Arizona

90 days

A week from today will mark my 90th day as a Phoenician.  Things are starting to feel a little more “normal” these days. I don’t need a GPS for every single place I go to – I still use it a lot, but I’m starting to get a grasp on which roads are which.  I definitely would not have been able to move across country without the invention of the GPS (or any mapping program).  When I arrived in Arizona for the very first time, I was in the airport when my mom called.  When she realized I was in AZ – she said “how are you going to know where to go?” and I said “GPS.”  So thank you, creators of the GPS.

At work, I’m on a waiting list for a parking structure near my building, so each day before work and after work, I walk about 10 minutes to my car.  I finally figured out a straight walking route.  The first 10 times or so I was inadvertently walking in circles.  Thankfully I’ve caught onto the direct route.  I use this time to call my mom each and every day.  I speak to her more now than ever before – so I’m sure she’s glad about that!

Speaking about my mom and being glad – She, my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephews have all booked their tickets for Christmas in Arizona!  I’m very excited – it doesn’t even seem real to me.  I feel like I flew to another planet, and they were never going to come visit – but that feeling is WRONG (as DT says).  I’ve been on the hunt to find a furnished place for them to stay, but nothing seems to be working out.  It seems to be harder than it should be, but I’ll keep the faith that it will work out soon.

Speaking about working out – I joined a gym!  I’ve been wanting to do that, but haven’t gotten to it yet.  Last week I went to the Sedona with my new group of outdoorsy friends.  After the 4-5 hour hike, I felt completely out of shape and after looking at the photos I felt that I looked completely out of shape as well.  I need to change that.  I have no excuse not to work out even if it’s just for 30 minutes each day.  So I joined last Tuesday, started working out on Wednesday and have gone every day since.  Today I tried something new called Hydro Training – working out in a pool.  Fun times!  Made friends with a lady from Staten Island named Karen.  I have to say there is always someone from NY/NJ around to help make me feel at home!

I work a Tuesday – Saturday schedule so today is my Sunday, but it’s really Monday – my body and brain’s still adjusting to this new routine.  I have a few more things left on my to-do list, but I wanted to be sure I posted an entry today.  If I think of anything else to fill you in on – I’ll be back sooner than later!  🙂  Since I woke up so early to get to the Hydro Training session, maybe I’ll take a nap!  It’s hard to take naps when it’s always so sunny – I still have the mind frame that I have to be doing something every sunny day because they’re limited where I’m from!   …but being that it’s October 24th and 90 degrees, I’m starting to realize that I can have a lazy hour or 2 a day without feeling like I’m wasting the sun because I’m pretty sure it’ll be back out again tomorrow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Standard
Arizona, Deep thoughts

Choosing a President

One of the things that has helped me during this transition process across the country is having a place to congregate every Sunday.  Growing up, religion was never pushed on me.  We were expected to join our parents at church every Sunday.  I’m sure my parents prayed that we would continue to be faithful to the church, but it was never pushed.

Growing up I would never have guessed that I’d be glad my parents encouraged us to join them at mass each week.  It feels good to go to look forward to going to a place to clear my mind, remind me about what’s important, and has the same traditions of home.  Church is a piece of home and a piece of my family.  The church that I have liked the best is St. Benedict’s in Phoenix.  The second week I was there, the priest asked if there was anyone new so I raised my hand and announced I was from New Jersey.  Made me a little teary eyed to see a new parish be so welcoming.

You’re probably wondering if I got the title of this post confused with a different post and asking yourself why would I be talking about religion in a governmental post.  Since this election is EVERYWHERE, a couple weeks ago a presidential debate was taking place right after mass – so I wondered if the priest would dare bring it up during/after mass.   I thought about it – and when the mass concluded without any mention – I thought of course he didn’t say anything.  Government and Religion are two different things, right?

Well today we had a priest who actually went there.  Fr. Bill Faiella – He started off by saying, “It’s not in my job description to tell you who to vote for — Thank God for that!” 🙂  He went on to explain that there were some things though, that he wanted us to think about when we are making our decision.  He encouraged everyone not to look at one single issue – but look at the entire person and their being.  “Look at their values, programs, and behavior.”  It seemed like there was one singular thing he thought would sway certain people.  I quickly tried to think if there was one singular thing that Trump had over Hillary – and because I was glued to what the priest was saying I couldn’t come up with anything on the spot. I’m grateful that he eventually shared a story with us that made me realize why some people might vote for Trump.

He told us a story about a man who came to him and explained that although he does not agree with abortions, he doesn’t think it should be considered a crime.  The man said that he worked with women who have been through so much abuse and hardships in their lives and sometimes ended up pregnant.  This man felt these women have enough hardships in their lives and shouldn’t be forced to choose between having a baby or being put in prison.  The priest didn’t say this, but we all know that Donald has been saying that he thinks abortions should be illegal.  I’m so thankful that this priest made the bold move to let Catholics know that we shouldn’t be voting for someone because of one idea.

