It's that time of year again!  If you're entertained by my personal life, and you SHOULD be, you can go read the entries from 2009, 2011, and 2012.

It was an alright year I guess )

lesmisloony: (squee ChanTho)
So I haven't been here in a while but HEY GUESS WHAT I got a full-time job with a salary that adds up to exactly twice what I was making at Bubba Gump (but it's full-time and not part-time) and also... benefits!  I now have great health insurance including eyes and teeth, FSAs, a 401K that I'll probably set up next year, discounts on hardware and software and tickets to movies and Broadway shows and all sorts of things, a potential scholarship fund if I want to take any classes that I can pretend are for the job (my translation certification!), end-of-the-year bonuses, ten paid vacation days a year AND ten paid sick days a year, and probably other things I've forgotten.  Plus I make twice rent in a WEEK.

Things this means: well, besides the obvious (I'll have a doctor soon in case another embolism decides to pop up), I'll have enough money to go back to France if something important happens AND I'll be paid the whole time.  I can finally afford things like furniture, new clothes, food, an accordion, to get the viruses off this laptop, a kindle, maybe even a desktop someday...!  (And obviously I could even get a NEW laptop but that'll be my last priority since I feel very loyal to Listolier, the laptop I've had for six years.)  AND I CAN GET THAT ROBOT DINOSAUR.  And when the lease is up here with the roommates who frequently make me want to scratch my skin off, I'll pretty easily be able to afford going to somewhere where I have my own room in a 3- or 2-bedroom!!!

Yes.  Oh and did I mention, the job is customer service at a publishing company?  A textbook publishing company, but still it's a foot in the right door!  And I have all the things I've always wanted: a huge cubicle with a fancy chair, a job that involves me doing a thing on a computer from nine to five, a watercooler, an hour for lunch, a cool boss, and an excuse to wear my pencil skirts.  Omg.  We even have a half-day Friday and Monday off because of Memorial Day or something, but it's all paid!!!

Okay off to work.  Next time I update I'll tell you about my stagedooring adventures.

(And though this is all amazing, I just started Monday and won't get paid till the 7th, and I only have $30 to live off of until then, so the end of my misery is in sight but not quite here yet.)
How long has it been since I've used a happy icon?

So Bubba Gump has my back both emotionally and financially.  AMC cut everyone down to two shifts a week, so I'm only there for the free movies now.  Meanwhile my bills can totally be paid by the Bubba Gump base pay, and I can live (and buy Subway or order pizza or buy shoes!) off the modest tipshare the bussers get (last Thursday I got $67!).  They consistently give me five seven-hour shifts a week, too!  And everyone there is so silly and adorable (and they all know showtunes!) that I always leave cheery and jazzed.

But just when I was content to stop sending out resumes and crying over monster.com postings, I got an email asking for a phone interview with a little publishing company here in the city.  The interview went well and I have an in-person one scheduled for Thursday.  THEN several hours later anOTHER job I'd applied to called and set up an interview for tomorrow!  The publishing company wants me for customer service (which I'm totally comfortable with and yay a publishing company!) and the other company needs an entry-level sales person to try to convince rich people to sponsor kids in Africa or something.  Obviously I want the customer service job.  But both of these are full-time with benefits!  AND if I don't get either I just stay at Bubba Gump, where I'm totally happy (honestly if I had to leave now, just two weeks after finishing training, I'd be really disappointed).

On April 23rd, the day tumbling Whovians were meant to draw tally marks on their arms, I remembered partway through my final training shift that I hadn't done it.  I sighed and mumbled "darn, it's April 23rd, I was going to do that tally mark thing" and the girl training me went "OH YEAH!", grabbed a pen, and started drawing tally marks on her own arms!  Later I was subwaypooling home with a different girl and we were talking about pasta and she said "well my favorite are bowties because bowties are cool" and I was like DID YOU SAY THAT ON PURPOSE, haha.  Plus I made one friend just by joining in uninvited on her singing Defying Gravity.  We spend a lot of time dancing and singing to each other.  Bubba Gump is like that.

Anyway, for my birthday I went out to my uncle's house in the Jersey suburbs, and my mom and grandma and uncle and aunt (and cuzband ughakfdja;lkf he hugged me and i was like i will never let go of you) had a lovely day of acting silly and eating delicious food.  It was honestly a better birthday even that the free Eurodisney trip last year, though it doesn't quite beat out my magical day in Bordeaux with Nunozart and bisous from Flo.  Still, my mom and I got into some champagne and produced this, which still makes me laugh my ass off.

Then I brought the fabric and sticky tack my mom gave me for my birthday back to my apartment and turned the loft Sophia bequeathed me into a hot pink fortress of solitude filled with MOR posters and glow-in-the-dark stars.  I'm sitting in it right now with my own personal light on and Sophia has gone to sleep out on her bed and it really feels like I have my own space where I have control of my life without affecting or annoying someone else.  She has also been really cool about the hideous print on my curtains, which I ADORE because it's just very very me.  I am in my perfect element right now on this little cot surrounded by paraphernalia.  I have money in the bank, I caught up on my bills, I have money in my wallet, and I even have another round of tipshare waiting for me at Bubba Gump from Saturday night.

