Category Archives: Rambling

Oh Geez, April? Really?

As I tore the small page of my day by day calendar this morning, I felt a ping of excitement, suspicion, and surprise: Wha? It’s April already? Oh man…

So much has happened over the past month and a half, and I regret that I haven’t filled you in enough. I’ve been having a productive morning–my work is going by quickly, and I’m getting a lot done. Wrapped around my day, however, has been the refreshing, persistent urge to write–just write, write, write. One of those days, I guess (do you ever have days like that?); they don’t across too often, so I try to harness the energy when I can.

That said, I’m writing to say I’ll be back soon. Until then, I’ll leave you with a bit of wisdom from ol’ Leonard Bernstein:

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Happy Thursday, friends.

First Paycheck, Hi?

With several post-graduation months under my belt, I am repeatedly reminded of how quickly time passes these days. (My parents assure me that this phenomenon progresses with age.) That said, where the heck have I been?

I apologize for the sporadic and negligent posting. A lot of things are changing these days, and it seems that I am still getting adjusted to everything. As I explained to a friend of mine, the funny thing about being out of college is the inconsistency of time—I go through long, static stretches and then here and there are sparks of big change. For example, my last posts reflected on the unshakable restlessness I’ve been experiencing since June. By the end of September, though, I was offered a job at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (Durham, NC). Alongside a job, I finalized plans to move into a new apartment around Cary; I move there next week.

Although I spent far too many days putzing around in new-grad-unemployment-glory, I started commuting and working full-time at the beginning of October. New co-workers, new desk. New place to go to every morning. I am still adjusting to my work, but I am very grateful to have come across such a great opportunity.

So, what am I doing? I am a Research Associate for one of the professors in the Department of Management at Fuqua, and I am basically supporting the research for one of his National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. The research deals primarily with the use of cyberinfrastructure in team science collaborations. (If you ever want to know more about the topic, I can definitely go into more detail…but I’ve found that people are happy enough with that answer to move on, ha.) My position is completely funded by the grant, so it’s limited to nine months; I’ll be at Duke through the end of June.

I will revisit all my job hunting later in the wintertime with the hope of landing a full-time position for after June. I really hope I can find something at one of the publishers around the area, but I’ll have to see what happens.

In addition to work, I also mentioned a new apartment…

After moving back to NC, I started apartment hunting on the side, not ready to commit to a place (because I didn’t have an income) but knowing that I would want to make the move soon after I found a job. I ended up finding a complex in Cary that I really liked (I like my hometown, and I wasn’t up for moving closer to Durham since I don’t know what I’ll be doing after my Duke job), and within a week of my job offer, an affordable one-bedroom unit opened up in the neighborhood with a late October move-in date, so I jumped on it.

Living at home has been a comfortable change but not necessarily an easy one, as I’ve mentioned before. I am itching to have my own space, privacy, and independence again, so I am very excited about moving into a new apartment. As my mother says, it really is my first “adult” place. I have to be at work Tuesday morning, but then my parents, grandparents, and a good friend will help me haul everything to my new apartment. I’m excited.

I know that a lot of my updates over the summer have discussed the change and complexity of that change. I don’t feel settled yet, and I can still feel everything shifting; however, I do believe I am on the upswing of it all. Getting set up at my new apartment will finally give me a chance to establish a routine, and I’ve recently made more efforts to reconnect with friends nearby or at least make more attempts to build my social network. I still miss my friends up in Chicago, but I know that I need to get out more and have friends to rely on and spend time with down here, too, so I’ve tried to make more plans and see more people when I can; that kind of support and company has really made a difference in the last couple weeks.

Long stretches and sporadic sparks of change.

I don’t know how time manages to pass so quickly, but I do know that my update was long overdue. I mean, I was so clumsy with time that I managed to receive my first paycheck today before I even filled you in about about my new job…c’est la vie.

christinerchoi.com

FYI: I recently launched a new website to make my portfolio and resume accessible online as well as help with personal branding.

