Monday, July 19, 2010

It's official.

Let Friday, July 16, 2010 go down in history as the day that I finally got my Notice of Appointment.  Well, I don't technically have it yet, but it's on its way to the recruiters' office in Canada and will then find its way to my hot little hands, sticky with the heat and humidity of my last DC summer (for a year, anyway).  Thank God that's done.

*****Friday, July 16, 2010*****

Things always go down in history surrounded by asterisks and colored in hot pink.

Shortly after receiving this good news of great joy, I went through the slightly awkward right of passage that is resigning from my job for the first time.  In the past, I've ended my job because (a) it was an internship and it was supposed to end at a certain date, or (b) I got laid off.  We'll address that second one at some point in the future (maybe).  But I'd never actually resigned from a job before.  I was talking with a friend last week and we agreed that people tend to have this instinct for when one of their valued employees is looking to leave.  Bosses and coworkers then begin telling you how great it is to work with you, how much you're appreciated, how they don't know what they'd do without you, etc., etc.  This in turn creates a feeling of dread for the person who will, in fact, very soon, quit his/her job.

So after hearing my Boss tell me how much he appreciates me and mention his abandonment issues more than once, and involuntarily creating my own mental picture of my Coworker having a heart attack/aneurysm/exploding all over the walls when I tell her of my imminent departure, I was pretty freaked out about actually quitting.

To my great surprise and relief, the Boss was very supportive when we had our "I'm leaving you" talk.  He was very pastoral, which I'm sure has something to do with him being a priest, and even the Associate Boss was great about it.  Add to their credit that I really am leaving at a superbly shitty time: only two weeks remain before Boss goes on vacation for a month and Associate Boss runs the place without one of her key staff or with a brand new person on board trying to learn the ropes; I won't be around to train said person when (s)he comes on board; the parish is gearing up for a big capital campaign in the fall; a brand new website is being launched and people who usually do my kind of job are rarely savvy in this get the picture.  We'll see if this general easy-going-ness continues through my last two weeks of work, but I feel blessed to have at least made it through that first Dreaded Conversation in one piece with no tears and no aneurysm of my own.  Speaking of, the Coworker(s) have yet to be told of my departure.  That will happen at staff meeting on Tuesday.  Pray for me (us), if you are so inclined.  Thanks.

Now all I have to do is pass my TEFL exam.  In a week.  Or I don't have the job after all.  Which is now what's causing me no end of strife and consternation.  I'm trying to stay positive and confident - after all, it's an open-book/note test.  How bad can it be?  It will, I'm sure, include sections that require detailed, well-thought-out answers that I, having only ever read about the art that is teaching, will have to hope I can produce with some degree of realism despite my lack of any real experience.  But never fear!  I am a communicator/PR professional, and BS is what I do for a living.  It's also quite handy in navigating the intricacies of Washington, DC, from securing funding for a cause to sneaking into the Capitol/House/Senate office buildings to do something that the Powers That Be don't really want you to do.  Look like you belong there and act like you know what you're doing.  And keep talking until they believe you.  Isn't that how most people pass the tests they have to take?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I've got to get started at some point.

My English teaching job with EPIK is 99.9% confirmed.  I'm just waiting for that all-important Notice of Appointment so I can quit my job and take care of the bajillion other little (and not-so-little) things that must be taken care of before I leave the country (preferably before I leave DC).  My recruiter, Footprints (who have been amazing, by the way, those crazy Canadians), says there's a package of appointment notices en route to their offices.  Hopefully mine is among the many, and I can get started sooner rather than later.

Something you should know about me: I'm a planner.  I like to plan ahead.  I like to have goals and a map of how I'll reach those goals.  In the latter segment of my life, I've been trying to balance this with a belief in Spirit and the Universe having its own ways, which is pretty tricky.  How do you both plan and "make it happen" while still being open to opportunities that are put in front of you, and back off of plans you were making when the Spirit says, "Um, that's so not gonna happen. Sorry."  So what I currently call flexibility is really more of me making Plan A along with Backup Plans B, C and D.  I'm ok as long as I don't have to resort to Plan E or some variation thereon, at which point I freak out.  But I'm really and truly working on it.  And my entire Korea teaching application process has been a powerful learning tool in this area.

There have been many last-minute scrambles and readjustments of the mental Plan (and Backup Plans) throughout the entire application process.  How does this happen to a Planner who gets started early and researches all the details she can possibly know ahead of time?  Suffice it to say that I had talked a dear friend from high school into going with me who is (a) not as much of a Planner as I am, (b) does not have the same understanding of "make it happen" as I do, and (c) doesn't have the ingrained ability to navigate bureaucracy as I have (something you learn in order to survive five years in the Bureaucracy Capitol of America).  We had our applications tied together so we could go have a grand adventure AND be partners in crime, but then we ended up with somewhat different timing when it came to acquiring and submitting our documents to Footprints, and, well.....yeah.  Our applications aren't linked any more.  God love him, he did try.  My mother was talking of mailing a cream pie to him but couldn't figure out how to get it to launch from the box into his face, so she gave up.  For my part, I'm bummed, but I'm not mad at him.  This whole Grand Adventure of our Late 20s was my idea anyway.  Live and learn.

So, why the name of the blog, you ask?  I'm told that the Koreans are completely uninterested in dairy, particularly cheese (and Mexican food, but that's secondary to the cheese).  And dairy is an inordinately large part of my diet, particularly cheese and yogurt.  Now, I can make yogurt myself; I'll just throw some packets of culture into my suitcase.  But cheese?  I think not.  So I will most likely be spending a proportionate [amount of time:searching for cheese] as [cheese has been:my diet].  And I'll report every delectable (or disgusting) detail back to you, the few readers that I might have, and hopefully I'll be able to throw in some humor/interesting situations/life lessons with it.

Oh, and the kitty needs a new home.  Neither of us is happy about it, but there's nothing much we can do about it.  The Koreans aren't keen on importing pets, which I can understand.  Besides, whether it'd be her or a baggage handler, someone would likely die during Sabina's transit to the other side of the world.  I certainly don't want her to die just so I can spend a year abroad!  So, who wants a charmingly fat, furry, talkative cat??  I'm leaving DC at the end of this month....