Life isn’t always easy, but you still gotta fight it

If I were to say to you, “jambo rafikis,” it would translate to “hello friends.” And that’s how I want to greet you all tonight, err morning technically. But still the sun hasn’t risen, so I would still say tonight. Confession: I’ve been slacking a lot these past few months. Not just in life, but writing in general. I haven’t been taking the time to press on and write blogs on a consistent basis…In fact I think the last blog I posted was part of my trip to Puerto Rico…confirmed, yes. My last post was part 3, and I still have one or two more posts to go to finish that story. Ugh!

I’m sooo frustrated at times. With life. So I apologize on the inconvenience of not spreading what I feel I do best: writing. I apologize I’ve been…distant essentially.

I’ve been trying to get things organized at my church     from planning and helping with Sunday School to helping out with the media department. We’ve been doing some cool things, and our New Year’s Resolution is trying to get our kiddos on board with learning their memory verses. Because it’s important to put the word in their hearts. I’ve recently suggested to our Pastor we should start a YouTube page, and trying to get some research into that and organizing it in one document.

Not only am I part of the church life, but I also have my personal job. A job that has been requiring a lot of extra time lately because it’s one of our brief peak seasons. A job that has been a fair amount of the stress I am dealing with. See, another co-worker and I have been trying to get our training program more organized and get other mentors (the people that sit next to newbies as they take calls) on the same page as to keeping our training consistent. It’s been a lot of work. And now I’ve recently taken up the challenge of being a mentor and teaching someone how to handle calls for conventions/groups. I love challenges, they’re part of what makes me grow. I’m loving the opportunity to grow with my company. But I’m also sad as well because of work. I’ve befriended many people throughout my time there. And honestly so many people I’ve grown fond of have since left. After my three closest friends left within a couple of weeks from each other back in May, I branched out to two guys: *Brandon and *Jay. And they both decided to move on within two weeks of each other in December. So I ducked away from everyone. I’m hesitant to grow close to anyone for fear that maybe it’s just me driving these people away.

Of course, I recently lost my dad due to natural causes. And I’ve been really missing him lately. I just had a conversation with my friend *Luke, where I was sharing a story about when my mom, brother and I were cleaning out my dad’s apartment. So my dad had put the toilet cleaner out in the kitchen where he kept a lot of his chemicals, and my mom had to bring her own dish soap to clean the dishes and the kitchen area. Well the next day when she began cleaning the bathroom she found his dish soap…in the bathroom! I laughed telling this story to Luke. He smiled and said it was neat that I could understand my dad and why he sometimes did the things he did. My dad may not have been in my life when I was a kid, but he really allowed me to see how he did care about me later on in life. He was always the kindest and most generous man I’ve known. And I strive to find myself a man with those same qualities.

Some days, I really feel like giving up.
Some days I feel so inadequate to be doing what I’m doing. I don’t feel good enough to be a Sunday School teacher. I feel lousy that I’m not doing as much for God as I probably could be. Should I be planning a missions trip? I’m scared. Yet I’m constantly reminded that I’m still worthy.
I feel like I’m not great at my job. I feel like I actually really suck. Numbers don’t mean anything, yet I still compare myself to everyone else I work with. I’m pushing myself way to hard, and then punishing myself even harder for failing, drawing me to the conclusion that if I just push myself even harder I won’t fail. You get the picture, I’m kinda going in a circle. Yet, even on some of my worst days at work, my boss walks in with a smirk and a joke to tell, or one of my favorite supervisors happens to be working and I’m reminded, again, that it’s going to be a good day.

Honestly, life isn’t always easy, but you still gotta fight it. And that’s what I’m doing. So bear with me, it IS my goal to get back to writing consistently…again. I cannot and will not stop writing, as long as I have the ability to do so.

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It’s not Goodbye

She hugged me and told me, “This isn’t your career. I want to read your book one day.” Shaking and not trying to cry, I whispered, “Okay.” We embraced for a few moments longer, before letting go, and heading towards our cars to go our separate ways.

