Leaving

That’s it. The next intern is officially trained, and by this time tomorrow I’ll be officially out of here.

The nostalgia is real. I’ll not only miss the job and the people, but the color of the cubicles. The corn muffins for breakfast. The Liberty Mutual letter opener. The Sharknado poster. There are so many little things around here that I’ll miss. I’m never going to reenter this building again after Friday.

Yikes. I mean, I’ve already left several places before. Three schools, for instance. Five jobs. After each “last day” there were things and people I’ve never seen again. Even old friends’ houses, though with less warning. There was a time when I left their house for the last time, but I didn’t know it.

I can’t help getting emotionally attached to places. I’m introverted; I spend more time paying attention to inanimate objects than animate ones. My keyboard! I’ll have to leave my work keyboard tomorrow, the very keyboard I’m typing this post on. My computer, my crappy old Dell computer. My phone, with the blinking voicemail. The maps and lists and tips and tricks on my walls. The guidebook that was my bible for the first month or so.

Soon they’ll even take my email from me. Gosh! I like this job, though. I wish I could stay longer. I’m still learning. I just learned where the second bathroom is, the same day I finished training my replacement.

Leaving is rough. Leaving is hard. But I have to just keep on reminding myself that it’s a good thing.

Sure, I won’t get to be a Boston Globe reporter anymore, and I won’t see my friends anymore, and I won’t be able to be in this building anymore. But I also won’t have to drive an hour and a half twice a day in rush hour. I won’t have to do all those tedious intern duties. I’ll be able to freelance. I’ll be able to go on to the next big adventure.

It’s good to look on the bright side of bittersweet.

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Catching up on Farmers Markets, summer….

Training Day 1 complete! I can already tell she’ll be a great co-op.

As I transition back into freelancing and new girl transitions into the Globe, I am being less bittersweet and more confident. This is going to be a good, new change.

I start, basically, the day after I leave. I’m covering a farmers market.

I love famers markets. So lovely, fresh, green. People walking around in sun hats, kids walking around in bare feet licking ice creams. The one in my home town offers homemade empanadas as well as fresh-picked strawberries. I like the infamous Haymarket in Boston, too, though that’s less wholesome and fresh and more…Haymarket.

For non-Bostonians, buying something at Haymarket is equivalent to buying a carton of milk that expired yesterday. It’s probably fine today, and will probably be okay tomorrow, but after that it’s a fifty/fifty shot between okay and diarrhea.

Ah, well. I’m exaggerating. Either way, this isn’t like Haymarket. This is a small town market squeezed into the library’s front lawn. This is a market full of fresh fish and ripe tomatoes and all-natural soap.

I love farmers markets. Such a lovely atmosphere full of hard working craftspeople and farmers.

They’re pretty introvert unfriendly, unfortunately. The whole idea is making conversation, approaching people, bartering. I always feel a bit bad when I enter a tent and then don’t buy anything.

Perhaps, like how I dreamt yesterday about the Introvert Boutique, it would be nice to have an Introvert Farmers Market. Though, I suppose that would just be Whole Foods or some other supermarket.

I’m just being silly. I’m excited for summer, I’m excited for farmers markets and sundresses, I’m excited to get back into my favorite version of journalism.

Really though, I’m excited to have more time free for writing and blogging, especially with Camp Nanowrimo coming up. Anyone out there a nano-er?

If not, check it out my friends: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

 

Also, this is my 200th post. Thanks for reading:)

Pros-only

Today I begin training the new co-op! She’ll be here in about an hour. Jeez. It feels like there’s so much to learn. I’ve been here for six months and I’m still learning; I just learned the right way to crop photos about two weeks ago!

The co-op guide book is like the inside cover of a book you get in school, signed with students’ names from years and years ago. There are three different highlighter colors, several notes and snarky tips in the margins, and so many post its it is hard to navigate. When the guide book needs its own guide book, you know you’re in trouble.

I basically made her a whole new one, with fresh pages and clean type, changing all the differences between the old system and the new.

Of course, she’ll have more than crap computers to worry about. The Globe is moving location near the end of her co-op. Half the cubicles that were here when I began are now either empty or taken out altogether. When I began there were four staff writers in regionals, now there aren’t any.

Well. No matter. It’s going to be a long day, but a fun one. I do wish we had more than three days.

My last day is Friday. It feels like senior year of high school all over again, which I used to bemoan as a year of lasts. Last drama performance, last orchestra concert, last this, last that. It’s similar here, though instead of four years it was only half of one.

