From July 2012 - February 2013, I had been living in wonderful city of Chicago, Illinois. It was definitely a great opportunity and I do not regret one bit of it. I was lucky enough to live in Lincoln Park with my sister and brother-in-law. For six months, I was sleeping on a blow up mattress, meeting wonderful people, enjoying the city and job searching.
I moved to Chicago about two weeks after spending significant time in Peru. I got to Chicago on a low dime and felt that I would just ‘wing’ it. I had never done anything like this before. I had some great opportunities come my way, but they were freelance and temporary jobs that did not have a consistent flow of income. Therefore, I was not able to ‘settle in’ to a ‘comfortable flow’ of life in Chicago.
I worked at a dive bar in Wicker Park for a couple weeks. The bartender went by his code name,’Tokyo’, and he happened to be on the Real World New Orleans season. He went by ‘Tokyo’ because he did not want to be bothered by ‘fans’ asking if he was ‘the guy from Real World’. (But really he wanted everyone to know.) When I looked his name up on the internet, he showed up under ‘Top 25 Most Annoying Real World cast members’. I could have guessed this when the first day I met him he proposed to me and asked me to live with him. When I was not familiar with his name, he left work to go to his apartment and came back with a magazine that had his face on the cover and said, ‘Do you know who I am now?’ Yes, that was who I was dealing with. After the cooks cussed me out the first week of work, I decided it was not a good fit for me.
Over the 6 months I was there, I worked as a waitress at a dive bar, barista at a coffee shop, artist liaison for two International and Modern art fairs, Freelance designer for the wonderful Jeff McClusky, and stock girl at Blick Art Materials.
After a long trial period of different jobs in Chicago, An opportunity in China came about at the most perfect time. It did not take long for me to drop everything I was doing and pursue the opportunity. In a matter of a week, I packed everything up, said my goodbyes and came back to Richmond to start saving money for China. I was very sad to say goodbye to the friends I had made in Chicago but for some reason it didn’t feel like a goodbye. I have a feeling our paths might cross again one day. Luckily, my old job in Richmond accepted me back with loving, supportive arms. After a pretty long process, I have signed on the dotted line and I will be teaching Art in China for a school in Kunming for two years. When I tell people about it, I generally get the same “ARE YOU CRAZY?” reaction. I might be crazy but this opportunity fits my spontaneous, adventurous, ‘just wing it’ personality to a T. I can not wait to learn more about Chinese culture and more about myself as well.
I have realized that this is the time to be ‘crazy’. I am 25 years old and I have no apartment, no furniture, no full time job, no husband or kids tying me down. Why not go and see what the world has to offer? I will always love where I grew up and maybe I will be back for good one day. I have no idea where my cards will fall. When an opportunity like this one presents itself, I feel if I had turned it down I would always be asking my self ‘What if?’. And that would be my biggest regret. I am very excited about the future and I have no idea what will happen but my hands are open and I am willing to take on the new challenge.