Texas transitions – The big move

As an Ohioan living in Texas, moving here has provided many new (and sometimes interesting, other times odd, many times challenging) experiences. I will admit, I am chage-o-phobic. I can barely handle a new TV channel line-up without freaking out, so you can imagine how I dealt with all of the changes involved in a cross-country move. It’s been an up and down battle, but I think I’m finally starting to get settled in here in the lone-star state.

I decided to do a mini-series for the blog called “Texas Transitions” in which I reflect upon some of the differences between Ohio and Texas and some of the experiences I have had while adjusting to life so far away from everything that is “normal” (aka Ohio). I am obviously not the first person to ever leave home and move somewhere new, so maybe my stories, struggles, and reflections about life in a new place will help someone else who is going through a similar transition. At the very least, some of the stories should be good for a laugh! I have loads of ideas for these posts, but I thought I’d start from the beginning and give you the (somewhat) short version of how the heck I ended up down here!

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I went to Ohio State for grad school. And I LOVED it! Seriously. My life was everything I ever wanted for those two years of grad school. I had an assistantship that required me to work 20 hours on campus (with Fridays off!) and paid for my schooling, I took 9 hours of class every quarter, I was at Ohio State (I mean, come on, that school is bursting with school spirit and awesomeness), and I had a social life that was non-stop. Happy hours, OSU football games, cohort dinners, nights out, holiday parties, trips to TN for long weekends in a cabin, so on and so forth, packed my calendar. Life was good.

Cohort trip to Tennessee, 2008

Sure, I got burnt out from classes from time to time and had a lot of papers to write. And sure, there was cohort drama from time to time. And ok, I dated some sketch characters at the time. But in general, it was a damn good time.

End of winter quarter party, 2008

I was also in love with the city of Columbus. I grew up in Columbus, but from the time I left for college to the time I returned in 2007 the city had changed. It was a great place to be a young twentysomething and there was always something to do.

Columbus, Ohio

I not only loved Columbus, but I also loved Cleveland. Yes, I know Cleveland gets a bad rap, but I think it’s a great city with a lot going on. It’s much “older” than Columbus, but it has a lot of history because of it. Plus, it’s where most of my college friends live(d), so I loved to visit.

Cleveland, Ohio

Naturally, when I began my job search in January (ish) 2009, I focused on Columbus and Cleveland schools. I’m sure you’re now scratching your heads thinking “so how the heck did you end up in Texas 6 months later?!”…that’s where it gets a bit fuzzy.

There was a turning point in February (ish) where I suddenly began applying for jobs all over the place. I ended a relationship just after Valentine’s Day (so romantic of me, huh) and felt the itch to get out of Ohio. I knew most of my grad schools friends would be leaving the state and I didn’t want to get left behind. I attended a job placement conference in March (if you’re not familiar, in the world of Higher Ed, you often attend a placement conference for your first job out of grad school. Basically, you go to said conference, so do a bunch of other employers, and you get to interview with a slew of schools from all over the country…nice and convenient) and I filled my interview schedule with schools from across the country instead of just Columbus and Cleveland.

At the placement conference in 2009

 I interviewed with about 20 colleges, had second interviews with about 10 of those, and then did “on campus” interviews at my top 4 choices. None of which were in Ohio. Somehow, my on campus interviews all ended up being to the west and included schools in Colorado, Arizona, and ta-da…Texas! In late-April, after a complete whirl-wind job search (there was a time for about a month where I had at least one flight per week), I received a job offer for a position in Texas that started in July.

I don’t remember exactly when reality the panic set in, but at some point around late-May I remember ending up on my bedroom floor (after a night out downtown with friends) crying hysterically. It had hit me. I was leaving Ohio. And I was freaked! I hardly had time to let this new reality sink in because May, graduation, and June flew by and before I knew it, it was my last night out in Columbus to say good-bye to friends. Everyone was leaving. The awesome ride was over. It was time to move on.

The last night out with good friends in Ohio

And in late-June, I too moved on and I made the move to Texas!

This was my view as I followed behind my moving truck in my car on the drive from Ohio to Texas

 The rest, as they say, is history. History that I’ll recap in future Texas transitions posts. Stay tuned! 🙂

25 things – 2 and a half years later

Remember back in 2008-2009 when the “25 things” phenomenon was spreading like wildfire on Facebook? You know, you would just post a note with 25 random things about yourself. So simple, yet everyone became obsessed with it and it was the “it” thing to do for a few months.

I happened to look at my 25 things post from January 28, 2009 the other day and I thought it was interesting to see what has changed since then. It was like reading a virtual diary from FB from nearly 2 and a half years ago. Let me set the scene for this blast from the past.

On January 28th, 2009 this was my FB profile pic:

Oh so tan and oh so blonde. And several pounds lighter, too.

