Monday, September 25, 2017

First Week of Work

Since it is the Sunday after my first week working at my new job, I reckon its time for an assessment.

As I mentioned before my new job is essentially receptionist at a martial arts studio for kids. This dojo essentially runs an after school program for kids in kindergarten and elementary schools nearby. They've been experiencing a lot of growth lately so they hired on a couple new people all this month, me included. This week all of us new hires have learned how to clean everything- and we clean frickin all day long. Kids are frickin messy as crap but we keep that place basically spotless. This and watching to make sure the kids arent killing each other are the main parts of our day. Other than that theres an hour-ish portion of our workday devoted to going out and picking all the kids up from their different schools that all get out at different times. After theyre in the dojo we get some chill time where I basically sit at the desk and just watch the lessons.

You know what let me lay out an average work day:
Noon - get into the dojo, start cleaning EVERYTHING
around 2 - head out in 2 large vans to make a couple pick-up trips
around 3 - kids eat a snack on the mat, then change into their gi and they can play legos or something
around 4 - class starts, some of the girls take a break or clean, I sit at the front desk
around 5 - those kids are picked up, I need to recognize their parents and call them out to be picked up, then other kids are dropped off for 5:00 lessons
around 6 - the 5:00 lesson is over, those kids go home, we're done, time to clean again and go home

Its super easy, super chill, and the people I work with are kind, competent, and warm. The kids are cute, rowdy, and annoying. The parents seem nice, for adults. Big bonus- I essentially get to wear tights and comfy clothes and no shows as a job requirement haha! I swear guys, after wearing scrubs for 4 years and now this... if I'm going to wear progressively more comfortable clothing with each job I guess I'll eventually just end up working in jammies.

What I also like about the job is how minimally it impacts the rest of my life. The hours are short and they fly by, and its pretty low stress. After work I actually have the time and energy to work on art and other projects. Instead of killing my hopes at working on my art career this job may be making them a possibility. We'll see though.

The minimum wage thing still sucks though.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Got a rejection letter from the company I recently interviewed at. Getting a lot of those lately. Its enough to give a girl some serious issues. I know I'm taking it really personally and I know thats stupid... but god damn its starting to feel like I'm unemployable. I mean I get every single job I really went after before getting my degree and going to Japan... how am I less employable now?? I don't get it. Kris says I'm overqualified but I honestly don't believe thats a thing.

At least I did secure one job though and I'm trying to focus on the positivity there. Its part time, its minimum wage, it involves children, and maybe it'll me amazing. At least it'll give me time to work on art still, so maybe that dream isn't entirely dead.

The only thing that's helping me not get too down is telling myself that this is all temporary. Its TEMPORARY. I will not be unemployable forever- eventually jobs will come. We won't live in one bedroom in the basement forever- we will get our own space where we can actually cook food. One day people will actually pay me for some art. This is all totally possible. A lot can change in a year.

I know this blog has become a but of a pity party, but I just wanted to thank anyone thats actually still reading. Writing here has been a great outlet for all this shit I really don't wanna cry about in front of actual people. And I dearly hope you all are getting at least some kind of frickin entertainment out of this! If you're not appreciating this schadenfreude crap then you're making a mistake, friend.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chuggin along

It was a bit of a long week. I had two interviews, two birthday dinners, a haunt meeting all in just 3 days spread around between El Cerrito, Modesto, and Morgan Hill. It was exhausting, stressful, and fun. The interviews went well and it seems like I was well received by both- but it may take longer to hear back from one position while the other already offered me the job.

So thats potentially good news... I'm not sure why but I'm just not excited about the one job I have basically secured. Maybe its because I've been going through a lot of bad luck and I feel like theres still a chance for this to go south, or maybe its because the job is something I'm extremely overqualified for and it pays minimum wage. It feels really shitty to only be able to get a part-time minimum wage job after all the other jobs I've had and all the experience I've amassed. I'm trying not to see it as a huge step backwards but yeah... it fucking sucks.

But whatever, beggars cant be choosers and any job is better than no job. Hopefully its temporary, and hopefully I'll get better opportunities soon. Aside from that I've been working hard on haunt stuff, riding the wave of growth they're having over there. Honestly, some days the excitement I get from working on haunt stuff is the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning (afternoon).

But there is good news- we have internet!!! Our own internet, here at grandma's. Its glorious. Def would recommend. Helps life feel a little more normal at least. And it makes working on everything a lot easier.

Alright well thats all I got for now. My world has become very tiny with few ups and lots of downs. But its all just temporary.

Time for an update

Ok, lets do an update.

Termites: still gone. They did reappear for a moment... but appear to be gone now. Good.

Spiders: sometimes we'll find one on the bed, mostly hanging out around the shower. They've backed off a lot though.