Peggy is one of my best friends, and the reason why I have the job I have. About a month ago, she told me she was possibly moving to a city almost two hours away, and she wanted to run the thought by me. Instinctively I wanted to tell her no because I didn’t want to lose my best friend at work. After thinking about it for bit, while taking phone calls, I realized it would be best for her to take on this new adventure. I was excited for her and this opportunity. I knew this is exactly what she wanted and needed at this moment in her life.

See a couple months ago, her long term relationship suddenly ended and the happiness that once was an aura around her was now clouded with hurt and frustration. I didn’t want her to suffer from the same pain I took on two years ago. I wanted her to be happy. And when my ex and I decided to go our separate ways, it really helped me personally to be far away from him during that time that my world was shattered and hurt. They say time heals, but I also think distance helps. I didn’t have to worry about that awkwardness if I ran into him at the store, or that disappointment of seeing him on another date at a restaurant.

When Peggy hugged me on our last day at work together, a great pain of sadness hit me. I didn’t want May to end. I didn’t want to go into this summer without her by my side at work, because she was my rock at work. She calmed me when a guest would get me upset. She played mom when I got wound up from drinking energy drinks. She stopped me from quitting when I felt so frustrated with things. I realized I no longer will have those amazing talks after work, discussing whatever happened at work, or laughing at those silly questions we get asked.

As I head into work tomorrow, it probably won’t hit me that she’s officially gone. It probably won’t hit me until Monday, in the middle of my shift, when I’ll probably get a frustrating call, and I’ll look at the empty chair beside me. In the end though, I know we’ll see each other again, and we’ll pick up right where we left, as if time had stopped while we were separated.

It’s never goodbye, Peggy, but always see you later.

Numbers Don’t Define You

“Hey, head to the training room.” I hear my manager say to me and a few others. “This will be interesting,” I think. So I head over to the room. For the next half hour or so we go over some numbers and look at the top three employees. Then we were handed a piece of paper with our stats on them, and…well let’s just say I’m not as high as I wish I could be, and I felt super frustrated. Not with my manager, or my job. But with myself. My chest got heavy. I couldn’t breathe normally, only in short breaths. I had to fight back tears. “Don’t let these numbers discourage you,” I heard my manager say, but it sounded muffled as I slowly began to feel the sinking motion of me being pulled underneath the current of discouragement. I felt frustrated with myself because I knew I could be better and that although I thought I was improving fairly drastically, the numbers showed me I barely was.

I’ve been really hard on myself the past few months on my stats. I’ve really pushed myself to lower the amount of “wrap up” time (this is how much time I spend after I take a phone call doing notes and such). I’ve also really worked on making the length of my call as short as possible, and tried to learn the secrets of the top employees on making more reservations. We all have our good days and bad days. I mostly have good days, but the past week I’ve really been having a difficult time. I’ve recently found out a few of my friends from work (okay the only ones I really hang out with outside of work) are moving on to better places. I’m a little off because of it, not because I’m not happy for them, I am, but because of selfish reasons. I don’t know what I’m going to do now at work or even after work for that matter. I feel like I just want to find my own little cubicle in the corner away from everyone so I can avoid them, but I can’t do that, that’s just silly. In due time, I”m sure I’ll learn how to branch out and make new friends at work.

About a month or so ago, I started “dieting.” And by dieting, I mean I started watching my carb intake. I wanted to cut carbs completely out, but realized maybe I shouldn’t eat as much, ya know just kind of watch what I’m eating. All fine and dandy, and I have a good friend who is actually doing the same thing. When we’ve gone out to eat, if one of us wants to not eat something without carbs (or low carbs) then the other will follow. Which is nice and motivational. We’ve also planned times of walking around after work playing our games. Granted, he’s more motivated than I am to actually work out on top of it (once it gets warmer I’ll start walking more outside…I don’t like gyms). I don’t know how much or if I’ve lost weight, because I’m not doing it for weight, I’m doing it for inches.

