Life has much improved

Funny how just one simple fact of life can change the course of how one feels about everything else entirely. Last Monday the company I was interning for promoted me to a full-time associate editor. I was hired. I have a real job. I’m staying! I no longer have to worry about what I will be doing with myself weeks from now, or having to send out resumes and cover letters again, or how the heck I was going to continue paying for my car. I finally have some stability going on for me. Moreover I can start cutting down on hours at my retail gig, which I believe I’m going to keep for now. So instead of working nearly 60 hours a week on meager wages, I’ll be working 50 hours a week on better wages. Heh?

I ended up having a whirlwind of a magical week last week after my promotion. For Valentine’s Day my girl friends and I went out on the town in Chicago, doing the wine, dine and dance. It ended up being a fantastic, fun night and totally worth the lack of sleep I suffered at work the next day. Last Thursday I went out in the city again to have dinner at the Costa Rican restaurant, Irazu, which I think I am now officially obsessed with. As a side note, I’m returning to Costa Rica in less than a month!!! (More about that later.) Then Friday I went to the city again (I really should just move there!) for the Chicago Auto Show, which I hadn’t been to in probably about 10 years. Best part of all…look who I ran into!!

Yeah, that’s right, I totally locked eyes with the Chicago Bulls’ very own Joakim Noah. The line to meet him was ridiculously long, so my friends and I fought our way to get to the crowd control poles. We may not have had the chance to get anything signed by him, but we were right there front and center, and he definitely saw—noticed—us. It was awesome.

Oh, and the cars were sexy too. Disregard all my previous emo posts. Life is awesome.

Viva la vida

A couple weeks ago I was accepted as a contestant for the Miss Illinois USA pageant. Now, the question is…do I do it or not? The consensus so far has been a unanimous yes and the adventurous part of me is screaming “DO IT!”, but the sensible me keeps reminding me that A) I’m super busy now with my 55-hour work schedule, and B) Shit’s expensive. You gotta come up with more than $1000 in sponsorship money, plus provide your own wardrobe. My brothers also like to point out that I’m so not a girly girl, and would probably implode after being surrounded by a gaggle of girls for an entire weekend. I have to make a decision soon, though. Registration deadline’s coming up.

In other news, my life appears to have settled into a routine at last. After years of shuffling around, hanging out with different circles and basically not giving a shit about anything except having fun, my life has become work-work-work-rest-work-drink. So is this what they mean by adult life? I guess I could get used to this. I kind of feel more respected now that I’m a college graduate and finally working. I also definitely understand more now why people feel the need to party on the weekends. Last Friday, after working the entire day at my two different jobs, my friend called me up and basically said to get ready because we were going clubbing. Tired as I was, the idea of knocking back a few beers and dancing my ass off was just simply way too enticing. And that was what we did. It was therapeutic, really.

Today is also the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. Ten years ago I was a 7th grader sitting in history class when the principal came in to tell our teacher the shocking news. Amazing how much our society, and the world, really, has changed since then. I wish I had more patriotic things to say, but seeing as how I am so not patriotic at all, I guess I only want to repeat one of the many inspiring phrases floating around today: It’s not how many times you fall that matters, it’s how many times you get back up.

More grown-up talk…this could get boring

Somebody remind me the next time I go out that when I come home and throw up in my garbage can, throw the garbage bag out immediately! Last Saturday I ended up doing just that (throwing up in my garbage can) and neglected to throw it out the next day. As a result, it was sitting in my room for a week and spawned a handful of gross-looking fruit fly thingies (I think they’re fruit flies, at least) that continue to fly around in my room. Seriously. I am 22-years-old now, and I can’t believe I let that happen.

This week was my very first week working both full time and part time. Let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than I thought, and I didn’t even work a full 40 hours at my internship this week because we get a four-day weekend for Labor Day. My body is so completely exhausted, and I barely have time to shower, eat and sleep when I’m home. I actually have to make plans for things like shopping, which I’ve been doing a lot lately. I insist, though, that a majority of my shopping is for work-related clothes, because I noticed my closet kind of screams “college girl” (lots of T-shirts and skanky tops) rather than “young professional” (dress pants, fancy blouses). It also doesn’t help that I just got a new credit card. With a $5000 limit. But I’m telling you, I’m going to do everything in my power to go against the norm and NOT be one of those girls who just pulls out the plastic whenever she sees something pretty in a window display. I really just wanted to get a new credit card with better rates because the one I’ve had since freshman year is sucking me dry, and my Best Buy one just hit me with a nasty load of deferred interest charges. So I’m trying to manage.

Speaking of money and grown-up things, my parents have been pressuring me to buy a car lately. It makes sense, obviously. There’s five of us in this house, three working adults (I’m one of them now, yay!), one community college student and a high school kid. Everyone’s got somewhere to go, especially now that summer’s over. We have three cars, one of which is a total gas-guzzling SUV that is in desperate need of a checkup. My parents have been commenting a lot on how we need a fourth car for the family, and obviously that fourth car is going to need to be bought by me.

