February 17, 2014

I haven’t posted in two weeks because I’ve been sick.

Checking in only to say I had an epiphany today: I’m done with the single life. I’m ready to be married. Or at least a singular person. The next step, I think, is to move out on my own. This won’t happen until I graduate, but that gives me a year to figure it out.

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the end of the rope

*sigh*

I’m a bit at the end of my rope here. I’ve been struggling financially since coming to Portland. My financial aid only covers about half of my tuition and housing, not to mention food and other necessities. I’ve been petitioning for cancellation of my housing contract based on financial need, but for some reason they’re not granting it. They’re saying I haven’t provided sufficient evidence and I don’t know what else to provide. I’ve showed that I don’t have the money to pay for tuition and housing, so I don’t know how they think I’m going to be paying for housing.

They’ve offered to let me transfer to either Ondine (which is only $500 less per term and has shared bathrooms and kitchens) or Montgomery (which is affordable, but again has shared bathrooms and kitchens, no cable, and is only 150 sq ft.) I have everything in my life with me, including furniture. Both buildings are furnished units, so there’s the additional concern of where to put everything. And while having cable might seem not necessary, I’ve been doing some freelance work writing about tv, and not having DVR has been problem enough, but not having cable at all would make the work very difficult.

I’ve thought about taking a quarter off, forcing them to cancel my housing contract, and just go to the community college and move out into an apartment as I’d originally planned when filing the petition. Ultimately, that might be my best bet, but then I’d lose my awesome health insurance from PSU and I just joined the Student Programming Board, which I had to interview for and everything, so I’d hate to have to quit already and then possibly not be able to join up again when I come back to PSU.

Mostly I’m just hoping to get through these next two quarters. Next year I’ll have a better chance at various financial aid opportunities than I had this year since I decided to go to PSU so late. And hopefully I can qualify for in-state tuition starting Winter 2013. Also, there’s a Peer Mentor Program here that I’m going to apply to. They pay up to 12 credits in-state tuition (out of state students pay the difference) and a stipend.

One other huge roadblock has been the inability to get a job. So mostly I’ve been focusing on getting occasional babysitting jobs. I found a family who pays really well and needs me 1-3 times per month. It’s nothing substantial, but just about enough to keep me in food (especially with my parents sending me money every week.)

I applied for a document scanning job, but I haven’t heard back from them. If they haven’t called by Monday afternoon, I’m going to call and see if they’re still hiring. They said they want to hire ASAP, and I have 5 years document scanning experience and I applied within a few hours of the job being posted so I don’t really know why they wouldn’t at least call for an interview. It’s been a week, so I’m a little worried. If I get this job, though, it’ll help a lot. It’s a full-time job, but I’m only going to school part-time for the next year or so, so I have the time.

The worst part of all of this is I’m so down and stressed out about everything that I’m barely inspired to do anything, let alone write. I’d love to finish something that I can publish digitally and try to make some money off, even if it’s only $10. Every little bit helps right now. The ironic thing is I have plenty of time to write since I’m only going to school part-time and I’m not working, but I’m just not inspired at all most of the time.

Despite all this, I still love Portland. PSU is a great school and I love my classes. It’s just so frustrating to have had every door opened to get here and then have everything slam shut as soon as I got here.

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I suppose I’ll most likely just stay where I am and hope everything works out. Plan as well as I can, keep looking for a job, but in the end my parents might just have to co-sign a loan to pay for Spring quarter. They can’t co-sign until then and I don’t really want to take more loan money out, but the hope is that I won’t have to take any more loans out after this school year.

 

One good piece of news, though: I signed and sent in my contract to have my short story published. So hopefully I’ll have news about when that will be coming out pretty soon.

Other good news: I’ve found a great church here and a great group of girls that are awesome and amazing. We meet once a week for a bit of a bible study/support meeting. Unfortunately, we haven’t been meeting for the past few weeks and obviously won’t be meeting next week because of Thanksgiving (we meet on Thursdays usually.)

