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Loving You Was RED <3

Its been a while-a whole contract and a half-since I’ve last updated. Since I wrote last, I’ve left California and started making a new life in Austin, TX. I had a fantastic 13 weeks in San Diego and met some friends that I miss every day. I have some days that all I want to do is hop on a plane to the West Coast and bask in it for a long weekend. Every now and then, something reminds me of my time in Cali…the entire RED album from my girl T. Swift, looking at pictures, any time I see red scrubs or mountains, or see some thing about the Coast Guard, when I think about Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Years 2012, on a beautiful cool and crisp afternoon, when I see little kitty cats who look like tigers, or hear the word Shady (Rady), when I see a white Acura MDX with TX plates or a black Range, when I think about friends who become your family away from home…just to name a few. I watched a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvxHPtEsmFc&list=PL593D43AB4F6F7791) on the 5 loves of your life—who, what, where, when, and why. And I have officially decided that California has been my Where. So much happiness comes to my mind when I think back to those 3 months. It is too far from FL to ever want to live there permanently, but for a temporary home it couldn’t have gotten much better!

Now that I have 3 more shifts left in this Austin contract, I thought it’d be a good time to update. Austin had always been on my list of stops, for a few reasons. About a month into my time in San Diego, Rady asked me to renew my contract, to which I said I would. However, around month 2, my feelings changed and I decided that during the busiest season for Peds ER, I should expand my horizons and go somewhere else. Mainly because I knew San Diego would always have travel options and I knew that I could come back next year if I really wanted to. But I wasn’t quite ready to leave the West coast completely (firstly because of the friends I’d made and secondly, because I didn’t feel like re-schlepping my belongings back across the country again so soon) so I called up my recruiter to inquire about a job opening I saw for Orange County, CA. It was the first place in Cali I had fallen in love with years ago in high school, and it was half way between my San Diego friends and my Long Beach friends, so it seemed like a perfect next stop. As she was telling me about all of the other “wonderful job opportunities” she had, I stopped her mid sentence to remind her that the only job I REALLY wanted to take (other than this one I had called to ask about) was in Austin, and since I didn’t see any of those posted, I didn’t want to hear about any others. Well that is when I had her repeat the next sentence out of her mouth “We do have Austin openings at Dell Children’s, but they aren’t posted properly right now so you can’t see them”. I had been waiting months for an Austin opening. I interviewed a few days later and got the job offer shortly after that. Even though it was something that I wanted so badly, I still felt like I had a tough decision to make… to stay put and explore these new things I had been started to experience or to trek over to Austin and try something with an old friend in a new city? I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that the Austin opportunity was placed in my lap for a reason. So after much thought and ticks on the pro/con list, I decided it was off to Texas!

I don’t regret this choice one bit. I have learned a lot about myself over the past 3 months, and a lot about being in a relationship. Its been a while since I was in a healthy, normal one. My Austin assignment has been a travel experience like none before (as the others have been their own individual experiences as well). It is much closer to FL for quick trips home and this is by far the best hospital I’ve worked at since I left JDCH. I knew before I came here that this would most likely be my last travel assignment, and that my next stop would be a permanent move. I just wasn’t sure if Austin would be that permanent place. But it is. I move into my very own one bedroom apartment in 3 weeks, and will sign on as a staff nurse for a PRN position in the ER, until I can find a full (or part) time job with the hours I want. I don’t know that I’ll live here forever, but for now it seems like a great spot to be!

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First month in Sandy Eggo

I have officially been living in San Diego for one month. This could have quite possibly been the fastest month of any assignment yet. I was extremely homesick the first few weeks, so I booked a flight home and couldn’t wait to get there. Now, on the eve of my trek back to the east coast, I don’t want to go back so bad anymore at all. Its not that I don’t miss my family, because I do—I really do, but I’m starting to get settled here. I have made friends. I have made plans. I have done things more things here in the past 4 weeks than I did in Charlotte in 3 months, or at home in a year (you can only go to ft lauderdale beach during the day and tarpon bend at night so many times). I am really starting to love this place. A friend told me earlier tonight “you’ve gotta give San Diego a good 8 month chance” and I feel like I don’t really even need that much time. I still know I don’t want to stay forever, but I think I do want to stay for right now. I was offered a contract extension, and one part of me didn’t think twice about saying yes…but the other part of me (the rational side) said lets see how I feel after I visit home. I kind of hope I want to come back, just as much as I don’t want to leave. But only time will tell.

