One Year Later (in Vermont)

I can’t believe how fast a year goes by. I’m officially one year and a month into living in Vermont. Right off, I will say it’s been an emotional journey and sometimes I love it here, and other times I find myself wondering how the hell I got myself here. But, I think everyday has been a true blessing (sometimes, those blessings are disguised behind costumes and masks).

When I left California 5 years ago (wow, typing that I saying out loud is mind blowing to me), I thought I would be back in a year. That definitely has not happened. Boston became home to me and I decided to take full advantage of East Coast living by living in different parts of city and even decided to enroll in graduate school. All of these choices were very unplanned, but with everyday that passed, I was more and more convinced that where I was at the time was exactly where I needed to be.

That moment happened when I got the call, from my soon to be supervisor, that I received a job in Vermont. I was so ecstatic that I even decided to stop my job search process/interview trips and accepted the job quicker than I even imagined. I spent the next couple of months trying to enjoy the company of my closest friends (I even spent so much time with one friend I thought was leading to be my first “partner” or “boyfriend” or “significant other” or whatever you want to call it). When I made the big move, things definitely shifted and changed like no other and I was quickly finding out that my new home would take more and more of my time (not a bad thing at all).

I still remember, July 1st, 2015, I moved out of the MIT Phi Delta Theta house and carried all my stuff and packed up my moving truck with three of my friends. Just a few nights before, I cried so hard because it was the first time I was leaving people behind that I felt I didn’t want to leave. But, after a couple of weeks and months, everything started to get better. I created new friendships/relationships (and, unfortunately, I lost some friends and lost a parent). You can’t plan for what will happen, but you can grow, change, and adapt and become more resilient.

Most recently, I have been stating how much I miss California. I made a recent vacation visit and spent some time at my favorite places (not really to even visit people). I think what I’m learning is that people come and go, but it’s physical places and experiences that make me miss places. I will say it now, there’s not many people left in Boston that I truly care for (however, some of my best friends still live in Boston). What I miss about Boston is the beauty of the city, the convenience of the MBTA and the access to shopping, food, and historical sights. It’s so easy to find a small or large concert and there are endless opportunities for free movie screenings.

When it comes to California, I miss the mild weather, the sunny skies, and the laid back culture (for the most part). I miss the diversity of food and everyday diversity of people. I miss being able to go to the ocean/beach, get lost in the city, and access to the mountains (let’s be honest though, I never took advantage of those things while living there).

Now, I’m in Vermont. I love my job and the people are great. I have created some strong relationships I wouldn’t trade for the world. However, it’s tough being here at times. The work is hard. I think about things I never have thought about at all waking hours of the day. Winters can be harsh. I have to drive hours upon hours to get to a major city/urban area. There’s not that much to do in Burlington, VT and we are considered a big city in Vermont. It’s not very diverse. The dating sceen is non-existent. It’s hard, but it’s fulfilling at the same time.

The other day, we were at a training retreat learning about Restorative Practices. At this point, it was my 3rd time reviewing the concepts in a formalized way. I feel like I have grown so much in this year and truly have become a better person, even if I feel like I take 3 steps forward and 10 steps back (at times). I truly feel I work at the best place. I feel this way because I interviewed for a job towards the end of the school year (and wasn’t offered the job, but it was close because I interviewed on campus), and I had many jobs lined up to apply for, but I chose not to, and I think about how it would help or hurt me to leave where I am now. I also think about that I could have ended up at a lot of different places for my first job, but UVM got me! For now, I feel very content and happy with staying at the University of Vermont, but it scares me everyday where I’ll be next (in a year, two years, three, etc). That is a reality!

So, here’s to my first year down living in Vermont and here’s to a successful second year!

Am I a Masochist? Maybe, Yes.

Masochist. That’s one way I can define the way I am sometimes and the hurt I inflict upon my bleeding heart. I walk in this world wearing my heart on my sleeve, which is either intense vulnerability or just plain masochism.

Some friendships (and more than just friendships) have been lost due to my self-inflicted masochistic ways. Intense satisfaction in knowing that I am the one who is hurt, just so I can have the intense story to tell afterwards. I’ve given up too much of my time, money, and tears to unfruitful friendships/relationships. What is wrong with me? Is something wrong with me?

