Thursday, January 28, 2010

mi ujsag?/what's the news?

So I've known about this for a while, but I wanted to wait until it was officially announced -- I am now permanently employed! My job before was temporary and only supposed to last until June, but earlier this month I was offered a permanent spot as a case manager. I'll be doing follow up services for people after they've completed programs at their JobLink Centers. It's a nice change because I'll have regular contact with these people --and I'll get benefits! Sometimes it's hard, though; I had a woman cry to me over the phone last night because it's just so difficult to find a job.

This job really is a blessing, because I've really been debating about grad school. Last year I just didn't really feel right about it, but this year I became intrigued with ECU's online Masters degree in World Literature. I was trying to decide how I could manage teaching with grad work when my supervisor asked me if I was interested in working permanently. Perfect! So against all odds I will be in Nash County indefinitely; who could've predicted that one?

So life is good!

In other news, Kathy and I took a trip to San Antonio! I don't have any pictures now that I don't have a camera, but if you're friends with her on facebook, check out the album. San Antonio is a very cool city. I highly recommend the riverwalk; it's full of ambience, people-watching opportunities, and TexMex food. We also really enjoyed seeing all the Spanish Missions - although we both were disappointed that the Alamo was crowded with extremely loud, obnoxious tourists. I really miss the relative quiet of Europeans. We got a great deal through orbitz and stayed at a Sheraton with a great location and incredible beds. Kathy declared the pillows coma-inducing! I was also pleased that we were able to successfully navigate San Antonio in our rental, although we were forced to call Mom to ask for mapquest directions back to the rental place at one point; we made it back with minutes to spare. And we just barely made our flight back. We had a fast connection when we stopped in Houston, so I knew we'd have to move quickly -- and I made a novice traveler mistake. I failed to doublecheck the gate number. After we made it all the there, I noticed that instead of Raleigh, the gate was for Guatemala City. Guatemala sounds cool and all, but I didn't have my passport, so we had to book it. And naturally the gate was in another terminal. In fact, it was literally the gate the greatest distance from our original one. We made it just as they called our rows for boarding. Whew!

Also, if you're traveling out of Raleigh and need to park, don't use the airport parking. Use this instead; it's amazing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

more helpful tips for seeking employment!

If you are actively looking for a job, perhaps you should avoid using an email address with the phrase "pumpkinbutt" -- just a thought.

Also, if you plan to lie about your education, it may be wise to remember that community colleges do not offer bachelor's degrees, nor is accounting spelled acconten.

the more you know...

(I really wish I were kidding about these.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas highlights

- being with the family again for the first time in years! Even Grandma was there. She did pretty well, although she couldn't quite figure out Dirty Santa and thought she was being left out of the presents. :) Granddaddy added to his stellar collection of word faux pas. Although it doesn't quite reach the level of previous years' cashmere nuts and Polio fragrance, hearing him try to pronounce our Peruvian guest's name was pretty funny. Eduardo has now been twisted into a variety of very different names, such as Waldo and Ed Waffle. Fortunately, Eduardo seemed to be pretty patient. The best thing, though, is that three of my cousins have now added to the total of great-grandchildren. Christmas is so much more fun with little ones!

- seeing Mom and Dad give each other Wiis. Hilarious. but not as hilarious as later watching Mom practice the boxing game. I thought I would wet myself, I laughed so hard.

- Dad's awesome gift-giving. He surprised Mom with a hammered dulcimer. pretty cool! I look forward to playing around with it.

- Copper's first Christmas! He couldn't quite figure out what was going on, but he loaded up on treats and toys - two of which he has already destroyed. good times.

So even though I greatly missed mulled wine, snow, and Hungarian ambience, Christmas was pretty spectacular. Now I'm ready for a new year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

spreading Christmas cheer

So it's been a hard year, and every day I talk to people who are struggling just to get by. Some of the most heartbreaking calls I've had are with people who make just enough to miss qualifying for most assistance, but they hit an unexpected snag and can't ever catch up. So if you're in a position to help out someone like that, check out I saw it on CNN's website this morning, and I'm impressed. It's designed to help people with one-time expenses, like car repair or a doctor's bill. So if you're looking for a way to share some holiday cheer, it looks like a great option. They research each case and pay bills directly to eliminate the chance of fraud, and they have high ratings from charity watchdog organizations.