Can I just say now, after alllllll that rambling, that numbers do not define who you are. Let me repeat it, because I need constant reassurance and I’m sure many of you do too, NUMBERS DO NOT DEFINE YOU OR YOUR WORTH! Those numbers I was given at work don’t make me a bad employee, they just show that I need to work really hard to improve myself. Which yes, it will be super hard, yes I’ll probably cry…a lot! But everyone has to hit rock bottom before they can swim towards the top. Now I’m not saying I’ll ever be top dog, I know the top three people and they are really good at their job and one of them has been with the company for years. But my goal is to improve, and that’s pretty good.

That number on the scale or the inch around my waist doesn’t define whether I’m a good or bad person. People always associate larger numbers as unhealthy, and smaller numbers as healthy. I know many, many men and women who are deemed “perfect body size” and they are actually quite unhealthy. Like not only underweight unhealthy, but also in what and how they eat. I also know several folks who are “apple shaped” and are actually extremely healthy, in fact I know one woman who is larger and actually does yoga and is very flexible. It’s tiring to hear that one’s health status is defined by the size of their shirt or pants or skirt. It’s tiring to hear and see everywhere in the media that a woman should be the “perfect” size with their size zero and 32C cup.

NUMBERS DON’T DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. So don’t be discouraged by that number on the scale. Be encouraged by who you want to be      no matter what size. Don’t be like me and get easily discouraged when you’re given stats on how “well you are performing your job,” but be encouraged that you for one have a job, and two that you’re growing at your own pace. Goodnesss, sometimes I feel so hypocritical because it’s easier for me to encourage others and tear myself down in the process. In the end, none of us are perfect. So why not be imperfectly perfect?

Something Old, Something New

It was spring of 2014 when I sat at a McDonald’s table. My laptop buzzing loudly, my fries on my tray with a half eaten McChicken, I stared hard at my laptop screen with my word document of a paper that was barely started. It was a research paper I was writing, something that wasn’t uncommon for me as a college English Major. I remember the time so vividly because when I first walked in with my backpack slung on my right shoulder I noticed an elderly couple sitting at a table immediately to my left. They were drinking coffee and talking to each other like best friends. No one else was sitting inside, but drive-thru buzzed with car upon car. “I need another Big Mac for that order.” I could hear the manager shout to the kitchen as he was preparing the bag of food for the car at the window. I slowly approached the counter where the girl smiled and asked me what I wanted. I gave her my order and then nestled myself into a booth by an outlet. Pulling out my laptop and my notebook that had sloppily written notes on several pages. My laptop groaned as I turned it on. My order number was called and I grabbed my food. Then I set out to work.

I was about a half hour into writing my paper when I heard the elderly man go up and ask for more coffee (I was fairly close to the counter as that’s where the booths were, kiddie-corner from the ordering counter). His wife stood nearby not to far from my booth, and when the husband walked back to her he gave her her cup and they proceeded to go out the second door (one would have to walk past my booth to go out this door). I was watching them as they were shuffling their way out, and the husband looked at my laptop and to me and smiled. I smiled back.
“So you working on school work?”
“Yes sir. I’m working on a research paper for a class.”
“Ah. Wow, you must be a hardworker.”
I was curious as to how he could make that conclusion by only seeing me working on my laptop. “Well, my mom and dad tell me hard work will pay off in the end.”
“Where do you go to school?”
“At UW-Green Bay.”
“Ahh, okay. I know a professor there. His name is ___” (I can’t remember the name as it wasn’t a professor I was familiar with)
“Oh, I’ve never had them as a professor. I study English.”
By this point him and his wife had maneuvered their way to my table.
“Do you want to become a teacher.”
“No actually. I like editing and writing, so I’d do something with that.”
“Well that’s not a bad thing either. We always need writers.” And that old man smiled at me. Then without hesitation him and his wife sit down. Right there at my booth, as if I had invited them there like we were old friends. I wasn’t annoyed or scared, just kind of taken back by their willingness to want to sit down with a young person and have a conversation. Like it’s something they always do. Like there wasn’t a fifty or sixty age gap between us. For the next hour and a half we talked about many things. Science. Marriage. Food. Coffee. Politics. Religion. Cities of Wisconsin. It turns out the old man is from a city that’s probably half hour away from my house, the old woman is from Green Bay. In that short time span I learned a lot about them, and they learned quite a bit about me. I didn’t even care that it took into my writing time because it felt nice to just be able to connect with a generation outside of my own.