Whenever things end, I try to tell myself that it’s okay. It’s just making room for the next grand adventure. I assure myself that I will find something else, something amazing and awesome and better. Even when things don’t seem like they’ll get better, I promise myself that they will.

I make a pros list, without an accompanying cons list. Right now, some top pros are spending more time with my family and friends, not having to wake up at 6 to drive an hour into Boston, not having to do all the tedious intern duties, and being able to freelance more.

Yeah. It’s a pros-only sort of time.

Where you from?: Conversation Starters

It’s the first day in a new class, or at a new job. You don’t know anybody, and have two choices: either hide in the back-left corner, take out your laptop, and pretend you can’t see or hear anyone, or strike up a conversation with someone nearby.

You know the class/job will likely be easier if you have someone to talk to. And look! There’s someone who doesn’t seem so loud or annoying. You start talking a bit, and it’s going well, but you realize you’re running out of things to say. You can only discuss classes and majors and previous jobs for so long, and you don’t know anything else about this person. Where’s the best place to go from here?

Place…that’s it!

It may sound lame, but asking where someone’s from is one of the oldest and best tricks in the book. No matter where they’re from, it can inform and further the conversation.

Are they from your hometown? What a coincidence! Ask about their high school experience, if they ever went to that great Indian restaurant, if they know so-and-so.

Are they from your home state? Great! You can talk about how you have/have not been to their town. You can talk about your ventures to the capital city, or the other big attractions. You can talk about how you’ve always wanted to go there.

Are they from a well-known place, like New York City? Now you can ask if it’s really like how it is in the movies. Is it as crowded/expensive? What stereotypes are true? You can ask this about really any place you don’t know well. They’re from England/Morocco/Alabama/Kuwait? What’s it like there? I’ve heard this, is that true? What’s the best part about it? This is a great way to learn about them and a new place at the same time.

Are they from a place you’ve never heard of? Like a strange farming town or a country you couldn’t point to on a map? Even better. Admit that you’ve never heard of it—they probably won’t be surprised that you haven’t—and ask questions.

The best thing about this question is that it’s easy and harmless. Plus, it gets turned back to you with no pressure. Someone will almost always ask the question back to you, but you have the answer prepared. You know where you’re from, and you know plenty about it.

Much like the “weather” conversation starter, this may seem obvious and maybe even cliché. But it’s a tool you can keep in your tool belt when conversation begins to run dry. You can always find another question to ask after you know where someone’s from.

However! This only really works with people you just met. Don’t ask it if you already know the answer! That would just be awkward. Good luck!

An eventful morning: Short Fic Friday

As Marley walked through the parking garage someone locked their car with a beep that made her jump and pin her purse tighter against her ribs. She bounced in her step to hide her nerves. There were footsteps behind her, brisker and longer than hers so she sped up. She could see a man’s reflection in the glass door. He was handsome and searching his suit pockets with fervor.

Marley held the first door open for him. It was the polite thing to do.

“Thank you,” the man said, smiling directly at her.

“Yeah,” Marley replied under her breath. And then the second door, God. She quickened her step, swung it open.

“Thanks.”

Marley didn’t say anything this time, just shrugged under her purse strap. Now the stairs. She hustled up one flight and turned left, thankfully he turned right. She sighed and slowed her pace, let her shoulders down.

Coffee, light roast. Perfect. A bagel, no, someone’s waiting at the toaster…a corn muffin is fine. She paid for her handfuls of Styrofoam and headed down the hallway to the right, to the office.

The man appeared from the office. He smiled, but they were too far away from each other to say hello, so Marley looked under her arm and into her purse. Her hands were shackled by her breakfast and shook the restraints. Closer, closer.

“Good morning,” he said as he passed her, but a moment too late. Marley turned her head and muttered a syllable in reply, quiet enough that he likely didn’t even hear her. She glanced in a reflective window as she passed it. Her shirt, flowing and far too bright. Her shoes, too cute for her big feet. Her hair was messed and there was a zit on her cheek that wasn’t visible in the dark glass but was red and unsightly in a mirror. Marley could hear her heart beat in her forehead and tinnitus singing in her sinuses.

Ah, her desk, her little cubicle. She thanked the powers that be that her cubicle walls were the tall kind. No one could see her unless they happened to walk behind her. A secret square in the middle of the office. She sipped her coffee. What an eventful morning. Hopefully the rest of the day wouldn’t be so—

The phone rang. Marley flinched, spilling her coffee. It’s one of those days, then.

