Sunday, June 22, 2008

Long Overdue!

Well I have finally updated my blog! Always one of those things I think about doing, but never do. So enjoy the multiple posts and pictures below to see what I have been up to these past few months!


So what did I decide to do with myself after graduation? Well, it might not be too surprising that I ended up taking a full-time job at Americana. I was offered a full-time position with salary and benefits immediately after my classes ended, so I couldn't really refuse. I have moved into an administrative position - I believe my title is "finance and grants manager". Americana is funded mostly through grants, and I am now in charge of that, which means writing grant proposals and reports, and making sure we do what we say we are and let the funders know how we are spending their money and why they should keep giving it to us (because Americana is awesome of course!). And the part-time accountant is leaving in a few weeks, so I am taking over the accounting as well. Not exactly social work, but a good skill to learn (I suppose) and fits with grants and budgets (which is the administrative side of social work...) Since my job is mostly administrative, I am no longer working directly with the kids, but they are there 8-4 every day because the summer program is currently going on, so I see them. I eat lunch with them every day and help as needed. I am allowed to work with the youth programs a few hours a week, but not my main responsibility obviously. It is pretty nice to just be able to observe and hang out with them when I want, but not being responsible for the programming!

So, this is what I am doing for now. Staying in Louisville and working at Americana. I like the "new" job so far. I have to share an office with my boss (Edgardo), but hey, you can't have everything. And, we just switched to a 4 day work week which is awesome! To save us on gas costs, if we can get our hours in Monday-Thursday, we don't have to come in on Friday. So I work 9-10 hours M-Th, and I'm done! This was my first 3 day weekend and I loved it, and this will be my schedule from now on! Of course I might end up doing work on Fridays if needed, but I can do a lot from home (as I did this past Friday, finishing up a report).

We'll see what the future holds, but I am fine with this for now. Other than working full-time I am enjoying myself and trying to regain a social life!! I truly do love working at Americana, which is why I am still there, and I work with great people, who have basically become my Louisville family (along with my church family). So everything is good for now. Oh yeah, the pic of me is at the recent Americana World Festival where I spent an hour in the dunk tank (first year we had one!). It was my fourth world festival, I am a veteran now. It was a good festival, and a fun day (but very long)


On May 22-29 Chad, Reba and I went to Jamaica to visit Joel, where he is doing SALT with MCC (his term is almost over). It was the perfect graduation present to myself and a lot of fun. (although I am sad I missed Abby and Robb's Ohio reception - would have been nice to see everyone!) Anyways, the trip was amazing. I think what I liked the most was that we got the non-touristy experience. Joel lives in Kingston, where we spent a few days (although the capital city, not
a place for tourists - no beaches close enough). We also spent 3 nights at a resort called "Strawberry Fields Together" which was an hour and a half bus ride (through the mountains) from Kingston. It was a secluded resort and barely anyone was there (and also pretty cheap - the four of us shared a small cabin with a small kitchen so we could cook for ourselves). So, we basically had these gorgeous beaches to ourselves which was AMAZING. Joel also took us on a hike one day where we went to a waterfall (where surprisingly there were some people, but they soon left) and another deserted beach with rock formations you could climb on. It was a great day. Unfortunately, some lack of planning meant we hiked the last of it in the pitch black with no flashlights, but it was fun (in the scary kind of way - I almost had a heart attack when suddenly there was a donkey in front of me). I celebrated my 25th birthday in Jamaica and had the beach to myself all day - can't think of a more perfect birthday really! So in summary, the trip was fabulous and I wish I could go back!

Some Fun Things

Being done with school allows for more free time and more time for fun things! At the end of April I went on a canoe trip in Eastern Kentucky with friends which was amazing. We also got to explore a cave system by crawling in a back entrance from the creek (normally you would pay to go on a tour..). That was awesome. And of course, I went to the Derby for the third year in a row (first weekend in May). Some friends from Columbus came for the second year in a row, and it was the first time I caved and wore a dress and a big hat. It was a fun day, as always (starting at 7:30 in the morning!)


I officially became an MSSW (Master of Science in Social Work) on May 10, 2008. What a great feeling it is to be done with school! Classes were over April 18 so I was pretty much done then. I finished with a 4.0 and received a "dean's citation award" so I got to wear a medal at graduation (but decided not to pay money for the pretty honor cords). Grad school was a good experience, and I will miss aspects of it. But it is wonderful to be done!!

The Accident

Well if you haven't heard by now, there was a slight mishap in Germany. We stayed one night in a hostel (with bunk beds) in the city of Ingolstadt where we attended a conference on immigration. On the fateful night of March 7, 2008, around 2 in the morning, I woke up on a top bunk and realized I had to go to the bathroom. The next thing I remember I was in a bathroom trying to no avail to rinse out all the blood in my mouth, and wondering what the heck was wrong with my teeth. Luckily I blacked out most of the incident, but I have come to the conclusion that I missed the ladder on the way down and knocked my chin/mouth on the bunk bed, which cut open my chin and knocked out one front tooth completely (root and all), as well as severely damaging 3 other teeth that were about to fall out. Somehow the other 11 people in my room slept through this, but I managed to wake someone up (not having idea what happened) and soon everyone was up and figuring out how to get me to the hospital. Went to the ER around 3 a.m. where they put stitches in my chin and determined I needed to go to a specialist to attempt to save my teeth (which was an hour cab ride away). So after the scary cab ride, I had emergency dental surgery to restore my teeth and had braces like things. Anyways, I'll spare all the details, but should mention the bill from both hopsitals was less than $400 combined (and would be cheaper if the exchange rage wasn't so high). Universal healthcare anyone? I know there are plenty of arguments against it, but we have a broken system in the U.S. that is ridiculous and something needs done.

Anyways, that was the slight mishap on my trip (about halfway through) but it did not ruin the experience by any means. Just gave me quite a story! Unfortunately the whole ordeal has caused me a slight headache since my return. I won't go into everything, but I have had several trips to the dentist, a root canal and oral surgery due to the accident. And after three opinions, unfortunately it has been determined I need braces for at least 18 months to fix everything, and I will end up losing a total of three teeth. Life happens. I plan to fight with insurance companies until the end to get some money, because this whole ordeal costs thousands of dollars. It really sucks to have braces late in life and for the third freakin time, but oh well. Probably will get them on in a month or so. Sucky. But in two years I will have a better smile than I started with....(at least I hope so!) And by the way, the front tooth I lost completely is currently glued in place with no root, fun huh?


So, I went to Germany in March as an elective, pretty amazing really. We were gone for two weeks and I got three credit hours. The main purpose of the trip was to learn about how another country does social work and social policy. So we attended lectures and visited various social service agencies (including a refugee camp) and it was all very interesting. Germany does things differently than the U.S. We were in Munich the majority of the time, but also visited the cities of Augsburg and Nuremberg, along with a day trip to Salzburg, Austria. We also went to a monastery in the country one morning where we attended Catholic mass in German. The sights were amazing and the food and drinks were delicious. The land of beer and sausages. I loved every minute of the trip (well minus one incident). As always, group dymanics were interesting to observe (one professor and 19 students, only one male). Here is a sample of my pictures (I took hundreds!). I love Europe and traveling, so of course I had a fabulous time and learned a thing or two as well. The one souvenir I bought myself was the traditional German dress - a durndl, seen in the picture. It is my heritage after all! Now if I only had more excuses to wear it....