Thursday, July 17, 2014

Harper, we're not in Chicago anymore...


It's been six days since I left Chicago for Spokane. Last Friday, Harper and I barely made it to the airport on time thanks to my procrastination. I was a hot mess. Thank goodness my buddy Tasha drove us to the airport and helped me finish cleaning my apartment. Heavenly Father was definitely looking out for me because my flight got delayed one hour; otherwise, I would have arrived at the gate 10 minutes before take off. Whoops.

I started my new job at Gonzaga University on Monday. I admit that after my first day I was a bit underwhelmed. My new job is much more structured and regulated than my previous position. Gone are the days of having my own office and prioritizing my own tasks. Right now I don't even have my own desk.

The people I work with are nice and I think once I get more versed in all of the online systems I have to learn I'll feel better about things. I'm an impatient person and hate the learning curve. Every day this week has gotten a little better so I think that's a good sign. I keep reminding myself that this job is a stepping stone in my higher education career.

Everything in my life is different. I bought a brand new car on Saturday. I got a Costco membership yesterday. Now I go to places like The Home Depot with my parents (picture included for your enjoyment). I knew Spokane was no Chicago, but I didn't comprehend what a big lifestyle change this would be.

I'm happy to report that Spokane has a TON of thrift stores. Tonight I found some amazing stuff for my new apartment. Pics to come! My U-Haul box arrives this weekend. Hooray! My new apartment is absolutely amazing. I can hardly wait to decorate it. Warning: this blog may become a home decor blog over the next few months.

Change is hard. There's not getting around that, even when we make a positive and conscious choice. Right now, I'm taking it one day at a time. So far, so good.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm going back home to the west coast...

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Last night I picked up my cap and gown. On Sunday I will graduate from DePaul University with a master's degree in journalism. All that stands between me and the finish line is one final paper that I'll finish and turn in tonight. I can hardly believe grad school is almost over. I actually made it!


In less than a month I will also bid farewell to the Windy City, which I've come to love over the past three years. Like in the song by Coconut Records', "Cause I miss you, I'm going back home to the West Coast..." Earlier this week I was offered a job at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. My dad recently started a new job with U.S. bank and soon my mom and sister will join my dad in Spokane. Now, I won't be far behind!

After almost 10 years of living at least a thousand miles away from my immediate family, we'll be reunited and see each other on a regular basis. I can't help but smile at the prospect of coming over for Sunday dinner, taking Brinkley and Skittles for walks in the park, and going to Gonzaga basketball games with my dad. My mom and I can do crafts together, I can visit my brother and his husband in Seattle, and my little sister and I can cruise the town in my new car (purchase forthcoming).

I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to live closer to my family and move on to an awesome job with a fantastic university. I've always been impressed by Gonzaga--in fact, I almost went there for grad school--however, I knew at the time DePaul and Chicago were where I needed to be.

Chicago has been good to me. I've made some truly wonderful friends, had amazing experiences, and done some pretty awesome things. I'll always look back on my time here with fondness. It was hard to move to a city I'd never been to with absolutely no one to call a friend or even acquaintance, but although the journey hasn't been without its fair share of bumps and roadblocks, I'm proud of the life I've built for myself.

I will sincerely miss living in Chicago and the people I've met here who have changed my life. Leaving people you love is always the hardest part about change. But I feel like my future is bright and that Spokane is the perfect place to start the next chapter of my life.

This move, unlike many of my previous moves over the years, isn't fueled by the need to get away from a painful or bad situation. I'm not running away from anything or anyone. I'm choosing to move forward and pursue new opportunities so that I can continue to create the kind of life I seek.

With Heavenly Father's help, I making things happen and that feels really, really good.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Real Life

source
Real life isn't glamorous or stylized like these lovely ladies. At least that's not my life. For example, I found a recipe for Tomatillo Ranch Chicken on Pinterest months ago that I actually thought I could attempt making. It's taken me a month to get all eight ingredients. Pathetic or amusing? I think it's both.

So tonight, after two previous grocery store trips and a Peapod delivery, I decided to finally make said chicken. And yes, I had to go to the grocery store for a third time because I'd forgotten to buy cilantro. Awesome. I'm just glad I escaped the rain storm or I might have just sat right down in the middle of the sidewalk and cried. Oh, and did I mention I made my chicken while wearing an old grubby sports bra and shorts because it's so dang hot? Talk about sexy.   

I live in the city and don't have a car, which means I only buy as many groceries as I can carry. Inevitably, I always forget at least two or three items on my list, even when I write things down. I'm single and live alone so I don't cook a new dish every night. And if I'm being honest, most of the time "cooking" involves warming up a frozen Trader Joe's entree (lately I've been loving the shepherd's pie, although you can never go wrong with the full fat mac & cheese) or making eggs with broccoli or a grilled cheese sandwich. On a good week, I'll make two different dishes and then alternate them for lunch and dinner. By the end of the week I vow to never make said dishes again for at least a month.

I don't know how food bloggers do it, let alone moms. My mom is a whiz in the kitchen and can make deliciousness out of nothing. I'm not quite that skilled. Perhaps my lack of regular, full-on cooking is to blame. But every time I try to expand my horizons I am faced with the scenario I opened with. Damn those ingredients.

So this is my life. It's never going to look like those glamorous girls eating donuts and cola. And that's ok. Real life is making half as many trips to the grocery store as there are ingredients in your recipe. This chicken better be worth it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom from Mr. Hastings


I would not be who I am or where I am today without the guidance and wisdom of my high school history teacher. Mr. Hastings continues to influence my education and personal development even though it's been 10 years since I sat in his classroom at Everett High School. He believed in me and recognized my potential. He understood my values and genuinely cared about my future.

