These past few weeks have been intense and the reason why I missed a blog post but now I want to reflect on these crazy two week. On July 14th we took a leap of faith, packed up a truck, and moved 336 miles north to Merced, CA. We had two days to get moved into our new house before I started work as the new Assistant Director of Student Life at UC Merced. Additionally, Virginia was going back down to finish working a UCR so I was left on my own with the dog and without a car. Thus began my adventure in many different ways.
I had not riden a bike since I was 24 but I bought my first road bike and went from 0 miles per week to 50+. The house we are renting is 3.6 miles from campus so round trip is over 7 miles each day. I was prepared for the workout but not for some of the issues that would come along with it.
I wasn’t prepared to ride in slacks each way. The end result of wearing pants were two crashes one messing up my front wheel and I think my bag gear shift (Going to get this checked out soon). Luckily, in order to stave of smelling bad at work, I don’t wear my work shirt, I keep it in my bag until I arrive. Additionally I keep a small towel and a bar of deodorant in my office so even with crashing I didn’t look horrible all day. I also didn’t properly treat my wounds so of course I got two infections which landed me in urgent care for antibiotics. Thank god people are nice at work and helped me get my bike fixed no questions asked.
What I was able to do was rearrange my office so I can bring my bike right inside. This was great because it saved me time since I did not have to lock it up anymore and I could leave my heavy lock at home. I also wouldn’t be worried that my bike would disappear somehow during the day.
The hardest part were errands and deliveries. In order to get things set up I had to ride all around town to Best Buy, Lowes, Target, Post Office, and more. This sometimes added 10 miles at night which made the next morning a little harder. Also, some of the places I needed to go closed at 6pm so I had to swing home, walk the dog, change, and go right back out. It was also very interesting to go grocery shopping with only one backpack. It really makes you think critically about what you really need.
Renting a Home
We decided that we had enough of apartments so we luckily found a great 1850sqf house with a fenced in backyard. The problem was this meant that we had to furnish the entire house all in one shot because we own nothing. This came along with many deliveries, lots of building, and garbage, so much garbage. Some of these deliveries were wrong and now we have to wait for the correct replacements and some were just a complete mess.
Our dryer didn’t work the first time they delivered but since they did not bring a voltmeter the delivery crew assumed it was the dryer and took it away. Since the next delivery day was August 13th, we decided to go get one and hook it up ourselves. Now, I thought that it just plugged in but no, you have to install a four pronged outlet. Turns out I had no idea what I was doing and dropped a screw inside the drier. Thankfully the Associate Director of my office and her husband are super friendly and volunteered to help me. With all of our heads together and two, eight mile bike rides to Lowes we were able to get it hooked up, only to discover that it was the outlet that was broken, not the dryer. Argh!
Adding to the dryer issue there were so many little and larger issues with our house. From cleaning, to power, to hot water, I ended up sending our landlord a huge list of “Fix me now”. Thankfully they are very responsive and made all the repairs within a few days. Somewhat frustrating that these issues were not addressed prior to moving in but at least they are all fixed and we can settle into our house. Now we just need to wait for the rest of our couches and our correct dining room table.
New Job, New Campus, New People
Most people know that I am a self-assured person but I was really intimidated by this job on day one. I think all the stress, pressure, and change got to me and I was terrified that I wasn’t good enough to be successful. I felt like they wanted the sun, moon, and stars but only got me. It was a really odd and new feeling and not one I like very much. This resulted in me having a complete meltdown on my first night after realizing that I would be all alone the next day and the house was a mess. In the end I just needed to sleep and calm down a lot.
This was all compounded by some complete idiocy in HR back at UCR. For some reason my HR manager in housing didn’t process my transfer so I lost all my vacation, sick, and service credits, was unenrolled in my health care benefits, and my flexible spending card was shut off. I spent days trying to fix the issues and it was just a nightmare. Thankfully I didn’t lose my final UCR paycheck which would have been ridiculous. I wish when people don’t know what to do they ask for help instead of doing nothing, which is what obviously happened here.
As I finished up my second week I began to realize that I can do this and my knowledge and experience will set me up for success. Even when my job expanded in the first three days, it was only more chances to learn, develop, and grow. I will have so many opportunities at UCM to do what I love, develop leaders. I also am working with an energetic and friendly team and though I am sure there will be issues here and there, I am prepared to jump in with both feet. Good thing too because I have three retreats and two conferences to plan and implement before the end of September. Trial by fire!
Change is HARD!!! I never thought how difficult and scary it would be to move off campus for the first time in seven years compounded by a new job in a brand new city. At the end of these crazy two weeks my fear has been replaced with excitement and a more reasonable level of anxiety. I really believe that this was the right move for Virginia, Bella, and I. A great step to move us into the next chapter in our lives. While I will miss the friends I made at UCR, I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for us at UCM!