Feel free to check it out: christinerchoi.com

Thanks!

Blog Updates

A new header in honor of my home over the past four years (rendered from a photo taken on the expressway as we left Chicago last week) and an updated ABOUT section–let me know what you think of the changes!

In other news, I am safely back in North Carolina and slowly getting unpacked. A real post to follow in the near future…

Last 24 Hours, 60201

Okay, so remember how I thought that the next week would go by incredibly fast? It absolutely did!

I am sitting at the Panera in town, getting ready to have dinner with my friend Alex and then partake in my last Evanston Networking Dinner for CWIP. I feel like everything has been thrown together over the past couple weeks…where did all the time go?

My parents will be here tomorrow afternoon, and we’re actually going to pack up the truck at that point. Then, we’ll spend the night at my aunt’s house in the suburbs and head back to North Carolina on Friday.

I packed most of my boxes, but I still have things sprawled all over my apartment; it’ll be nice once things are completely organized, stacked, and ready to be moved. I am excited, anxious, and sad about this move for all the reasons I’ve probably already listed. (Closing and opening new chapters is bittersweet!) Fran, Gracie, and I are having breakfast tomorrow morning; it seems more than appropriate that everything comes full circle, and the ladies who were there for me at the beginning of college would be there to say goodbye and send me off. I’ll also get to see Angela one more time when I’m packing things in the car. (I hate goodbyes.)

For now, though, I’m going to try and enjoy the rest of my day in Evanston. After the networking dinner, I’ll go back to my place to do some more packing. Then, a group of my friends are meeting at Bat 17 (one of my favorite Evanston bars) to have a “last hurrah” of sorts. Am I really leaving this place?

Tomorrow will include my farewell trio breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot (= Le Peep), last minute things around the apartment, then packing up the truck with my parents. I probably won’t have time to update over the next few days, but I look forward to getting back to North Carolina and settling down. I am also really looking forward to a sense of renewal from reconnecting with friends, family, and home.

Who knew you could feel so attached to four years of your life?

My Life at the Moment

Evanston, IL // August 2009

Evanston, IL // August 2009

After working out some logistical plans, I decided this week that I will actually be moving back to North Carolina at the end of NEXT week. My parents are driving up to Chicago, and all of my things will be packed up by Friday morning (August 14th), and we’ll then be on the road to head home. That said, this week has been hectic! Starting to pack, trying to sell furniture, and making time to see friends has made for an interesting few days. I’m also going out of town from Sunday through Tuesday to visit Parv in Wisconsin, so that doesn’t leave much time for all these preparations!

I’ll try and update you when I can, but given the last-minuteness of my plans, the next week will be busy. In fact, by this time next week I will be moved back home. What next? Continuing my job search around Raleigh/Durham, networking with contacts, and getting settled back in NC–and reconnecting with friends and family! Saying goodbye to Evanston, Chicago, and all my favorite people around here will be bittersweet, but I know this is a step towards something good, whatever that ends up being. Stay well, friends.

Summer Fridays

Where have I been lately? Well, I was in North Carolina for a week, so my whole routine was tossed in the air a bit. That said, I am now catching up on things, including the blog. The past week has been interesting for several reasons. First, I flew home last Thursday, which was actually my mom’s birthday. She thought I was coming in on Friday, but I wanted to surprise her, so with the help of my dad and my good friend Stacy, I got into RDU under the radar and surprised my mom at her birthday lunch. She was so shocked that she kept repeating, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” haha. The whole plan was a success! Above all, it was nice to spend time with my mom since I’ve been away for the past few years on her birthday.

