Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beyond Katrina

I try to read the Times Picayune online everyday. It's a little way of staying connected to New Orleans. Today there is a fascinating article on the fates of many New Orleans public school students, flung far and wide to make their way in different educational systems.
For some reason, reading about these kids really struck a chord with me. I used to have this recurring dream that I was back at my public high school being told I had failed a math class and therefore hadn't graduated. The implication being that my undergraduate and graduate degrees were invalid and even fraudulent. I also admit to taking those online tests of 'basic high school knowledge' and not faring well, despite the fact that I took not only trigonometry but also calculus...I hate memorizing formulas and never committed to the difference between cosine and tangent.
The students themselves are a mixed lot. Some flourished, some floundered.
It's my turn to do the same. So far, I've been on a couple of job interviews in NYC but nothing has panned out. It has, predictably triggered an existential fit. Am I going to cut it in the New York job market? Am I a competitive candidiate?
I feel like I'm about to jump in the double dutch ropes while they are turning 'red hots.' On the side, I'm weaving and ducking and estimating...and I'm not in yet. I'l still have to catch the rhythm and keep it up when I get a leap. I could slide in or I could fall off.
I've been pretty optimistic so far. And I really do think things are going to be just fine. It's a question of how long it will take for things to fall into place that I can't predict. Or what my life will look like when it does. What kind of life will I settle into in New York?
I even contemplated going back to school. Finding a skill --for once-- for the market, refocusing my efforts. I feel like quite the generalist right now....capable, yes but not as qualified as the perfectionist in me prefers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

New York, New York!

My posts have been sporadic because, as I mentioned, I am trying to get myself back into the swing of things post-Katrina. Having spent many months in Virginia with my mother and grandmother, I realized the one-year anniversay of the hurricane was fast approaching and I determined that it would find me moving forward.
I've been going back and forth to New York City looking around, looking for work, and looking for a place to live.
This last time I found a place to live. I signed the lease for an apartment in Upper Manhattan. After a decade of threatening and thinking about moving to New York, I am as close as I have ever been...contractually obligated to pay rent on an apartment there for a year (lol). Now all I have to do is get the little bit of furniture I've accumulated from Virginia into my new place. If any of you have suggestions on how I could hire three or four people to unload my moving truck, suggestions on what to pay, etc. I'd appreciate.
I also appreciated the apartment search suggestions. I just needed too much hand-holding this go-round. I'm not sorry I went with a broker...but next time I'll have a better idea of what's going on and I can be more cagey. I wanted someone to do the winnowing out and negotiating for me, so I went the broker route. When it's time to move again, I'll have the advantage of already being in the city, knowing my way around much better, and hopefully having more financial resources.
I live just below Washington Heights (or in it, I'm not sure) was a hot spot for awhile, but all of Harlem is in danger of gentrification. My building is pre-war and on a pretty quiet block. I won't know until I move in how the neighbors are, the building, etc. 90% of my neighbors speak Spanish...incuding the super so it's going to be fun to dust off those college lessons and try to hang. My building has an elevator and on-site laundry. I didn't want to let those features be deal-breakers ...but I'm ecstatic I got them both. I am going to cojole Gram into a visit very soon (which she is NOT happy about) and when it gets cold, I can avoid at least one chore-trip (I hate sitting around the laundromat).
Tuesday I go back to clean everything, re-paint (all the walls are yellow, yuck), do my own extermination ritual, put down shelf-liner, hang window shades, etc.
I've already changed the utilities, but I need to get an appointment for cable.
So the only thing outstanding is finding a job...I am thinking good thoughts and staying calm.
I AM going to change my location on the Sisterlocks website. If anyone is interested in a very meticulous trainee who is building her speed, let me know!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why Am I Not Blogging?

Oh dear friends...why you may be wondering have I not been posting? Well the answer is quite simple. I'm trying to get myself moved and resettled in New York City. It is now July and the anniversary of all this crazy Katrina madness is fast approaching (August 29th). I have vowed that I would be living in my new place and (fingers crossed) working at a new job by the time that date rolls around.
So I have been shuttling back and forth to New York answering job posts and dealing with real estate brokers.
I would love to go out and find a no-broker apartment , but I do not know my way around NYC very well and my usual apartment search methods just don't work for a long-distance search. So I may, with little bitterness, end up paying a broker to help me find an apartment. It will likely be the only time I will ever have to resort to such an option. My hope is to find a new place for me (and Nairobi!) by next Thursday. Uptown Manhattan and Brooklyn seem to be the likeliest of destinations. I am wholly unfamiliar with Queens, so I haven't looked there and Long Island, though lovely, really strikes me as a settled-with-a-minivan kind of option.
My hair is holding up nicely! I've met at least three women interested in Sisterlocks, so I may very likely continue to pursue it as a side venture. Though I think my 'long distance' cell number is a deterrent for some. Sigh. Once I get a New York address, I may well have to get a 'local' cell number to match.
In the meantime, summer is flying by and I am doing my best to enjoy it!