The priest then went on to say, no matter who wins or loses – remember this:  The Lord will either go through him or around him to make sure things in this world are right.

Amen.

Standard
Arizona, Deep thoughts

Tradeoffs

It’s been about 2 months and a week since I moved across country.  Of course when I decided to move here I was thinking about all the positive things about moving, but after a little while – you start to see that there are some tradeoffs to living anywhere.  Here are some that I’ve come across:

Slow drivers —  more open roads

Beautiful cities with lights and energy — beautiful mountains, puffy clouds and bright stars

Subpar hair salons — more good hair days

Slow service — more people willing to help

No family around — living out my life wishes

One of the biggest tradeoffs is not being near my family.  Not having them around to hug is a huge deal, but I’m doing better than I was the first month.  When I went home last month for my dad’s birthday – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about coming back.  My flight was supposed to be Sunday night – but I was so ready to go home that I went to the airport Sunday morning so that I can wait on standby to catch the earlier flight.  Because of this, I wasn’t sure if I’d get to NJ and not want to come back to AZ – but I was ready.   And then I got to the airport to go back to AZ – and they offered me a $400 voucher to stay an extra day.  It was tempting because I didn’t have to return to work for a couple days.  I called my mother, and she said “Michelle, stay on your schedule – go home.”  Wow!  My mother called Arizona “home.”  When your mother, the owner of your first home (aka, her womb) tells you to go “home” and considers another place that she doesn’t live in home, then you go home.  This is my new place – my new home and I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m making a new life for myself.  Stay on schedule, stay focused, stop looking back at the door that’s closing – observe as the new doors opens.

I realized that although I loved being home, there was nothing left for me to do there except for visit my family and a few friends.  After you’ve lived in a certain place for so long, and you haven’t built a new life for yourself with a spouse and kids – it’s time to explore and see what else is out there.  Thank goodness for Facebook memories because each day when I click on “On This Day” I come across different statuses that I’ve written in the past seven years.  I can’t believe how many times in different ways I wished summer were longer.  Then there were times when I expressed ways that I was trying to get over my seasonal depression and how I will need to go into hibernation because the cold was starting to come.  As much as I want to be around my family because they are such a big part of my life, my core has wanted to be in a sun shiny place for a long time – I wished and wished for it – and even though I really never thought it would happen, not taking this leap would mean I’m not living my life for me.

It feels like I’ve been here for so long, but then I remember it’s only been two months – it’s normal for me to feel unsure.  I wonder how long it will take for me to feel like I belong here.

One of my Facebook friends is doing a social experiment by calling each of her Facebook friends and having a conversation with them.  She couldn’t believe that I picked up and moved to Arizona.  She’s originally from Minnesota, moved to New Jersey, lived in Korea, and now is in Cali.  I met her in college and I always envied her – just like I do anyone I meet that has learned to live in a new place.  Something about that has always intrigued me.  And I told her that.  Everyone I’ve ever met who has picked up and moved somewhere else has always inspired me.  I told her how the first month I felt a little homesickish, but felt better once I went to visit and came back.  After our conversation, she told me she’s felt homesick each time she moved too.  For some reason I didn’t think she ever had.  I thought maybe some people are cut-out for this and maybe I’m not?  Having her tell me that met a lot.  It means she got over it, and then moved again – so it’s not the worst thing in the world.  I think the worser thing would be staying put, and not ever pushing yourself to take that leap and try something new.

Accomplishments during my second month:

  1. Pumped my own gas and learned how to use the metal thing to hold it so I don’t have to hold the pump the whole time.
  2. Started going to Sprouts food store!
  3. Saw a man running while dragging a tire with a rope attached to his back.
  4. Witnessed a haboob – major dust storm.
  5. Experienced a lazy Sunday with a full day of rain!
  6. Went to the DMV to get my license.
  7. Took a Dale Carnegie communication class.
  8. Got a standing desk at work.
  9. Went to Bikram yoga.
  10. Went to a dentist for a root canal that I really loved – thanks to one of my student’s recommendations.  I know this sounds like a really crazy thing to be excited about, but I am – good dentists are hard to find!  He was awesome and not only that, but my student told me today that he called her to thank her for recommending me because he loved treating me.  This is the new world I’m living in.  The guy had his hands in my mouth for a total of 2 hours (2 appointments) and for the second appointment I had just left the DMV so I was short on time and had to eat MC DONALD’S because it was the quickest option before my appointment so even though I mouthwashed, I was sure my breath smelled of onions and I was falling asleep half the time.  What was there for him to love?  I really loved because he explained everything so nicely and seemed to be so precise with everything.
Standard