That story crossed my mind yesterday as I sat in a McDonald’s drinking my coffee trying to figure out some tax information. I procrastinated hard core this year in getting them done earlier (surprise…not like I don’t procrastinate everything). I was just getting the software downloaded when this old man was taking off his jacket at the table in front of me. He was alone. I smiled at him as he looked at me and he noticed my baggy grey sweatshirt I was wearing.
“Green Bay huh. You a fan of Green Bay.”
“No. I just went to school there.”
“Ah, where did you go to school?”
“Uw-Green Bay.”
He then started telling me about this famous and great coach that went there–Tony Bennett. Now I don’t know exactly who that is, except that I would pass by his picture on our “Wall of fame” in MAC hallway. I knew of him. This man pulled out his smart phone and spoke into it, “Tony Bennett” so he could show me all about him. Yes, a smart phone. It was an interesting site. After talking to me about sports for some time, he introduced himself as Larry*. Turns out, this gentlemen worked at the same place as my dad does now and actually lives next door to my dad.
“Small world” I say.
And for another three hours this gentleman and I talked about a multitude of things. I learned his granddaughter committed suicide last year. I learned his ex-wife was a drinker (which is why he divorced her) and that she drank herself to death. I also learned he was an avid antics seller on eBay. At one point he thought he asked me if he was boring me to death. I told him no, but I would have to leave for work soon. He asked me where I worked and if I liked it. In the end, before we departed, he told me to stop over anytime, he loves company.

It so interesting how a simple smile can turn into a three hour conversation. The simple things in life sometimes have a way of being more important than they’re given credit for. A smile towards a stranger. A hug for a coworker. A “Hi” in passing. It all adds up to something more meaningful. It’s so cliche to say it, but it’s so true. In the end, yeah sure I might have to prep my time a bit more precariously to get stuff done, but in the end I could have made that old man’s day. And quite frankly he made mine.

So even if you feel like your insignificant (I often times feel like I am), just remember you aren’t. A coworker might have wanted to commit suicide but because you went out of your way to message them “Hey. Can’t wait to work with you today!” could really can brighten their day.

Remember to smile and carry your head up high. Because you are a rockastar. #bless

Stressed BUT Blessed

It’s week 3 of me working the closing shift. It’s day 86 of it being stressfully busy at work. And it’s probably like day 50 for me feeling that constant head throbbing pain of call upon call upon call without that short break to just breathe. And let me tell you, some days it’s so overwhelming I have to take a “bathroom” break so I don’t get to the point of crying.

The other day, or more like a week ago, I bought some Hotpockets for my break at work. But it was so busy at work and some miscommunication, that I didn’t get a break. Which is fine, I was feeling pretty energized that I didn’t even realize how fast my shift passed by. Midnight hit and I’m like “Whoa, I’m done. Cool.” That night I spent the night at a friend’s house, and I left my Hotpockets at work because, surprise, I was working a long shift the next day. The following day I arrived a few hours before my start time and stayed a few hours after my shift was supposed to end. And of course, no break again (but I was doing some important tasks that I had to get done). At the end of my shift, I was excited to be able to go eat my Hotpockets on my way home from work, and to my dismay I had discovered that in a span of 24 hours someone had stolen them. I wasn’t mad, but rather annoyed because I was hungry and tired. I left a pleasant note asking for whomever stole them or ‘mistakenly’ took them to please replace them. So on top of working overtime every single week, I’ve gone several days of only taking a 15 minute break (enough to eat and use the restroom) to not taking any breaks at all because we’re simply too busy to having mini anxiety attacks at work because I’m overwhelmed.

