Saturday, January 28, 2012

11 hours and 520 miles later

SO. We made it. We've been in socal for about a week and I'm already spoiled. Today's wardrobe: the summer dress I wore for my sweet 16 birthday. I don't know if I should be sad or proud that I still fit something that I wore eight years ago. It's 77 degrees outside, not a cloud in sight... and OH YEAH. It's the middle of winter? Oh San Diego, how I love you.

The past few days have been an ongoing battle of how to fit an apartment full of STUFF into one room. We have been boxing, unpacking, re-packing machines. We tried out space bags ("As seen on TV")... one of them popped under the bed. So there are two comforters and six pillow wedged under the bed... I have NO idea how we are going to get them out but mehh, future John and future Jaquielyn can handle that problem.

The drive was looonnnnnggggg. But road trips are always my excuse to eat like a pig. What? Gotta keep my energy up. Don't look at me as I shove chex mix, corn nuts, and starbursts into my mouth. I played the Taylor Swift cd over and over... and sang on top of my lungs. No joke, by the time we got to San Diego, I was losing my voice.

This post is boring so I'll end it here with some pictures

Taylor and Miley. Approximately 0615
 I DID feel a twinge of nostalgia leaving our apartment. It has definitely been the best apartment I've ever had, and the home to the best cat in the world. It'll be a long time before we have our own place again...

Halfway through the drive
 SOMEONE convinced me to buy him a $3 cotton candy snack. "I'll buy you something at the next stop", he rationalized. During the drive, I fantasized about what I would choose... 3 pound bag of peanut M&M's, a giant Snapple. I never got my snack.

The dreaded grapevine

Success!! Finally arrived at the Raney's.
Feels OH SO GOOD to be back in Socal. It's been nearly seven years since we've both LIVED in socal. Seeing the ocean on the drive back felt like coming home. All of a sudden, it feels like I let out this sigh that I've been hanging onto for seven years. Can't wait to hit the beach. In January. Jealous yet?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I feel... exhausted. In the past 24 hours, our apartment has gone from full to empty. I went from having three roommates to one. I sit here writing this on the floor of an empty dining room instead of the table.

Starting from the top...
  • I finished my last shift at PetSmart. Got sent home early since I was sick and apparently no one wanted to catch my sickness
  • After a week of adventures, Patty and Dave packed us up and filled their van to the brim with our crap. I would say they drove down with 90% of our stuff- huge relief considering we definitely would have had to donate ALL that stuff to GoodWill
  • We got rid of our couch (and made a profit on it--yeahyuhhh), coffee table, dining room table, and kitty. Yeah that last part was rough
  • Had a final goodbye dinner with our friends. Also rough :(
Adventures with Patty and Dave! Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Tasting room was amazinggg. And stalking photoblogs pays off

All there's left to do now is pack. And drive. John and I will be caravan-ing down to San Diego tomorrow, most likely not being able to see out the back window. Our plan is to stay within sight of each other and to take breaks together. I'm a wee bit nervous considering I've only driven the entirety of this trip ONCE. Annnddd I had to stop and take a 20 minute nap at Starbucks. I've made the trek many times, switching from co-pilot to driver.... but only once as a solo driver. Any tips for keeping oneself awake would be greatly appreciated.

I know this adventure to Japan will be amazing and exciting. I know that the friends that matter will still be here in a year when we get back. But right now, all I feel is sadness. I look forward to enjoying 80 degree weather, the beach, mexican food and the company of socal friends and family... but with changes comes a bit of emotional baggage.

625- our favorite home
John did his best to cheer me up- starting with the ole faithful: hot. fudge. sundae. We packed up the closet, watched some tv shows (anyone see Alcatraz? Thoughts? Cuzz I'm not buying it), and even a surprise midnight trip to Denny's (something we haven't done since the first year we started dating). But the real heartbreak came at night. I waited to hear Ankles' bell jingle and feel a slight weight from her creeping on the bed. Yet there was no cat last night to curl up on my chest and purrr her way into sleep.

1 am. Denny's in Woodland. This is love.

Alright. I've rambled too long and we still have some packing to do. Next time I write will be from SOCALLLLL. Excited to be back in the land where people actually drive OVER 65 on the freeway and I can comfortably wear flip flops w/o fear of breaking off one of my toecicles. SAN DIEGO HERE WE COMEEE

Sunday, January 15, 2012


oh right. The biggest news yet...