So that’s more or less the update since the last update. If you all could just pray that everything works out somehow (specifically on the job front), that’d be so awesome.

Making (a little) Money

I’ve been struggling to find a job since I arrived in Portland. Ironically enough, it seems that right now writing is my best bet at making any amount of money.

 

I applied to be an Examiner for http://www.examiner.com, and while the money-making is slow-going and very traffic-based, it’s still got a lot of potential in it. I was asked to be a Sci-Fi TV Examiner, so I’m not sure how many of you would actually be interested in reading anything I write there, but if at the very least you can go to the site regularly, it would be much appreciated. In fact, you can even subscribe to the page and receive alerts each time I post a new article. And anything any of you can do to spread the word would be much appreciated. There’s a social media toolbar on the left of each article where you can “Like” it or “Tweet” it, etc.

 

My Examiner Page

 

Also, I’m hoping to complete a novel for NaNoWriMo in November and sell it as an ebook.

 

Other than that, I’m mostly just checking craigslist and Career Connect every day, applying to any job that fits with my schedule and qualifications, and keeping an eye out. My aunt and her husband have been amazing, surprising me with things like a lamp, salt and pepper shakers, a clothes organizer, and most recently, a microwave! They’re incredibly generous and having these things is like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders.

 

I still have tuition to worry about and I’m still calling my parents every week asking for money for groceries, but I’ve been praying and asking God to work everything out, so I’m trying to just be patient and have faith. It felt as if all the doors were being opened to get me here, so I just have to have faith that I’m here for a reason and that God will provide (even if it does feel as if all the doors are being slammed shut for some reason, now that I’m here.)

 

Now to somehow block everything else out and focus on writing this novel…

 

Looking Up (Seriously)

So I went to the financial aid office this morning and now I feel much better.

 

The woman helping me said that I can actually borrow from next term to pay for this term. Basically, all the money the government gave me for school was spread out equally amongst the three terms, but if I want to I can use next term’s money for this term.

 

Now, you may be wondering how I expect to pay for next term then. Well, she also pointed out that after my 8 credits this quarter I’m 1 credit short of being a Junior. And the government gives $2,000 extra to Juniors. So if I add a class this quarter and borrow from next quarter, the out-of-pocket money will be much more manageable. Then next quarter I can take 8 credits at PSU and 4 credits at the community college plus get $2,000 extra for being a Junior. That brings the out-of-pocket cost down and if we then also decide to borrow from the next quarter, it brings it way down, but that also means the Spring quarter will be way more. But this way we have more time to save up money and find other options.

 

So, whew. Looks like I’m good for now. Now I’ve just gotta find a class that will let me in and get in it. Since we have 10-week terms I’ve already missed 10% of the class, so some professors don’t like to let people in. So here’s hoping!

Looking Up

Wow, it’s been awhile.

 

I moved into my dorm almost 2 weeks ago and it’s been great so far. I love being in Portland. There’s always something to do, the public transportation system is amazing, and the people are so nice!

 

(I’ve posted some pics of campus, my building, and my dorm room below.)

 

One thing I’ve realized is that while on paper paying for school might seem doable, in reality it’s a lot more difficult. I thought I could get an additional school loan, but no one will give one to me with a co-signer and my parents aren’t terribly thrilled about the idea, so that’s on the back burner for now.

 

Because of the insane expense of out-of-state tuition I’ve had to drop 2 classes, which backfired a little bit because then the government decided to give me less money, but it’s still less out-of-pocket cost overall. So I’ve cut down to my Popular Culture class on Tuesday in the middle of the day and my Poetry class Wednesday nights. Needless to say, I have plenty of downtime. Which I am definitely loving and it’s also a really good selling point whenever I apply for a job. Not that I’ve gotten any interviews. I’ve been applying to lots of different jobs; campus cafeteria, housing office, tutoring, bookstores, programming director, and part-time event manager. I’m particularly hoping for the tutoring position (which pays $22-42/hr!), programming director, and part-time event manager. The bookstore position would also be awesome, but I’ve heard it’s next to impossible to actually get the job. I guess they rarely hire and are even laying people off. Not sure why they advertised for positions, then.