This is how the past few weeks have gone….Three weeks ago, I went to a place called Torrey Pines and walked uphill (a “fike” if you will–a fake hike) and when we got to the end of the trail, we walked back down a way which took us to a walk along a beach. Then the next day, I visited La Jolla, and woah was that a sight. There were seals sun bathing and playing on rocks right in front of me, and the ocean and rocks were incredible to look at. It was one of the prettiest sights I’d seen in a while. Yesterday, I ate lunch on the sand over looking the ocean in Pacific Beach. Today I went on my first real hike –the break a sweat, afraid of rolling your ankle because you are walking on rocky ground kind of hike–not just a brisk uphill walk. I stood atop one of the highest points in the city, took it all in, and I loved every minute. Tonight I went for a walk around the harbor and saw a massive submarine for the first time, and ships so big I was legitimately intimidated (I will go back in the day light and take some pictures to post on facebook another time). Every few steps along tonight’s trail brought up something else I wanted to do…take a ferry ride to coronado, tour the USS Midway, eat at the little seafood restaurant that overlooks the harbor, and so much more! I am just getting started in the city and I am totally excited about it!

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First Week on the West Coast

It has been 10 days since I landed on the West Coast, and I have to say it has been great so far. I’m missing Charlotte a lot less than I expected, and home a lot more. I don’t know whether I actually miss home more or if knowing that I’m so much farther away makes me miss it more. But either way, I am a little surprised.

Charlotte was a great second assignment. Being there allowed me to experience many things and meet some pretty awesome people. Although I did not get to do some of the things I really wanted to do, like visit my cousins on the east side of the state or go hiking in the mountains, I did get to visit the Outer Banks (with an old friend, on a big family trip that I’d heard about for years) and experience some of Charlotte’s finest with some great people. Adjusting at work was a challenge, more so than I originally expected. Co-workers were not as welcoming and friendly as I thought they would be at first, and working with docs in a Peds department who weren’t Peds docs took a while to get used to. Even though I enjoyed my time in Charlotte, and eventually got more adjusted, I don’t think I’d want to go back to live (or work) there. I still say I was spoiled having worked at Joe DiMaggio for my first job and will forever compare any new Peds ER job to my time there!

Cali is great. Nice weather and people. I am glad I came out for assignment but know I won’t be staying forever.  I will make the most out of the next 3 (maybe even 6) months, but can’t wait to get back to the east coast–yes I know I haven’t even been here two weeks, but I really miss my family. I spent a few days up in Long Beach with Lisa and that was great…it was nice to be around someone who feels like family, even when I’m so far from home. I’ve gone out a bit with my roomie, seeing different parts of downtown. There are so many neat restaurants in the area I am living–its amazing and dangerous all at once. My apartment sits about 10 feet from a train track and RR crossing, so every 5 minutes I hear the gates going down and the trains blowing their horns, which I’m getting used to. First day at work on the unit was yesterday. The hospital seems pretty legit and on their game, closest to JDCH that I’ve been to so far, but ironically enough feels like a solid combo of the other three hospitals I’ve worked at. I feel like every assignment gets easier and easier to jump into. Can’t wait to get out and see more of Southern California!

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Next Stop: San Diego!

From the moment I found out I was coming to Charlotte for Assignment #2, I was ecstatic—I remember standing in the living room of my tiny Miami apartment jumping up and down, pumping my arms in the air, smiling from ear to ear, thinking (okay, and maybe saying) “Yessssss!!!” There was not one instant when doubt crept into my mind and made me question or regret the decision I made to take the job. I felt like there was something deep in my soul that was pulling me here, and I went with it. The move was easy—just had to pack up the car, hop in, and in a short 11 hours I’d be in my new town. No crazy plans that needed to be made weeks before… no flights to book, no dealing with shipping my car, no having to find a place to live, no worries that I was going to get homesick or miss a big family get together, no second thoughts. All the feelings I had (or didn’t have) pending my move to Charlotte, I was slapped in the face with, when considering my move to San Diego.