But the thing is, I don’t really want a new car of my own. And by that I mean I don’t want to have to pay for a car every month for the next 5 years. I know I really do need a car and all, but what if something happens and then I’m stuck with a car I can’t pay for? My internship is only temporary, and my part-time retail job isn’t going to cut it if/when the time comes and I’m stuck in a rut again. Plus, there’s my secret fantasy plan, which I haven’t really told anybody much less my parents. Thing is, I can’t see myself wanting to stay in Illinois for the next 5, 10 years. As much as I love the city of Chicago, the feelings aren’t there anymore. Plus, the politics and government in this state sucks. At the moment my plan is to live at home and work in Illinois for a couple more years, then move abroad temporarily. I’d really like to do the Peace Corps or teach abroad for a while before settling somewhere more permanently. Or, there’s still my other plan, which is to go to graduate/law school.

There’s also the fact that I don’t know anything about cars. Which one do I buy?!

Overwhelmed with this growing up thing

Sometimes I think I’m so ready to be an adult. Have a job, make money, and not be restrained back by school or homework or assignments. Then there are times, like today, where I want to crawl back to college because I had friends there and ruled the town and didn’t really care much about impressing my superiors or hoping that I really really don’t fuck up at my jobs. (For the most part. I mean, obviously I cared in school, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get my degree.)

I have worked nearly 47 hours in the past seven days in entirely new jobs. And in-between all that I managed to drive down to Champaign for a night and got crazy with the roommates (er, ex-roommates I should say, I guess). I even finished reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, which I started over a year-and-a-half ago. I feel so grown up! I’m reading for fun, I’m being social, I’m working. Like an adult. But along with that I’m starting to fret over my student loans, paying credit card bills, and finding money for a revamped work wardrobe (that’s another thing…in college all I wore was sweats and t-shirts…or slutty club tops). I miss being innocent and naive about things. I miss having my friends within a 2-mile radius of me, instead of all over the world. Oh well.

On a less whiny note, the first day of my internship today went pretty well. It’s just always awkward being new anywhere, I guess. And seriously, it’s the story of my life and one of the reasons why I hate my birthday. My first day of high school was on my birthday (did I mention I went from a small private grade school to a large public high school where I knew about 0.2% of the population?). Hell, I spent my birthday last year in a foreign country where at the time I knew next to no one. And now I’ve started two brand new jobs where I’m the new kid who doesn’t know anything and is worried about making good impressions.

Ack, okay, okay. I’m going to stop whining and acting like my life is so terrible. Because it really isn’t. Actually, I’m quite content. I’m employed, my home life has been relatively calm this whole summer, and I go out to the city every weekend with friends I’ve managed to surround myself with again. You know that song “Good Life” by OneRepublic? It’s currently my song of the moment, because I’m definitely feeling the message: This could really be a good life.

And while I’m talking about music I’m currently listening to, I must talk about this song:

I freaking love Miguel. He just sounds so soulful and quirky at the same time. Plus in this song he talks about speaking Spanish but then “accidentally” sings in Portuguese instead. You can’t get any more awesome than that.

It’s that time of the year again

I had to use my Spanish skills today at work. Actually no, strike that, I didn’t have to, I sort of stumbled into it. This mother and her kids came up to the counter with their merchandise, and the youngest girl greeted me with an “Hola.” I smiled and said hola back. Her mom smiled at me too, and then it slipped out. I asked her if they were all set in Spanish, and then she starts blithering away about how her son liked this one pair of jeans he tried on but there wasn’t a price on it and if I could look it up for her. The funny thing is, I really did understand about 90% of the stuff this woman was saying. I just didn’t know, for the most part, how to respond right away without translating everything in my head. I ended up doing the transaction with this woman in Spanglish. And responding with “Con gusto” instead of “De nada” when she thanked me. I forget that they only say that in Costa Rica.

My birthday is next week and I’m not sure what to do (or indeed if I should do anything at all, I hate making birthday plans for myself). I know I want to go out to dinner at the Costa Rican restaurant in Chicago, Irazu, but I don’t know when. I don’t know if I should pick a club or bar to go to. I don’t know if I have to make reservations if I do do that. This is my first birthday at home in four years, and I don’t know what the fuck to do. I hate birthdays!

Speaking of birthdays, this is my first birthday that I won’t be spending at a school. At the beginning of a school year. The first birthday where I don’t have to worry about figuring out classes and all that good jazz. I’m not moving back to college, I’m not thinking about syllabus week or buying books. Nor am I packing up four months of my life to go live abroad in a completely foreign country. Normally this would be the part where I think about how I have nothing to look forward to while everyone goes back to school, but my internship does start next week. So life is changing. Somewhat.