 

Tonight I went to an info session for the RHA (Residence Hall Association) executive board. I think I have a fairly good chance at getting a position on the board, each of which includes a monthly stipend. They said it ranges from $100-800 and didn’t specify which positions are paid what, but I’m going for NCC (communications), which I’m fairly certain is a higher paid position because of the importance they stressed on it, and the programmer (I can apply for more than one, but then I’ll only get one). I’m optimistic about this job because it seemed like there were only a few of us who were really active and interested and had experience in this area. Plus, the upside is they’re looking to interview within the week and hire Friday afternoon with training on Saturday, so there won’t be a lot of sitting around waiting to hear back wondering if I got the job.

 

A lot of the jobs I’m applying for are very part-time (like 5-15 hours/wk), so I’m hoping to get 2-3 lined up and start getting money in. Because, let me tell you, it’s very nerve-wracking having no idea when you’ll be getting more money. At least when I lived on my own in Tucson I could just go to my parents’ house to eat if I didn’t have enough money for food. Today I spent pretty much my last dollars on some more food, so I’m hoping to get some money coming in soon. Not to mention all the non-life-sustaining items I need. Ink for my printer, course packet for class, a lamp (I’m sitting here with only the kitchen light and my laptop keeping me from total darkness), a microwave, a broom and/or vacuum, hand towels, a dresser, hardware for my bookshelves, 1-2 chairs, hand towels, a can opener, measuring cups, measuring spoons, salt & pepper, and so many more little things. It’s expensive moving out for good. My last place was furnished, so it was a lot easier (and cheaper).

 

If that list reads like a plea, please don’t take it that way. Just wanted to paint a picture for how much I really need a job. I’ve really been carefully determining what I need verses what would just make things easier. Like it would be nice to have salt and pepper for my eggs in the morning, but it’s not necessary.

 

On top of all that, I still don’t have the futon frame, just the mattress because the frame didn’t fit in my aunt’s car. So I have to wait until driver’s license gets here (ugh, that’s a story too), get my zipcar card (already paid for, thank God), then get enough money to actually rent a zipcar truck to move the frame. As you might notice in the pictures below, my TV is on a bin in the middle of the floor because my bed is too low (also being on the floor) for me to be able to clearly see the picture on the TV if it’s on top of my shelves.

 

In spite of all that drama, Portland is still amazing and I love my classes! I feel right at home and am really looking forward to everything I’m going to learn here!

 

Also, if you haven’t heard yet, I just found out a couple of days ago that I’m getting published! In a book! About 4 or 5 months ago I submitted my short story to a contest a small publishing company was holding and I just found out that mine was one of the stories chosen. All the money goes to charity, but it’s still a great thing to be able to tell people when trying to get published later. Also, it’s a good first step with that particular publishing company. As soon as I have more information, I’ll make sure everyone knows.

 

And yeah, in the middle of typing this up I called my mom because that list was really freaking me out and she’s gonna transfer some money over and it’s looking like paying for the remainder of my schooling this quarter isn’t going to be a huge deal either. Although I think I heard her utter the words Soup Kitchen, so I’m a bit worried about how apt she’ll be to send me more spending money if I don’t get a job right away. I guess they put in an offer for a house today and though it may seem like that might make helping me out financially more difficult for them, it’s actually going to be easier. The house is at such a great price that they’ll be saving $650 a month on their monthly payments! (right now they’re renting)

 

So yeah, if everyone could just pray that everything works out, especially financially, that’d be great. I’m really trusting in God right now, doing what I can, but it’s nerve wracking all the same. I do believe that He will provide, and every day I receive more and more signs that this is where I’m supposed to be right now, so it’s really just a matter of continuing down the path and trusting that everything will work out fine.