And our newest threat: ANTS. We've had two battles with the ants so far, but they are a weak opponent that lacks my sheer determination and tragically jobless free-time. The first time they infiltrated our room they came right under the backyard door into our room and stupidly went for the only place that didnt have snacks- our dresser. We literally had food of some kind on every other surface. No more though! So I squashed/sprayed them away in a late-night skirmish. I also moved our trash to the hall in front of the backyard door in case they came for that in the night. Sure enough the next day they had discovered the trash bag, but I was ready. This time they had sneakily come from under the house and dug up into one of the door jams- a pile of dirt the only evidence. I destroyed them again, did a clean sweep of the room, and now they hopefully won't come back. I keep a constant watch and any scouts are quickly dispatched.

On the up-side we now have a nicely vacuumed room.

This week we've been working on getting Kris' computer updated. Its been a long process that mostly involved buying new, expensive stuff, realizing we needed more new stuff to fit the new stuff, then realizing the electronics store sold us the wrong new new stuff, and so on. Once the thing was physically built problems continued in the form of old hard drives and Windows 10 updates. The computer now operational, though updates need to be downloaded for some programs.

So now we need internet!

Since this house is legit from the 50's the internet line is not built into the walls- it is plugged into a fixture on the roof and the line is tacked along the exterior wall and comes into our bedroom through a literal hole in the wall. The old Akita dog that used to live here (RIP Mochi) used to chew on the line, so it need to be repaired. Kris tried to splice in a new line, removing the damaged portion. We own our own modem so all we needed was service from Comcast. It was set to start today, but our modem isn't getting a signal. After calling Comcast it appears the remaining line that Kris spliced may have been fully damaged, as it doesnt seem to be sending or receiving any signal. It was a pretty big blow, as we've been looking forward to FINALLY having INTERNETTTTTTTTTTTTT. So now we have to wait til next Wednesday (Labor day weekend!! Thanks Obama!!!) for someone from Comcast to come out and help us, thankfully for free.

They job search is.... sucky. Looks like theres not a ton of art-related jobs in the east bay and I must be uniquely unqualified for fucking all of them because I'm not getting much response. I mean, aside from those polite rejection emails of course. So I'm giving up on working in the art field (once again) and I'm just looking for anything local. I've got an interview for a clerical position at a local martial arts studio nearby next Friday.

I'm becoming more familiar with the area, so I figured I'd describe my discoveries as I make them. First of all I've learned that the east coast of the SF bay is actually shaped like a 3, with Richmond being the middle point. El Cerrito is slightly south of Richmond and is actually just the tiny strip of city thats pinched between a small range of hills and the bay. The freeway (i-80) runs along the coast and the main expressway of El Cerrito, San Pablo, runs parallel to it. Grandma's house is in some of the lower hills, so from her house we drive down to San Pablo to get most places. There are many ways to get to San Pablo and all but 1 are confusing as hell. All the restaurants are on San Pablo, but theres only, like, a handfull that are really in El Cerrito and not Albany or some other random-ass chunk of blocks they call a city around here. No Taco Bell, which seems odd, but there are Nations and Church's Chicken. Lotta burger places, FML.  Since we have no internet I go to Starbucks (on San Pablo of course) and sit there for some free wifi.

And thats all I can really say about El Cerrito. Oh- and don't cross under the freeway because then you'll be in Richmond where the murders all happen. They showed me the exact places and everything. Anyways, it feels like things are just as difficult and shitty as they've been the last couple months, but maybe with a light at the end of the tunnel. We'll see in about a week, I guess.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Life is so fickle.

We took some time hopping around a bit again, house-sitting here and spending the night there. More thinking about the future, more feeling like crap about how things are right now. Lots of applying for jobs, lots of rejection. Life is kicking my ass a bit right now.

Anyways, we're finally back at grandmas, where it seems like the termite situation is better- potentially fixed? I guess we'll see if they come back... So yes, we're still in the East Bay- for now. But we do have an idea of where we want to end up....

Get it? "We're Back"

So I guess the plan right now is to save up enough money to get where we wanna go. Since we currently do have a jobs thats going pretty slow but, like I said, I've been applying to jobs like crazy. For right now thats all thats going on in our lives... its a bit slow and sucky but... yeah, it is what it is.

Sometimes it sucks to look back at where you used to be and think about how much better it was then... You tend to think your life will only go forward, not backward. But I tell myself our current situation is temporary, not permanent. Its hard not to feel trapped sometimes though.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

When you hit rock bottom...

When you hit rock bottom just remember... theres always lower to go.

Ok, thats dramatic, but sometimes life can feel that way.

Turns out grandma's place is not going to be our home. Yeah, my head is spinning too. Long story short- turns out Kris isn't going to attend San Francisco State and also theres termites in the downstairs shower. So while they take care of the house we figured its time for us to go crawl in a hole and die. Just kidding, we gotta figure out plan B... plan C.... whatever we're on now.