My aunt drove me into the city yesterday morning with an old dresser in the back (meaning I finally put my clothes into drawers and am not living out of a suitcase for the first time since EARLY AUGUST!) and she's so enchanted by NYC that she helped me see my building and my neighborhood and the whole city with new eyes.  I'm not as determined to get out of here as I was a week ago.  I'm back on track for wanting to have a studio here someday and have a real person job, though I do still want to retire to the Appalachain mountains someday, or just move there once I've had enough of city.  I feel so much better though.  I have opportunities, personal space, spending money, and my perkiness back.
Ooookay so probably I should update this because I know that last post was pretty pitiful.

Weirdly enough, the job at Bubba Gump is my salvation right now.  It's hard work and long hours with not much in the way of breaks, but the other people there are so great that I always come home in a fantastic mood.  I'm making a teeny bit more than minimum wage anyway, but my job consists of four different positions, and the other day I was scheduled as a "tablesetter" and learned that that meant I could pick up my share of the tips the next day... I now have $66 in cash in an envelope... from one shift!  Plus I should be getting my check from the stupid cinema job today maybe.  I'm still behind on two of my student loan payments, but now it looks like I'll be able to swing it, and by next month I should be doing just slightly better than breaking even.

I'm ridiculously busy and my feet hurt all the time but I'm trying to keep it together as best I can.  Things are looking up, though.  And I do want to try to stick it out here at least through November, maybe the end of next January if I can swing it just so it's a full year.  Obviously I'm hoping that damn American version of MOR gets its ass over here before I have to pack up and go.
For anyone who hasn't been near my tumblr, basically I'm having a horrible time.

After nearly two months of unemployment I finally caved and went for a part-time job at a cinema here in Harlem.  I went in all excited and on day one realized that my new coworkers and managers were brash and rude and disrespectful, almost as bad as the customers.  Three weeks of constant, back-breaking and blister-inducing and demeaning work and I finally got my first paycheck... for $278.  My rent is $350 alone and that's only because there are four people crammed in this shitty little apartment.  There's also student loans, a metrocard, and my phone to think about, for starters.

So I went out and got a second job at my favorite restaurant in Times Square.  I've only done two shifts there, but juggling both schedules is going to be ridiculous.  I don't think I can leave the crappy cinema paycheck behind to live off the restaurant.

All this is leaving no time or money for any of the fun stuff.  I just keep thinking, if I was anywhere else this money would be enough.  If I were anywhere else I wouldn't be sending out five resumes a day with no response.  I can't figure out what I'm doing here.  So basically... I just cry a lot.  This city isn't what I expected.  This isn't Paris.  I can't see a future here.

For the first time in my life, I just want a little house in the woods.  In the mountains.  With a punch buggy and a pet pig and a job that pays me enough to fly overseas or up to NYC every once in a while.
So a few things.

My roommate and I (the one I share a room with, not the boys yet) have fallen into a really comfortable pattern lately, possibly because Thursday I freaked out about the mess and the rat, pulled the oven away from the wall, and spent two hours and as many brillo pads on the floor scrubbing away a tomato sauce stain left by the girl I replaced in the house nearly two months ago.  It was FOUL but I feel so much better now that it's gone.  When she came home she saw the oven and gasped that it looked brand new, and ever since we've been giggling and conspiring about getting the boys to clean up after themselves and all in all it's just been really pleasant.  She's invited me out a few times but made it clear that she understands my preference for staying in a quiet, comfortable, internet-enabled space.  It was so respectful.  I'm really pleased.

I'm still waiting on a job.  My dad finally sealed the deal on selling my old viola, so I got just enough money for rent and one of my student loans from that.  I have probably enough for another month left in my Target savings, but I'd really rather have an income.  I want to buy an electric rat trap so badly... and a lot of other things.  The amazing receptionist job said they hadn't made a decision yet and were postponing everything until "early next week", ie tomorrow or so.  I feel sure that I'm the best candidate given my dedication and persistence, but now I'm starting to worry that they might have decided not to fire the other girl at all.  I'm still sending out résumés, but my heart is with that position.

Lastly, I randomly decided to return to fanfiction!  There was one unfinished story that has been haunting me for four years, so my priority is to get the rest out.  I sat down with a notepad document and came up with a plot that's twice as much fun as the vague idea I had before, but is also going to get pretty... well, violent, graphic, and disturbing.  But if a story didn't have those things it wouldn't really be me writing it, now would it?  Sigh.  I'll try my best not to push it too much further than, say... Fanteeney Todd.  Remember that one?  I'm still proud of that ending.

Anyway, the story is here obviously, "Zwischen Abgrund und Schein", and it's going to take a new turn that I hadn't originally committed to.  I'm pretty pleased.  For anyone who wasn't around four years ago or who doesn't remember the story, the concept is that Marius is in a depression-like funk, Cosette is very pregnant, and they take in a stray homeless chick who shakes up their comfort zone.  There's also de Lotbinière, which was a shoutout to the Québec girls, the first internet friends I ever met in real life.  The new chapter is probably kinda shaky because there of that brief hiatus, but I feel like I'll bring it all into place soon.
lesmisloony: (omg enjy)
HI SO I went to a job interview today and if I get that job I think it will solve 99% of my problems.