 

Prayer that I’ll get at least one job and that I make friends (I’ve already met a few people and spent some time hanging out with them a few times) and prayer that I find the right church and ministry here in Portland.

 

Also, I recently found out that my grandmother (my dad’s mom) has a tumor and she’s going into surgery tomorrow morning (9am I think) to get it out, so prayer for that would be appreciated as well.

 

Well, that’s about it for now. Oh, except also, I have an assignment for Popular Culture that I’d love everyone’s help on. We’re supposed to gather information on what Popular Culture is, including asking people what comes to mind when they hear the term. So if anyone reading this can send me their ideas via comment, twitter, facebook message or wall post, text, email, whatever, that’d be great. It can be anything. Definitions, essays, interesting articles you’ve found, terms, people, things, whatever comes to mind when you hear the term Popular Culture.

 

I’ll keep updating as much as I can. Don’t hesitate to comment! (A lot of you promised you comment if I wrote, so get to it! :P)

 

  Neubreger Hall, Shattuck Hall South Park Blocks, My Dorm Building

  Entryway, To the Left

  To the Right, Bathroom

 Kitchen

 Living Space

 

Nevermind, my parents just called back and said it’s not looking good for me to stay at school past this quarter. I might have to wait until I can get resident tuition. This whole part of the move just sucks all around.

Assurances

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth…

 

It has been a crazy two weeks, to say the least. Every time I’ve sat down to write (either in this blog or for a story) I’ve been overcme by exhaustion, which isn’t surprising.

 

See, technically this job is 8:30-5:00 with a 30-60 minute lunch break. That’s only about 7 hours per day, which isn’t bad at all. However, we have Chapel at 7:30, breakfast at 8:00. Then “Staff Up” (a daily staff meeting) at 5:00 and dinner at 5:30. You’re lucky if you get back to Red Barn (the dormitory two miles down the road where much of the summer staff lives) by 6:00. Thursdays are even harder and longer as we invite parents to attent the Parent Program followed by a BBQ, campire, and sleepover in the big tent. Thankfully, I only have to stay through the BBQ, but I still don’t get back to Red Barn until about 8:00. I get to go in to work late on Thursdays, but it’s still a long day (about 10-11 hours.)

 

On top of all this I’m still trying to keep up with all my other projects, which is a careful balancing act and involves a lot of calendars, to-do lists, and reminder alarms.

 

It’s beautiful up here, though, and the hottest days don’t even reach 80 degrees, for which I’m forever grateful. I’ve gotten a lot of exercise walking around camp and overall I feel a lot better. I tend to get anxious around Wednesday, but once I start focusing and working hard on our craziest day, Thursday, I get through it and Friday’s a breeze.

 

My weekends have been spent at the house of my mother’s childhood friend, Miriam. She and her family have been a huge blessing to us. I have an open invitation to her house, even on holidays, and she and her husband have so much of the Spirit in their heart, mind, and life.

 

Something I’ve often struggled with in my relationship with my mother has been a lack of spiritual guidance. Whether I’m correct in feeling this or not, I’ve never felt as if my mother has been one to model myself after spiritually, which makes it difficult to maintain a certain level of respect for her. In fact, I’ve often felt as if I’m more spiritually mature than she, but something like that is so impossible to accurately measure, especially in an unbiased way when you’re the one being measured.

 

Anyway, I’ve been seeing the effect Miriam and her family have had on my mother. I think they have the life and relationship my mother always wanted our family to have, but she always wanted to take the short cut. Instead of working from the inside out, she tried to work from the outside in.

 

I’m learning a lot from Miriam as well. One thing we talked about extensively last night was that we can’t ever rely on fellow humans to fulfill us spiritually. We have to rely on God for that. So my struggle to make my mother understand me and act accordingly is fruitless. Instead I need to ask God to help me process the situations better. Help me to not make things worse or be hurt so deeply. It’s going to be a struggle but I’m looking forward to how God will work within me this way.

