2013 Reflections and 2014 Ambitions

With 2014 just around the corner (as in less than 12 hours away), I figured I would make a list of “resolutions” for the new year! Yeah!

Now I have some reservations about the idea of making New Year resolutions in January because

  1. I think we should reflect on our lives and have goals for the future all the time, not just when the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of the year.
  2. Being in school for the past 19 years, I guess I’ve been brainwashed in thinking of a “new year” as starting in September. In all those years as a student and future years as a teacher, I’m of the mindset that, “it’s only January; we still have a whole 6 months of the year left.”
  3. I think a lot of times people make these great resolutions with good intentions but without realizing how much they have to change their lifestyle or mindset in order to accomplish them. So as soon as they falter, they don’t have a plan B set in place or a way to get past the roadblock. They end up letting the feelings of defeat get the best of them and, soon after, they simply give up.

Not only did I include goals/resolutions for the upcoming year, I figured I would include regrets and accomplishments from the previous one. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

2013 Achievements:

√  Moved to and lived in New York City

√  Completed graduate school at Columbia University

TC ID

√  Kept my Crohn’s under control

√ Created and maintained a blog (except for the past 3 weeks…but with the holidays and work and completing grad school, I think I have a legitimate excuse)

√  Obtained 3 different jobs in NYC (TA at a private middle school, cashier at a small pharmacy, aide for a high school student)

√  Got engaged – I guess that’s more of an accomplishment for Tom (proposing and getting me to say yes)

Christmas ornaments!

2013 Regrets:

  • Stumbling in my spiritual life and thereby trying to control too many aspects of my life
  • Constantly worrying about what others think of me
  • Lack of self-worth/esteem/ambition/confidence
  • Not reading enough – about the world, about math, about teaching, about God
  • Watching too much YouTube (read about my addiction here) and Netflix (currently on season 5 of Gossip Girl)

2014 Goals:

  • Get married! (this one’s more of an event than a goal…woot!)
  • Get a teaching job (I miss being in the classroom – check me out student teaching back in 2011; I’m the one in purple, holding paper in the front. I know, I get mistaken for a student a lot.)Student Teaching - October 2011
  • Push through the premarital book we were recommended and started last month; I didn’t expect it to be this difficult! Let me give you an explanation:

You see, it’s not so much the discussions we end up having about our roles in the marriage or our expectations or whatever the exercises ask us to do or reflect on. The part I struggle with is the fact that we have to constantly reflect on our parents’ marriage, our relationships with our parents, and just our pasts in general.

These questions honestly make me question who I am because I can’t even rationalize some of my thoughts and thought processes. I end up so deflated after doing an exercise in the workbook that I honestly don’t want to do any more. But I know it’s helpful to look at myself and reflect on my past in order to set my sights on what I want in the future and in our marriage. It’s just tough when you didn’t grow up a cookie-cutter life of two healthy, married parents.

Tom has been a real trooper, coming up with ways to alter some of the exercises so that we don’t have to necessarily focus on those things that frustrate me. For example, one week we had to analyze our expected roles in our marriage. However, the book asked us to write down which of our parents were responsible for which household and/or professional responsibilities. Going through the list, I realized that after the age of 10, I did quite a few of the duties, my dad being absent and Mom’s health not so great. After the age of 15, I did most of them. Gee book, thanks for bringing that up.

Well, since Tom marches to the beat of his own drum and since my parents’ marriage ended when I was young and Mom’s MS made it difficult for her to do things, he suggested we just focus on our marriage because that’s all that really matters at this point. We ended up agreeing on most (with the exception of maybe 1 or 2) of the “roles” we plan to split or share in the book.

  • Buy a house
  • Find a church to attend consistently and become an active member in
  • Keep up with student loans
  • Survive the remaining 6 months of my current job, 4 hour daily commute and all
  • With said 4 hour commute (making for 12 hours out of the house every day), find time to run or go to the gym. Come on, you can’t honestly set resolutions without including health and fitness.
  • Create and use my own math/education blog (this is halfway done already…I created a blog, Chatting About Math, on edublogs.org, but feel like I have nothing to contribute since I am not in the classroom full-time yet)
  • Read more – about the world, about math, about teaching, about God. This should be made easier with my daily commute.
  • Write more – on this blog, on my math blog, maybe contribute to someone’s blog or something?
  • Learn how to argue/debate and stick to my ideas/decisions – this may sound like a weird one, but I tend to avoid arguments or debates because I suck at them. I don’t want to create arguments just for the sake of arguing, but I would like to become better and defending my position on topics.
  • Gain more self-confidence/esteem/ambition/worth and not be so dependent on what others say or think

So there you have it folks. Kind of a long list, I know, but I think there’s a good mix of small and large goals, some more easily obtained than others. What are you most proud of from 2013? What are you most looking forward to in the new year?

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve as well as an amazing 2014! Cheers!Happy New Year

Goodbye NYC Dorm

This is my last week of grad school at Teachers College, Columbia University. Unless, of course, I fail any of my finals. In which case, I will be returning next semester! But I’m pretty sure that will not happen.