It's a receptionist job for a small insurance company on Wall Street (actual Wall Street, so fancy!) and it's actually a straight shot to get there from my apartment with no train-switching or anything.  It's a dressy-casual office (most everyone was in jeans!) mostly full of young people (the girl who interviewed me had never done an interview before and was wearing a slouchy sweater) and I'd learn not only receptionist work, but also administrative assistant and any extra PA stuff the boss needs done.  Everyone there was friendly and relaxed and awesome and chatty and I already REALLY wanted the job before they told me the salary

which is

between 33K and 38K a year

meaning like $680 a week minimum

AND they told me that with my experience (answering phones at Target and various cinemas) I could even negotiate for MORE

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PROBLEMS I WOULDN'T HAVE IF I MADE $680 A WEEK

SO

I REALLY WANT THIS JOB

I'll know by Wednesday they said.  I was the first person they interviewed, and I hope SO HARD that anyone else they interview after me is a total asshole because pleaaase I want that job SO BADLY
Well, after Scamgate 2013 I became borderline furious with craigslist and remembered my mom saying nice things about monster.com.  I opened a free account there this morning, sent out my résumé five times with a few easy clicks (and short cover letters typed into the appropriate boxes) and next thing I know I have an interview scheduled for Monday!  A real interview too, not a yahoo messenger one.  When I called my mom to tell her she asked what the job was, so I said "well, they're going to send me a check-" and then got a big kick out of her shocked gasp.  No no, not falling for that again.  Sigh.

Actually I don't really remember which job it is that I'm going to... let me go check.  Okay, according to the website that was linked in the emails they sent me, it's some kind of a marketing company (and marketing/advertising was a field I was somewhat interested in, along with publishing and translation) and the ad I answered said they wanted entry-level management in twelve different fields.  I don't care what field, I just want a steady full-time job!  Anyway, management in any of the twelve fields they need would be a step up on my résumé from the retail jobs I've been dealing with thus far.  Plus it's an office job rather than a store job, and that was my goal!  All in all, not bad for a day's work!  I just hope they take me.  I did some math, and the minimum income I can live off of (if you take in rent, utilities, metrocard, student loans, phone [actually I doubled what I'm paying now because I reeaalllly want a smartphone], and brown rice meals) is about $1100 a month.  They told me to come in ready to tell them what I wanted to be paid, so I decided I'd say about $15 an hour, but would be willing to start lower and work hard to reach that point.  I'm never sure what it is that employers want to hear when they ask that question, so my mom helped me brainstorm.  If I could do $15/hr in a full-time position, I'd have an extra thousand a month for savings... or to buy furniture.  Or to eat more than a serving of brown rice from my giant vat each meal.  Heck, I would maybe even be able to afford my own studio apartment within a year or so!

My other issue besides jobs right now is health stuff.  I've made an appointment for the end of the month with a doctor who was VERY highly recommended on yelp, but I keep having second thoughts.  He isn't an MD, but has a really long list of qualifications that I logically realize must be valid, but the Southerner in me (do-what-the-government-says,-other-countries-don't-know-shit) is still really wary.  I'm going to talk to him about my blood-thinner decisions and stuff like that.  I was looking for a doctor who focuses more on nutrition and lifestyle and less on treating symptoms with drugs, especially after my previous doctor was thoughtless enough to give me a medication that will almost definitely lead to vitamin K deficiency if taken for drawn-out periods of time and then tell me I would have to take it for the rest of my life without ever mentioning the risk.  I feel like western medicine relies too much on immediacy: what are your symptoms NOW? how can we make it better NOW?  rather than the whole picture: what might have brought this on? how can you change your lifestyle to avoid this in the future?  So yeah, I guess I am going to the right doctor for all that, but the lack of the letters "MD" still makes me antsy for some reason.

For a much smaller victory, I've been dealing with congestion for the past week, and it's really getting me down.  I simultaneously can't breathe and have snot literally drip out of my nose sometimes without me realizing it.  My lips are so chapped they're cracked, and sleeping is absolutely tedious.  I was googling to see what kind of medicine I should buy when I go to the pharmacy to renew my blood thinners tomorrow, and I stumbled across the concept of a neti pot.  Intrigued at the idea of solving the problem with salt and water rather than drugs (that apparently can lead to addiction and an even worse bout of congestion when you stop taking them), I nicked a squeeze bottle from the kitchen, filled it with warm salty water, and did my best to emulate a neti pot.

It. Was. Instantaneous.  The process was messy since the bottle wasn't quite doing the job the right way, but when I finally did manage to get a little bit of a trickle out the other nostril (without it all going down my throat and making me panic like a kid drowning in a pool) I immediately felt it all clearing up.  Once I get the real pot and get the hang of the head tilt, I feel like this would be a cinch to incorporate into a morning or evening routine to keep my nose clear... maybe forever!  So yeah, I'm all excited about neti pots this evening.
Not sure what I'm feeling...