I have to say that whole story, for the next part to make sense. Today I clocked in an hour early because it was swamped with calls. At one point, my manager Jason* came over to tell me to come talk to him. Thinking I was in trouble or was about to receive a coaching on something I did wrong, I glumly replied, “Oh no. Did I do something wrong?”
He responds in his typical way, “Haha yes. Very much so…no when do you ever get in trouble? Are you causing stress for my other employees? Are you causing the business to lose money? Are you purposely doing something wrong?”
“Well…no not on purpose…although I probably cause Don* a lot of stress. Haha.”
He smiles, “I just wanted to let you know you have Hotpockets over in the freezer by the supervisor desk.”
“What?! Really? Neato.” And he pulls me up to go show me two boxes of Hotpockets, the exact same kind I had lost, “Wow. I only bought two Hotpockets not two boxes. Wait…did you buy those?”
He smiles his casual smile and replies, “No…they magically appeared there.”
“Jasonnnn….why would you buy them? You really didn’t have to do that.”
He shrugs his shoulders and walks back to his desk.
I was sooo shocked, that he took the time to not only listen to me when I was telling him the issue and he remembered the exact kind I bought, but he took initiative to replace them for me. I mean he didn’t say he did, I just assume he did. I wasn’t even going to care about having him look at the cameras, but my closing supervisor said that theft of any sort shouldn’t be tolerated, so I asked Jason* to look at the cameras.

See, the cool thing about my job is, I’ve had to talk to Jason* about taking off days and instead of “Yeah, I’ll see what I can do” the response is “Okay. I’ll give you whatever days you want off. Just request them off.” I’m consistently thrown off by that thinking there’s some sort of catch or that he’s just being his jokester self, but he’s always serious.

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Notice how I wrote my name on the box…
If you would have asked me nine months ago how my job was going, I would have probably responded the same as I do now “stressful and tiring and mentally draining.” But nine months ago, I would have also added on “I don’t know how long I’ll last in this place.” Now, I can agree that it is a stressful job. It’s not for everyone. It literally isn’t. I’ve seen so many people come and go in the short time I’ve been there. But now I can add, I actually enjoy coming to work. Not because the job itself is the greatest, but because I have so much support from my supervisors, and so many people that I can reach out to and get to know. Nine months ago, I cried probably every other day because I would get so overwhelmed. Now, I cry only every couple of weeks (it’s the biggest joke in the office to put up a sign that reads “It’s been X days since Angel has cried”).
Oh sure, I work at a job I could have easily gotten out of high school, instead of going to college for 4 years and getting myself stuck in a debt hole. And who knows, maybe my degree will come into play at one point or another. I work at a job that the rates of stress is higher in comparison to others (the job itself is easy, but dealing with the public is another matter on its own level). Despite the stress I get at work, I’m so blessed by that place.

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Dream Beaver

Today, over fifty years later, Martin Luther King Jr’s famous 1963 words can still be belted out, “I have a dream…” One may state them in a fashioned way to go hand-in-hand with something that they may want to see changed, or perhaps they are singing them because they admire the way King passionately spoke.

I, on the other hand, am repeatedly running those words through my head because I’m trying to conjure up some sort of long-term dream of mine, because I’m so unsure of what I want or where I’m going in life. Apparently in today’s society, it’s not okay to be a person who doesn’t know what they want, one has to have some sort of short term and long term goals. The montrosity. In high school I had to know if I wanted to go to college or not after I graduate; I had to know what I wanted to do if I wanted to go to college. At age 15 I had to make these important life decisions for my 18-year-old self.
“I have a dream…to go through college and become a pediatrician!” I said to myself at age 15, “I have a dream…to help children.”
At age 16 I dreamt of being married by 25. “I have a dream to be married by 25 and to have my first child by 27…”
At age 17, I boldly stated, “I have a dream…to go to bible college.”
Eighteen year old me was dreaming of a specific boy, and our future together. “I dream that we will become married once we finish college. I dream he’s going to be my forever.”

