Since this will be my last post as a resident of America for all of 2015, I figured it’d be appropriate to look back on how I spent my time after graduating college, as well as some of the things I realized while waiting to head out to South Korea to teach.
Let’s start back in May / June, shall we? I’ve covered what happened in my ongoing CUNY Diploma Blues series (which I’m still working on but haven’t updated yet) so I won’t rehash the details. However, I can’t help but point out that waiting FIVE MONTHS for my school to print out my diploma is the main reason I didn’t get to Korea until January.
(Not to point five Caucasian fingers, but…)
So back to May / June. I remember I had finally gotten my bachelor’s degree (at the ripe age of 26) and was eagerly anticipating my trip to South Korea. The paperwork I covered here was in at that point and just the diploma print-out was holding me back.
I had a graduation party on June 8 and everyone asked me when I was leaving. I told them I didn’t have a date yet, but it should be soon. Of course, College of Staten Island would be keeping me stateside for another six months because of their broken diploma policy.
(“Maybe I can fix your policy but nobody can fix you, CSI.”)
One of the reasons why I was particularly devastated was because I would have to keep my part-time job at NYC 311 (30 hrs a week if you include the commute). I covered why the job wasn’t a good fit for me here, but what I didn’t mention was the quiet rage burning in my bosom every time I had to take the train, ferry, and train / walk for a job that paid little and provided little satisfaction other than a paycheck. (Again, not that 311 isn’t a vital public service, it just wasn’t where I saw my future self).
Because I was subcontracted by the CUNY Research Foundation who works hand in hand with NYC 311, all the CUNY workers have to pick new schedules each semester. When I was picking my schedule (or “shift bidding” as it’s officially known) I remember thinking to myself, “Never gonna see this schedule, but I’ll pick a decent one just to be safe.” and “Hopefully I’m LONG GONE by the time this kicks in.”
(So far “gone” that not even Ben Affleck can find me.)
But no. I was there until Dec 19 when I quit. The same day that my “main contact” (from Wednesday’s post) sent me the issuance number for my Visa. But even though I was stuck stateside for an extra half year, I decided to TRY and make the most of all the free time I had, so here are a few things I did.
JULY / AUGUST / SEPTEMBER
This was time I can say was well spent. In June I got back the edits for my novel by Michael Mohr my editor. As I’ve mentioned before he’s excellent and provides great insight. So I spent two and half months doing a complete overhaul (aka rewrite) of the book I finished a month before Hurricane Sandy hit back in 2012.
Due to the fact that school was over and I was able to get five Wednesdays off in July, I really did a number on the manuscript and was pleased with the result. Of course, when I got it back from my editor I came to a crossroads with it, a dilemma I covered here.
(Just yesterday I was looking over his notes and realized he must own X-Ray specs.)
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
This was where time started to really drag. Where most days just seemed pointless. Where I was feeling depressed and sick of waiting, waiting, waiting, for my damn PIECE OF PAPER so I could move on with my life.
I put on weight. Mainly because:
-I didn’t have a car to go to the gym.
-I didn’t have the money for a membership.
-I ate crap on my workdays because I only had a half hour for lunch (just enough time for Papa John’s, Wendy’s or $5 chicken and rice from the Halal truck (or I’d wait until my shift ended to eat).
-I’d eat chocolate / candy after my shift after work because I was so beat-up and pissed off from dealing with the stress of the job.
(“Sometimes, when I fart really loud, it takes my mind off all the toxins synthesizing cancer in colon.”).
I tried to spend the last few months doing things I could only do here in the states, like reading print books I wouldn’t be bringing with me, playing some video games I’d been putting off, and visiting areas of Manhattan that I haven’t been to for a while. I watched TV too. Like all the episodes of the Sopranos with “Simon” and both seasons of House of Cards.
Not to mention this time was spent running around getting together everything I needed for the Visa, doing interviews with the school, and so on. I also started this blog in October with a post that has over 400 spam comments!
(Don’t worry, the link’s SAFE! #funwithpuns)
What I Learned
Even though I was bloated and depressed for the second half of this Long Wait, I did have time to do a lot of thinking about my future, and I realized that even though I rip on Staten Island (a post shredding the forgotten borough is inevitable, I fear) I’m not sure I could ever leave the area for good.
Everyone and everything I know is here, both the good and the bad. Like the proximity of my family (good) competing with NYC’s high cost of living (bad). Or my idealized future self (good) being undermined by memories of my challenging past (bad).
But in the end, as this Long Wait comes to a close, and I start the next chapter of my life, I won’t forget where I came from, even if I wind up in New Jersey like Staten Islanders tend to do.
(Who knows? This post might be the first step in a beautiful friendship, Governor.)
That’s all for today. Like I mentioned on Wednesday I’m going to be posting more frequently now that I’ll be in Korea. Some of the future posts will be:
The Flight Over.
First Week of Teaching.
So be sure to SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL so you don’t miss a post. Do it now before you procrastinate and forget 🙂
See you soon,
J. F. Seegitz