I’m Moving To Houston, TX

Hey everyone, I know my blog has been kind of quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been having some technical difficulties and I’ve also been very busy. Let me explain what happened really quickly and then after that, I’ll get to the moving story.

About two months back, my MacBook Pro of 5 years died and I had to get it replaced. I thought everything was fine because I backed up my computer twice a month, but when I got my new computer, I found out my new computer was not recognizing the external hard drive I’d used to store my backups. This means I lost a lot of content. I lost all the photos from my study abroad trip/travel trips and I lost a lot of documents. I was able to go into the hard drive and retrieve some photos, mostly the photos of my deceased father, but after that, the files became corrupted. So, if it wasn’t stored in the iCloud, on a flash drive, or in Google Drive, I don’t have it anymore. So that’s what happened, that’s why the content stopped because I became very focused on trying to retrieve my lost content, plus I have two and a half jobs and I’m planning an interstate move.

But anyway, moving on…

I’m moving to Houston, Texas. It literally took me a year to decide to do this. Last year when I graduated from college, my mom and my cousin tried to convince me to move to Houston. They both wanted me to change states because of the lack of opportunities in St. Louis but I didn’t want to move or, more accurately, I wasn’t ready to move. Leaving home never bothered me, as long as I can talk to my family, homesickness never sets in, but I just wasn’t ready to leave. So, I created reasons to stay. At first, it was graduate school. I told myself I wanted to go to graduate school but the way my bank account is set up, I needed to get a well-paying job first before embarking on that path because student loans are not fun. But then a few months went by and I still couldn’t find work, and the dream of going to graduate school started to fade. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, I’m just saying it’s not happening in the next two years.

At that point, I returned to my old job, working part-time but I was still looking for full-time work. I tried a few side hustles and pick up a few extra skills, such as website design, photography, editing video and photos but I never stopped looking for full-time work. Back in January, I got really close to getting a full-time job making $37,000 a year (in St. Louis without any children, that would have made me middle class) but I didn’t get it. I was one of the final candidates but someone with more experience most likely got the job. The experience didn’t make me bitter, it did the opposite, it gave me hope. For a while, I thought I was just un-hirable. I thought I didn’t have enough skills to get a decent job but after that, I knew it was just because St. Louis is small and our economy sucks. Just to give you an example to back up my statement, during my year of looking for full-time work, I tried to get a job with the City of St. Louis. When I went to the website, there were only 27 job openings for official St. Louis City workers. St. Louis City has a population of 311, 404 (2016). I rest my case.

This is when I called my cousin who lives in Houston and asked him if his offer still stood and he asked me when I wanted to move.

For those that are wondering, why Houston? Houston is the fourth biggest city in the U.S. and it has a booming economy.

 

What Offer?

Our families are close yet distant. He’s my cousin on my mother’s side of the family. My mom took care of his mom when his mom had breast cancer. And his mom was my mom’s oldest sister and she literally helped my grandma raise my mom. So, we’ve always been connected. After he moved out of St. Louis, we became distant but I knew he still cared about us. He would check in on us, send us presents or money for Christmas, etc. He even gave me a vacation when I graduated from high school.

When I graduated from college he offered to help me transition into adulthood. He offered to help me move, give me a place to live until I could afford my own place and he gave me a car to get around in. He wants to help me foster an environment where I can focus on growing my photography business and writing my screenplays and novels without the fear of failing and not having enough money to live off of. In our family, we believe in paying it forward. If you’re at a point in your life where you can afford to help others, you help them. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait until I can help someone else in this manner. I’m excited for this next chapter in my life.

I move to Houston on July 18, 2018.

The Total Solar Eclipse Was Totally Amazing!!!

I didn’t go to any of the events for the solar eclipse but I did go outside during the event. I went outside with my mom just to know what it felt like. I’m in St. Louis so it was super sunny and hot but then, as the eclipse grew closer and closer to totality, the sun seemed to set. And then, instead of the sky becoming orange (like a sunset), it stayed a weird reddish color, fading into a stale blue hue. Then it got even darker and the street lights came on and the temperature dropped a few degrees and the wind picked up a bit.

One of the owners of a shop near us, saw us standing outside but not looking at the sky, so he offered us his glasses. When I saw the eclipse, I nearly cried. It was beautiful. It was like looking at a dark hole and then seeing a tiny orange sliver of light just on the outside. Because we were sharing the glasses, I was not able to take any pictures but I will forever remember.

 

The image used for this post was taken from Nasa’s official website.

Post Graduate Dilemma

So I have three paths in front of me and I don’t know which one to choose.

