've gone on roadtrips in the middle of the week, spent hours and hours with my best friends, watched neighborhood little league games, read a bunch of books and watched a lot of Oprah.

I guess you could say it's been a vacation, but does a normal vacation consist of constantly worrying about money, GRE scores, health insurance, classes to take to get into grad school, pleasing my parents, and the ever-elusive "future"?

It hasn't been that much of a vacation. I just feel like I'm in a really, really long weekend, dreading that Monday I know is coming - and for me, "Monday" means getting shit figured out.

Monday, where are you?


For some reason

I thought it was necessary to share with you everything that is inside my purse at this moment. Enjoy.


iPhoney highlights from the Northwest

Pug love before departure.


Breakfast with Thomas at the Flavour Spot in Portland.

Really bizarre "Stonehenge" outside of Hood River.

4th Parade in Hood River.

Super creepy tree with a missing swing ... dun dun dun...



Summer means

Summer means sticky hands from fresh cherries are okay to the previously germophobic.

Summer means holding babies, rolling around with dogs on front lawns, and pretty dresses spoiled with the results from the aforementioned activites.

Summer means bare dirty feet and ripe tomatoes.

Summer means local brewed beer and long night walks.

Just some thoughts from my summer vacation in the Northwest.

Photo by Elisabeth Dunker