Thanks to the people who helped point out what should have been obvious to me re: the craigslist scams.  I blithely didn't see a way that those approaches would backfire, though obviously the whole thing seemed VERY strange.  I'm glad people helped me catch it before it cost me or got me into trouble.

I just really want a job.

Like... I want to have money again.  I want to be able to grab a Subway sandwich if I want to, or to try the famous New York pizza everyone talks about.  Even when I was an au pair I could usually justify buying a pair of shoes here and there, but with no income I totally panic and stop spending anything at all.  My roommates won't stop shaming me for sticking around the apartment.  I don't think they realize that $2.50 for a one-way trip in the métro is really unreasonable and adds up.

I'm considering getting the kind of job I was hoping to avoid, like retail or waitressing, and then trying for an unpaid internship just for the sake of getting experience somewhere, but I don't know if that kind of thing could really work.  I think I got really depressed today because all my responses from craigslist (except one that didn't go anywhere after a week of "maybes") turned out to be scams.

I'd accidentally started thinking about what I could do with all the money they promised I'd make, you know?  For starters, I want a mattress.  I want to pay off my student loans.  I want a bed frame.  I want warm winter-appropriate shoes.  I want to have meals rather than make one big vat of brown rice and vegetables and eat off of that for two weeks.  I want that giant portrait of the Seine that I saw in Ikea the other week.

I miss Paris every day, and it's making me gloomy.  I really thought being in a big city would help, but I picked a terrible time to come out here.  It's too cold to really explore and I'm too poor to spend much money on the subway, so I'm stuck in a really crummy neighborhood remembering how sweet and gorgeous Paris was.  Just aesthetically I miss Paris, and I miss the métro.

I'm kind of bummed out, I guess.  I knew not to put 100% of my faith in that job thing the way I knew not to develop too much attachment to Maktav: when I got let down as I suspected I eventually would, it hurt a lot more than it was supposed to.
Okay, so yesterday I got an email back from one of the thousands of craigslist postings to which I'd sent my résumé.  They told me that their HR person was online on yahoo messenger and waiting to talk to me.  I tried to click the link in the email to go back and see which ad it was (I've answered A LOT) and it said that the posting had been flagged for removal.

Anyway, I added the HR lady's handle to my yahoo messenger thing (I'd never used the service before) and after a while (I had to actually email her and tell her my name and that I was ready for the "interview") she finally showed up with a "Hello".  She began copy-pasting things into the chat, and her spelling was... questionable, to say the least.  Random words were capitalized in sentences, for instance, and "chose" was substituted for "choose" in one place, etc.  I rationalized that maybe English wasn't her first language.

She described a computer company (and linked a website) that had begun its life in MN and was looking to move to a new location.  I inferred that she meant NYC.  She said that for three weeks they would need someone to work up to eight hours a day, faxing, doing data entry, things like that.  I answered a quick questionnaire that weirdly didn't touch on any of my skills, and after a few moments told me I'd been approved for the job, congratulating me a lot.  She then said that I was going to need all new equipment--computer, fax machine, software, etc--and that they were going to send me a check and instructions on where and what to buy.  She told me to be online again at 8am for the next stage of my training.

This morning I logged into yahoo messenger at 7:45 and she was ready with a "Hello".  I'd quickly learned that showing personality was pretty pointless, since the responses I was getting were very flat.  The whole thing was very suspicious, especially when I realized that yahoo messenger, unlike skype, AIM, and every other messaging program I know, doesn't save past chats.  This morning she told me that I would soon receive a check for a large sum of money, and I would deposit it into my account, keep $100 for myself, buy Quickbook software, and then send the rest to the manufacturer who would send me my new stuff.  She even asked if I would be able to cash a check or if I would have to deposit it.  She then said that tomorrow she would give me more information at 8am, and bid me a good day.

Obviously I wasn't going to plan on any of this being true until the cash started rolling in, but through all my suspicions I still couldn't see how I had given them an opportunity to scam me.  They only had my name and address, not my bank account or anything!  It wasn't until my roommate started telling me about scams where you deposit a check and send the money off before you learn that the check is fake, and then the money has to come from your account... or something like that?

Anyway, I know the whole thing is hella shady-seeming, which is why a few moments ago I used the website I was provided to contact the company and ask if this HR lady was a real person and I had a real job.  Just in case it is somehow all true, I put in some sort of "it just seems a little too good to be true!" line so I wouldn't be thought of as ungrateful or what-have-you.  But yeah, the whole thing seems really odd, and I'm not giving up the job hunt till I feel secure.

What do you guys think?
lesmisloony: (squee ChanTho)
Things are finally coming up roses again!

1. I got that roomshare secured in NYC where I'll only be paying $350 a month for a place in East Harlem. The roommate seems cool and legit, so fingers crossed I don't start/stumble into any drama.

2. When I went to put in my notice at Target, they offered to keep me on the payroll an extra week and then transfer me to the East Harlem Target which, according to yelp, is new, largely undiscovered, quiet, and clean.

3. My parents agreed to buy my train ticket since they have the AAA discount, and my uncle agreed to meet me at a stop in NJ, let me come stay the night at the family home up there, then accompany me into the city the next morning.