Aside from my mom’s birthday, the other purpose for my trip home was to attend Justin’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were lovely, but it was a little surreal to see such an old friend tie the knot! I know, I know…I should get used to people getting married, ha–but it hits home a little more since it was my first close friend to get married. (I am also still surprised that 10+ plus years have already passed between us! Weren’t we awkward middle schoolers just a few years ago??) I was incredibly happy for Justin and Mary Hannah, though, and everything sat in when I saw Justin walk out to the altar with all his groomsmen. And yes, I even teared up some. After the ceremony, I couldn’t help but wonder how I’ll feel when one of my close girlfriends gets married or better yet–if and when I get married. I really do believe I’ll be one of those excited, emotional brides who tears up saying her vows. I think I’ll be in disbelief that everything is really happening, haha. Oh well, no worries anytime soon. All this to say, I was so glad I could be home for the wedding. I told Justin a long time ago that I wouldn’t miss it for the world! So happy for him and his new wife. Yikes, one of my friends has a wife! Crazy times :)

The downtime at home was good because I also got to catch up with Stacy, who is at home before she moves to Florida for graduate school, and Anne, who lives in Raleigh. Given my job situation, I found myself driving around town and thinking more seriously about how it’ll be to live back around home. With no positive responses yet on the job front, my current plan is to move back home with my parents by the end of August (my lease in Evanston is up at the end of the month). If any job prospects open up and I need to be in NC sooner, I would definitely pack up and go. Right now, it looks like leaving in a month or so will be the best thing. It was a little sobering to realize that even though I graduated, the economy is hugely affecting this “transition period” of my life. A recent news article reported that 80% of college graduates around the nation are moving back home with their parents. 80%?? Tragic. And I realize that moving home was my Plan C or D…but it’s been a difficult reality to swallow. Nonetheless, moving home will allow me to save money and continue to job hunt more rigorously. Coupled with these feelings about moving back with my parents is this bittersweet feeling about leaving Chicago and saying goodbye to my friends here. I mean, I only have a handful of really close friends who are still around, but it will be a jolting reality to leave everything I have built and grown to love about Evanston/Chicago/Northwestern. On the other hand, I think that moving away is part of continuing on with the road in front of me, not behind me.

For many months, I struggled with “where I would be happy living” or “where I should live”…and then just as everything knotted together in confusion, I realized that moving to North Carolina (clarification: moving to NC and having my own place, though living at home will be a transition into that…) put me at ease. For once I realized that that scenario made me happiest, got me most excited. Anyone who knows me well was surprised to hear that I wanted to move to North Carolina, but it’s become increasingly important to me to be around family and friends who will help me grow and love and see that we can’t know where we’re going or what we’re going to do–but we can have relationships that remain constant throughout all that uncertainty. And I guess that realization helped me see that being in an environment where I can experience that with others is important to me right now. Perhaps that is what has become very frustrating about things at the moment. I finally decided that I want to be in North Carolina, but without a job, I can’t entirely plan for everything that I wanted (i.e. a new apartment, a new place of my own). And the job search has entered a new phase. Initially, the process was stressful, then I reached a slight lull after applying for so many positions. After hearing a few “no’s” already or not hearing anything at all, I am rather disappointed and disheartened by it all. I know that given the economy and job market, none of this is a surprise. However, thinking back to the time and energy I invested into internships, job experiences, and getting a stellar education–in the hopes of landing an awesome job right now–has made this process tedious and frustrating. I am trying my very, very best to stay patient. The waiting, though, is what gets to me the most. The not happening-ness of it all, you know?

Anyway, with my plan to move home, at least I know that these next weeks will be working towards “something.” More job hunting, of course, but I’ll also start preparing to pack and move. I’ll clean out old odds and ends, and before I know it, I’ll have to say goodbye to some of my favorite people. That will be the hardest part. To leave a “home” that has shown me a tough love that cannot be replaced or repeated. Four years changes you, and for that, this goodbye will feel strange. Isn’t that funny? The capacity for a place–a space–to take on such meaning and feeling? That when I imagine my life here,  I feel everything and one thing all at once?

Well, friends, that’s the latest from here. I am going to continue applying for jobs, crossing my fingers for good news, and looking ahead.