The Process of Moving

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Earlier this year I knew it was highly likely I’d be moving.  The long, draining commute to my teaching job only increased that likelihood as the school year progressed.  So much of my life (2 hours on average!) was lost stuck in traffic.  It sucked.  This August will mark 2 years since I moved into current apartment, but due to commuting and the increasing price of rent (what I pay in NOVA makes me sick and I’m paying on the lower end) confirmed my idea to move.

 

I’ve begun the preliminary process of the move I’ll do when my lease is up at the end of August.  The last time I had a really big move (not counting the transition after getting a job here in NOVA since everything was packed up and I was living with minimal needs for six months) I packed up everything in the span of 2.5 weeks.  I made a huge trip to Goodwill, ate up food, did very little shopping and sold stuff.  Now I have six weeks to pack up.  I can only do so much this month (especially with me in the midst of travels), but I can start.  Therefore my goals for moving preparation this month are;

  1. Going through items and deciding what needs to be sold/not moved (already started)
  2. Eating through frozen meals/freezer/ingredients-most of what I eat are perishable vegetables, but I do have some things I’d rather finish off (saving money) than move with me.
  3. End of month-packing up unneeded items in boxes and putting them in storage
  4. Reading books on my TBR shelf, movies, games and selling the ones I don’t want to keep.
  5. Going through clothes ala my yearly clothing purge.  I do this once a year and wear everything in my closet.  If I can’t justify it, away it goes.
  6. Finally donating that box of stuff I have chilling in my closet.

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With a month and some odd days still to go, there isn’t a ton of stuff I can do, though when I turn in my non-renewal the in a week and a half, I’ll start boxing stuff up.  I have a love hate relationship with moving.  Not counting my moves to college and non-transitional moves less than 2 months, I have moved 5 times as of the age of 28.  The average American has moved 11.4 times.  Being the young nomad that I am, I would be willing to bet money I’ll exceed the average.  Speaking of, I once had a supervisor, who by my age, had moved 10 times (she moved every year, even if within the same city).  My moves have always been for job relocation or to cut down on moves and within state.  However, I would like to live in another state or country someday!

Have you moved in the last year?  

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June: An Ending and Beginning

June has been streaming along quickly on my end between end of the year duties and the excitement of summer vacation.  Thankfully things are rounding up on the school end of things, though it still feels that there’s a lot to get done by next Tuesday. Once my progress reports get some small edits (most were perfect!) and grades get done, I can focus on cleaning out my classroom.  I’ve already started the process, but I still have a ways to go!

As I make my way through things, I’ve finally gotten the chance to plan out more Summer activities (mostly booking hotels).  Still ironing out the details on two trips and making a list of some day trips to take!

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I got to engage in what I consider the starting point of my summer travels this weekend!  I went to an out of state CD release show (metal) with one of my best friends.  Sadly my phone died during the concert, but it was a fun show and I got to chat with some cool people.  Later that morning (!!) I traveled with my cousins to Appomattox. As you can see from the picture, it was a gorgeous day to go!

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Next weekend is Awesome Con (I’m meeting Stan Lee!!)  at Awesome Con.  I’ve been wanting to go for a few years since its pretty close and I’m finally fulfilling that want.  David Tennant, John Barrowman and others will be there too.  I met Tennant two years ago and I’m tempted to meet Barrowman as well (at the very least, I’ll go to their panels).

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(swag from Toomanygames last year)

The following weekend will be spent at Too Many Games.  This will be my third year going to it.  I’m looking forward to playing ‘too many games’, going to some panels of you tubers I follow and interacting with a great community of gamers.

Amongst the fun, exciting things I have planned, I’m looking forward to having some days of quiet and time spent with friends.  This year has easily been the most difficult year of my life due to losing my mother and  I’m looking forward to some much needed rest and happy times ahead.  Hopefully once work ends, I can cast aside the stress, anxiety, sadness and despair the first half of the year has given me.

Approaching the End

Waking up, I check the time on my phone.  I would be late to work if I woke up this late, even though the sun has barely been up.  A sense of relief washes over too as I realize that tomorrow is a day off from work.  In 23 days, at 12:30pm, I will be free until late August from work demands.  In that time there are 15 work days remaining (1 of which is a workday and two are half-days counting the last day).  It’s the end of the year, crunch time and I’m certainly counting down the time until what has been my most challenging year of teaching.