I think deep about this a lot, but then I realize, is this always a bad thing? I hurt myself often because I care too often and have emotions. I’ve encountered many people in my 27.5 years of life, a lot of them are not so in touch with their feelings and emotions. Many people I have encountered put up walls and aren’t authentic. I know, it does hurt intensely when I’m let down and a friendship/relationship ends, but it’s worth it because I grow a little stronger, learn a little more about myself, and I’m able to feel. I’m able to feel joy and happiness when I need to and not take the bullshit that gets thrown my way.

I recently watched Inside Out (Disney movie that everyone should watch). I immediately started to reflect on it while I was watching it (and during the second time I was watching it). I started to think about how I wasn’t allowed to feel pain or cry when I was younger. Now, I’m not like that. I put myself out there and allow myself to get hurt because that’s when I learn the most. I cry when I want to, I laugh when I feel like it, and I just experience everything as it comes. I’ve dealt with a lot of things these past few years, so I think my resilience armor has been built strong so that I’m not ignoring or numbing emotions anymore, but I’m able to work through them (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much, but that’s okay). So, in the movie, the character of Joy continues to push Sadness aside in hopes that Sadness will not interrupt any “core memories” within their human, Riley. In turn, this causes emotional chaos with Riley’s emotions and things go haywire for a little. It isn’t until Joy realizes Sadness needs to take over the main controls that new memories, good and joyful memories, can be made. In training in my job, we recently discussed vulnerability in-depth.

With this, I’m learning that my character, motivations, drive, and aspirations are directed by my emotional states and my want to be happy, whatever that means. So, when I say I’m a masochist, I often think about the times I feel very hurt (that stabbing pain in the heart or gut). But, I often think about how with that hurt and pain (and sadness), comes the moments when I meet new people and do new things while learning and growing.

So, I wear my heart on my sleeves and I try to present as much of my authentic self, in hopes that people will be okay with that. So far, I think most people are okay with that, and those that aren’t, have walked away from me. That’s okay. That’s part of the process and a simple part of life. Not everyone is meant to be in my life or to stay in it long-term.

So the big question: Why do I take pleasure in the pain that I often feel? Answer: I know that if I can take pleasure in this pain I feel, I can flip that around to feel the intense pleasure that it feels when things are going right, when friendships are made, when good times are had.

A few months back, I had an epiphany on life. I thought about and reflected on the fact that there are not many moments we feel alive. For me, intense pain is one of those moments I feel so alive (and when I go sky diving). I allow myself to sit in the feelings and emotions and to figure out how I’m going to get out of these feelings to return to the happy and joyful feelings I usually embody.

So, I guess I’m a masochist. I take intense pleasure in the pain that life deals out to me. But, I do it in hopes to build resilience and build myself up so that I can enjoy fully those moments that take your (my) breath away.

**Note to Reader: So, this came out of me fining out something I didn’t mean to go looking for, but found anyway. Translation: I found out who the guy I thought I was “more than friends with” but was “just friends” with in the end is dating, which is why we immediately stopped talking to each other the moment I found out. Moral of the story: don’t waste your time on those who won’t waste their time on you. But, feel freely and be open to getting hurt. Be vulnerable. It’s the way we learn and grow. I wouldn’t trade my experiences of heartache and angst for anything else. Sorry I’m not sorry for my rambling story above that may not make sense to anyone but myself.

My Summer Wrap Up

So, even though I finished Residence Director training last week, I feel like summer is now officially ending and training is officially kicking off this next week. It’s going to be a busy month ahead, so I figured it would be kind of cool to stop and think about the summer so far. In my last blog post (that I wrote, not reblogged), I discussed the new-found freedom I had because I decided to buy a car. Well, it has taken me to new heights and has allowed for an awesome summer!

This summer, I was able to go hiking several times and find some cool spots in Burlington to explore. I hiked Mount Philo, ran around the wooded Red Rocks Park, and took a small group hiking to Mount Mansfield. Hiking up and down Mount Mansfield was so much fun and really allowed me a breath of fresh air on the highest peak in Vermont. It was beyond beautiful and I got to spend time with some of the grads and my Office Manager.