Nevertheless, let’s keep our fingers crossed. And toes. And any other anatomical parts that can be entwined with each other to make sure that I do indeed pass everything and can officially call this the last week of my formal education.

With my last week of grad school comes my last week of living here in my dorm room. I’ve started the packing process and boy, oh boy, do I have a lot of stuff. When I came down here in January, I was able to jam-pack everything (including Tom and I) into Tom’s teeny tiny Honda Prelude, with room to see through the back window. Safety first, right?

Sweaty/sleepy Tom

I know this is very cliché but it seriously feels like I moved in only a couple months ago, not 11! And I didn’t realize just how much I have made this room my own until I started packing and taking inventory of all that I will have to squeeze into the still-tiny car.

As I took down my collage of pictures and the multi-colored Christmas lights that have been hanging all year, my room has become very bare, blah, and un-me. So much so that it actually seems too big now. A dorm room in NYC that seems too big?! I know, crazy.

heart picture collage

I remember the first time I had unlocked the door to my new home back in January and was extremely surprised at how small it was. I mean, me and my belongings were packed into 215 square feet; where would everything go? I was so used to having a whole house to myself back home, so coming here was like being confined to my bedroom with a bathroom squeezed in. Little did I know, this is how Manhattan is; unless you are able to pay an arm and a leg and your first born child, this is considered normal for the size and price.

Although my room came with a refrigerator/microwave combo, the actual kitchen was conveniently located right across the hall from my room, which was nice if I actually needed a toaster or stove top. But holy cow, how was my body and all of my stuff supposed to fit in such a tiny space?!

Living in NYC, you realize just how valuable storage is. Thank God for the armoire with two shoe drawers at the bottom, hanging space in the middle, and a cubby space at the top. Oh, and the 5-drawer dresser. And the cabinet above the fridge/microwave for my food. And the three drawers under my bed. And the little wheel-y drawer thing that fit under my desk. And the bookshelf. And the cabinet under the sink in my bathroom. After a couple weeks in the room, I realized just how adequate this space was – I had room for everything, and I didn’t need anything else.my apartment

As you can see, my “apartment” was located right next to the elevator, which was surprisingly unnoticeable. I was kind of worried seeing as my first dorm room at Geneseo was right next to the garbage room. The custodian was not concerned about our wanting to sleep past 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings, as we usually were woken up by the clanging of the metal cans.

But I digress.

You may also notice that my room is the smallest – I think all of the other rooms had an extra closet or something. It also seems like they all have bath tubs, whereas the X in my bathroom represents the stand-up shower. But that’s fine with me because I didn’t end up needing another closet. And, seriously, who has time for baths anymore?

Also, because I got a corner room, my room has two windows! The one looks upon the south end of the building, so there isn’t much a view when sitting on my bed. But the other window looks out upon East Harlem, so I’ve gotten to see some pretty amazing sunrises.

Like this one:

sunrise 1

And this one:sunrise 2

And some pretty cool storm clouds, too.storm

Overall, my time living in Manhattan has been good. Sure, there were lonely times in that little room, as nothing around me was familiar, I didn’t know anyone, and I tried to stay away from spending money when I didn’t have a job. I definitely will not miss that bed as it was very uncomfortable. I will not miss the brownish water from the sink; luckily I got a Brita pitcher, but still, that’s gross. And having to wait for the shower to heat up in the morning…sometimes it wasn’t until I was washing my face (the last step in my shower routine) that the water would become bearable.

And, as is the case everywhere in NYC, the heat/air conditioningwas such a pain in the arse. See, here in the city, it’s pretty much all or nothing. From October 1st through May 31st is considered “heat season,” so nothing but heat comes out of the units. The rest of the year, the units are air conditioners. And there is no control over the temperature – it’s either on or off – so you just turn it on when you get cold (or hot between May 31st and October 1st), then turn it off when it gets to a comfortable temperature. So needless to say I’ve fallen asleep many a nights in a chilly room since, if I left the heat going when I fell asleep, I would wake up sweating.

So anyways, this week I’ll be slowly packing stuff up, as they are kicking everyone out by 11 a.m. on Saturday the 21st. Even though finals don’t end until Thursday evening. I mean, I have work in Brooklyn every day, then a final exam Monday evening, a 10ish-page paper due Tuesday evening, class Wednesday evening (we got a take-home final for that class, thank goodness), and a final exam Thursday evening. Luckily I have a half day of work on Friday, so Tom’s coming into the city with his car and hopefully we’ll get everything packed into his car and we’ll get going that evening.

I’m off to live at Tom’s parents’ house for the time being; they have a guest bedroom that I always stay in when I’m there anyways, so they’ve been calling it my room for awhile now, anyway. Since I have my job in Brooklyn until June, I looked at getting a room in Brooklyn, but rent is just too damn high. So yeah, with the wedding coming up in about 8 months (yay!!), student loan payments in 6, my Invisalign, and whatever else I need (food, maybe?), I figure saving $800/month might be a good idea. The commute is going to be annoyingly long, but I’ll get a lot of reading done on the train. And hopefully some sleep.