Archive for February, 2008


February 23, 2008

OK, I know this blog wasn’t supposed to be all about me complaining about my life. But reading Working really makes a person think. So here it goes.

I feel lost. And stuck. I really need to make things move forward in my life. My co-worker told me yesterday that she knows that I want to quit soon. When I asked her how, she said she could see through my handwriting that I was loosing interest in this job. I am a pretty good judge of character and very few people surprise me. But her perceptiveness surprised me. And she’s right. I cannot really complain about this job. It’s a comfortable desk job. I starting working one week after I graduated college in the field I studied. This job is what I studied. I get health and dental benefits. I’m in a union. I have a pension and retirement plan. My co-workers are nice. How many college grads get these things? I really did like working here in the beginning. But things have changed. Our grant was increased by a lot of money and we expanded and hired about 25 new people. So now have fewer things to do. Actually, I only have to do 3 things: make phone calls for other people and answer phone calls for other people and enter data in excel spreadsheets. And I don’t want to do those things anymore I’m bored out of my skull all the time.

I am also hating the city and hating working in an office. This weekend I went with the family to Boston to visit my brother, and on our way home we stopped at Hampshire for some lunch. I haven’t been there since Manny’s graduation in May. I got out of car and remembered how much I loved to be surrounded by land rather than buildings. Being surrounded by hills and farms and fields renews me in a way that the city never does. Sometimes I love the city. Sometimes walking past beautiful old buildings, or looking at the skyline, or walking the streets of Brooklyn that generations of family have walked before helps me feel renewed. Being around my family and loved ones makes me happy. I love the city, I really do. It’s my home, my entire family is here and my life is here. But sometimes it is so stifling. Sometimes being around so many other people just chips away at me making me angry and impatient and makes me hate people I don’t even know. I do not want to feel that way. Times like these really make me want to move out of New York and look for a job elsewhere. There’s job opening in my dad’s union in Washington DC that I’m very tempted to apply for. But I don’t want to leave my loved ones here. And I don’t want to go from one boring desk job to another. Which brings me to my next point.

I don’t know if I want to study public health anymore. Maybe its just because I’m sick of this job. I really want to do something that involves me being outdoors and some other aspect of health. I was thinking of environmental science. I am going to look into getting a MS in environmental studies rather than an MPH. I want to be outside, in all sorts of weather. I don’t mind working in a cubicle sometimes, its comfy. But not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Also, I think I’m done working on 9/11 health issues. I want to continue revising my Div III thesis, but besides that’s it. I’m so burnt out on this; I’m so numb to this issue I just don’t care anymore about what happens. And it’s starting to affect how I talk to people who call me for health information and referrals, which isn’t good. I need some distance.

So not only do I feel stuck career/job-wise, but also in my personal life. I have either lost touch with my friends from college or they live far away. My friends from home have moved in with their significant others so I see less of them. I still live at home with my mom. I live out of the city in suburbs and anytime I want to see my friends in the city I have to take 2 subways, a train, and a taxi to get home. This journey could take me anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, which is OK on weekends but gets to be drag when I have work the next day. I have a boyfriend of 5 years and we hardly spend any alone time together because we both live at home. I am in a really good place financially but I cannot afford a place by myself. Well, I probably could but all of money would go to rent and I wouldn’t be able to save any for going to back school. I feel like a jerk for complaining, I mean really I don’t really have any reason to complain. Even though I feel unhappy now, I know I have it pretty good and it could be a lot worse. I just feel stuck. I want a little more independence; I want things to start rolling. So I’m going to:
1.) Open high interest savings account and start saving like mad (Check this off the list! Just did this online)
2.) Look into internships and jobs in environmental science
3.) Look at MS program requirements
4.) Keep learning Spanish
5.) Do more work on revising my Div III (I am leaving to do this now right after I publish this post)

sophisticated world traveler

February 12, 2008
  • Yes, I’m officially one of those people who jets off to exotic sub-tropical locations for the weekend. How indulgent and luxurious to shell out hundreds of dollars for a trip that only lasts 2 days.
  • Only I didn’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars because I stayed with my dad who was in Florida for a conference.
  • Destination: Hollywood Beach, Florida. It was the first time I was on an airplane by myself, only my 4th time on an airplane. The last time I was on a plane was 10th grade in high school, in the “pre-9/11” era of flying. I didn’t know everyone had to take off their shoes, I thought they pulled out some random people from the line. One very nice security officer had to guide me through the whole process.
  • I still hate flying. Hate, hate, hate.
  • Total airtime from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to White Plains, NY was 2 and half hours. I could go from Washington Heights to Rockaway Queens on the A train in 2 and half hours.
  • I like the cold. Sure spending a few days in 78 degree weather (in February) was nice, but it was also nice to take that first gulp of crisp, sub-zero air in New York. So refreshing, honestly.

But, the real reason for this post, palm trees. So gorgeous. I’ve never seen such a beautifully designed tree in my life. And they’re everywhere! On the beach, in people’s backyards, lining streets and highways. Such an simple, elegrant trunk, gracefully bent to reach the sun. There are no messy branches that would break off in a storm, no broad leaves that fall off in the wind. Just a small bunch of branches at the top with slender leaves that fan out to catch the sun. Simply amazing. I took so many pictures of palm trees, because who knows when I’ll see them again? I hope the residents of Florida and all tropical places appreciate their palm trees.

Maybe my appreciation for trees comes from reading the Botany of Desire, which discusses how plants cater to human’s desires: sweetness, intoxication, beauty, etc. After reading the chapter about pototoes (desire: control) I helped myself to a bag of blue potato chips, the blue potato was originally farmed by the Incas. They are now the offical snack of JetBlue airlines.

Brooklyn Adventures

February 4, 2008

Yesterday I went to Brooklyn Heights for the for first time. I knew it was a fancy neighborhood with a lot of old money, and I thought it would be like Park Slope type of place. It’s actually nothing like Park Slope at all.

We walked through downtown Brooklyn on our way to Brooklyn Heights. We walked past the Brooklyn court houses, Borough Hall, some libraries, the main branch of Brooklyn Post office, various non-descript municipal buildings, Camden Plaza, rows of Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds. Then quite suddenly, we were in Brooklyn Heights. It was like stepping through a portal. One minute you are walking through office building complexes, the next you are walking past rowhouses and mansions from the 1800’s. The neigborhood is small and feels cut off from the rest of Brooklyn. The old money in this area kept it safe from the urban decay of the 1970’s. There’s a lot of of old, turn of the centry buildings around Brooklyn, but none so beautifully preseved than those in Brooklyn Heights.

Robert Moses wanted to build the Brooklyn-Queens expressway right through the neighborhood in the 1960’s, but all the rich folks who lived here said hell no, and made him build it along the East River. Then they build a promenade on top of his expressway that now has the most amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Everytime I look at the skyline of this city, I try and pretend I’m a tourist looking at it for the first time or I’m afraid I’ll just “get used” to seeing it. I’ll upload some pictures soon.

Speaking of Robert Moses, Robert Caro is giving a lecture at Sarah Lawrence College on Friday evening and I’m going because urban planning is sort of an obsession of mine. Caro wrote The Power Broker, the colossal 1000+ page biography of Moses and the fall of New York. It’s a must read for anyone with too much time on their hands and who wants to know why NYC is the way it is. I started reading this book, and one day I hope to finish it.