Let me start out with saying that my Charlotte experience has been wonderful. My gut did not fail me. I still, to this day, don’t have a single regret about coming here(and will post some of my experiences later on) . I love living in “The South”. I love that I traded oceans for lakes and palm trees for oaks; that I sometimes have to pop my ears from one traffic light to the next because there was a slight change in altitude. I love the “yes ma’am”s and southern drawls. I love knowing I’m in a big city, but having a small town feel. I love knowing I have family 30 minutes away. I love that I can drive down the road and see neighborhoods full of enormous homes that have hundreds of years of history, no two exactly alike. I love going to work and seeing less abuse of free healthcare (not much, but some) and taking care of more families who actually appreciate the care you give their children, than those who don’t. I love that 2-3 hours in any direction can take you to another amazing city with tons of new things to do. I just love it here. And when I found out I could not renew my contract, it was a little disheartening. That’s when I started looking at other places I could travel to that might offer me the things I adored about Charlotte. The only spot open in the south was at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. And I wanted Texas, I mean REALLY wanted Texas, just not San Antonio.  I was actually holding out for an opening at Dell Children’s in Austin–a city I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about (not to mention while Charlotte was ranked #6 on a Forbes Best Places to Live list, Austin came in as a close companion at #8). But when I realized there wasn’t going to be a travel position available in Austin, I started giving serious thought to the idea that I could settle for San Antonio, 80 miles away, as a sloppy second.  My recruiter told me that if I interviewed, I would have to give them an answer within 48 hours–for a job that I wouldn’t be taking for another 3 months. Knowing that this next assignment would be in the heart of “season”, and there could possibly be much better options available as the weeks went on, I wasn’t too keen on that deadline. So, before I gave a go ahead for an interview, I started imagining life in Texas…still in the south, but just a little different.  While day dreaming about and researching a potential move to the Lone Star state, I got a phone call from a different recruiter who wanted me to interview with a hospital in San Diego, California. No deadlines, no pressure, just an interview. So the next week, I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a nurse manager from Rady Children’s hospital in San Diego, and before the conversation ended, she asked “Will you be starting on Oct 15 or Oct 29?” My initial thought was, “HUHHHHHH???” Before I had time to research, to daydream, to decide if I really wanted it, I felt like the decision had been made for me… without my consent, without allowing my Type-A mind to think it through. I told her I would have to get back to her on a date because I didn’t know if it would be feasible to move across the country so quickly after ending my current assignment, but the truth was I didn’t know if I even wanted to go. Now, had this been 2 years ago, before experiencing life amongst the well mannered people of the South, back when San Diego was the only place on the map I wanted to travel to, I would have been jumping for joy…just like in June when I learned I was coming to Charlotte. But now here was amazing San Diego in front of me on a silver platter, and all I could do was to formulate reasons why I didn’t want to go…and I came up with a laundry list.

Between having to find housing (I decided after talking with other travelers to take the money they’d give me and find a place in the heart of downtown, instead of taking the furnished apartment somewhere 30 minutes away), having to find a way to ship my car out (I didn’t want to put all those miles plus wear and tear on the car, nor did I find any amusement to be in the car driving across country for 3 days), knowing that I would be 2,000 miles away from my sweet family (especially while they were sitting down to a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving night, or eating lasagna and drinking coquito while opening presents on Christmas Eve), and going out there feeling more alone than I did when I came to Charlotte  (the people I know in SD are more of acquaintances, and the people I’d feel comfortable going to visit I thought were too far away), there was really no good reason to go other than because it’d be San Diego, and if I didn’t go now, I may not be given the chance to go again. So here I am 3 weeks later, with 3 weeks left until the big move, a place to live, a company to ship my car, and the discovery of more people I know within a 100 mile radius than I originally thought, and I finally had my “Yessssss!!”moment. It happened for the first time Monday afternoon, and I officially cannot wait to get out there!


Where to next?

After 28 hours of straight packing, working, and packing some more, I am finally done in Miami. My assignment ended at 0800 on June 24, and I was all moved out, and on the road by 1030. The last shift at MCH was so bittersweet. My coworkers surprised me with flowers, goodies, cards, and balloons (one of which was an “Over the Hill” one because I am going to “The South” and they said it is just over the hill). I was so humbled by the kind things that were said and written. I was only there for 3 months, but sure felt like part of the family when my time was up. You spend a lot of time with co-workers when you do what I do, and it really is important to have that sense of togetherness. I’m so glad I decided to stay local and work at Miami Children’s for my first assignment, but now it is time to move on and out. For real this time.

