Thursday, July 29, 2010

Moving Out

Apologies for the lack of posting this week (and the crappy cell phone pics to follow). I've been busy with my last week of work, saying goodbye to friends, selling my belongings, packing, and figuring out how I'm going to fit my entire life into a 1999 Nissan Altima. My life has been full of..


..stacks and boxes..

..boxes and stacks..

..oh yea, and spackle.

I am determined to get every penny of my security deposit back, so I've been spackling, sanding, painting, vacuuming, mopping, and everything in between. I promise to catch up with daily posts next week when I have a little less going on.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Happening!!

Edited for security, obviously. : )

As I mentioned before, I'm a planner. So in general, it's hard for me to just "go with the flow." For the last several months, I've known that Marcus would be flying to the east coast at some point to join me (and my stuff) for the roadtrip of a lifetime, but he was unable to set plans in stone due to his job search. Well, his flight has been booked, which means we'll be on our way shortly after that. We still don't have plans for the roadtrip (unless you count "Chicago and maybe the Grand Canyon" as plans for traveling 3000 miles), but more on that later. It's happening!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wait.. What??

The other day I went grocery shopping and picked up some milk. When I got home and put it in the fridge, I looked down and saw this:

Did you see that date?? First of all, this must be some sort of magic milk, because that is a long time. But, what?! I have milk that will last well past the date when I'll leave for California. It must be soon, right? I gotta get packing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Post: Our New House!!

This morning, Marcus finally got the opportunity to visit the house in Venice that we'll be moving into in a few weeks. He took a ton of pictures for me to blog about, but I figured that since he's the only one who's actually been there in person, it would probably be better coming from him. Luckily for me (and you!) he is also a fan of blogging (and writing in general) and gladly obliged. Here's a tour of our new house!

My maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Both of them, my grandpa Dave and my grandma Mary, were in concentration camps and lived to make it to America. When they settled in LA, they led miserly lives, but not out of necessity. Grandpa had a successful neighborhood store that provided enough income for his family to live very comfortably, but instead concentrated on providing value to his children and grandchildren through smart investment. Much of this investment was property, and although I lost both of my grandparents in high school, their memory, their spirit, and their dedication to improving the lives of their children and grandchildren lives on.

My grandfather's store was in Venice. He also purchased a small home near the store, and that's the house pictured below.

This is the front of the house when you walk through the gate from Pacific Ave. The right side is kind of a stair-y ramp, and that path goes all the way to the driveway in back. The tree is growing slightly out of control and needs to be trimmed and guided away from the house.

Immediately to your left upon opening the gate, there's...this. I'm not sure what it is/was, but I'm thinking some stone pavers and a grill with some Adirondack chars and a small table would be a great addition to the front yard.

Looking back up the rampy stairs. The thing on the gate is a mailbox.

The living room is on your left after walking in.

The dining area to the right of the door and forward of the kitchen. The wall separating the kitchen from this area looks load-bearing, but could possibly be replaced with a beam or something...I'm not really sure, I'm a mechanical engineer, not a civil.

View from the kitchen to dining/living area. Note the deep cut from the yard to the house. Building on cut is always important when you live in earthquake-prone areas.

Looking from the hallway looking back into the living room and its ancient windows. It'll look nice with color and clean window treatments. The door is just to the left of the frame. The two windows on the right face directly into a wall. We might want to put in something like (faux) stained glass that will look pretty even when aimed at a wall.

I think the kitchen needs the most work of any room. It needs color and some sort of new storage solution, be it new cabinets that aren't made of metal or open shelving. I'd like to replace the counter top with butcher board or a more lively tile, but that's probably looking outside the short term window.

The laundry room at the far end of the kitchen. This is the other door to the house, accessible from the driveway with a wooden gate. A single unit washer/dryer combo thing would probably let us knock down the wall between the kitchen and laundry room for more space.

I love a bathroom with a window, but this one needs a mirror. It's not as small as I expected, which is nice.

The bedroom is small, but has two large closets, two windows, and a ceiling fan. And it needs paint immediately. It's likely Kira will take 1.5 closets and I'll get what's left. (Ha ha, at least!! -K)

The "view" from the bedroom will look much better with my blue Subaru in the frame.

As you can see, the "backyard" is more of a driveway than anything. Since there's extremely limited parking in the area, we'll probably both park back here. I might need to make the gate a little wider for comfortable parking. I also need to put up some sort of rain/sun/bird cover over the parking area to try and save the paint on my new car.

When you cross the street, you can walk down 27th which is this little pathway. See the lifeguard tower in the distance? Lots of cute little beach houses on this stretch.

At the end of the walkway, you get to the beach! That's the might remember it from "Flash Foward." Yes, we have some serious June gloom today, but all of this tends to burn off by 1 or 2 PM.

And that's the tour!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving is Hard, Reason Number 1: I Love My Job

I am currently working in a new position as a teaching assistant with blind and visually impaired children. I have worked at this school, in various positions, for about a year and a half. This new position, which I took on about one month ago, is different for me because I work with the same students and staff members every day. I love this because it really helps me do my job better. I'm able to build a rapport, not only with my students, who are awesome and amazing, but also with the huge network of staff members. I have found that I really love working on a team to have people to bounce ideas off of and really provide great care and education to my students.