I didn’t anticipate the volume of paperwork required for the end of the year.  Progress reports (I’m a SPED teacher) and grades were things I knew and anticipated in advance.  However, I didn’t anticipate student yearly summaries, awards, checkout logs and my own paperwork to turn in before checking out.  The good thing is many things are due 2 weeks before the end of the year, with the last things due four days before.  I’ve turned in some early, but there’ll be many late nights for the other things!

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Lesson plans have been thinning out since I’ve covered most of what needed to be done in advance.  Since grades stop a week and a half before the end of the year, I plan on reviewing concepts and introducing activities and subjects students are interested in.  Once I turn in my paperwork, things should be smooth sailing, at last!

With the end near, I’m also getting into heavy planing territory with my summer plans.  I haven’t had a ‘free’ summer, without work on classes since…ever?  High school?  Do teen years even count? I have plenty of things mapped out during my months of wandering (and paid, woo!)  Planning said travels does make for a good reinforcer for completing end of the year work!

2017: The Year of Adventure

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The morning of January 1, 2017 started being in the presence of friends.  2016 seems to have been a rough year for many, myself included.  The emergence of 2017 didn’t mean an end to the strife that existed in 2016, but it did represent a new chapter, a new chance to try and make things better.

The travel bug proved stronger than my fatigue, as I was running on 5 hours of sleep.  I gave into it and drove down the interstate with no sure destination in mind.  Ultimately, I pulled over and mapped out a beach.  Sandy Point, located in Maryland was the one that popped up first.  Making my way through DC, I made it to my destination and was walking on the beach with other beach-goers before 11am.

From there, I journeyed to a nearby local coffee shop around Kent Island before heading back in time to meet up with friends for board games. In that time, I was contacted for an interview as a voice actor for a video game. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time (I have 12 years of theater experience and have only stopped it since leaving college). Update: I got it!

As I traveled, I was reminded of my big goal for the year, adventure.  I’m going into 2017 with a plan for more adventures. Given the prep/research and purchases I’ve made so far towards long distance travel I think I’m on the right course.  I’ve already volunteered out of state once (as of this writing) and if this month is setting the tone for the year, it really will be a year of adventure!  Below are my goals 15 Adventure goals for 2017

 

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1.Go hiking.

With several trails around me, this is something I just need to plan a day to do…once it gets warmer!

2. Visit at least one abandoned place

I have a huge obsession with abandoned places.  I went to an abandoned mental hospital two years ago and had some interesting things happen.  I’d love to do it again!

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3. Travel to 3 states I’ve never been to before

I’m planning on taking a road trip through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois this spring or summer, which will quickly knock this goal out.  I’m hoping to do a fall New England trip  which will add 1-2 more states covered on my travel map.

4.Visit museums

There’s a couple in Vermont and Connecticut I’d like to check out (just not the one with the Annabelle doll).  Living outside of DC, I’ll also have ample opportunity to see those as well!

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5. Attend at least 2 conventions

Generally I go to 2-3 conventions a year.  Last year I ended up going to 3, a tie for the 3 I did in 2015.  I generally have fun at them, but I’m staying clear of Wizard World based on my bad experiences at Philadelphia last year and some other issues from past cons.  Toomanygames is definitely going to be one (3rd year!)

6. Galloping Ghost

It’s in Illinois and it boasts around 500 arcade machines.  You bet I’m checking it out!

7. Visit a friend in Indiana

Three years ago one of my friends in Indiana came to visit me and another friend in Virginia.  It’s time to return the favor!

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8. Go to California

I’m trying to decide when to go (either as soon as school is out for the summer or in April).  It’ll also be my first west coast trip!

9) Volunteer for Heifer International

One of my favorite organizations and I’ve already signed up to volunteer in the spring and during the summer!

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10) Visit an abandoned theme park/location

I have a *small* obsession with abandoned places and there’s a crazy amount located in the United States.  Some that I want to check out are actually open periodically, despite being *abandoned* and I hope to pay those a visit.