Are you exhausted yet? Cuz I frickin am. Where do we go? What do we do? It kinda feels like fate is pushing us really hard in some direction, but what is it?! I'm kinda over it really.

If you know what we should do please tell me cuz I'm feeling a bit lost right now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Second night

Written on July 16th, 2017

Its our second consecutive night in our now place and today was all about relaxing and feeling more comfortable here.  I never moved when I was younger but I learned a lot from moving to Japan (and then back, to Modesto). A really important part of moving, for us, has been to discover things we like near our new home and remove some of the newness and mystery. Obviously Kris has lived here before, but that was well over a decade ago so theres still lots to discover or rediscover. 

We started off with a chill lunch at the first pho place Kris ever went to. There were doubts about whether or not it was as great as he remembered- and luckily it was! Not the best we've ever had but it was close. It was also located in a shopping center we'll probably return too often as it has a Ranch 99 (asian market) and Daimo, a late-night Chinese food joint.

We also visited Target for some soap- you know you're home when you switch from travel-size soaps to full-frickin-size. By the time we got home it was late afternoon on a hot day and a nap sounded perfect. I feel like napping is also a sign of becoming more comfortable... Wait, now we're starting to sound like an adopted dog...

Anyways, after our nap we walked to Safeway- literally a 10 minute all downhill walk. Cake. Walking back wasn't too bad either. I got a ground view of our neighborhood and a good reason to walk more. Oh- and have you seen the gluten free section lately?! In Japan there was no gluten free anything, and while we were gone its like the gluten free section just EXPLODED. I love the frickin variety!

So finally back home we ate our simple dinner on our bed and watched Rocky Horror- one of the few movies downloaded to my computer. We still don't have any internet- hopefully that'll be fixed this week though.

The last, and maybe most important part of the day, was the battle. The battle between me and the spiders. You see, the spiders have fully infiltrated the downstairs area. They're all daddy-longlegs, so its not quite as terrifying as it sounds, but still. Anyways, so today I fought a battle to reclaim the bathroom. The spiders got some early hits in- mostly with surprise attacks. I know the war isn't over, but for now the bathroom is ours. The bedroom, however, is another story.

I did a couple other small things- hung up a new shower curtain and window curtains for the bedroom. I condensed some boxes that need to be moved into the storage room. There's still a ton to do but... at least its starting to feel a little like "ours".

Thursday, July 20, 2017

East Bay!

Written on July 15th, 2017

I'm sitting here in our new bed in our new home. Its 10:30PM- Kris and I just showed up after a sudden decision to spend the weekend here instead of in Modesto, where we've been living with a friend. Kris has orientation day on Tuesday at San Francisco State, so we'll stay here until after that. This trip actually marks the beginning of our transition to this location.

So more about our new home: We are going to live with one of Kris' relatives. At their house there's a downstairs master bedroom on one side of the house and a storage/bonus room on the other side. We will essentially have the whole downstairs as our private living space- however the bonus  room is basically all taken up with storage-- mostly old boxes, some spiders and a ton of dust. We're able to clean out some space in there to use as a office/painting studio though.  We do have our own bathroom, which is nice. And of course we will have access to the kitchen and living areas upstairs, but we'll probably keep to ourselves aside from mealtimes. 

We're living in a particularly hilly part of the east bay, so this house as kind of a split-level home- meaning you enter the house upstairs and the downstairs exits into the backyard. Since we are downstairs we have a window that looks out on that backyard- mostly just overgrown plants for now. The view upstairs, however, is much better. You can see the San Francisco Bay easily from the dining room- and if this dumb tree weren't there you'd be able to see San Francisco itself. The views of SF and the bay are easily one of my favorite things about this area.

This house is located in El Cerrito, which is a small town close to the more famous cities of Berkeley, Richmond, and Oakland to name a few. Kris grew up here, in this very home for a time, so he is very familiar with the area. I've only just started to drive around here- before I was too afraid of the small, confusing roads and all the inclines. I'm not used to driving on hills! Pulling out of a stop uphill terrifies me. So its on the list of new experiences to enjoy here.

Of course it sounds terribly exciting to move to a new home in such an exciting location, but it doesn't feel exciting right now. To be honest it can feel like a failure sometimes. A reminder of the fact that I failed to secure a job and a home upon our arrival in the States. A reminder that I'm currently not making money with my art. I'm sure for Kris it has the added negative stigma of moving back to your parents' house (though its not).  It feels a little like the last resort. 