My car has allowed me to take road trips to Six Flags New England, to fly out of Boston for my vacation to California, and to inevitably take a road trip to Baltimore and D.C. (in a marathon road trip). My trip a couple of weeks ago to California was beyond amazing and I got to a variety of things! First off, it made me miss California a lot. Visiting for a true vacation (and minimizing drama on the trip) was exactly what I needed. There was only one evening of drama, but I will let that go into the wind because it’s useless to discuss here on out because this person (I’m assuming) no longer considers me as a friend (BYE, FELICIA). Another case of not needing certain people in my life who bring me down or who bad talk me or think I’m not a good friend. Good, because you just proved why I don’t need you any more! Anyway, I got to go to In-N-Out, Ikea, watch Disney’s Inside Out twice, which was an amazing movie, spend one day at Disneyland and two days at Disney California Adventure, attend an LA Galaxy soccer game and see Robbie Rogers make a goal and also be at a big winning game while also getting a chance to hear Robbie speak and meet him and his mother, ride many awesome new roller coasters and rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain, visit and eat lunch at Stone Brewery, see my friend Johannes and go ocean kayaking in La Jolla (and also going in and around caverns/caves, eat twice at California Pizza Kitchen, and meet an awesome guy at Disney and actually feel like I met someone I can be friends with and want to truly develop that friendship more and more everyday (he’s probably going to one day read this…ahh…just kidding)!

What I can say is that I really miss California. I think I have spent a good 5 years on the east coast and I’m starting a 6th, which proves I do love it here, but I think I’m slowly convincing myself that my career needs to take me back to the west coast and back to Southern California at some point. It was amazing to go to Disneyland Resort for the 60th Anniversary Celebration, which Disney has dubbed as the Diamond Celebration. New shows and nighttime spectaculars, a new color scheme, and lots of cool souvenirs, including collectible 60th pins, where all around! I’m 100% glad that the drama I experienced at Disneyland was on Night 1 and that I don’t care for drama (because it’s for your mama, just kidding). I was spared drama for the rest of my trip when this (apparent) ex-friend decided to not stay with us any longer, and boy was that a relief because honestly, I need people to communicate and also be straight forward and honest (and not try to please people by not communicating needs early on). I got to spend another half day at Disney California Adventure with zero drama and my third day was spent in parts with this new friend of mine (which was really like 3 mini-Disney-dates). This person works at Disney and we got to just spend time talking about life and Disney as a company. If you know me, you know I have been a fan of Disney and the company for as long as I can remember loving Disneyland and Disney movies. So, dreams come true, I guess! I met the guy who works in the area of Disney that is probably the most interesting to me and I got to hear about some fun facts and about his dreams and goals, which hey, is a win-win for everyone! I honestly didn’t expect this at all when visiting California and Disneyland Resort, so you can say it was the topping on the cake and the cherry on top to an already awesome week spent in California with my sister.

My trip to California was just excellent and I returned to Burlington, VT with a new sense of energy to start this new academic year in my Residence Director position. I also have a lot to look forward to, such as people visiting me and also me taking more time to take vacation in the near and distant future!

When I got back to Vermont, I got to meet one of my newest co-workers and new RDs, Marquita. I helped her move in and I am serving as her compass, which is basically like a guide/mentor for the next year as the new staff member transitions in! Then, I drove to Boston for a night to see Imagine Dragons with Jenn (of whom, just got a job as an RD at Simmons in Boston), so it was kind of cool to celebrate with her with good music! So, we went and of course, Imagine Dragons always knocks it out of the park! They performed at the TD Garden, and of course, the place was packed! They played their new hits and a lot of their old hits. I was just perfection! Imagine Dragons are just so humble and they speak to you when they perform! I love when they bring out the drums and  you’re just jumping around and dancing to the beat. The energy they create in any concert venue is so unique, I can’t even describe what a good feeling. You just feel it in your heart, mind, and soul! I can’t even describe it!

A couple of days later, my co-worker, Marquita, needed someone to drive with her to get half of her belongings. What started as a short trip to Yale turned into a full road trip to Baltimore and D.C. We drove about 10-11 hours down and 10-11 hours back up in 2 days. It was nothing short of an adventure, but I got to meet important people in Marquita’s life, which was so wonderful and I wouldn’t have traded my time and energy for anything else in the world! Marquita and I got to develop our relationship so much in such a short amount of time, which was so cool!