A few weeks back, I had my recruiter submit my profile to one hospital in NYC and one in Baltimore. Baltimore wasn’t my ideal location, but it was at John’s Hopkins Univeristy–a very prestine medical center–and I thought it would be a great learning experience if I got called for an interview and got the job. And although I knew it would be a wonderful opportunity,  I was really crossing my fingers for NYC.  Not only because it is THE city, but also due to the fact that I know so many people in the surrounding area. I’d be living with my best friend of 18 years in her apartment two blocks from the hospital,  aunts and uncles in South Jersey, and family friends lined up and down Long Island and throughout other boroughs of NYC. It just seemed like the perfect place to go…until I heard about Charlotte.  I saw there was a position open in Charlotte, NC and immediately told my recruiter to submit me for it. I then told my cousin, Amanda, about it and started to get really pumped about a potential move to a place where I’ve always been able to see myself living. There’s just something about The South that I am, and have always been, drawn to–and Charlotte, especially. I can’t say whether it is the hospitality, accents, grits, or cowboy boots, but whatever it is, its always just felt like it would be right.  Two days later I received the disheartening phone call that the position had already been filled. After a few more days, and the regretful conversation I had with Amanda that I would not be coming afterall, I continued to browse the travel nursing websites like a crack addict searching for a dealer. I wanted a good assignment, I needed one, and Baltimore and NYC still hadn’t contacted me for an interview. I sat by the phone for days waiting for an out of state number to call, in hopes that it would be one of those Northern states wanting to talk to this Florida girl, all the while still perusing online job openings. Then last Friday morning at 0100, I was on the internet and saw that Charlotte opening magically appear again. I quickly emailed my recruiter (who I knew was fast asleep at that hour of the night) and told her “I WANT THAT JOB”. She called me as soon as she got to the office at 0815 saying she would submit me to it, and at 1630 I was on a phone interview with the nurse manager at Levine Children’s Hospital and at 1730 I was offered the job. I don’t remember the last time I was so happy and excited–literally jumping up and down–and the thought of having to choose between Charlotte and NYC, given the opportunity, I would have chosen Charlotte a hundred times. It just felt right. Now, only time can tell how right it will actually be, but I have a good feeling about it (and so do some other people I’ve talked to about it–they’ve told me “I don’t know what it is, but I just have a good feeling for you” and that makes me feel even more sure of my decision to start working there on July 9th). I will get to spend time with Amanda (and her family), as well as with her mom, my Aunt Sharon. Added bonus? My Jersey family will be in town the weekend I am moving in, so I get to spend time with AC and UJ as well 🙂 It feels like everything just fell right into place with this one!

When people ask where I am going and I tell them (with a big grin on my face) they all ask…”then where to next?” I DON’T KNOW. I won’t know until that time comes. I find myself repeatedly pleading “Let me enjoy this while it is here!! OKAY???” I feel like someone who just got married, and is basking in the joy of being a newlywed until someone asks, “okay now when are you going to start having kids”. Today is what matters… not tomorrow, not 3 months from now. I’ve recently come to the realization that if you are constantly worried about what is to come, you tend to miss out on what is going on right now. Enjoy today…Live for today. I have really been trying to do just that, and I’m finally back at peace with my life–and it sure is a fantastic place to be!


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Almost done with Assignment #1!

How quickly time flies. Eleven weeks have come and gone so quickly, and now that I have only 2 weeks left at MCH and living in Miami I thought a post was a bit overdue. I am very happy that I made the choice to stay locally in Miami for my first assignment, but I am more than ready to continue on my way now. This assignment didn’t teach me many medical things (aside from using I-stats, running POCT–strep/rsv/flu/upt/dips, and new equipment, mainly for IV start and fluid infusion), but it I did get a bit of a life lesson. Here are some of the realizations I have made since I started 11 weeks ago…The people I work with are amazing and I will miss them tons, enough to be sad to have to go–ironic since one of my biggest concerns about coming to Miami was that the people I would work with would be questionable. I have become more comfortable with walking into a room and speaking spanish, although the only new word I’ve learned is “todavia”, and I believe that is only due to the 6-8 hour wait times I have become all too familiar with. Cerner still sucks and I hope I don’t have to use it anywhere else. My heart is still in Fort Lauderdale, and the 45 minute drive to get there is worth it every time. The grass isn’t always greener, and Joe DiMaggio is still better. I do wish I had gotten out to see more of Miami while I was here, but if my time was going to be spent alone exploring or with family and friends, I’d choose the latter every time. My next stop is still up in the air. I am looking for a start date of July 9, which would give me a few days off and to myself in between assignments, and for 4th of July. It is an odd feeling to know I am moving in 4 weeks, but not to have a clue where I’m going!