Improving my relationships with other staff members has also brought me something a little unexpected: praise. In the past few weeks, several of my coworkers have complimented me in a big way. And this is obviously a good thing, it makes me feel great about myself and the job I've been doing. But when someone says something like, "I really hope that you'll be working here for a long, long time," and I have to respond with, "Actually, I won't be coming back in September," it makes me feel terrible. And on this past Friday, I told my students I wouldn't be returning, and they just about made me cry. Add to that the fact that finding a job in California has not been easy, this just makes me sad.

I know that I will find another job with kids that are almost as cool as the kids I work with now, but until then, the search will continue. I am proud that I am good at my job and glad that my hard work has been recognized here, but for other reasons, I'm gonna have to move on. : (

(Apologies for the vagueness and lack of pictures in this entry; in order to protect my own privacy and that of my students, I needed to keep it general.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moving Is Easy, Reason Number 1: Marcus

If you're wondering why I chose to pack up and move my life to California, here it is:

This is Marcus. We met almost five years ago when we lived in the same freshman dorm in college. We were friendly, then friends, then best friends.

Then, nearly two years ago, we realized that we were more than friends. Basically, he's the Chandler to my Monica.

Originally from California, Marcus has always had plans to move back after graduation. Somewhere along the way, he convinced me to move with him. It wasn't an easy decision, but we both knew this was for real.

He moved back to the west coast immediately after our graduation in early May, so we've been living apart for almost three months. This may sound silly or insignificant, but it's been pretty hard.

This post is kind of weird for me to write because we're really not that public of a couple. As much as I love him, I really have never felt super comfortable talking about our relationship with other people. This may have something to do with the fact that our relationship is actually my first "real" relationship. We even started dating somewhat in secret. Remember how Monica and Chandler snuck around for a whole half-season before revealing their relationship to the other "Friends" (reference getting old yet?)? That was us, kinda, but to a lesser degree, and with less comedic antics. Honestly, the evolution of our relationship was pretty weird to us, we knew it may be weird to our mutual friends as well.

But here we are now, and I can't imagine my life without him. In several weeks, he's going to fly back to the east coast, we will pack up my car, and roadtrip back to LA. I am so lucky to have him and so excited to take this next step with him!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking Steps: I Sold My Furniture!

In my first post, I spoke about being infamous for starting but not finishing projects. Well, another reason I'm infamous is my stuff and my mess. Somehow, after five years of living in Boston, I've acquired more stuff than anyone I know. Unfortunately, what comes with stuff is also mess. Since I was a kid, my bedroom has been a mess. I really have no explanation for this. I am a super organized person in every other aspect of my life. I keep a calendar online which I sync with my phone. Before going somewhere new, I research to have at least one set of directions and one back up plan. Speaking of plans, I plan EVERYTHING. But my bedroom has always been some version of this:

Me in my room during freshman year. To be fair, I shared a double room in a five person suite and had very little space to myself. But really, I have no excuses. And yes, I'm pretty sure I slept with most of those clothes in my bed also.

But anyway, clearly I can't take all of my stuff (and my mess) on a cross-country road trip. I can take exactly one carload. The first things to go was my furniture. I posted an ad on Facebook about a week ago expecting little or no response, since Boston's unofficial "moving day" is September 1. Since so many residents of Boston are college students, most apartment leases begin and end on September 1, right before the start of classes. So I posted, thinking someone might tell me they wanted the stuff in a few weeks, but lo and behold, a friend of mine had just moved, and wanted it all. I sold her my bed, mattress, dresser, couch, and two bookshelves. On Saturday, my bedroom looked like this:

That wrinkly mass in the middle is where I was sitting to attempt to make some sense of all that crap.

Holy stuff, Batman! Having everything out on the floor like this forced me into starting my sorting and packing routine. In exchange for the furniture, I got a check for a couple hundred bucks and an air mattress to borrow for the next few weeks. The stuff has since been moved to the outskirts of the room so I can sleep. Some has been sorted, but there's still a lot of work to do!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Self-Starter

I am infamous for starting projects. Starting, but not finishing. I have boxes full of half-beaded, half-crocheted, or half-collaged doodads, I have a "gently used" gym membership (that I got a great deal on, may I add), and I have at least 12 books with bookmarks stuck in right around the 30-40 page mark. I don't know why, but this has always been the way I do (or don't do) things. Excitement over the start of something new without the satisfaction of a finished product. This is why I start this blog, my new project, with hesitation.

At age 23, I am turning over a new leaf. Not only to finish what I start, but to do things I enjoy and do them well. After earning my degree in May, I made plans to move over 3000 miles from both the home I grew up in and the home I have established for myself over the past five years. Big, scary plans. I hope to continue to write about this journey, as well as the other much smaller changes I make in my life, as they come along. Read along, join my journey, and help motivate me to stay on track.

This first post came off a lot more serious than I intended, so to prove I'm not as serious and boring in real life, here's a short clip.

Hello Everyone! from kirabee on Vimeo.