When I got back, I slept a couple of hours, then I drove back to Boston for a concert with Yaa. This time, it was a concert with Eric Hutchinson, Pentatonix, and Kelly Clarkson! Yes, the ultimate lineup! First off, I don’t like amphitheater concerts because people except you to sit down, when concerts, you should be standing up! If you don’t stand up, you’re not going to be dancing and rocking out, so boo to everyone. But, Yaa and I committed to standing the entire time (people were mad, but f*ck you, for real, I paid real money to be here, let me stand and see and enjoy the music and sights…other people stood as well, so HAH). Eric Hutchinson was pretty cool and fun! Pentatonix was really awesome and I loved seeing them live. I love that we were watching an a capella group sing live and on tour. Cool. Then, Kelly Clarkson. Beyond amazing! On this tour, she is doing a fan request song, and it was cool that for the Mansfield, MA stop, it was requested she do “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. YES! I loved it. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Kelly Clarkson is golden and she’s so humble about the privilege she has to be where she is and to perform for people. She’s down to Earth and I love it! She also allowed her backup singers to do an entire number on their own, “Bang, Bang,” and they rocked the house! All in all, very great evening with good music and great company (Yaa)!

This past week was our first week of training, and since I had to drive back from the concert and arrived at 5:30am on the day of training, I started very tired. First day, I was fine, but the second day was a little harder. It was a tough week for sure, filled with training, emotions, and getting to know new people, but it was great! As RDs and Area Coordinators (AC), we got to go to Smuggler’s Notch for a retreat. It was a lot of fun to just get to know people more and to also get some hot tub time and pool time. I could not ask for a better way to relax together with some of the staff.

So, today, we all met together for the first time as a full Residential Education Team (RET). We are large and there are a lot of new faces. If you know me, I am super extraverted, but there are times when it just overwhelms me and I actually don’t go to everyone to introduce myself. It’s just not me in that way! So, I hope to meet some of the new people more as we progress through training!

So, that basically wraps up my summer! It’s been a truly great summer filled with lots of traveling, lots of concerts, and lots of great memories all around!

To see photos of my summer, you’ll want to browse my Instagram at:

Here Is How You Love Without Expectation

Jack Korpob:

Wow! I almost cried while reading this one!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Merve illeuxMerve illeux

Here is how you love without expectation:

You love yourself first. Not necessarily most or best, but first. You don’t cancel plans that you were excited about because somebody else wanted your time. You don’t rearrange your schedule to accommodate a person who may bail at the last moment anyway. You are strict with yourself – even when you want to give in to the impulses of others –because you know that what you want and what you need is not always the same thing.

You need someone you can rely on and that person has to be you. At the end of the day, if everyone else bails and flakes and fails to show, you will still be there. So don’t look at yourself as a sad consolation prize. Put in the work. Become someone you’re proud of. If you’re who you’re left with at the end…

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How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)

Jack Korpob:

This is beyond beautiful! Read it!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Erin KellyErin Kelly

Understand that life is not a straight line. Life is not a set timeline of milestones. It is okay if you don’t finish school, get married, find a job that supports you, have a family, make money, and live comfortably all by this age, or that age. It’s okay if you do, as long as you understand that if you’re not married by 25, or a Vice President by 30 — or even happy, for that matter — the world isn’t going to condemn you. You are allowed to backtrack. You are allowed to figure out what inspires you. You are allowed time, and I think we often forget that. We choose a program right out of high school because the proper thing to do is to go straight to University. We choose a job right out of University, even if we didn’t love our program, because we…

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A New Sense of Freedom

These past couple of weeks have felt very different compared to the rest of the year. It’s summer, so it definitely feels differently weather wise, but it’s not that. I feel a lot more free, mostly because I have a car. My car had about 70 miles when I drove it off the dealership lot, but now it has over 700 miles (gained in about 2-3 weeks). That’s not too bad, but the car has provided me access to things I didn’t have before, and freedom to just go places (sometimes, much needed).

One of the things I told myself was that if I got a car while living in Vermont, I would need to get an appropriate car that I could drive into the mountains. Well, check and check, because I definitely got the most ideal car for Vermont, an Impreza Sport, and I have already taken it to the mountains (and other hikes and such). So, I made good on my promise to myself.

Now, I understand why people have cars and what it provides. It provides me access to escape and to just get away (or get places a lot quicker). I’ve driven it into Boston, taken it around town, and into the great outdoors!

Well, the car also supplements my hectic and often stressful work lifestyle. Even in the summer, my work load still seems to be high and I still deal with many of the student issues and other tasks I had during the year (just a little less). I still work in the same environment, so although things feel different, they often feel the same. So, the car purchase came to me at a really good time and has allowed me to get away from home/work (being a live-in staff member makes it so hard to go “home” at night and feel like I am actually away).

