27 July 2015

Failing at Monday

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Today I failed at Monday. Or, to quote Office Space, I had a case of the Mondays. Big time. Almost to the point of saying, hey I need to go home and just start over again, okay?

I have a routine in the mornings to get myself up, cleaned up, dressed and out the door by a specific time, with my little lunch bag and if needed, workout clothes too. Yes, I’m still not back on morning workout time, one day.

And today, for some odd reason, that little routine all went to shit and I turned up at work later than I wanted and a hot mess. Literally, it was hot outside.

I don’t even know when my Monday started going wrong too, but somewhere between the shower and walking out my door, I managed to do the following:

  • Forget to put on moisturizer. I’m big about skincare too so I don’t even know how this happened. But problem solved, I put it on over my final make up because, as I stood in my hallway trying to decide about whether or not to just put it on or leave immediately for work, I decided to just do it.
  • Run BACK to my apartment to verify I brushed my teeth. Turns out, did not, and thus delayed again. But in the name of good breath, worth it.
  • Verify in my elevator that I put on deodorant. Seriously you guys, I’m batting a thousand today.
  • RUN to the bus stop to catch my bus downtown, which in 75 degree weather and humidity, makes me look dewey, and not in a good way.
  • Forget HALF of my lunch at home in its little containers and thus, creating a less than ideal lunchtime at work.

Oh, and midday result of putting moisturizer on over make-up was HILARIOUS.

To quote Clueless, I looked like a full-on Monet, which means, “From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.” Welcome to my face.

I have plans after work too, so hopefully nothing else weird happens today and tomorrow I get a fresh start.

Or at least remember moisturizer because that was a big hot mess.

 

 

06 July 2015

The truth about unemployment

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Today, I went back to work. Thus, ending my period of unemployment.

And now that I’m officially transitioning back to a normal schedule, I wanted to write honestly about my experience in unemployment.

Because unemployment sucks. Job searching, sucks. And after talking with female friends who went through similar situations, I realized that I wasn’t alone in how I felt, and that made me feel better. So, I thought I would write about it here in hopes that others find comfort in it too.

Remember, this is my experience as a female who was unemployed for a period of time. Not all of this may be relevant to you, but, if you know someone in the same situation, it may be helpful to them.

Unemployment is awful. Especially if you’re unemployed for an extended period of time.

Unemployment was the closest I’ve been to a serious depression in a few years. There were days where I wanted to scream and yell in frustration because I was trying and putting myself out there, and many times, I got nowhere.

Unemployment breaks down your confidence, emotional stability and motivation. It also can make you a bit of a recluse and slightly unhappy person.

Unemployment makes you wonder if you’re a fraud, and question if you are actually qualified to do anything. It builds you up, and breaks you down at the same time, chipping away a little each day.

Unemployment will humble you, and change your perspective on your everyday life, as well as your friendships.

So what was my experience and also my advice looking back? Well, let’s dig in.

During your period of unemployment, you need strong, supportive people around you. Those who love you for you, who build you up and listen to you when you ramble or just vent about how shitty your search may be going. And who don’t judge you when you are just in a funk or pissed off about your situation. Friends who root for you when you go on interviews and who volunteer unselfishly to help and actually follow through. Those are the people who will get you through this. And, some of your friends will disappoint you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t actually your friends, but, you have to decide if they are the best people to be around when you are having a bad day.

You will also have to find a way to deal with inevitable jealousy and anger that will come up. Jealousy toward friends who advance in their careers while…you’re floundering. Or those who move on to awesome jobs or career moves that you’re supportive of, but also jealous of because…why can’t that happen to you? Sometimes, that means putting a little distance between you, just for now. Because sometimes, when it all converges and everyone is bragging about how awesome their lives are, you are going to feel like shit. Because you’re life isn’t maybe so awesome and you have no work talk to contribute to. Know when those situations are happening, and excuse yourself from it, or talk about Game of Thrones or whatever. Trust me, it’s for the best.

You never know how long it can take to get a job (seriously, it can take months). So, put yourself on a budget. Not knowing how long my period of unemployment would last, I put myself on a serious weekly budget, covering my bills but also allowing for a little money to go out, shop and get groceries. Sticking to it is tough. Especially when you’re out with friends and they can drop $50 on dinner and drinks and you’re like, shit that’s half of my going out budget gone in one night. Watching them spend money while you pinch pennies, can be tough. Trust me. A few months ago, a friend came to town for the weekend and I had to tell her before dinner that I couldn’t split the bill among those going out, that I could only cover myself. She was supportive and understood, but I hated having to say it out loud to her.

Unemployment is also humbling. Reaching out to friends or former colleagues to network and not only catch up, but also ask if they could keep you in mind for jobs, or talk about what happened and why you’re looking. Some will be helpful, some will not. Some will dig to get gossip and then not return texts or emails. Some will send you links and promise to introduce you to people, and then don’t. There isn’t any way to make that easier, all you can do is roll with it, and not hold it against them.