But a great friend tried to put it in perspective for us. This home isn't a last resort- it isn't what we're stuck with. Because we don't have to do this- I can look for another job, heck Kris could too. But we decided not to- we decided to go for our dreams. So this home is a blessing- a blessing that allows us to pursue those dreams. Its a pathway that gives us the freedom to work for experience instead of money- to focus on improving our skills instead of working a job that will distract us from our goals.  Our time here may not always be ideal- it may be quite painful- but all transitions are. With any luck we'll look back at our time here and appreciate it. 

In the meantime I'll try to write about all the ups and downs. This is a crazy time for us- it feels much more risky and dangerous than moving to Japan. Theres a lot at stake and tensions are already beyond high. Wish us luck.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Home... kind of

We've been home for about 3.5 months now and it has been nuts. Kind of a rollercoaster actually.

When we moved we had all these plans- for an apartment, for a job, a plan for school and art, etc. Its amazing how literally not one of those plans worked out.

First for the job- I had secured a job interview for a position I am well qualified for at the vet hospital I used to work at before we went to Japan. When I finally went to the interview it turns out the position had already been filled.... but they wanted to create a new position just for me since I'm so uniquely qualified for it! That sounded awesome! It wasn't going to pay as much but we could still make it work somehow. So a month goes by and the manager I've been communicating with about this position keeps dragging his feet. Finally he calls to tell me that, for now, this new position has been terminated because they aren't making enough money to support it right now. I was devastated. All my plans fell apart immediately. Our only chance of affording an apartment in the Bay Area (without Kris having to get a full time job too) was for me to get this job with such good pay. My world basically crumbled.

So now I had no job lined up and no apartment. We were able to continue living with our friend out in Modesto (Hannah, you literally saved me life!) and we're actually still living there for now. Unfortunately its not a sustainable solution though. So what to do?

Well we did some soul searching to figure out what really mattered to us and what we need to do now. Ultimately our goals are to make it as a film maker and an artist respectively. We knew that making those dreams come true would require us to devote all our energy towards them.... Well here we are with no other obligations, all the time and energy in the world. All we need is a place to live. Turns out Kris has a family member that lives in the East Bay and has extra room for us! So a new plan formed: live with this family member and devote all our time and resources towards making our dreams come true. We've given ourselves about a year to see how far we can get towards that goal.

Its a terrifying plan- especially right now! We don't have much money coming our way right now, so its crunch time! The pressure of making things happen is pushing us hard to make things work, but right now its still unclear whether or not we can make do it... Its terrifying and stressful, but I'm really hoping it will pay off.

So now here's your chance to follow us on our next adventure out here in the bay area! Wish us luck.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Coming Home

We've been living in Japan for almost 18 months. And now its time to go home.

Since I last updated this blog not much has changed- except that we eventually stopped going to Japanese classes. We've reached a point in our Japanese level where we can get through normal everyday interactions fine, but if we wanted to get through special situations- like doctors visits and stuff- we'd need to learn a TON more. We're a bit too busy to realistically reach that level of communication so yeah... we're comfortable where we're at haha.

all the time
Kris has been filming more of our adventures here but instead of making small 2 minute videos he'll edit them together later in one big video- so we've all got that to look forward to. Aside from that he's been editing movies and writing new scripts to film when we return.

I've been arting for fun- watercolor, vector art, I'm sure you've seen it by now. I am DYING to paint in acrylics or even oils, so I'm super looking forward to that.

Everyday life here has been just like everyday life back home. Except colder. MUCH colder. We currently have the heater off to save on bills so I have on multiple layers of clothes plus two blankets. Oh WAIT-- the heater actually is currently on. Dear god this is crazy. And the bathroom isnt heated at all- so imagine spending any amount of time in there. Not fun. At least we have on those fuzzy toilet seat pads so you don't get a heart attack when you sit down.

just sat down- dead
In anticipation of our departure we've been figuring out all that we need to do:
  • Cancel our cell phone plans and close our bank account (in person)
  • Inform the government we are leaving and end our health insurance (at City Hall)
  • Cancel our internet service (on the phone? not sure)
  • Cancel utilities and pay the final bills (in person at our home on our last day)
  • Get rid of all the furniture, food and possessions we aren't taking with us (???!!!)
  • Ship home anything we don't need for now (already got 2 huge boxes of clothes ready to go)
  • Buy (used) suitcases (x3-4)
So far the only thing I'm kinda freaking out about is getting rid of all the furniture and stuff here. Some of it was rented for us by Interac- like our fridge and one desk. The rest of it needs to get taken away- hopefully by someone who has just moved to the area or something. We'll be posting it online for either really cheap or, in an act of desperation, for free as long as you pick it ALL up from our place. Ugh.

yeahhh not for us
Honestly this is a LOT less work than we had to do to get here and get everything set up. But then again, he still don't have a home or jobs lined up for when we get home... But at least we'll be able to do everything in English, so really can't be that hard.