4. Randomly sent my résumé to a temp agency last night, and this morning they called me back and were ready to set up an interview like five minutes from now, but agreed to push it to February 4th, the first weekday after I stumble into NYC.

So :D
(The first time I made that smiley I did a D: because I've been using that one so much more lately.)
I keep almost posting to lj but not having that much to say. I have an outline for my third book finally. I'm still working 39 hours a week but it seems that will drop off next week because after Christmas it won't be as busy... I'm in talks with ANOTHER person to be my roommate but for chrissake i cant fucking trust ANYONE and i'm slowly learning to hate all of humanity and never have any friends again

oops that was bitterer than i usually am, just dont fucking get me started on failed roommates

ummm I'm weirdly addicted to Finding Bigfoot, like it's the only show I sit down at the tv to watch every week (Sunday nights at 10) because other shows I catch up with later online... I miss Conan and Jon Stewart REALLY BADLY because i tend to work past midnight, but hopefully once the store starts closing at 10 again they'll come back into my life...

guns shouldnt be legal for private citizens to own

i dyed my hair again

this icon is the first gif i ever made in my whole life and i cherish it

hope the world doesnt end before christmas

OH ALSO I finally opened a damn etsy shop! It's here and everyone should buy these dolls because they take three or more days to make and I'm selling them for stupidly low prices but I'm just worried people won't be willing to pay for them. Ugh. How come people will buy a $200 Tony Stark action figure but when I knit a doll of him WITH GLOW IN THE DARK ARC REACTORS and offer it for $26 no one gives a shit? I'm not internet-famous enough I guess.
Welllllllllp.

First, my potential roommate is going through financial turmoil and isn't sure she's going to be able to commit to an apartment, but she needs to be in one by the end of January if she does decide to stay in the city. Giant sigh. She did the equivalent of "I'm fine, go on without me, save yourself!!" and I was all "I'm not LEAVING you!" or something, so I volunteered to find a third person since three bedroom apartments split three ways tend to come out somewhat cheaper than a studio or one bedroom split two ways, plus everyone gets their own room, and that third person and I would be in charge of nailing down apartment details while sort of unofficially counting her in, and if things sort themselves out and she decides she can't afford to stay in the city, this other person and I will just throw someone else in her place. The problem is I spent thirty minutes hunting through ads and had about eight profiles of people open to message, but then I had to go to work and when I got back my computer was acting weird and I got so distracted I ended up somehow losing my session on Opera aaaand now I'm at square one AGAIN. Sometimes I think I should just pull a blanket over myself and give up and live on square one.

Second, my health: I went to the official hospital doctor a while back and had a massive amount of blood taken to do a bunch of tests, and yesterday I went back to see what the deal was about that pulmonary embolism of mine. Did I mention that the French hospital reports said that the clot was so big it was blocking my entire aorta and even extending into some of the smaller veins on either side? Sweet French Jesus. That shit ain't kidding around. Anyway, the good news is almost every test came back negative. The bad news is that one showed that I have an unusually high amount of this one clotting agent fiber thing in my blood, meaning there's so much of that dude naturally that my blood is too thick and prone to clotting, so... he's saying I'll probably be on these blood thinners indefinitely. Meaning I have to restrict my broccoli and spinach intake indefinitely, which is awful. Also, that's one more thing for me to keep spending money on. Oh, I just realized that I'll also have to go get my finger pricked to have my INR tested once a month as long as I'm on this medication... great.

Third, a bunch of people quit Target after Black Friday, so I'm now working around 39 hours a week! It's confusing for me to deal with since I just spent months with absolutely NOTHING to do, and I feel like I've lost all my free time. I almost always work closing shift, so I haven't seen Jon Stewart or Conan in ages, which is sad. But I do need money, so even on the rare days when I'm not scheduled they sometimes call me in. However there are prerecorded ads that play in the electronics section, so whenever I'm in infant's or men's I hear this incessant, awful loop of songs that are slowly grating away my sanity. They've literally become the soundtrack to my dreams. The worst is that they're almost all wildly popular right now, so I get in the car after an eight hour shift and am all "ahhh" and crank it up only to have fuckin Ke$ha moaning at me all over again. Last night my shift ended at 8 so I got to watch Conan and GUESS WHO the musical guest was. Like, bitch, do you WANT to die young? Because if I don't get a break from this song of yours I will see to it that YOU DO. I don't understand how the people who actually work in electronics are holding it together.

Alright, off to work, but that's my life. Happy Mikele's birthday!
Just came from my first "real" shift at Target. It's honestly the most positive, cheerful, stress-free job I've ever had outside the tiny two-screen independent cinemas. Customers are nice, other employees are nice, managers are nice... they were super complimentary and I left feeling like I had kicked ASS at register training. I actually worked the express lane alone most of the day. MUCH nicer and more carefree than the job I had at Lowes Foods. Plus I know I did a great job.

Plus free donuts and cookies in the breakroom at all times.

LOVING this job. Next I'm going on to start my training on the clothes floor, which will be my official job from now on. I just need to know how to work a register in case things get super busy or whatever.