So, this past week has been a trying one. I totally enjoy my job and the people, but there are certain things that happen that really get under my skin. Luckily, it’s involving none of the people I directly work everyday with and interface with within my department, so that’s so reassuring and encouraging. So, I have less control over those situations and people. I think this new sense of freedom comes at a good time because it allows me to take lunch “off-campus” and often alone. I allow myself to do things on my own, not waiting for anyone to come with me.

This past weekend, I had a mixture of both. I watched movies, hiked, and had meals with people, but I also found to do all this things by myself as well. I am not in a relationship nor do I feel urgent attachment to have co-workers and friends with me 24/7, so I’m learning to embrace being alone and sometimes, I enjoy it. It gets me away from thinking “I hate people” to thinking “I need to be alone right now to recharge so I can be positive and cheerful around people”.

So, friends, co-workers, etcetera. Don’t get mad at me if I go do things on my own or I didn’t invite you. It’s nothing personal. I love doing things with people. However, I can’t forget that when I stand around waiting for others, I may end up with nothing in the end. Sometimes, I actually need to be alone to sit in whatever I’m feeling or experiencing so that I can be my full self again. I mentioned that this week has been tough and I haven’t been the most inviting of others around me. That’s because I actually need to be by myself, and for once, I have access and the privilege to have a sense of freedom to make a choice to be here, on an outdoor adventure, or whatever it is my mind takes me.

I have no idea if this all makes sense, but sometimes, you just have to do things by yourself and embrace that individual freedom to do anything you want to do.

Look for Depth: Reconnecting to Passions

I haven’t blogged in a while, and so I decided that I need to get back into it. There’s a reason for it! Here’s the little story and what I hope will be more blog posts to come. The academic year has finally ended and things are changing. I recently purchased my first car (hooray!). It’s a 2015 Subaru Impreza 5-door if you’re wondering (I named it Jake, as it represents my “alter ego”…I often present as a by the books, organized, and focused person, but I often have my ridiculous, hot mess, and spontaneous side).

The other change is that I have a cat. His name is Chester and he’s an orange tabby. I adopted him from my friend Brett, who has been fostering him for a while. I figured it would put me into more a routine and to actually get up to take care of another living thing that actually depends on me.

Soon, I will be packing up my current apartment and moving across campus to a new complex and I will be supervising a new grad student. Things are definitely changing fast!

Well, today was a great day. My office manager got to meet my cat and basically spent the entire day with him in her office. He totally loved it. Then, I had lunch with my supervisor for next year. Good food and conversations. We watched Pitch Perfect 2, which then sparked me to drive to the bookstore to get a good book to read. I stumbled upon some good finds and put some down because I knew I could get them cheaper online. However, I needed to come home to blog about my inspiration for blogging and getting back to the things I want to do, but always put aside.

I stumbled upon a book by Patrick Lindsay called Make the Most of You. It features “170 ways to be the best you can be” and the first thing says the following:

Look for Depth

Our world pushes us towards shallowness. All width and no depth. Driven by the fear of missing out, we’re constantly plugged in to our devices at the expense of real relationships and passions. Make the technology work for you; find your passions and explore them.

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless. -Honore De Balzac (1799-1850)

So, today was a day that I forgot my phone in the car during lunch and it was great to have lunch and a conversation that was meaningful without the need to check my phone. I knew I would get back to it in about 2 hours. I think there are so many excuses I have made up (we all have made up) that take us away from doing something, experiencing what is in front of us, and truly doing what brings us joy (passion).

So, while I was at the bookstore tonight, I decided to pick up a book to read for pleasure and I’m going to start it tonight and promise myself to read everyday until I finish it (and move onto another book, so on, and so forth). I enjoy reading, but I never make time for it. However, I make time for a lot of things that require my phone and my computer. So, I’ll crack open that book and enjoy a story once in a while.

The Make the Most of You book has a summary in the back that says that it will ask some deep questions. They are:

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you headed?
  • What could you yet be?
  • What holds you back?

Big and deep questions, indeed! I think that every day (or every couple of days), I’ll read a few of these and blog about them. It’s a good place to pause life and reflect on what actually is happening. As I enter my 2nd year of my career, I need to really think and reflect on those deep questions. I’m definitely excited to do that and start to be the best I can be for myself and for others.

If you’re curious, I bought an exclusive collector’s edition of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. I’ve been wanting to start reading his books, so I think this will be a good starting point. I hear this book is excellent and inspiring! Excited to get started!