11) Go abroad

Despite my love of other countries and cultures, desire to travel and what not, I haven’t been outside the United States.  I’m planning to change that come summer with a trip to the United Kingdom.  Currently my biggest debate is whether to do a group trip or look at cheaper alternatives.

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12) Restaurants and Coffee shops

When my friends visit or vice versa, we often make it a goal to check out new restaurants or coffee shops. I set a goal of 20 new restaurants & coffee shops a year and often exceed that.  I can’t be the only coffee lover who doesn’t love going to a new town and checking out the *best* local coffee shop?

13) Road Trip

There’s something about hopping in my car to go someplace, over an hour away at least, that I find exhilarating.  I plan on taking a week long road trip sometime this year (knocking out a few other adventure goals on this list) and can’t wait!

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14) Fly on an airplane

Embarrassingly, I have yet to fly in an airplane (or anything for that matter).  This is definitely a must do for me if I plan on going to California and the United Kingdom this year.  The great thing is I live near a major airport!  The bad thing is I’m very nervous about flying, but the anxiety is dimming as it becomes more of a reality I’ll face.

15) Attend more festivals, events

There’s a ton near me (living outside of DC/in the Northern Virginia area) and I’m hoping to attend more than the measly 2-3 I attended last year.

 

 

What are your adventure goals for 2017?

December Emerges

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If I were to file the last 5 months (August through December), it would fall in the category of ‘being overwhelmed’.  I tend to label times of my life with good, neutral and bad traits and reflect on them in passing.  It helps me to see the overall view of things, and to prepare or prevent.  In the case of the last five months, neither preparation or prevention could have taken place.  I had to take a class and I’m a first year teacher in an academically driven school.

To combat the high rates of anxiety and stress, even failure that I felt, I strived to live one day at a time.  Thanks to a combination of that, making sure I spent 2-3 nights/days a week with a close friend or friends, and limiting travel, I kept sane.  Going forward into next year, I’ll keep the good rhythm I have going at work (scaling down to 50-55 hours a week!) and NOT take a class in the coming semester.  I think classes will have to be kept on hold until summer months in the future.

It’s too much for me to manage my personal life,  a class and teaching without turning into a mess at points (crying, locking myself away, feeling really anxious).  In terms of where I file the last 5 months, it falls somewhere below my senior year of college (both semesters), my freshman year in college and before my middle school years.

 

With that out of the way, it’s December!  When I was a kid, December seemed to drag and I remember having dreams about Christmas being skipped.  December is shaping up to be a pretty busy month as I make plans with friends, family, attend Christmas celebrations and  get everything done I need to before the end of the year.

 

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Ten years ago, the trailers for Final Fantasy (then FFXIII: Versus) began coming out.  I was in high school then.  This past week, Final Fantasy XV was finally released and so far, it was well worth the wait. I’ve clocked in ten hours so far and hope to put in some more later today.

I’ve played every Final Fantasy 1-X-2 at least once, with little play be given to XIII.  I still have yet to play XII and either the of the online games.  I’ve played a few of the tactics games and recently bought Final Fantasy Worlds as well.  I love the series and while FFXV is different, it’s different in a good way.  With stunning surroundings, beautiful music, great gameplay and pretty amusing dialog, it’s become a game I have to spend at least 20 minutes playing every day.

If you own a PS4 or Xobxone and enjoy RPG’s, give it a shot!

 

What are you looking forward to in December?

 

 

You Look like a Gamer

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For as long as I can remember, my hobbies and interests have navigated towards what society would say are ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’.  Of course, being interested in hobbies that are ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ has become the ‘in’ thing.  Everywhere you look someone is sporting a marvel shirt or talking about a popular video game.  The culture is viewed differently by those who 10-20 years ago would have judged its participants negatively.  How the tides have turned.

Two weeks ago a new Teaching Assistant at my school approached me and asked me if I was a gamer.  Which led into a conversation about Pokemon Go.  I’ve avidly been playing the Pokemon games since 1999.  It ended up being a conversation about what Pokemon Go was.  I dare say, a coworker and I went on a few excursions after the students left to track down nearby Pokemon.