As for the whole moving-to-New-York thing, my parents came home finally and heard the story. My dad is intent on trying to convince me to move to a "normal" city, but excuse me sir Emilia Clarke will be in a Broadway show soon and I MUST meet her at least long enough to take a photo. And other things. SNL, Jon Stewart... no way I'm going to a town where things don't happen. New York Comic Con, those Dr Who premiers, that Dr Who themed bar I've seen on tumblr... yeah, no, it's NYC.

My parents, my grandmom, and even my uncle weren't as surprised as I was about my plans falling through. Well, my mom seemed to be a little bit, but I guess she's kind of an idealist like I can be. We'll see how it'll work out.


Anyway long story short, Target = most positive corporate work environment ever.
I had orientation at Target yesterday, and it seems like the most positive place to work EVER. I'm the first to admit that my reaction to needing ANY grocery item is to roll over to Walmart, but wow. The Target orientation video was only about 30% white people, and there was even a long section on how we should be accommodating and inclusive of everyone no matter their race, religion, cultural background, sexual orientation, etc etc etc. It was basically the video that should be shown as an orientation to LIFE, not just working at Target. We also learned about all the money they donate to schools in the community, and as a teachers' kid that fills me with joy.

Even better news, I start my actual training next week and some actual hours! They have me working five days my first week! They say it's a busy time of year (that's why they hire seasonal workers like me) and they'll have us working up to like forty hours a week. Yay income!

I'll be cross-trained as a cashier and as my regular job, a "floor" person, meaning I patrol the clothing/shoes/jewelry area organizing things (which I do anyway) and asking customers if I can help them. But since I'll know how to do two jobs, that also means that I can use their detailed pick-up system to take on extra shifts in either of those areas whenever someone needs it. You have no idea how much I love working for pay, and I don't intend any other meanings to that. It's just, the idea of actually getting paid for every hour I do a job, rather than a little pocket money at the end of each week, is GLORIOUS. And I'd MUCH rather wander around a store interacting with humans than the job I had last year, if ya know what I mean.

So yeah, I wanted to share how overjoyed I am. The best part is, as a seasonal worker the job will be over in January, so I'll be free to move to New York and get my life back on track... with another job on my already shockingly-long-for-my-age resume!

I'm one of those weirdos who loves working too much because I love fat paychecks. At my cinemas I was always picking up shifts and working doubles happily, and the best feeling I had was the days I would switch between my cinema job and my jewelry job by changing shirts in the back room. When I was a little kid my dream wasn't to get married and live happily ever after but to have ten jobs.

I'VE BEEN BROKE FOR SO LONG. I want to buy those fancy pink pumps I saw at Payless!
lesmisloony: (squee ChanTho)
Hello there!

Gosh, I feel like I've been so busy since I got home. First off the plane portion of my journey took all day Monday and the train portion all day Tuesday, then Wednesday my mom let me spend $100 on some new clothes (I had NO pants after donating most of my clothes in order to get my luggage down to three suitcases), Thursday I did grocery and pharmacy errands and dismantled my broken laptop, Friday I had two interviews for season jobs (I got a job at Target, starting next Sunday!!), and today I'm going to finally finish going through my stuff and arranging everything in my room. I get to put my belongings in DRAWERS for the first time since early August! Still on my to-do list are VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA and calling my doctor to find out what we're gonna do about m blood thinners and stuff.

I am so happy to be back in the US, and back in a rural town. The trees are so beautiful here (just google "Blue Ridge mountains fall" and you can imagine what NC looks like this time of year--I'm not in the mountains, but those are the trees I'm seeing) and it's been so sunny I haven't had to put on a jacket since I got off the train. People are friendly and easy to chat with, Subway has mushrooms and banana peppers, and I can watch new episodes of Top Model with my mom on our big enormous four foot screen. My mom's dog is adorable, the cat is a thousand times less shed-y and obnoxious than Vincent's, and I've been reunited with things like my extensive nail polish collection and $2 yarn at Walmart!

I filled out two job applications online while I was in France, and when I got to the house I saw two job interviews on the calendar for me. I interviewed at Target in the morning and Ulta in the afternoon, and Target hired me on the spot. The Ulta people were a little bit snottier (I was gossiping with my Target supervisor about people she knew in college for fifteen minutes before she got around to the actual interview) so I don't give a crap if they don't hire me. Plus the Target people want to put me on the clothes floor! I need a red shirt and khaki pants now.

My biggest triumph is that my darling laptop Listolier, who had been getting startlingly hot lately, finally gave up and told me there was a fan error, refusing to boot up at all. I refused to let him die on me after all we've shared, so I used the family desktop to find instructions on dismantling a thinkpad and, with the help of my sonic screwdriver screwdriver I gutted my poor friend, clearing out all the dust bunnies and cat hair (thanks, Vincent's stinky apartment) and finally had the computer fan in my hand, which I sprayed with compressed air. I reassembled everything (losing one tiny screw in the process unfortunately), and, fully expecting the computer to refuse to boot up or to give me another fan error (or be broken from me touching the wrong thing) I tried to restart it and... success! Not only does it no longer have a fan error, it no longer gets super hot! Right now it's on my lap, which before would have turned it into a scorching oven, but when I put my hand on the edge where the fan is it's cold as ice! I'm so excited!