Mama needs a new pair of shoes

…but I would have preferred to keep my old pair, because my new shoes are far too small.

I hate shoe shopping. I end up going through the whole store: this pair isn’t in my size, this pair feels weird, this pair has too high a heel, this pair is the wrong shade of brown…and so on. Maybe this is why I wear my shoes until they wear out.

My favorite pair of boots, ones that fit perfectly and went with everything, recently kicked the bucket like only shoes can. One shoe was fine, but the other fell apart and refused to be put back together. I tried boot glue, krazy glue, even sewing with a needle and thread. Nope. The sole of the shoe hung off like a slacking jaw. Then the zipper broke, and I decided that was it for that.

My second favorite pair of boots died the same week, with one too many holes. No longer waterproof, I decided it was time when sidewalk dirt began to seep in through the holes.

Now, I could handle the boot scenario fine—it’s spring, soon boots will be too hot anyway—if my summer shoes weren’t ready to go as well. I’ve already sewed one pair of canvas shoes back together, and another pair is beginning to get a hole as well. What gives?!

So, new shoes. I have no problem finding cute high heels, but thing is I never get to wear them and, honestly, the pain isn’t worth it. But I did find one pair that looked pretty cute and very versatile. They fit, they didn’t fall off, and they were just a little tight. I’d have to wear them in, but I couldn’t leave the store without buying them. After all, it was so rare that a shoe would fit all my criteria.

And so I sit at the office, alternating between flexing my feet in all crazy ways to break these suckers in to taking them off entirely to let the blood flow back to my toes. It’s okay though. I’ve had much worse.

There was the time I was late to a job interview and had to run in new heels that were already giving me blisters. The interviewer then decided to give me a tour of the (huge) building, during which I tried my darndest not to limp. I would have walked home barefoot, but I had to take the subway, and…ew. So I made the blisters even worse by wearing them all the way home.

Then there were the few years of pointe ballet I took in middle school. The shoes were made of solid wood and nails and who knows what else, and one had to balance on those torture contraptions with weightless arms and a graceful smile.

There were the few weeks when I started working at Chipotle over a year ago, before my work shoes came in. I had to run around the kitchen in Crocs three sizes too big for me because they wouldn’t let me wear non-company mandated sneakers.

Shoes. How could something so simple have so many problems? I suppose it’s a lesson in taking things for granted. I never appreciated my good shoes, or even gave them a second thought, until they broke on me.

As my internship winds to a close and I prepare to train my replacement, I wonder if she will fit the Globe like a new pair of shoes. I wonder how I will fit my new job. There will surely be a need to break in a bit, to get used to routine, but after awhile there won’t be any more blisters and it will all be second nature. Or, alternately, it may just be a bad fit. No matter what though, we won’t find out until we try them out for a few days.

Changing backward

I realized that I accidentally published U yesterday instead of today! Oh well. Today will just be a personal blog then, since I’m a day ahead of the alphabet.

I can’t believe we’re in the final stretch of April. I guess my timeline was so set on Colin returning and my internship not ending until June that I kind of forgot about class. It was easy to forget class, this year. It was such a minimal part of my life. I’m so glad I went through with the American Sign Language class, it was one of the most fun classes I’ve ever taken, and it makes me want to keep learning it someday. Maybe be an interpreter.

Once I finish an essay on McTeague (wonderful book, highly recommended), I’ll be done with this school year! It’s crazy how both long and short the school year was.

Now I will spend my time pretty casually, working the last nine weeks at the Globe, doing some freelance work on the side, and then spending the nights either riding my bike or learning German. Probably a mix of both.

And oh, faithful readers are probably wondering how my time with Colin went. Well, after three months apart I was a bit worried that we wouldn’t click back in place, but it really was as if he had never left.  Seeing him appear from the terminal, all smiles, made every sucky, lonely moment of the last three months worth it.

Before my next personal blog post I’ll have moved back home for the summer. Strange. It’s always weird moving back home. Much like the end of a period of separation in a long distance relationship, moving back home after months away is both disorienting and startlingly normal. I’m going to miss my friends here, but I’m sure I’ll fall right back into my old routines. After all, I miss my family too, and it will be great to have a break from classes.

I suppose changing backwards is easier than changing forwards. Well, like all things, it’s only temporary.