Another thing that I'm really excited about this year is sponsoring a Compassion Child. I know several of you do this already, but if you have about $40 a month, consider sponsoring a child. I have honestly loved praying for my little girl in Tanzania! I sent an extra gift for her birthday not long ago, and I'm excited to find out how the family used it; others in her area have reported buying chickens, clothing, and even a bed with similar amounts. It puts things into perspective a bit -- I can buy drinks at Starbucks once a week for a month, or I can buy two chickens to support a family in an AIDs affected area of Africa.

It's good to be able to help others financially again --especially after I've been the recipient of so much generosity from you guys! Thank you again; I am so incredibly grateful. Love you all, and I'm praying for you to have a Christmas full of joy!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"to see ourselves as others see us..."

So yesterday two odd things happened that made me wonder how I appear to others.

a) Last night at church (I help run a children's program for Spanish speakers learning English on Monday nights) a woman flagged me down by saying, "Little girl! Little girl!" I am 31 years old. I should probably take this as a compliment, but still.

b) During a phone call, I overheard the following conversation (by the way, cupping your hand over the receiver does NOT muffle sound. post on this coming soon):
"Mom, someone wants to talk to you."
"Who is it?"
"I don't know. It sounds like it's a woman."

Really -- is there any doubt?


Thursday, December 03, 2009


So Dad had his testing today, and I'm thrilled to have confirmed that Dad does NOT have anything degenerative. Whew! This doctor believes it's probably stemming from all of the many, many cancer treatments Dad had years ago, and we now have a few prescriptions to try. Much relief!

In other news, I've been stuffing myself with delicious food for the holidays, finishing up my shopping (including meeting up with Becker! yay!), cheering for UNC basketball without having to be up in the middle of the night, and alternately trying to spoil and discipline the dog. He's such a cutie. :)

It was wonderful to experience Thanksgiving with the family again, but now I find myself experiencing a bit of holiday culture shock. For instance, where is my delicious forralt bor from the Christmas market? And when did so many people in my neighborhood decide to start putting giant inflatable AND moving Christmas displays all over their yards??? By the way, we light a giant tree outside our house. Mom and Dad have this elaborate system figured out, although we may need a cherry picker to reach the top next year. That tree is huge -- it took 50 feet of lights to wrap around the base branches once. That's a lot of lights!

Anyway, I'm really excited about Christmas, but it is strange to see it from a more European perspective. I'm hoping to kind of merge the two experiences together this year. Itunes, surprisingly, had a Hungarian carol available for download, which was handy, since I couldn't remember the words. So I'll add it to my eclectic Christmas mix along with Bing, Elvis, and Mariah. Now if someone would just provide me with some greasy but finom kolbasz... :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Helpful hints for your default message

Now that my job consists of calling people all day, I'd like to share the wisdom I've acquired regarding voicemail and answering machines (I spoke with 160 yesterday!). Here are a few things I've encountered lately:

1. Please don't begin your outgoing greeting with "Hello? [pause]" In that 3 seconds of dead space, I've already begun to speak. Then I just feel stupid when you tell me you're not home.
2. Call and listen to your message sometime. If the sound is so garbled you can't tell if you're listening to rap, gospel, or country, perhaps you should think about losing your favorite song so we can actually hear what you're saying. Related: we don't need to hear all three minutes of your favorite song before we can leave a message.
3. If you have a ringback tone on your cell phone, you might want to consider whether it's appropriate for potential employers who call you to hear it. Songs about getting drunk and dirty in a club are probably not going to put you in the best light.
4. Again, you may not want to have potential employers hear things like this: "If you reached this message, I either can't get to the phone, or I don't want to talk to you. Leave a message. I'll call you if I feel like it. If I don't call you back, there's a reason. Move on." Related: Adding "Have a blessed day!" at the end of the aforementioned message is kind of contradictory to your overall tone.

However, there are a few messages out there which make me smile. So thanks to the lady, whom I called again yesterday, with the following message: "If you are a bill collector, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!" It may be ridiculous, but at least it's a nice change!