Where am I going with this?  Simple.  My previous entries have revolved around thoughts and reflections.  Talking about my hobbies is a topic I haven’t hinted at (though my “About Me” page discusses it).  My interest in Marvel/comics, video games, board games, card games (looking at you Magic the Gathering), Doctor Who and others give me joy.  My ‘geeky’ hobbies give me joy, but they don’t define my life, that’s left up to friends, family, helping others etc.

….I mean my living room is decked out in movie posters, geeky decor and a shelf of video games.

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Reflecting back on my coworkers comment, I’ve had others who meet me and claim they get the same vibe.  At my school, multiple coworkers shared the same interest and it made me feel at home.  How many times did I use my classroom smart board to watch new movie trailers?  How many times did I have to force myself away from a conversation about video games?

When I lived in Charlottesville, the opposite was true.  Charlottesville has a different culture than Northern Virginia, if that makes sense.  I could dedicate a book comparing the two!  In Charlottesville I never found my niche.  I still talk to my best friend in Charlottesville and her husband several times a week and a few other friends on occasion.  Perhaps the reason I never found my niche (aside from being far from close friends and family!) was that I never found a group to fit into….only 5-6 people shared my interests.

In Northern Virginia, its different, not just in my workplace, but several college friends live here.  In college, we had multiple game nights a week and that’s still true.  Listening to Zelda music while we game?  Check.  Making references to shows that most people wouldn’t get?  Check.  Outside of work and friends, there are more places to enjoy things like board games, comics, video games etc. than Charlottesville could ever offer.

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…I’m not even going to talk about my hometown which is cow central.  My friends and I were the geeky kids who hung out in the corner talking about Zelda and Pokemon.

While my geeky hobbies are important to be, they don’t define me.  I have plenty of outside interests, but I wouldn’t trade my nights of playing Magic the Gathering, going to a midnight showing for a Marvel movie, playing board games until the dead of night OR my memories of meeting celebrities who played my favorite characters for anything.  They’ve grown with me and without my love of ‘geeky’ things, I wouldn’t have met or befriended the people important to me (outside family).

Thanks geeky life for making my life great.  I wouldn’t trade my interests for most things and not for the memories and joy it has brought me.

 

 

 

There must be more

 

In May 2015, I was offered a full-time teaching contract.  Up to that point I’d been a teaching assistant or substitute teacher. It was during my student teaching experience that I realized teaching a general education classroom of 30 kids was not my calling.  I got into Special Education the year after graduating and have been in it since.

Becoming a Special Education teacher meant a lot of things.  It also meant having a decent paycheck that allowed me the opportunity to eat out without worry, buy nice clothes, buy a macbook (finally!)  Up until that point, I’d been living paycheck to paycheck for the most part (I did have a decent emergency fund, however.)  Most importantly, I’m closer to family and live just down the road from my two best friends!  I do love the area I live in too, even though some people detest Northern Virginia.  If I get tired of the area, I can drive 1-2 hours to a close friends place and stay for a bit.

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Despite this, there is a nagging feeling that has only grown over the last 2 months.  As an introvert, the extroverted nature of being a teacher has left me feeling worn thin.  Yet as an INFJ, I need social interaction and I’m a humanitarian.  I need to help others like a person needs water.  I became a teacher because I love learning and want to instill that in my students.  I also went in knowing I’d have the role of being a counselor–which I do at work and enriches me.  Yet, the feeling that there’s something else I’m supposed to do has only intensified.

Some may call it ‘grass is greener’ syndrome, but I believe a person can have multiple callings in life.  I’m at the age/point in my life where I have a good idea of what I’m good at or not good at, so narrowing the list of things I could do next is plausible.  Teaching requires a lot of skills, all of which easily translate into other careers.  Teaching has a high burn out rate and you can find former teachers in virtually every career.

I’m not sure where I’ll be in another year career wise, but I have a feeling in my gut that changes are coming my way, for the better.  Despite all the changes that loom on the horizon, I’m excited for them.  My mentor said something once that has stuck with me.  I mentioned wanting to move to another town after college and she said “go further”.  She didn’t want me to settle because she saw potential in me and I want to not only live up to those expectations, but mentor others in the same way.

Here’s to forward steps!