Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodbye, AmeriBlog. I knew thee well.

I've been hesitant to write this post because it signals finalitythe end of an intense personal journey that started in early 2010 when I applied to NCCC. Throughout my experience, my team completed many "service learning" activities that encouraged us to take a step back and think about why our projects were important and what each experience meant to us individually. So I feel like this is my final reflection, and that's sort of sad. In many ways though, it's an exciting time for me.

I spent December through March temping at a financial agency downtown. During that time I applied to 70 jobs at non-profits in the Greater Boston area, and interviewed at 11 companies. It's a competitive job market right now, and it was frustrating for me to find out from employers that I was up against 50 to 200 candidates in some cases. For one position I was actually turned down after a second-round interview because the employer felt I was "too enthusiastic." In all seriousness, it's rough out there. Finally, I was offered 2 jobs, and accepted one at a company called Education Development Center, a non-profit research and development organization in Waltham, MA. I started the position last Monday as a full time admin assistant, working on projects associated with the national Head Start program. I also just recently moved into an apartment close to my new office, and have been using the last few months to reconnect with close friends who I missed like crazy during my year away from home.

Joining the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps was one of the best decisions I've ever made for myself. I traveled across areas of the U.S. I would have never otherwise had a reason to visit. My team built trails in Ohio, re-finished a community pool in Iowa, left pre-schoolers in Michigan with fun memories (hopefully imparting some knowledge along the way!) and helped flood victims in North Dakota rebuild their lives. I pushed myself to the limit, physically and emotionally, learning what it really means to be a leader. Sometimes I did a less-than-stellar job and cracked under the pressure. Other times I felt on top of the world, pushing myself and my team to do our best work. Between the other team leaders, campus staff, members of Maple 4, sponsor organizations, and local residents, I made life-long connections with fabulous, talented people across the nation. I acquired new levels of confidence, patience and flexibility that I would have laughed at pre-AmeriCorps. Don't get me wrong, I still have serious road rage. haha But after dealing with various AmeriDramas, living out of a small red bag, sleeping in a basement with 10 people, and seeing the level of need around the country, some disappointments/interpersonal conflicts/material possessions etc. just don't seem as as important. And no matter how hard it got during the year, I would always remind myself that I was going to miss this damn experience when it ended. And I do. So much. And although I know I will go on to do other great things in life, NCCC has left an impression on me that will be a difficult act to follow. Adios, AmeriCorps. I'll miss the hell out of you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It's been almost a month since my last blog post. Mostly because I just don't know what to say, and partly because my laptop was out of commission for a couple weeks. Currently I am still staying in my friends' spare bedroom. Temping at a financial asset management company downtown as an administrative assistant. Have been on sporadic dates with gentlemen callers here and there. Interviewing for jobs when I get a rare call back. Basically going where the wind blows. And I can see that everything is pretty good right now, that I'm lucky to have supportive friends and family as I try to workout my next steps. However, I can't help feeling some confusion and anxiety as I try to figure out what type of a job is the best fit, where to look for apartments, whether or not to go back to school, etc. I'm mostly worried I will take the first job offered to me, make the wrong choice and end up in a position I dislike just for the sake of a paycheck. On the flip side, if I took a job with a decent salary, I could payoff some debt, travel, save up, and make the most of it even if I didn't love the day-in/day-out routine. It seems selfish to turn down any job in this economy, and especially while I am crashing with generous friends who don't request rent.

In other news, I am currently participating in a bocce league with my friends Tyler, Kate and Lisa. It's once a week at a downtown Boston bar and is played with Nerf balls. Mostly just an excuse to hang out with friends, meet new people, and drink. haha! I've also been reading on my Kindle much more than I ever had a chance to in AmeriCorps. Hunger Games is just as good as everyone says. And I strongly suggest you check out the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin ASAP. I already thought Benny Franks was a certified badass, and this book confirmed my suspicions. Benny was responsible for the first volunteer fire company and public library. He was a statesman, printer, inventor, scientist, flexitarian, and self-made man if there ever was one. There is actually some controversy out there about Mr. Franklin and whether or not he was a womanizing drunk heathen. I prefer to believe he was a forward-thinking philanthropist, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Recently came across a statue of him in the neighborhood where he was born and was pretty excited, having just finished the book.

Anywhoo, I'm thinking my future posts will not be with much regularity. My plan is to post an update once I get a job, and then say a fond farewell to this blog that I have loved so much. I created this as a place to record my feelings and memories as I went through the NCCC process, and I feel like starting a new job would mean that my AmeriExperience had really come to a close.