In the classroom, Mr. Hastings prepared me for the rigors of college. I learned how to study, how to take tests, and how to write--all at a college level. My gen-ed courses were a breeze thanks to the study habits and learning techniques I adopted during Mr. Hastings' U.S. Government and Honors State History classes.

Although I excelled academically my freshman year of college, it was a difficult year for me personally. Health problems led me to withdraw shortly into my sophomore year. At 19, I found myself at the first major cross-roads of my newly earned adulthood status. I needed to change schools and my major. While I contemplated how to move forward, I remembered something Mr. Hastings told me my senior year. He said that whatever I chose to do with my life and for a profession, that I should never stop writing. I had a gift and I owed it to myself to cherish and develop that gift. With those words in mind, I turned to Mr. Hastings for advice and direction.

I was no longer his student, but Mr. Hastings took the time to meet with me in person to research potential colleges and program options. Together we charted a new course for my life. Because of his help, I chose to attend Utah State University and major in English with an emphasis in professional and technical writing. Attending USU was one of the happiest times in my life. I know I may never have gotten the opportunity to rediscover happiness and passion if it hadn't been for Mr. Hastings' guidance.

During the summer and holiday breaks that came while I pursued my bachelor's degree, Mr. Hastings and I would always get together for lunch to catch-up. Now faraway from my hometown, it's been a few years since I've seen him but he his wisdom still plays a role in my life. In a month, I'll graduate with my master's degree in journalism. I think that accomplishment would make him proud. Yesterday I had a personal essay published on a major website, which got a phenomenal response.When I doubt myself and my abilities, I often remember Mr. Hastings' words.

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I know my life is only one of many Mr. Hastings has touched and influenced. He's the kind of teacher you don't forget. I am grateful for teacher's like him who take the time to get to know their students on an individual level and are invested in their success beyond the classroom.

Because of my teachers, my life has been forever changed. What teachers have inspired and influenced your life? Follow Webucator on Twitter for more great stories!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dear Shonda Rhimes


Dear Shonda Rhimes,

Thank you for constructing a graceful exit, true to both Dr. Cristina Yang's character and journey. I wondered how #BurkeIsBack would play into Cristina's story. I gasped during the most recent episode, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, when Burke emerged from the shadows much like the beast in "Beauty & The Beast". Not all stories get to come back around, but I'm glad theirs did.

At the end of the day Cristina is the job. She lives to be a surgeon. Nothing else, not even love, takes greater precedent in her life. We've watched her struggle to make that choice over and over again for the past 10 seasons. Thus, it seems natural and right that given the opportunity to run a state-of-the-art heart institute, she would take it.

As you know, television shows are fickle. Unlike the writing of a novel, real people and their choices impact the telling of the story. Death seems to be the default choice when an actor decides to leave a show (even you, mastermind that you are, have chosen this fate for many a character on "Grey's Anatomy"). I understand that not everyone gets to be Matthew Weiner and kill a character off simply because that's how he intended the story to be told. And then there's poor Julianne Fellows, forced to kill off the beloved Matthew and ruin his masterpiece. Ah the injustice. 

I don't want Cristina to leave Grey's but since we have no choice in the matter, you could not have imagined a more perfect ending to her story. Well done, you TV-writing legend. You got it right.

Your Devoted Fan,

Clarissa

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Published on The Everygirl!

 I'm so excited and honored to have my writing published on The Everygirl today!

A few months ago after writing this post, Alaina contacted me about expanding the post into a feature-length piece. I was so touched that she reached out to me. My first summer in Chicago I had the chance to be among the first batch of Everygirl interns. It's always been a goal of mine to have a feature piece published on the site.

I wrote many drafts until I felt my essay accurately conveyed my feelings about being single. I couldn't have done it without the input and feedback of two dear friends, Sarah and Tasha. Thanks ladies for helping me figure out what I wanted to say and how to say it!

I hope this essay resonates with readers and helps someone in some small way.
"I don’t want to be alone but right now that’s my reality. Even though I’m uncertain about my future, I’ve learned to put my trust in hope rather than fear. My life is not the way I pictured it. I’ve had heartaches, successes, and adventures I would have never imagined. And even though I’m afraid of ending up alone, I know the fear won’t last forever. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel—I’m sure—it’s just further away and a different hue than I always expected." - Clarissa Fidler

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Settling

via The Everygirl

Last night in the middle of my WERQ dance fitness class cool down, I started contemplating the idea of "settling". What does it mean to settle? How does the act of settling impact one's life? These were questions that flooded my mind as I struggled to maintain my balance while stretching my quads.

The word settle has a negative connotation. For me, settling means continually choosing to put time, effort, and emotion into something or someone who doesn't fit my needs or goals. Sometimes what we want or think is best for us is actually the exact opposite.

There are a few "almosts" in my life--relationships and opportunities that despite my best efforts didn't come to fruition--that I have mourned. Not having the chance to pursue or experience something you really want is painful and frustrating.

Failure hurts too, but not in the same way. At least you had the opportunity to try. Stolen chances leave a different kind of void. "What if" can be a haunting companion.

As I focused on my breathing and stretched my aching muscles, I experienced a moment of clarity. I realized that if I'd succeeded in obtaining what I had previously deemed as lost opportunities, I would have been settling for a life different than the one my Heavenly Father intends for me.

Even though I may not understand why things I wanted didn't work it, I believe everything happens for a reason. Like Joy Wilson, I'm not the kind of girl who settles. I intend to keep not settling.