Emboldened by that success, I went ahead and ordered a new keyboard for $20 off ebay, because my number three key sticks and my backspace and shift have been broken and see-sawing for months. Plus I know the compressed air didn't get all the gunk out from under these keys, so it'll be nice to just replace it myself like the badass I secretly am.

Can you tell how happy I am from the tone of this? If not, I AM A HAPPY PERSON. I know what phone plan and phone I'm going to get from Verizon (everyone's recommended network) once I move to New York, but I unfortunately am without a phone for the time being. My parents give me an old flip phone of theirs so I'm trying to find some cheap pay-as-you-go type plan for that. It would be nice.

Question: if I plan to use my future smartphone's wifi VERY sparingly, like only to check maps or directions or whatever when I get lost, is 250MB of internet enough or should I spring for 1G? I've never had a smartphone before--I've been using a flip phone for two years that didn't even have a camera in it--and my parents have become Apple zombies and keep trying to convince me to get an iPhone with unlimited wifi like their plan, but I don't want to always have access to tumblr or I'll retreat from the physical world and never use my mouth to communicate again. But I *do* want access to the internet if I get lost or confused in New York, where I'll be living come January. Anyway I'm figuring all this out from recommendations from friends and stuff.
Well, to be honest I've actually gotten attached to the idea of going back to school because that gives me two more years here where I *definitely* know I can get a visa, I'm working toward a goal that will help me stay here, aaand yeah. The problem remains my lack of income and my insecure job desires.

But if I decide to go back to school after TAPIF, then I can apply for citizenship afterward, which will basically open up every closed door. I will also have training in translation (so maybe people like Dove Attia will take me seriously) and I'll have practice teaching (a pretty easy job to get here as a foreigner) aaand voilà. The other problem remaining is that I hate schooling but oh well, this time I'll know it was my own choice. I know au pairing was my own choice so when there's an issue I know I just have to suck it up and deal with it. I go through a lot just to stay here, but I know that no matter how miserable I think I am, I'm still happier than I was both times I tried to go back to the US after having lived in Paris.

If it hadn't been for MOR, I don't think I would have gotten quite this obsessed with staying here. A lot of things wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for MOR.

Also, I had SO MUCH MORE TIME when I was a student! I miss that quite desperately.

Here's another thing I like about the student idea: if I knew I would have three years here, I could go ahead and get myself a little apartment and apply for CAF, the government thing that helps poor people pay rent. I went by two local real estate places today and checked all the postings in the window. I nice one-bedroom apartment here in this suburb is usually in the €500/mo range, meaning kitchen, bathroom, shower, room, and sometimes even "entryway" or whatever. With CAF (according to the website) I would get something like €200 of that knocked off. The problem is, you can't apply to CAF without a carte de séjour (a sticker in your visa that sometimes takes AGES to acquire grrr) and when you do it still takes a while to kick in. Once it finally does they'll send you all the money you missed out on while you were waiting, but you still have to pay the rent somehow during that time. If I stay in the same little place for three years (TAPIF and two years of schooling) CAF will be a LOT more convenient for me.

If I get a roommate and a two-bedroom place, my half of the rent will be something like €400 and that's for a place with two rooms, a dining type area, a kitchen, bathroom shower, et cetera. Then CAF would only give me something like €100, meaning either way I pay the same, so actually it may be wiser to go ahead and plan to live alone seeing how I'm not sure this roommate will come through and blah blah. I texted her today like hey wanna go shopping and chat about our futures and she never answered. It happens. She's not super reliable. But hey, I'll get it figured out.

Also, you can spend two years here getting a masters for the same price you can spend one semester at UNC doing nothing.

Also as soon as my download LEGAL PURCHASE lol yeah right of Beauty and the Beast ends I'm going to make me an icon about wanting so much more than than this provincial town for future posts like this.
So here's the dilemma, I guess.

Word on the street is that there's some legislation in progress here in France that will make it all but impossible for a foreigner to find work here without a master's degree... unless she's married to a Frenchman.

There are two things I've always sworn I would never do: get married and go back to school.

Unfortunately, it now seems like I have no choice but to make one of those happen. Obviously school is the better option in the long run because it's entirely in my control and it could actually help benefit my future AND after two years of higher education in France you're allowed to apply for citizenship.

But the thing is, I've never even considered getting a masters. Never. So I am wildly unprepared to start thinking about this, especially since the websites I'm browsing aren't in English.

Will it be a big deal that I failed that computer class at UNC? I retook it later and made a C but it didn't make the fail go away. I'm not a great student... mostly C's and B's and underachieving. I feel like France has higher standards than me.

And what do I specialize in? Someone mentioned translation and I thought that was exciting so I started looking into it a bit. There's a translations master at Paris III, which is part of the "Nouvelle Sorbonne" or whatever. That's attractive cause you get to say "Sorbonne" and watch French people look impressed. But again... my grades. There's another one in Paris called ISIT, but I'm having trouble comprehending ANY of this.

How will I afford life whilst in school? More loans I guess. Luckily school here is pretty damn cheap, so that won't hurt too badly. I think getting my masters would cost the same as a round trip ticket to visit my family in the US. There's still housing and food to worry about, though.