At age 20 I lost the dream of becoming a pediatrician, but aspired to become a writer.
At 21, I lost the dream of that boy and my future of being with someone. I dreamt of a lonely life being single.
At 23, my current status, I’m still trying to figure out what my dream is. I don’t know if it’s better to dream of moving up in my company, or moving onto a career geared more towards my degree.
At 23, I cannot boldly proclaim, “I have a dream…” or perhaps I can? What if my inner dream beaver came out.
Dream…beaver? Yes. To dream a dream, and actually put some work ethic into getting it built strong like a dam (beaver pun – ha!).

So I have to start building with a foundation. When beavers begin a dam they aren’t going to start with little sticks. NO! They are going to start with massive logs to make sure it’s strong and founded properly. They build up that dam with more strong logs, patching it up with mud, and as it is nearly completed that’s when they put the fillers in like any little sticks and more mud.

Building my dreams with a foundation starts with prayers, right? Because praying for a given situation not only puts one in the right mindset, it allows God to start putting those stepping stones down. “God I dream of yada-yada-yada…” Spoken words are powerful. A conversation between two cannot done without spoken words. If I were to go to my friend and think “Wow, I truly love your shoes” instead of saying it, they wouldn’t know because they can’t read my mind. Same concept, if I go to God without physically praying, my prayers aren’t going to be as effective.

Once that foundation is started I can start slapping on the mud and more logs. This is the continuation of that foundation. With a continuation in prayer and building up my faith, that foundation creates something whole and strong that can block the flow/influence of the strong tides that will rush towards that foundation to try and break it down. But here’s the thing, that strong dam will withstand those flowing waters as long as I keep like a beaver and continue to work it every day. I don’t know necessarily where God will take me, but if I keep dreaming and building, he’ll keep providing.

I don’t know how this conversation started out with Martin Luther King Jr and ended up being about how I can better myself by being a “dream beaver” but somehow it did. My writing does that at times, because quite often my fingers just have their own mind and type away at the keyboard. Anyways, catch ya’ll on the flip side. #bless

Work, Work, Work… like that Rihanna song

It starts off with that beat that one can’t help but stop and perk their ears. It’s a weird feeling. Then the lyrics begin…”work work work work work…” and my mind is instantaneous about reminding me how my life has been in the past month. Now granted, I don’t like this song, I didn’t even know who the artist was until I googled it a mere 5 minutes ago. But that part of the song has been stuck in my head for a few days now     that annoying tune.

Let’s just say that the past 20 days I feel like I’ve basically done nothing but live at work, I think I’ve only been home a handful of days because I’d be so exhausted from work that I’d stay at a friends house just so I could sleep extra before going to my shift the next day. If I’m not working I’m probably sleeping and if I’m not sleeping I am working. But that’s adulthood, and I shouldn’t be complaining…so fast forward.

For those who don’t know, I work at a local resort/waterpark in the reservations department. The name doesn’t matter, but know that we are fairly competitive with other local resorts. I’m working at a job I could have easily gotten outside of highschool, but instead here I am with a college degree, far from working in my field of “expertise.” But God has truly been blessing me in this job. I make enough money to pay my bills and have some extra to save. I also have been very fortunate to make many new friends, one of which will soon be coming to church with me. But most of all, I’ve made some really neat connections with guests.