I was living in Columbus, Ohio. It was the winter quarter of graduate school just 6 months away from graduation. I was working as an Assistant Hall Director at Ohio State which was a GA position that allowed me to work part-time and then paid me a stipend and paid for my schooling in full (oh yea, it also provided free housing and a free meal plan…talk about luxury!). I had not yet begun my job search and I was in a failing relationship with a former friend from college (not one of my brighter dating moments, might I add).

And now, here are my 25 things from 2009 and my thoughts on them 2 and a half years later. I’ve also added a few pictures to set the scene. Obviously those weren’t there in the orignal FB post, but a blog without pictures is not much fun to look at.  

1. I adore snow days! Since I have the pleasure of a snow day today this came to mind. I remember in elementary school listening late at night for the phone to ring (my dad was the principal of my school) meaning the superintendent was calling to cancel! It was always the best sound 😛

The great Ohio blizzard of March 2008

I don’t really remember the snow that caused that snow day, but to this day I still love snow days (and surprisingly we get them occasionally here in TX). I admitted to loving snow as my first thing in this post. Yet, little did I know, 6 months later I’d move to the land of no seasons and perpetually hot weather.

2. I’m so excited to graduate and hopefully find my dream job. I’ve always loved school and I’ve really enjoyed this past year and a half w/ my cohort, but it is time to move on. I’m just so over the reading, writing, reading, and writing over and over again in every class I take. Have a Saturday night free..at least without homework to do…will be amazing.

This was my first day of grad school classes in September 2007

Two thoughts come to mind here. A – my first job out of grad school was rough and far from a “dream” job. I think I’m still searching for that “dream”. B – what I would not GIVE to go back to grad school. If someone invented a time machine I would go back to 2009 and tell myself to suck it up, do the reading and the writing, and enjoy because it was one hell of a GOOD time! Working 40+ hours a week and being trapped in an office all day is not all it’s cracked up to be.

3. I love movies and have an ever growing DVD collection. My favs are Rom Coms and classic horror flicks. Yes I know these are total opposites! A few of my favs are: The Holiday, Psycho, Halloween, Seven, How to Lose a Guy, and Love Actually.

Yep, those are still some of my favs. However, I rarely buy DVDs anymore. Boyfriend’s subscription to Netflix takes care of my movie needs. Plus, moving those DVDs all the time is a b*tch.

4. While on the topic of horror films I feel it is necessary to comment on my fascination with the criminal mind. If I had to pick a change of career I would want to be some sort of crime scene investigator or criminal psychologist. This was actually my first major/intention in college and sometimes I wonder if it was a good idea I changed paths. I read a lot of books/websites about famous criminal cases.

Still kind of true. Still kind of weird. Don’t judge me for this.

5. I think I was born into the wrong time period. I love anything from the late 40s, 50s, and early 60s. The clothes, the movies, the TV shows etc. I collect a lot of I Love Lucy stuff and love old advertisements.

Still very true.

6. I am obsessed with Mexican food. I could eat it every day and probably would if it didn’t make me fat 😛

I didn’t even know what Mexican food was back then!! Oh man, I practically do eat it every day now and yep it’s kind of made me fat since moving to TX 😛

7. I miss sit coms. While I like TV dramas and reality shows I think TV needs to bring back the wonder that is the sit com. Friends, Perfect Strangers, Mad About You…just some of my favs.

Thankfully, I do think TV is starting to come back around to creating more sit coms and fewer dramas/reality shows.  

8. Up until now the favorite year of my life has been my sophomore year at Kent. It was just so much fun, so care free, and mostly drama free. It was the year I joined Alpha Phi, met many of my best college friends, and was in the best shape of my life. I would say my life was pretty near perfect. If I could go back in time I would go back to that year in a heartbeat!

Me and some of my sorority sisters my sophomore year

This is still accurate, but I’d also have to add the grad school years (especially the first one) as a close 2nd. Man, we had a ton of fun. Oh yea, and the year I met Michael 😉

9. While on the topic, I will always love Kent State and look upon all of my years there extremely fondly. I hated it (ironically) my Freshman year. I called my mom nightly crying, begging her to let me move home. In the end I stuck it out and returned for my sophomore year and the rest is history. Some things I miss about Kent: the old school hub and my dinner dates soph year with my bests, A Phi, the first warm day in the spring, Rays Place, Ladies nights, Gyro, Kent in the fall (most amazing trees), Song Fest, Bid Days, the carefree life of an undergrad, dorm life, BLACK SQUIRRELS!! 🙂

With some sorority sisters at Kent's homecoming 2008. We are at Ray's one of my favorite Kent places

Tis true. I ❤ Kent State forever!! One day I’ll do a series of posts about some of the great things at Kent. It’s such a wonderful little college town and I miss it dearly.