Path One

Move to Houston, Texas at the end of the summer. This blog is about writing, traveling, and life. Way back in my first post I promised that this summer would be filled with adventure but I didn’t explain what that meant. Well, back in March my cousin who lives in Houston, Texas reached out to me to see if I would like to babysit for him during the summer. I was delighted because I thought it would only be for a week or so. But nope, my cousin wanted me to be a live-in babysitter for the summer. So I thought about it and said yes. Then him, my sister, and my mother started talking and the more they talked the more the plan changed. Suddenly, I wasn’t going down to Houston to babysit, I was going to move down there and try to find a job in a field similar to my degree field because Texas’ economy is so much better than Missouri’s.  I don’t have an official move date, but I do have an official move month: September.

Path Two

Go back to school in August and get my Masters in International Relations. Going back to school was always in my future. The only reason I didn’t apply for graduate school during my last undergraduate semester was because I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it. My alma mater has an accelerated MA International Relations program that allows you to get your degree in eleven months and during those eleven months, you have to travel to five different countries. It’s an intense program and once I heard about it, I knew it was the program for me. But the price tag was sure to be out of my league so I didn’t apply. I recently found out that scholarships would pay for most of the program (hurray) but I would still have to pay for the living expenses (which is understandable). But, due to my previous international travel, I know that conversion rates would really eat through my budget and there would be no way to make up for it other than to take out additional student loans. Taking out additional student loans would put me further into debt and make my goals of paying off my student loans in ten years highly unlikely.

Path Three

Stay in St. Louis and save up money for a year so that I can afford the additional expenses that would come with traveling internationally for eleven months. This would mean that I’d start grad school in August of 2018. After I graduate in August of 2019, I’d start thinking about where to live and which career paths I’d want to pursue. This path allows me to focus a little on my writing and develop my publishing company. This option would also give me a much needed break from school. But it’s that break that everyone is worried about. My family is worried about me taking a year off (essentially) because they know how hard it is to get back into the groove of school once life starts to happen.

So I have three paths in front of me and I don’t know which one to choose…

[Photo by Tyler B. Humphries/Berlin, Summer 2016.]

 

Times Are A Changin

Hey everyone. Did you miss me?

Maybe? Just a little bit…don’t be shy…I missed you too. If you’ve noticed, I started posting on Saturdays but I had to stop because graduation season is upon us. No. I haven’t graduated yet. I still have one more week but I’m almost there. Also, my graduation is next Saturday, so don’t expect a post from me. You may get a  picture of me gleefully exclaiming that I finally did it, but there will be no other posts from that day. But don’t worry, once I’m done with school, regular posting will resume.

But that’s not what this post is about. Nope. I’m coming on here to tell you guys that times are a changin!

I’m starting a publishing company

In the upcoming months, you may start to see some changes to the site. I’m starting a business and since it’s just going to be a small one, I decided to merge the blog with the business website. Which means I’m going to buy my website and the URL and domain name may change. It just made more sense economically to merge the two sites and the subject matters go hand and hand so it works for me. Once I start taking on full-time clients, then I’ll separate the two sites because at that point I’ll have enough money to support the needs of both sites.

But don’t worry, the business will not affect the blog in any way. In fact, I’m going to do my best to separate the blog from the business because you didn’t start following the blog just to get sold something. This means that I will not use my blog to promote the business but it doesn’t mean that there will never be any crossover. The blog is about my life and my experiences. If something big (relating to the business) is happening in my life, the blog will cover it but it’ll be more like a behind the scenes kind of thing.

The business will get its own Facebook page that will be linked to this site and this site will be linked to the Facebook page. The website will start to accumulate more content and (hopefully) more traffic. This means you will start to see new sections of the website develop over the upcoming months (if I’m being realistic, probably years). And the homepage will also change although I’m not sure in what capacity.

Minimum Wage is now $10

Yes, you read that right. The minimum wage rose to $10 per hour in the city of St. Louis, MO this week and I’m super excited. This means that I can save more. I can finally get my glasses fixed and take the driver’s test so I can get my license. I can buy my website and invest in my company. I can start paying on my student loans before they go into repayment. And I can actually get my company registered with the state of Missouri and get my logo trademarked. Yeah, sure, I could have done all of this before the minimum wage was raised but now I can do all of this before the summer is over.

Sidenote: Below is a map of St. Louis. Yes, it is that fractured. Yes, this is why we have so many problems. Yes. The counties do outnumber the city limits (what is shown in this picture are sections of St. Louis. The counties break up into even smaller communities than shown on the map). Yes, all the counties were created during white flight. St. Louis is one of the greatest examples of White Flight in American history and we’re a good example of how it damages the economy and educational system while also hardening racial relationships within communities. I added the picture below to point out that everyone who does not work inside of the city limits is still subject to $7.75 (I think) as their minimum wage. Think about that for a second. But “hurray” for the small victories.

saint_louis