Monday, December 26, 2011

C. Dogg Gets A Flute

Recently my bro Chris bought a $5 flute called a “sweet potato.” Upon finding out that he has become quite the self-taught flautist, I demanded a private concert. Halfway through the performance, his phone rang. Of course I took the reigns and did the best I could, as his big sister, to be as annoying as possible. Video courtesy of Don Don the Mom.

Friday, December 16, 2011


What have I been doing for last 2 weeks, you ask? Let's see, visiting with old friends and colleagues, watching hours of TV and movies on Hulu and Netflix, organizing my entire iTunes music library, and applying for jobs. In the last 3 days I have picked up the pace, in fact, and applied to 12 positions at museums, colleges, and non-profits around the city. I have tweaked my resume and cover letter so many times that my brain is about to explode from the amount of B.S. I had to conjure up and store in there while figuring out how to sell myself. I stopped the V.I.S.T.A. search after being offered a position in Arizona that, upon careful consideration, I turned down. And I'm just realizing that if I really want to get serious this year and figure out a career game plan, do some traveling, AND pay off my debt, I'm going to need a full time job with better pay than AmeriCorps can offer. But it's freaking me out that, being the holiday season and all, people are not exactly rushing to review resumes and set up interviews. Even the temp company I signed up with is not having any luck finding me a gig. Hopefully I will start to get some interest in my applications after the new year, because at some point my limited funds are going to run out. The thought did occur to me recently to apply to a sleep study, but the problem there is, that while in the study you don't have access to your phone to see if real jobs are trying to contact you. haha You laugh, but signing up to be a research subject has actually helped me to make a few extra bucks in the past. During one study I learned I am allergic to dust mites. During another study, I laid in an MRI machine while scientists put acupuncture needles in my hand and watched my brain waves. Desperate? Maybe. Weird? Definitely. But an interesting way to make money for sure. and there is only so long I can sit around in Kate and Nick's spare bedroom watching Hulu before unemployment loses its allure. To mix it up yesterday, I went on a tour of the Massachusetts State House. I think I will try to figure out when certain museums in the city have free visitor nights. Then maybe if I hang around at the Museum of Fine Arts enough, they will offer me a job. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tree Shopping!

For the next couple of months I'll be staying with my friends Kate and Nick in the spare bedroom of their Boston condo. This is incredibly generous of them, and not the first time that the Sambuco's have helped me to get back on my feet whilst unemployed. This weekend Brian Jessie is visiting from upstate NY, and we kicked off the holidays right with some booze, Mexican food, and Christmas tree shopping for the Sambuco pad.

The tree farm had hay rides, hot apple cider, a bonfire and even holiday emus! It's also possible that I tripped and fell over a wagon hitch at one point.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pets of the Eastern Seaboard

My travels over the last couple of weeks have taken me along the east coast to visit friends, family... and their pets. Yes, I am mildly obsessed with other people's pets. Typically, I embarrass loved ones by stopping in malls, on street corners, in gas stations, and other awkward locations to lovingly caress animals that do not belong to me. Here are some of my new friends. Lara's cat, Gato, who rules the apartment with an iron paw:

My dad and step mom's new dog, Katana. The friendliest pitbull I've ever been acquainted with.

Fellow team leader D.J.'s dog, Oscar. Very cute. Very old. Scraggly hair. Best dog in Connecticut.

Christina's 3 labs are New Hampshire's finest. I also got a chance to meet her friend Nicole's collection of pets that includes 2 huskies and a cat named General O'Mally. There are photos floating around of me wearing her birds like a pirate.

I just realized that I neglected my mom's cat Nubster. But he's more like a human anyway, so we'll give him his own post later.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big Apple

Sometimes in NYC I feel like a small fish in a big pond. Even after years of visiting friends who live there and completing a summer internship near Columbus Circle, I always feel a bit overwhelmed. Last weekend Lara and I drove back from her parent's house in Michigan to the apartment she shares with her husband, Dave, on the Upper West Side. In a stroke of luck we ended up with an un-metered parking spot right in front of her building. We ate some of the most amazing Indian food I have ever had. At one point I was walking through Central Park and saw this guy in the photo below playing jazz saxophone. Then down the street at the zoo I hung out with a polar bear. There are museums everywhere. I checked out the NY Historical Society and saw a pretty sweet video about the city. On our way to pick up sodas from the grocery store we walked out of Lara's apartment and into the city's biggest winter festival, with musicians and a tree lighting, which we had just been watching on TV moments before. All of these things served to remind me of why New York is such a great place. Even though it can sometimes be a lot to take in, there is always something fantastic to do or see right outside your door.