And if I decide to get a masters in translation, how will that work with the fact that I'm a native English speaker going to a French university? Who do I go to with these questions?

I think the plan is to do TAPIF next year, then (if I must) two years of grad school (if possible?). At some point I can even get certified for TEFL online and then I'd be available to translate or teach...

But I don't know anything about getting a masters! I always ignored information on the subject because it just seemed so far from the realm of possible options for my future...
Welp, I haven't made an unlocked post in a while so I figured I should. I have a couple friends who aren't lj users who say they follow my journal anyway soooo this is for them.

Things are looking up! I think I'm finally done with that toxic relationship with the Frenchman who barely even remembered to make me a second choice, much less validate me or appreciate what I was offering him AT ALL. I don't want to bear him ill will or anything, especially since I'm sure our paths will cross again (he still thinks he's allowed to invite me over any time he gets bored, but I don't need his attention anymore so he's got a surprise coming). I'm sure he's still the same sweet guy I fell for almost a year ago, but he hasn't been acting like it since I got back to Paris. I've given him way too many chances and forgiven him way too many times. So, goodbye to him, I guess. No more Patrin. I'm disappointed, but I'm not broken or angry or regretful, and that's what matters.

Also, German Lara said I could go to her house for Christmas! Weinachstein, I mean. I'm super relieved, because when I checked with my host family what days I would be free to leave it turned out that THEY WERE EXPECTING ME TO WORK RIGHT THROUGH CHRISTMAS. What? Most of the other au pairs are going home! I thought I would at least have the same amount of free time as the au pairs who were leaving the country for Christmas, but nope! I have about five days. I love being around German Lara. She's so supportive and wise and lovely.

Speaking of the host family, out of nowhere the other day they asked if I wanted to stay another year with them! So... I guess they like me now? Well, I've taught their three year old to count to seven in English and he comprehends almost everything I say. All three kids can sing Ça ira mon amour now, or at least the refrains. I've gotten better at remembering all the household chores and! my room! has been clean! for almost a month! This is UNHEARD of! I didn't like them tearing me apart for drifting through life, but I needed to hear it.

The only piece of my TAPIF application that's missing is the second recommendation. I'm going to ask my host family, but I keep chickening out. I guess they like me now, since they asked me to stay on. I mean obviously I'm not going to stay unless I have absolutely no other choice. I hate living in a massive room with a massive bed and my own entrance and bathroom but not being allowed to let friends stay over. Making a friend stay in a hostel when she comes to visit you is INSANE and unfair. Plus even on my days off the kids feel free to come wandering into my room to bother me. And if I try to stay in here to work the whole family pries and asks what I was doing and why I didn't leave my room. I don't like feeling judged, so... yeah. I like them, but I need to remove myself from this situation when the contract is up.

Also, my fannish love for my rebound man Roddy J is growing and growing. You WILL love me, Roddy J. If you don't believe me, ask the entire Troupe of MOR. In fact, I am now going to make him and 1789 a special silly tag.

I went to see Dracula this weekend and stagedoored with German Lara a couple of times. The most nice were Anais, Golan, Gregory, and Marble-Eyes McGee (just kidding his name is Julien). The others were all either intimidated by us not speaking French to them or shy or rushed. It's hard to tell with des artistes. We also saw Cabaret (though we were so unimpressed that we left during intermission) and met Claire, Delphine, and Emmanuel "Babyface" Moire. This is why I love living in Paris.

Also, I am redying my hair obnoxiously red again today. I don't look forward to the family making comments about it, but oh well. That's the color it was when I got here, and now it's so faded and the roots almost look gray comparatively! I wanna pretend to be a bombshell again.
I'm confused now. I'm almost finished with my application to TAPIF, but I don't know anymore. I might not get Paris. I might not get Créteil or Versailles (the closest suburbs) either.

My original plan was to turn it down flat if they didn't put me in or around my city, but somehow something changed and now I'm starting to consider letting the fates take Paris away. I'll still be in France, which is better than the States... but when I think about letting all the theatre and concerts and landmarks be a train ride away rather than a métro ride, it makes me panic a little.

But things are winding down with the Frenchman I guess, so it's not like I specifically have a life here. I mean, I do have a life here, but it's solitary. If I left for any amount of time, nothing would change whenever I got back.

Plus, if I get this job, almost all my income will go to rent if I stay in Paris. If they put me in any other city I might actually earn a little something.

The only thing I'm really looking forward to in my future is 1789. It's weird not knowing what you're waiting for or where you want to go. If they take me away from Paris, I won't be able to become bff with Roddy J.

I guess I'll wait and see where I get assigned, but I almost dread having to figure out a way to pay my rent if they keep me in the city I love. But I know this city, I know the métro lines and I know where to have faxes sent the cheapest and I know how to jump turnstiles when necessary. I'm an expert stagedoorer. This is my world.

I could still turn them down and au pair for another year, but that scares me a lot more than Parisian rent.

And even if I do become an English teacher, I won't make much money. Probably not enough to pay my rent. I'm fighting and fighting my way up a hill but once I get to the top it's going to be a dead end.

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