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The Ending of an Era and the Turning of a Page.

The past ten days have held huge change for me. I have moved to Miami, started a new job, and–most difficult–moved out of Fort Lauderdale. My move last weekend marked the start of something new and exciting, but the move this weekend marked the end of a truly amazing and memorable year. It didn’t really hit me until I was vacuuming my vacant 12 x 8 master bedroom on the 7th floor of one of the nicest buildings that sits on Sistrunk. I haven’t just moved from a physical dwelling, I am moving from my life…a life that I have become quite fond of. A life where my friends are a 5 minute drive away, the night life is a 7 dollar cab ride, and I can be on the sand 8 minutes after leaving my doorstep.  I have never really enjoyed living in south Florida until this past year.

Since my birthday month has officially begun, I can remember this exact time last year as if it was yesterday. I was thinking, ehh 24…how great can it be? Not much is going to happen. But I couldn’t have been more incorrect. I’ve thought of the many times Nat would call and say “I’m turning onto Federal” and I’d look out my window and see her white Infinity sitting at the light across the street while I scurried to grab my belongings and run out the door, off to some uncertain–but always entertaining–adventure. Or the numerous times Jerica would be over late at night and we’d be putting the finishing touches on hair and make-up, then hop in a cab, not having any idea that a couple of Stellas and some good music would make us two of the happiest ladies downtown–laughing and dancing the night away, each and every time. The people I’ve met and the memories I’ve made will forever remind me that 24 was indeed one of my best years yet. This year has yielded remarkable things–a new place to live, a new car, amazing new friends, amazing old friends, cherished time with my family, and a refreshed sense of self. I became parts of me that I didn’t know existed, and I think that is something to be pretty excited about. (It really irks me when people complain about getting “one year older” when their birthdays come around. One year older means one more year to grow and explore and discover.) So as I come upon the much anticipated 25, I would like to think of how far I have come and how much I have to be grateful for–both personally and professionally.

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First Week at MCH!

My first week at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) was very interesting…it was a whirlwind of information and experiencing slightly different ways to do a lot of the same things. My first days were spent doing many difficult tasks, none of which were directly nursing related. 1. Converting from Spanish to English in my brain, each and every time I encountered someone new. 2. Figuring out where I was going/how to get back to where I had just come from…I felt like a mouse trapped in a maze. 3. Knowing who was who–there are no uniforms and everyone wears whatever they want, so there is no way to know who is an RN, LPN, Secretary, Radiology tech, etc. 4. Getting used to the fact that the tech on the team with me, is actually an LPN or paramedic and can do just about everything that needs to be done–start lines, give PO meds, I-STATS, suction,–and I’m still trying to get used to that. 5. Understanding who was a student, who was a resident, who was the attending, and who wrote orders for who. I had to go back to paper charting, and with that being said, cannot wait for the conversion to EMR coming in mid April! For my JDCH peeps…if you remember the resistance that was met with the introduction of Epic, you will understand the the general feeling of discontent. I have been trying to lighten peoples’ spirits by telling them what a pleasant change it will be, but they will have to see for themselves. It is kind of funny to hear everyone griping because their expressions of feelings are identical to ours back in April 2011 with Go-Live to Epic. I feel like a snail doing everything with a paper and pen…it is so 2010. They do have one very similar set up to ours…they have a color code system of rooms like at JDCH, in our same order–just with different room numbers (Blue-Red-Green-Yellow, except they start at room 1, and therefore rooms 3 and 4 are on the blue team, not the red team, etc. which is very confusing for me–and if you don’t work at Joe D and are reading this, then you have no clue what I am talking about) and thankfully they don’t have a room #5, which would totally have thrown me off–but they do have a room #13, and their trauma bay is in their ER, between two regular rooms. I find myself surprised sometimes with the way they do (or don’t do) certain things, and have found myself mistakenly saying “Ohh well at JD we do it this way”…oops! However, on my first day, the best part (aside from the empanada stand in the middle of hospital), and the real kicker that I knew I was in Meee-yamiii and truly felt at home, was when I was in the hallway and a guy from another department was walking past me with a tray full of cafesito, and offered me one. I knew then, that this whole Miami thing was for real!

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Still Getting Settled…

The comcast guy came as I was walking out the door for my coffee!! While he set up my cable and internet–sans my TV or computer–I had a nice catch up convo with the new Mrs. Lauren Allen 🙂 Its amazing how far away friends can be, but a simple phone call can make it feel like they are right down the street. Maybe my next stop will be Atlanta so she really will be right around the corner!