4. We are moving to JAPANNNN
Super stoked. For me, it all started three years ago when JET pamphlets, papers, and folders would be shoved upon me with all- too- subtle comments from my grandmother. "You should really consider teaching in Japan, Jaquielyn. This is a great opportunity. You should REALLY look into it..." My answer was always the same. Thanks Grandma. I think I'm going to move to Hawaii and be a dolphin trainer instead. The former happened... the latter did not. Andddd cut to now, I still do not have a permanent career, I make barely above minimum wage, and am scrapping by on my bills, rent, and car payments. 

All of a sudden, Japan didn't sound too bad. I call it "pushing off real life". My friend Sarah always countered back with "You're moving to JAPAN. That sounds pretty REAL to me. You're living real life, Tango". We looked into programs (JET is impossible to get into), but the best form of reference was Robert. He is about to sign on for his third year teaching in Japan. He loves it just a tad, but was able to give us pointers on applications, what to put in the essay, and give us the best insight possible as to what the next year will hold for us. 

As I was amidst switching careers and John has just now finished his paramedic internship (woohoo), we thought what better time than now? We have no pets (ahem, minus Ankles Jumbaco), no kids, no mortgage... nothing seriously tying us down. LET'S DO IT!!!

So we're in. We're doing it. Next week, we will be moving staying with John's parents (I will forever be indebted to Patty and Dave for their generosity and kindness to their son's girlfriend) for three months before moving to Japan. 

The deets...
  • The contract is for one year. We start in March, end in April 2013
  • We will be living in the Kanto region... once we get over there we are going to go through a second round of interviews to see where in Kanto we will be placed
  • We will most likely be teaching elementary school kids, but there is the possibility we will be teaching middle school or high schoolers 
  • They know we come as a "package deal". Sooo ideally, Robert, John and I will all be living togetherrrr
  • YES, COME VISIT US. Please do... John and I think that there is about a 30% chance that the friends who claim to visit us actually will
  • My income will double after I recover the cost from the flights/initial cost of moving/any debts or loans that I owe

SOOO YAH. I don't think its hit me yet. The most thing I feel: anxious. How am I going to scrape up the $$ to get there and live? Through miracles and the generosity of people that I love... that anxious feeling is slowly starting to let up. I absolutely cannot wait to live in another country. Living in Italy was an incomparable experience to anything else. To be in Japan for an entire year will be frustrating and exhilarating but so incredibly amazing. I know that every moment will be worth it.
soon to be ROOMIES!!!!

I owe a lot to the Raney family...

Robert- for helping us with last minute essay edits and changes, putting in a good word for us with RCS, and of course thanks in advance for helping us get settled, putting up with me as a roommate, and enduring all the craziness

Patty & Dave- not only for being one of my few blog readers, but for their continued generosity. I am constantly amazed by how much they have welcomed me into their family and treated me so well. From everything to Christmas Part II to constantly opening their home to me without reservations. I am excited for lots of San Diego adventures soon!

John- oy. Ohsomuch. For tolerating me through EVERYTHING. For signing up for another year of Jaquielyn-logic and the grumpy monster I turn into when I have no food or sleep. For being so damn awesome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ankles Jumbaco

So two jobs. Besides being utterly exhausted (my manager once asked me "Do you ever sleep??") and having no social life to speak of... my jobs were awesome. I finally had friends (big step for me), had inside work jokes, andddd I got to work with the most adorable dogs ever. I got my puppy-fill on a daily basis. My favorite part of work... my co-workers. They were the support I needed when crazy cat ladies yelled at me, a certain creepy co-worker would get too close, or laugh with me when I face-planted off of a ladder. 

Biggest plus: The co-workers I call my friends.

3. We found a cat
Back when I only had one job, John and I started to run. We made it a nightly routine and dedicated a couple weeks to the running until the dreaded ankle problems. Anyone who was an athlete in high school most likely has some lingering problem with a joint or muscle. I sprained my ankle twice in high school (yay cheerleading), and as for John, being a runner came with chronic ankle problems.

Finally, during a run, we both couldn't take it anymore. Our ankles just hurt too bad. I pushed through another mile before finally slowing down to a walk. And then we found her...
ANKLES!! Named after the very reason we found her
I will state for the record: Without a doubt, through and through- I am a dog person. But Ankles is different. There was no potty training, no incessant need for attention or pets. But the potty training! Just a litter box and she just knew. I am so amazed. She cuddles when I want, allows me to torment her (We do this thing when you pull back her ears and say "Asssiannn kittyyyyy". It's way fun).  She is without a doubt the best cat in the world.