10. My friends mean the world to me and I consider myself a very loyal friend. I hate losing touch with people and have made it my new years resolution to do a better job at keeping in touch. I’ve been friends with Jess since we were 5, and I know many of my college friends will be with me forever. I’ve also made some amazing friends during my time here at OSU and feel extremely grateful for all of the amazing people I have in my life.

This one just makes me a little sad. As always, I’ve lost touch with some of my grad school friends and more of the Kent State friends have drifted away, too. The older we get, the harder it is to maintain those bonds 😦 Jess is still here, though. I’ll never be able to get rid of her haha!

11. My family is very important to me and I always (well usually) have fun spending time at home. I look exactly like my mom…so much at times that it is scary! I look nothing like my sister…I still think she was adopted 😛

Some family bonding in Texas

It’s still hard for me to believe sometimes that I moved so far away from my family. Now, visits home are like vacation and I treasure them.

12. I’ve never broken a bone, but did sprain my ankle very badly at Kent…not a fun experience!

Still true, thank God!

13. I love working out. Noting is better than that after workout high and I wish I had the motivation to get up really early on the busy days to fit in a workout! Maybe I’ll work on that.

Uh, yea. 2 and a half years later and I’m still “working on that”. Egads…time to get my lazy ass out of bed in the mornings!  

14. M&Ms are my favorite candy, but in all honesty I don’t really discriminate when it comes to chocolate!

Now that there’s the pretzel M&M there’s another kind for me to love! Still addicted

15. I love the Shopaholic books. I realize that makes me sound shallow and not very intellectual, but they are such a fun read! I’m so excited for the movie to come out in a few weeks!

Eh, the movie was not that good and I’ve found books I like a lot better since then. I still read mostly chick-lit. I can’t help myself.

16. I hate being judged because I am blonde. Hair color does not equal intelligence nor does one’s ability to have fun. I love proving people wrong though when they make snap judgments.

Just another pic to show that I am, indeed, a blondie

I am blonde. Hear me roar! I even named my blog after my hair.

17. I was a swimmer when I was younger and I miss it a lot. Sometimes I have dreams that I am swimming laps and someday I want to get back into swimming shape again.

Um, still have not done that…

18. Pictures make me happy. I always enjoy looking at old pics from HS or college and the memories they bring back. I try to take as many pictures as possible because I never want to forget the good times I have!

Having memories through photographs is one of the reasons I started this blog. I still try to take pictures as often as possible.

19. I’ve always wanted a pet cow. Someday I want to have a decent amount of land…and just one cow!

I now live in “cow town”. How fitting!

20. I’m totally obsessed w/ fall. The colors, smells, baked goods, football, halloween etc. etc. It is the best time of year on a college campus and the weather is beautiful. I wish it could be fall all year long!

Beautiful Kent State in the fall

Ughhhh…this one makes me really sad too. Other than the people, the number one thing I miss about Ohio (ok, aside from OSU and Kent too) is the fall. I always get really really sad when October rolls around because it’s still hot down here and the leaves don’t change. What I wouldn’t give to have those crisp fall days again.

21. Although I’m somewhat terrified to get old, I do like this time in my life. I’m able to support myself, have grown-up fun with my friends, see my friends get engaged and married, take trips, etc.

Psh…”old”, please…girl you were 26, you don’t know what “old” is. What a b*tch.

22. I am an ESFJ…this is for my grad school friends b/c they might be the only ones that understand. It could not be more true though! Basically I am an outgoing person concerned with the welfare of others…and I have to always be on time!! haha

I’ve felt significantly less “E” since moving to TX because I find it’s harder to meet people here especially when I come from such a different area. However, I still test ESFJ. If you know me, you know my “J” defines me.

23. I love music, especially 80s music and anything with a good beat that I can dance to. Sometimes (ok most of the time) I put on my iPod in the morning and dance around my apartment when I am getting ready. It is a great form of stress relief. I also tie memories to songs…any song older than 6 mos. will remind me of something!

Ok, what the heck, now I put on the news in the morning and there is most definitely no dancing. When did I get old?!? The dancing in the morning is coming back, stat.

24. I enjoy watching sports and would have to say basketball is my fav. I forgot how much I liked it until I went to OSU games last year.

Ohio State football 2008

Yep, love me some good basketball. Football season is my favorite sports “season” though. It was back then, too. I just failed to mention it.

25. Some of my biggest pet peeves: not returning phone calls, chewing with your mouth open, people who are too go with the flow…I need schedules!, and the rubbing together or silverware or anything metal for that matter…it is like nails on a chalkboard for me!

Those are still peeves, especially that go with the flow thing 🙂