And then we get to the most painful part of unemployment (worse than any of the above), which is job searching.

Job searching is like dating, in the worst way possible.

Because when you need a job and others have it, you are not in control.

You find jobs that are exactly made for you, you apply, and hear nothing. Or you do a screener call with a recruiter/HR person who has NO idea what you do so they don’t understand your answers or even how to explain the current job that’s open. And that’s if you get to talk to them. Many times they take the easy way out and just don’t reply to calls or voicemails, a symbol they have moved on, but just without the courtesy of telling you that. Seriously, I’m not a mind reader. Just fucking break up with me. Or, they relist the job immediately after talking to you. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING!

You need to have thick skin, but goddamn it is tough. Because unemployment wears that skin down quickly. Soon, jobs that seemed perfect for you a month ago, maybe aren’t because your confidence takes a hit. You don’t know what you should apply to? Maybe? And when you do interview, the more you do it, a nagging voice develops in the back of your head, saying, can you really do that? What if I’m a total fraud?

The inevitable conversation about why you’re no longer with your former company will come up. And it’s a mixed bag of how it goes. Some empathize and some don’t. Or they dig for gossip and then move on. I had one woman laugh at me when I told her (it wasn’t funny). Apparently she found it hilarious. I guess.

The worst example was from a corporate job interview where the woman looked at my resume and said smugly, “so, you just decided to up and quit your job, and then take time off to travel, and now you’re sitting here interviewing for this job, how can I take you seriously?”

Yeah, that upset me. A lot. But, in my post-Asia zen, I laughed and nicely (but pointedly) corrected her. Leaving her stammering and saying, “oh, I was wrong.”

So, that’s what I have to say about my unemployment experience. If you want to chat more about this offline or share your experiences, feel free to do so in the comments, or email me directly at myeverydayadventures@gmail.com.

Trust me, you need support while you’re going through unemployment. And those of us who have made it through, or are going through it, should stick together.

Oh, and I’m sure some people reading this will be like, WTF WHY ARE YOU SHARING SO MUCH. I refer then to my statement at the beginning of this post. Knowing others felt the way I did during unemployment helped me a lot. I felt less alone. So, I hope this will help others who feel the same, but may not have someone to talk about it with.

That’s all I have for now!

05 June 2015

Being in the moment

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I’m not great at being “in the moment.” I tend to get distracted or immediately think ahead to “what’s next.”

So while I was gone, I decided to really try and take in those moments, savor them and be present. But, when you’re gone for three months, time tends to blend together. So I made a note on my phone of my moments from the trip. Where I was really present and happy. And allowed myself to feel it.

Now, I thought I would share them with you. Contextual notes are in parentheses:

  • Driving from Hoi An to Hue, Vietnam (the drive was absolutely stunning. Winding roads and coastline, rain spitting from the sky while you passed small fishing villages)
  • Watching it rain in Hoi An while eating breakfast (I had not seen rain in almost a month and watching it rain on a peaceful street was gorgeous)
  • Kayaking in Bai Tu Long Bay in the rain with cliffs around me (this is in northern Vietnam, near Halong Bay, it was raining a lot of the time and I was one of the few people out kayaking while Vietnamese fisherman picked oysters off the stones on the shoreline)
  • Taking a tuk tuk from the Siem Reap airport to my hostel at “golden hour.” (This was at sunset and the dirt looked golden as well as kids ran along side part of the ride in)
  • Seeing the Sapa rice fields for the first time. (Sapa is in northern Vietnam, near the China border. It’s a very hilly and rural area, with small villages dotting the hills. The first view of the fields is a true force and makes you say, “wow”)
  • Vietnam homestay view (During my hiking in Sapa, I stayed with a family in a small village called Bang Ho, in a house on a hill that looked over the village. While the hosts made dinner, I got to finally relax a bit with a beer and podcasts, taking in the view)
  • Elephant observations in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (This was one of the coolest things I did. I went to an elephant sanctuary to see formally damaged and tortured elephants be rehabilitated in a natural setting. And seeing them up close and getting to touch them, was really f*cking cool.)
  • Sunrise hike at Mount Batur, Indonesia. (This was one of the most physically difficult and exhausting things I did while gone. In Bali, you can hike an active volcano to watch the sun rise over the hills. The hike was brutal but the view was amazing. And in the quiet, early morning hours, watching the sun rise above the clouds made the most beautiful palette in the sky).
  • Great Ocean Road. (This is a long stretch of highway just outside of Melbourne. It stretches for many miles and connects smaller towns along the coastline. The main highlight here is the Twelve Apostles, which is gorgeous, but part of what I really enjoyed was just taking in the entire drive, along winding coastline and various terrain).
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge. (This was another “wow” moment of seeing something larger than life and being totally taken aback by it. I could not get enough of it, and when I walked across the bridge and got a 360 view of the harbour from the Pylon Lookout, that was a truly amazing moment. The smile on my face from the selfie I took on it, says it all.)