The rest of my day was spent running errands and of course, spending more money. I have been to K-mart more times in the past 24 hours that I have in the past 24 years and I should think about buying stock in Bed Bath and Beyond and/or the Marshalls-TJMaxx-Home Goods chain. I think I’m all set for now though…finally!

Of all the years living in south Florida, yesterday was the first time I walked up to pay for my merchandise and was asked if I “wanted to save 10 percent today”, en espanol. As I was trying to process what the lady behind the register was saying, I must have unintentionally put on an “what the hell did you just say face” and slowly shook my head no. Then with the clearest American accent, asked me again in English.

I drove back up to Laudy to pick up my TV and computer, so I can utilize that Comcast set up, as well as some other odds and ends I left behind. I ended up taking a nap in my comfy bed, woke up, and started typing. Now its 1 am and I’m not driving back down south. It looks like another night of luxury in my very own comfy bed 🙂

Happy Birthday to my Grandmom! I have to wonder if she has had anything to do with the events in my life that have lead me to be here in this moment, on her birthday weekend, with such a fresh new start ❤

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“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Friday was the first of–what will hopefully be–many… Moving Day. Although it is a mere 36 miles from my perfect spot at the Alexan, it still felt like a big deal. I vacuum sealed my clothes and linens, tossed my shoes into a duffle bag, packed up the kitchen and bathroom, loaded it all into my car (all by myself), and off I went. My plan to leave at 3, after working 12 hours the night before, turned out to be a joke. I finally got on the road at 4:30 and pulled into the leasing office parking lot in Kendall at 5:35..quickest destination I will ever have. In fact, I’m sure I will look back on that when I am driving across the country and laugh.

After I got my key and drove around the parking lot mulitple times to look for my unit, I finally found it. I  walked upstairs, turned the key and held my breath because I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. When I opened the door, it was a far cry from my beautiful, clean, modern 2 bedroom Ft. Lauderdale bachelorette pad. As I walked around, careful not to touch any of the dusty (or dirty?) countertops or table surfaces, I felt like I was in my Bubby’s old yellow tinged apartment with the slightest linger of old cigarette smoke. The place looked like it hadn’t been vacummed or mopped or kept up in weeks–crumbs on the floor and the countertops, hair all over the floor–along with a couple of dead bugs. The microwave (a rental I said I didn’t want in the first place) had old food splattered all in it. Wooden furntiture tops were so nicely decorated with black tarry specks. Unfortunately it was too late to call Cross Country to give them a piece of my mind (which I probably will end up doing on Monday when they are open again). The dining room table smack in the doorway to the bedroom, right in the living room because its too big for the area–with only 3 chairs around it due to lack of space–and the 4th chair proped next to the bed. I stood at the kitchen counter, looked around, and started to cry. I’m still not sure whether it was because of my surroundings, the realization that I was completely on my own for the very first time, or because the reality that I had officially taken the first step into my travel career had finally set in–and quite frankly it was most likely a combination of all three, the second idea weighing most heavily. The tears ran for a good 2 minutes until I wiped my cheeks and put on my big girl panties. This was my choice (well..not the living arrangements, but everything else) and change–even the best kind–always takes some getting used to.

I opened up the windows, turned on the iPod, blasted the fan, and plugged in my air fresheners. After multiple trips up and down the 14 stairs leading to my apartment door, and an hour later, my car was empty again and Mom was just around the corner. We were both starving when she got there, so we decided to grab some dinner at Pei Wei (a familiar place in an unfamiliar area) before we went to K-mart to arm ourselves for the decontamination of my new home.

We Clorox-wiped every possible wipable surface. She started on the bathroom (of course) while I worked on the kitchen. Together, we got the place looking and smelling like new, and just before midnight Mom was ready to go home and to bed. She helped me SOOOO much, physically with the cleaning (and of course lining my cabinets/drawers) and emotionally with pep talks here and there. We decided that we would make it a ritual to do that with every new location I go to. It will make each transition a little bit easier on both of us.

It was 0300 by the time I finally relaxed and stopped organizing/putting things away. The first night sleeping there was a little different..it wasn’t my bed, or my Alexan, but after the deep clean, the plug-ins, and the pictures I put up all around,  it will do just fine for the next 13 weeks.

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