Monday, May 23, 2016

Updates, planning and life's journey

It's been 3 and a half/ 4 years since I've posted anything. I could blame Facebook for the ability to post instantaneously and from my cell phone. Or it could be how busy I think I am. My last post was November of 2012 and since then... The video store I worked at for 2+ years closed (RiP Video Factory). I've had a costuming internships at Teatro Zinzanni and Taproot Theatre. I worked at a Victorian/Edwardian era themed photography studio in the most historic neighborhood in Seattle and got to test out my desire for social activism (still not really my bag, though I have opinions). I started my professional cider journey with Finnriver, who took a chance on a girl with more enthusiasm than experience. I considered training as a bartender based on my time with a 21+ movie theater/ bar/restaurant. But when I had to miss Thanksgiving, be age discriminated, yelled and sworn at in front of management when I caught an employee stealing, only to have that employee not be fired on the spot (and STILL employed there to the best of my knowledge a year and a half later) I decided that as much as I enjoyed the job itself and my coworkers, I needed to find something else. From my years helping at local cider festivals, befriending (fan-girling) local cider makers, I received a recommendation from a local cider celebrity of great esteem, who got my the interview. Again, I didn't have the experience, but I was knowledgable about cider, the local industry, styles and was a cute girl to boot. Sales could be taught. I had an amazing brand manager who took me under his wing. I had a sales mentor who was the company's sales rep in Northern California. I got to open doors, meet amazing cider (and beer) people and see an aspect of the industry few consumers never see. I had finally broken ABOVE the poverty line and into my first "big girl" (salaried) position. I thought I'd be there until the company sold out to big beer, as was their business plan from the get-go. But they had a verbally abusive national sales manager. Not long after I started, there seemed to be an Exodus of members on the West Coast. Sales reps, managers, production staff and so on. It was into my second quarter as the sales rep for WA/OR that I realized it wasn't this great family based company, but was actually very toxic and I was a cog in the machine. We all were. The company wasted no time replacing employees, some were even replaced BEFORE being let go. I realized all my hard work, the CEs I sold, the KPIs I met or exceeded, the displays I built, the handles I took from other brands, the month of May 2015 when I did so many promos in such a short amount of time, I lost my voice. How I injured my eye and was told I was "lucky my pay wasn't docked for missing work" when I couldn't drive for 2 days do to lack of depth perception. I realized I wasn't worth what I thought and started looking for another job. I knew sales wasn't for me but wasn't skilled in production. I was worried I'd be stuck getting yelled at weekly my boss, or have to go back to retail or something else. But when I heard the manager of my most favorite drinking establishment in all Seattle was moving out of state...a position I had interviewed for about the same time as the sales job, I threw all my coins in that hat, and HERE I AM! I finally feel like a useful member of a team and the leader I was destined to be. I have my own car and my dog and my house and my tree has baby apples and was white with blossoms heralding a bountiful harvest come fall *hopefully*. But happiness never lasts for ever. My 9 year boyfriend and I are having problems. I'm going to get into that here. It's complicated. I don't want sympathy or offers of "whatever you need." I need to figure out what's going on in my own head. But because I like distractions and not thinking about the 'real issues' or problems, I'm throwing myself into work, planning cider events and my upcoming trip! I'M GOING TO ENGLAND!!!
Originally it was a trip for my father and I, as we have very similar travel styles. Then my boyfriend wanted to come, then my grandparents. The latter 3 eventually bowed out deciding that doing cider things wasn't very interesting (you think I'd go to England and ONLY do cider things, c'mon...really) and my father bowed out because he didn't yet have any paid vacation (a luxury I still don't entirely get the concept of). So in the month of me announcing my intent to travel and actually buying plane tickets, flights went from $667 to $792 round trip. I was able to save $250 by flying from Vancouver B.C. (Bolt Bus to BC is $15 <45) London and on the way over I have an 18 hour layover in Iceland. I'm nervous and excited about the prospect of taking my FIRST EVER solo trip. When I went the Paris when I was 15, my uncle and his girlfriend at the time lived there and showed me around. Here I'm at my own whim and beck and call. My mother decided she wanted to come with me, but our travel styles are very different. I use the hotel to sleep and shower, not hang out. I get up early, walk and taste and see and do until I pass out and then do it again the next day. She sleeps in, we go out for a bit, come back in the afternoon to refresh and rest, then go out for a bit more sightseeing, then come back in after dinner. My mother and I went to Normandy and Paris April 2015. It was a great trip, but it was a river cruise on the Seine and I felt trapped on the boat. When we finally got to be on our own in Paris, I felt held back. She doesn't walk at a fast pace and worries about every little thing. She's not good on cobbles or stairs and I'm against wheeled luggage. She says she wants to go to see England, but I know the underlying reason is to protect me. Even my grandparents, who's travel style IS more akin to mine (based on our Australia trip April 2009 and the fact they have traveled and hiked all over the world) decided they DID want to go, but I declined them. Australia was 7 years ago, they are in their younger 80's and this isn't a tour. This is trains and walking and figuring out our own way and I know they also just want to protect me. Plus, if they went, my grandfather would pay for everything, which is nice, but I'm 33 years old and need to do this for my own self discovery. I'm trying to save money, but it's hard with medical bills and car payments and the looming thought of having to pay bills and rent without the other person (not getting into it). So, with those things in mind, I've reached out to different English cider makers and have been developing an itinerary based around when they can see me and other festivals and things I want to do. The map above shows the regions where I'll be focusing my time, with London at the very end (and where most of the touristy and expensive things are). I'll be taking the train in between locations, staying in hostels and try to eat inexpensively. I'm hoping my Doc's while be broken in fully. I'm already thinking of my packing list. I know it will be cold and wet. My trip is October 5-25. I return in time for my 34th birthday, but whether or not I have any sort of celebration is up to my friends. I'll most likely be throwing myself right into work. But ALL THIS ASIDE, I hope to get back to long hand blogging about life, though not just stream of consciousness writing like I used to do.


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