I’ve talked to guests who have told me, “Wow, you made this so easy. Thank you so much” and I’ve also been able to interact with guests when it comes to their child’s birthday.
“So who is the lucky birthday child?”
“My son[daughter], their name being ‘so-so'”
“Oh how neat! How old is ‘so-so’ turning?”
“Oh they are turning X years old.”
“Well happy X birthday to ‘so-so’ that is truly an exiting age to be!”
Very generic conversation, some are just that bland but typically it’s way more involvement. I’m so excited they are celebrating their birthday at our resort. Why?
Really, I have no valid reason other than because it means I get to make them a birthday card. I get to create a piece of my creativity, and give it to this child. And it’s a one-of-a-kind birthday card. The cool thing is, some of my coworkers have taken notice to my love of creativity in these cards. I have a few that will ask me to draw them an elephant for a kiddo’s birthday, or if it’s for a special occasion.img_4877

The other day, my coworker *Claire told me between tears of joy of this young boy, who will befriend other classmates that are loners,  had befriended this other young boy who was bullied. As a result, that boys mom decided to bring him to our resort. Well Claire wanted to do something more, so she informed our manager who allowed us to give them a pizza and some passes to our theme park. But with tears in her eyes, Claire broke this story down and asked me to draw my ‘famous’ elephant and to personalize this awesome card to show how much this little boys actions make a difference, not just for his friend that was bullied but for people like us who get to hear about those cool little things.

Now, it’s not just for birthdays either. I will make a thank you card when I could make a really cool connection with a guest. Another example is I had a guest call and his name is *Nick. But instead, I kept calling him Mick the entire time because I misheard him in the beginning. When we got to the part of putting his name on the reservation he actually told me his full name *Nicholas and I was so embarrassed I called him the wrong name, but he just laughed at it. We had a good laugh for 30 seconds. We shared a moment. I joked and told him he could just call me April to make up for it (because I am commonly refereed to as April or Ashley instead of my real name…why, I don’t know). In the end, I made him a card and signed it and added April in quotes. Oh, I do hope it makes him smile when he sees it.

I could go on and on about how I get to do the coolest things for people, but I don’t like to brag. I’m not writing any of this to brag. Five months ago, I was crying on a regular basis because of how stressed and over-worked I’d get. Now, I can’t recall the last time I cried because I was overwhelmed.

It’s amazing how despite that fact that I’ve basically been living at my work place, I get to stop and appreciate those small little interactions. Though they are truly small, they are powerful. I spend so many hours staring at a computer screen, shaking my head, and wondering “why am I even here?” but yet at the same time, I feel that sort of connection with this job that I’ve only ever felt at my job as a tutor at an elementary school. There is a word I learned from my job, it’s Ubuntu and it is Swahili for “togetherness.” And that’s exactly what I feel at my job, or second home,  I feel a sense of belonging and togetherness with each person I interact with, whether it’s a ten minute phone call with a person I’ll probably never talk to again, or whether it’s sitting next to a coworker I’ve sat by many a times before.

Ubuntu is exactly what it’s about. I’ve said it before, and I’ll never not say it, but this place that I work at, this resort, it’s about having that togetherness. It’s not about how one guest complains about how expensive we are. It’s not about how I may get screamed at 20 times tomorrow because of how our rates have changed overnight (yes sometimes literally). It most certainly isn’t about any of those negatives that can happen. It’s about what we can offer to people to draw them together    sometimes that may be to offer them a special package we have that would include breakfast, sometimes that’s going above and beyond to make them a card, or maybe it’s just us as reservation guide to book their room with a smile in our voice, answering their questions, and allowing them to get through that process with ease. It’s about having the children smile and laugh because they got to go on some really cool slide. It’s about watching the people be able to relax and enjoy themselves in the spa or maybe even indulge in their sweet tooth’s. It’s about having folks enjoy their time at convention.

So how does Rihanna’s song go hand-in-hand with Ubuntu? Well, it doesn’t really. But despite the fact that all I’m doing is work work work work work, the thought that we’re all celebrating Ubuntu makes it all worth it. And as I get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning(or I should say today), and I feel that pain of tiredness behind my eyes, I’ll still smile. And I hope that wherever the road of my career takes me, I hope that I’ll always have that connection of Ubuntu.

*indicates name change