Her and John have daily nap time. He lays down and she quickly takes her place on his chest. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Since I picked her first name, I allowed John to pick her middle name. In order to initiate her into Team J, she needed a J name. So John went with the most ridiculous thing he could think of.
SO Ankles JUMBACO needs a good home. We are moving... and we're pretty sure Japan's quarantine process will be lengthy, expensive, and a huge hassle. She purrs like a machine gun, loves to be held, and will freaking melt your heart. And I would rather her go to one of my friends who will be a wonderful home for her than one of the weirdos out there with 4,739,827 cats.

And yes, you can rename her. But Jumbaco is an awesome name

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1, 2, 3, 4...


Welp, this is embarrassing. It's been a little over two months since my last blog post. I promise I have a good reason. Well kind of. Let's be honest... The reason I haven't blogged in a looonnnggg time is because I was a coward. More specifically, embarrassed of the recent turning of events. Let's start from the beginning.

1. I was laid off from my job
2. I picked up three jobs... which turned into two "part-time" jobs
3. Found a cat. Uh, yes this part is not so much important but extremely cute
4. We're moving to JAPAN. Uh yeah... lots to fill you in on

SO. Imma start from the beginning.

1. I was laid off
Um. This part was the hardest pill to swallow. I mean, I have my BACHELOR'S DEGREE... From UC DAVIS. People with Bachelor's don't get laid off... it's just not supposed to happen. But it did. My boss had given me some warning... "Ackie," [that's the way my name was pronounced] "You should really start looking for a job"

So I started looking. Every free moment was spent applying to every job on Monster, CareerBuilder, even Craigslist. I saw two options: a) panic, stress, freak out and cry OR b) pour that energy into job hunting. I went with the latter untillll two weeks later when my boss broke the news that THIS would be my last week with the company. My last week being employed. My last week with a steady paycheck. Begin ultra panic mode. I began imaging my life on the streets,  a properly spelled cardboard sign, gaining a street dog. I kid you not, this was a legit fear of mine. John had to convince me night after night that I would not end up homeless.

Seriously- I put in at least 300 job applications. Out of that.. I got six job interviews. Six. Didn't you think a bachelor's degree would get you farther than that? Because I sure did. The people I called my "friends" said snide comments. People I thought would be supportive and kind were instead sarcastic and cunning. People I thought of only as acquaintances gave me kind words and offered any kind of support they could.

In short... being laid off is a terrible feeling. I woke up every morning with the suffocating feeling of failure. And fear... HOW am I going to pay the bills. I literally live paycheck to paycheck, with no money to put away for savings. I began to plan out the essentials I would take with me and put into my shopping cart after we were evicted from the apartment and John moved back down to San Diego
Future self... If I became white

2. I picked up three jobs
In the year that I spent at my job, in between dodging slugs and killing centipedes, we got to the heart of what I REALLY wanted to do. Well, work with animals. Duh. #1 choice: dolphins of course. But dogs would always have that special ability to pull on my heartstrings and turn my normal self into one of those super annoying, high pitched gushing valley girl. LIKE OHMIIGODDDD, Did you see that dog?!? Ssheee'sss sooo caaa-UUTTEEE! Oh yes she wass!!!

 Ew. Right? 

So after job interviews, it boiled down to three... 
1. bank teller (for some reason, dealing with THOUSANDS of dollars on a daily basis made me feel rich by extension. I could pretend it was all mine for a couple hours)
2. See's Candy
3. Pet Trainer

See's got dropped after they said "Hey, training is tomorrow. If you can't make it, you can't work for us". Which left "Bank A" and Pet Trainer. Since I had NO JOB to speak of when I applied to both, I said... WORK ME AS MANY HOURS AS POSSIBLE. This came to bite me in the hiney. I ended up working seven days a week, sometimes an average of 75 hours per week. It. was. hell. 

I would stand for eight hours at a time at the bank job, fight rush hour traffic while shoving cold pizza into my mouth, run into my second job while frantically trying to change and clock in justintime. Another five hour shift, go home, sleep. Repeat. I am not kidding you when I tell you that for a good five weeks, I didn't have a single day off. I would cry from exhaustion, but John would remind me "You thought you were going to be homeless a couple weeks ago. This is better right?"

Sometimes I wasn't so sure.
I find this commercial hilariousssss. 


To be continued...
This post is way too long.