I’m so glad I kept these notes because even reading it over here, it makes me smile to remember those moments.

Being present is still a work in progress, but this is a step in the right direction.

Are you good about being “in the moment?”

19 May 2015

The good, bad and ugly of my trip

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random, travel

Yes I may be one of those bloggers who talks a tad at length about about her trip. But really, nothing else exciting is going on right now.

So in this post, I’ll talk about the good/bad/ugly of the three month journey to Southeast Asia and sojourn to Australia.

The Good

  • Food! Yes, despite having food poisoning. I loved a lot of what I ate while gone. Lots of carbs, but also, a lot of just delicious stuff. Meat in Australia = awesome, Banh mi in Vietnam = stop it, so good and cheap, pad thai omelette in Bangkok = yes please! Yes, some meals were a disaster but overall, I liked everything I got to try.
  • Sights – There are a lot of beautiful things in the world, some more unconventional than others. But, if you allow yourself to see beyond your initial reaction and take in the moment, you will be surprised. Temples and elephants in Thailand, Cambodia at “golden hour,” the streets of Vietnam, rice paddies of Indonesia and the amazing coastlines of Australia. Even if it’s not what you expect, its still beautiful.
  • People. Sure, some people in Southeast Asia (and Australia) are assholes. Rude, mean, out to con you. But, despite that, I met a lot of really cool people while I was gone. I had some great roommates in southern Thailand, Cambodia, Australia and Laos. And we all had one thing in common: travel. We love it. It feeds us, and it made me realize how LITTLE vacation time we actually get in the states. I can count on one hand how many people from the US I met while I was gone. And that’s a damn shame.

The Bad

  • Bug bites – Bugs are everywhere. It’s the climate and just what to expect there. And being fair skinned and VERY attractive to bugs, I got more bites than I can count. It was not super fun, at all. Thank god for Tiger Balm.
  • Bad roommates – You never know what you’re going to get in youth hostels. Ever. And I’d say my roommate experience was 50/50. I had some that were great and some that were bad. Like in Laos where a roommate brought back a guy at 4am to have sex and proceeded to do so in our dorm room (with me and two others “sleeping”). That was something I don’t think I’ll forget…or be able to ever unhear. Other bad roommate examples include: dragging your suitcase across a tile floor at 6am when others are sleeping, fighting over the AC unit, snoring, sleeping with the light on that shines in my face, etc. Nothing surprises you.
  • Jet lag – I’m not a great sleeper to begin with and jet lag kicked my ass so hard when I got to Asia. I would say, I didn’t sleep well until more than a month in to the trip. Maybe it was the time difference with the US, but I just didn’t sleep well very much. That was not fun.

The Ugly

  • Weird health stuff – Asia is very different from the US. And because of that, my body would just react weird to the dirt and the dust. It was annoying, especially because it’s so hot that you have to wear shorts and when your skin reacts weird it’s like, damn what happened there!
  • Food poisoning – It is normal to get that there because food isn’t prepared or kept the same way as in the US. Our stomachs are just a bit more…delicate. Anyhow, I got food poisoning twice. One that was worse than the other. It was awful. Like, really awful. I also thought I would be skinner after puking for 24 hours straight…twice.

More to come on the trip and what’s happening on my end now, but I thought this was a great way to just give you guys a peek in to what happened.

What are some of the good/bad/ugly things you’ve run in to on your trips?

04 May 2015

Hello strangers

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random, travel

Hello everyone! No, I did not forget about you, or this blog. I’ve just been…busy.

Quick recap: Lost my job, lost my grandmother, lost my drive to do anything but wallow in sadness, so, I picked up and left Chicago for a three month adventure in Southeast Asia.

I needed perspective and a change of scenery. And holy f*ck did I get both.

Coincidentally, five years ago this week was my first solo vacation ever, in New Orleans. And just over four years ago I started solo traveling overseas w/a trip to Italy.

It’s funny how things come full circle.

I’m thinking through how I can write a recap on my experiences overseas. The good, bad, ugly, the tears and the moments of being truly happy for the first time in months. It was a bit of everything.

And I took 2,100 photos so, that’s going to take me some time to edit down and post on Facebook, but I promise I will.

Coming back to Chicago and “real life,” has been…tough. That’s a post for another day though too. For now, I’m back to a semi-good sleeping schedule and back to my own bed and shower. Trust me, you miss that after three months of hostel dorms and shared bathrooms.

So, more to come here, but I wanted to let you guys know (if you’re still out there) that I’m back, and will be back to normal (or semi-normal) soon.

How are you? What’s new??

YOU’RE ON NOTICE!

  • Early holiday decorations (not before Thanksgiving!)
  • Muffin tops (not the bakery-kind)
  • Bar Louie restaurant
  • Laundry machine hogs
  • County sales tax (10.25 percent - come on!)
  • Michael Scott
  • Harry & David
  • Chicago meteorologists