Can you believe that we are already one quarter through 2016!? Seriously, where does time fly? I haven’t done much this year in terms of adventure and blogging, but I’m determined to make the rest of this year memorable (and document it along the way). Starting today.
March came and went faster than a blink of an eye. As as April unfolds, I find myself where I never expected, in Orlando, Florida. I had a clear image of my mind to be on my next step by now, whether it be at my new, international engineering job or backpacking through Italy and learning a fourth language while searching for said international job. However, a simple holiday to Orlando, Florida, to spend time with my younger sister changed everything. I originally planned on visiting and spending 3 weeks of March with her. She recently bought a foreclosed house that, at the very least, needs A LOT of work. I spent my days gardening, job searching, studying Japanese, catching up with old friends, and puttering around the house.
The first weekend there was intense. My parents and I spent the whole weekend working outdoors, cleaning up her landscape. To the naked eye, it may look like that yard hasn’t been touched, but we’ve already come such a long way.
Collection of trash bags from a weekend’s worth of raking leaves.
Half of the bamboo bundles we assembled that are tied up and ready to be collected.
Plantain Tree Trunks
You can finally see the soil underneath all the leaves
An almost clean work space
After a week or so of hard work, my sister was nice enough to drop me off at Disney one morning before work. I spent the day taking in the magic, free to make my own itinerary. I’ve never been to a theme park alone, but considering I’ve backpacked the world alone, I didn’t think a trip to Disney would put me out of my comfort zone. I found that strangers were a bit less friendly to talk to, but I did strike up a few polite conversations throughout the day. I mostly kept to myself and walked snapping photos to my heart’s content (oh, and stalking Disney princes of course). I haven’t had so much Disney prince action since I ran that Disney Princess Half Marathon back in 2011.
Flynn Rider looking for Rapunzel and being surrounded by fawning fans
He’s so dreamy! He also, most definitely caught me creeping. I walked back and forth at least 3 times debating whether to stand in line and get a photo with him or take a creeper shot. He obviously noted my creepiness.
One day I was struck by a brilliant idea. Well, at the time it seemed brilliant. My parents and I had gone to my sister’s office to meet her colleagues and take her out to lunch. They explained how swamp they were (which my sister confirmed and informed me that they were interesting in hiring a new employee). That is how it all started. I proposed to intern until the end of summer; they would have help to lighten their work load, I’d make some money while transitioning back into engineering and the working world, and my sister would have some company and free help around the house. I sat down with them one Friday afternoon for a casual interview and on the last Monday of March, I started a new job.
Flash forward three weeks and it’s been a whirlwind ride. My parents came up a few weekends later, and helped me pick out a new car (yep, talk about commitment). I have committed myself to car payments for the next 4 years, which for someone who wants to continue living abroad, may not be the smartest decision. In all fairness, my sister is driving around an eleven year old Fold focus that is on the verge of dying, seriously, this thing makes crazy noises. So, I figure that she can take over the car at the end of summer, when I (hopefully) move abroad.
My Pitufo, which means “smurf” in Spanish.
I’ve made a new best friend: my sister and her boyfriend’s dog, Wolfie, who hails all the way from China.
Look at the ears! Isn’t she adorable?
And I’ve learned to hate swimming pools. I already knew I wouldn’t buy a house with a swimming pool. Yards in Florida are small, and I rather have the space. But after the commercial grade pool my sister has combined with the problems we’ve had trying to get it clean, I am CERTAIN I never want a swimming pool in my backyard.
My sister didn’t know you’re suppose to clean the filter. That could be a reasonable explanation as to why it stays that green hue.
On top of all that is work life. Ah, the joys and frustrations of the corporate world. What can I possibly say? I like my job, I do. I find the work interesting. My sister works for a small, family-owned structural design company, specializing in work for Orlando’s theme parks. I specialized in structural engineering at university, but my work experience is in water and wastewater design. Thus, I haven’t thought about structual engineering in at least 5-6 years. It is great going back to my first love, yet unbelievably frustrating. I have forgotten so many calculations, theory, and AutoCAD skills in those years and I find myself constantly frustrated at my memory loss. It is nerve racking not being able to remember the simplest calculations that I did on a daily basis, almost as if it were a former life I dreamed once upon a time. However, in the few weeks I’ve been working, I’ve already noticed the progress I’ve made. I look forward to see how much I’ve progressed as an engineer by the end of this “internship.”
Mostly, however, I realize that working……sucks. Returning to the working world has been an overall disappointment. Although I find the work I do interesting, I find working itself as a soul-sucking activity that, while gives me a means to live (money), prevents me from doing all the things I really love and developing my personal skills. Gone are the days completely to myself, mine to own and organize as I wish. I now find myself meticulously planning every single minute of free time, cramming them with all the hobbies I’ve picked up and refuse to let go of so soon. I find myself competing between sleep and a constant quest for knowledge. As of now, the only saving grace is that I am able to listen to audiobooks at work, starting with a biography of Thomas Jefferson. I know, I have great literary taste.