 

It’s beautiful here at Miriam’s. She has five acres of green land, much of it landscaped with little niches of seating spread out amongst her yard. She has such a peaceful, organized home that it makes me even more impatient for the time I’ll finally be able to settle into my dorm, unpack my things, and relax. Four more weeks of camp and 7 weeks until dorm move-in.

 

Even though I’m anxious to be settled and for my time to be my own, I’m having a great time at Berachah. My job is so much fun and fairly easy (mostly because it’s fun for me.) I’ve met some great friends, one of which is from Portland and goes to school just ouside of the city, so I now have another friend for when I finally settle in.

 

Some other great news about Portland is that Mars Hill is in the midst of opening a new campus there. We attended Mars Hill Seattle last Sunday and it was just fantastic. I’m hoping to be involved in the early stages of this new campus.

 

I’m so grateful that so many things are just falling into place with this move. It’s just more assurance that this was the right move at the right time.

 

There are two kinds of people; those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”

Equilibrium

I am probably exaggerating a little, but I owe my equilibrium to ink and paper.

I am finally finding a bit of equilibrium here in Portland. After 4 days of extensive traveling, it took awhile to balance out. I fell behind on a number of projects, but have slowly started catching up. I have a lot of work to do today still, but once I’m finished I plan on rewarding myself with a trip to Powell’s. Ink and paper. The ultimate source of equilibrium.

Let’s see…what have I done in the last few days? Oh, yes. On Wednesday we drove up and down the Columbia River, stopping in Hood River (unfortunately I have no photos of this, but the town is adorable), and ending the day visiting the Multnomah Falls. The last one we visited was a bit of a hike and since we hadn’t brought water I had some difficulty towards the end, but at least I got a good work out.

        

        

        

        

We also visited the Lavender Farms, which were beautiful. Perfect place to get married.

        

        

        

        

The weather has been perfect. Basically the best of Tucson’s winter weather. I’d gotten used to having to peel off my clothes at the end of the day, sweat-drenched, especially in the summer, so it’s a bit of a change to say the least.

Yesterday (Thursday) I attended my PSU orientation. It was a lot of fun and it’s a great campus. I registered for classes and can’t wait to start in 2 months. This quarter I’m taking Intro to Poetry, English Lit, Italian 101, and Popular Culture Inquiry. Inquiries and Cluster/Capstones are PSU’s way of earning gen eds. It’s actually pretty interesting. You choose three of fourteen areas in which to take an overview (inquiry) class in and then from there decide which of the three to do your Junior and Senior Capstone classes in. There’s a cluster of classes per inquiry, and you choose three classes for your Junior Capstone and then complete a 6-credit Senior Capstone to be done off campus through a pre-arranged sort of internship.

I was also thrilled to find out that I had read my transfer evaluation report incorrectly and I don’t have to take any more math or science classes. Which means that every single one of the classes I’ll be taking are in areas that I’m actually interested in.

I also saw the show room of what my dorm room will look like and I’m really glad I got my third choice. It’s a great building with lots of upgrades. Plus–free cable!

After seeing my dorm room I met Colleen, Kristen W’s friend, in the South Park Blocks (the quad, for all intents and purposes) and we got along great. I’m glad to know someone who’s gone through a similar change (she grew up in Phoenix and moved to Portland about 2 years ago.)

After getting back to the house yesterday I finally got around to catching up on some projects I’d fallen behind on, but I’m not nearly done. So today is all about catching up completely. And then hopefully my Powell’s reward.

Tomorrow is the financial aid orientation, then HARRY POTTER!, then Sunday I leave for my 6-week job at Camp Berachah. Very excited about that, but I really just can’t wait to move in to the dorms and get settled and start classes. But I suppose I’ll just have to be patient. *sigh*

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.