Monday, May 5, 2008

Life turned upside down!

OK... where do I begin?

It seems like forever ago now, but I think it was actually only a week or two ago that CF and I were chatting online for a minute while he was at work and he said he had a random question for me. He wanted to know what I would say if we had the possibility of spending a year in Zurich for work. Without much thought at all I answered I was interested. And life went on, I tried not to think about it, there was so many other things that would have to get approved before CF would get this assignment. It probably wouldn't happen. A couple of years ago there was the possibility of joining the Dublin team for one year. Which turned out badly for the people who did go, so we've never regretted not doing that. Not too long ago six-months in Australia was brought up. CF turned that down for a number of reasons. I had gotten used to these possibilities coming up and mostly just going away.

I asked myself why I had said yes. I liked the idea of making a big change. I felt relieved that I might have a big excuse to leave my current job (I love it yet I knew it was holding me back at this point). I thought maybe I could figure out what I really want in life if "existing circumstances" and outside influences went away for a while. On the phone with the life coach I've worked with a bit in the past month I realized something... I could easily decide what to do with the second half of my year without knowing where I might be spending it. I realized it was time to leave my job. I would spend the summer exploring options and possibilities and start over in the Fall with new direction and purpose. I decided to give notice last Tuesday.

Tuesday morning I woke up early and went to spin. My favorite spin teacher played a mash-up of moody Snow Patrol guitar with Mary J. Blige proclaiming "My life's just fine!" and I started to feel a little overwhelmed with what the day had in store for me. Then said favorite spin teacher casually mentions that he won't be teaching spin anymore after May 15th except one class a week! My jaw was basically on the floor, or at least dragging on the pedals. I come home and on chat Ms. ShoppingsMyCardio tells me she's moving to Portland... next week. Tuesday was trying to knock me down with all the change! I told CF that with the way the day was already going I needed to have a good cry before going to work or else I would cry when I told them I was leaving.

As part of my summer of exploration I had started looking for classes to make sure I was trying new things. I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for, but when I found the introduction to travel writing I knew right away it was a good idea. I've been wondering about the field since I blogged my way through Europe last Fall. I had decided to sign up for the class and then noticed that a letter of interest was required and you have to be accepted to get in. I tried to banish mental pictures of me sitting at home next Fall with no job and no writing class. I hoped I wasn't rushing into anything. First things first, apply for the class and see what happens. As I worked on writing my application letter CF called me. I wondered what was up, he doesn't usually call me from work. "Whatcha doing?" "Writing my letter of interest for that class I want to take." "Oh, I was just in a long, long meeting." "Oh yeah? Ummm, great dear." "I'm happy to report, we're going to Zurich."

Oh. My. God.

What are the chances that the news would come on the very day that I was already planning to give notice? How funny that this would happen as I applied for the travel writing class? How much change could happen in one 24 hour period? My goodness. So, let's just say that the good cry was well taken care of before I left for work. At that point there was no denying the need to mourn the sudden death of life as I knew it. I finished my application to the class, pulled myself together as much as possible, and hit the road. As I crossed the street to my shop I felt like my legs were going to fall out from under me. The construction wall around the space two doors down from us is emblazoned with inspirational sayings, it shouted at me: "DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW." OK! I'm going in there to quit right now, you don't need to yell! The moment I walked in the door my manager knew something was up. I was in this nervous state, half laughing hysterically and half wanting to pass out or throw up. I asked if she'd come talk to me in her office and she had figured out I was leaving before we even got there. "Oh nooooo!" I heard behind me, just as I had imagined I would. But having the Zurich plan be a reality gave me a solid reason, one that she could really accept and she went straight into being excited for me. She told me a story about her husband being asked to relocate to Paris in less than a month, their kids were young and she didn't speak French, she panicked and he turned down the opportunity. She said they've regretted it ever since. I started to feel a bit less numb as I took the lesson learned to heart, if I don't do this I'd regret it forever!

Poor KM had been left to manage the store while we went and talked. She asked me what was up and I told her I shouldn't talk to her about it on the sales floor. We waited for a lull and I said, "You want to go talk?" And she said, "Yeah, because I think I'm going to throw up if we don't." She had basically figured it out too. Telling KM was a bit more bittersweet because we'll miss each other like crazy. Funny thing is, now that I won't be working for the store in June I can go to her wedding. And we probably stand a better chance of both being available to socialize with one of us not working at the same store. There are 12 working hours of 6 days a week and just a few hours less on the 7th. It's always been hard to do anything together outside of the work place.

Telling people the big news went on from there. It's still not over. Some of you might be hearing the news for the first time in reading this. The one thing that scares me terribly about what this year will be like is missing my friends and family. So please, please, please, send me emails and/or blog comments. I want to see everyone before we go (probably August or September) and I want to hear from you as much as possible. And also... please let me know if travel plans will bring you to Europe. I am counting on visitors! I will continue to work in San Jose till the end of May, and then I'm going to spend the summer taking some classes, remodeling the destroyed bathroom, and spending time with all the people I will miss so much while we're away. After we go I don't think I will find employment there so I need ideas and advice as I build a list of projects and goals to keep me busy. Who knows, maybe I will find some success in freelancing as a travel writer or photographer. I've been practicing for a long time now, as anyone reading this blog would know.

There's so much more I could write about what's going on in my head right now. But I don't want to scare you. Let's just leave it at this for now: Wow, it's going to be amazing!


space-monkey said...

WOW - that is sooooo cool! I would love to be assigned over seas for a year. Your life is so exciting - just imagine all of the experiences and opportunities and people you will meet! Face this new challenge head on - you will enjoy it! ps - I love your writing and your photography skills make me drool.

Kendra said...

OMG OMG OMFFFFFG! I am so excited for you guys! What exciting changes! Would love to catch up in person one of these days. I'm working (no, really!) in SF at the moment but will be working from home starting in a few weeks. Let's plan a hill walk or lunch or something!

OMG OMG OMFG OMG! :) :) :)

Alison said...

OMG - I can't believe it! This is so amazing and awesome Melissa! Congrats to you and Dan!!

Meagan said...

I had been watching the Sound of Music right before I saw this post, and so the line "whenever God closes a door, he opens a window" popped into my head.

If I could put into words how jealous I am right now, I would. You will have a fantastic time--your friendliness and openness will allow you to make friends easily, and getting away from "real life" for a year might focus you on what you want your next step to be.

Mazel tov to you both! It sounds like just the kind of adventure you need to shake things up a bit.

jess said...

Why didn't you tell me you had a blog?!! Such exciting stuff lately! We have to hang out this summer before you leave!