Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An End of an Era

A lot of lasts today. Last full day of work. Last lunch with co-workers. They even bought me a strawberry cake and a gift (though I still don't know what it is - it's supposed to arrive at the firm tomorrow), and made me a card. Not a lot of people can say that they look forward to waking up every morning and going to work, but I am not one of those people. Every single day, even if I was hung over, still exhausted from a night of partying, I'd wake up and literally jump out of my bed in an anticipation of work.

The pay did not exactly allow me to roll around in hundred dollar bills, but there was always plenty of overtime and I did not mind staying late. In fact, every time I was needed to stay and work at night, I was happy to do it. You know why? Because I actually enjoyed my job.

Of course, I have my reasons for continuing my education and going to graduate school. I want to both grow professionally, and be able to take on more challenging tasks. I will be able to move onto managerial positions more quickly. And yes, with a Master's degree I will be able to afford a more luxurious style of living.

However, as sappy and cliche as it sounds, the lessons that I have learned at my very first architectural firm that took a chance on me - a college graduate with practically no related experience, will live on with me forever. Before interviewing with the firm I ended up working for for 1.5 years, I had a lot of other job interviews at other places, but I truly believe that this firm was the best choice for me.

In my card, one of my co-workers wrote to me (the note was written upside down): "We hope to see your work one day in Architectural Record, perhaps even on the cover. Life sometimes seems to turn everything upside down, so I send you this note as an early effort to get you used to the effect. I am sure you will succeed no matter what."

God, it's always so hard to leave good things behind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Forgive or Forget

Today I woke up still livid from the events that happened the night before. Now I am not the one to talk shit about my parents, but last night kind of did it for me.

Now, my situation for this summer is that I am living with the family until it’s time for me to sail away to graduate school across the country. I was living with a roommate prior to this, but the lease came to an end on May 15th and instead of looking for another apartment for 3 months, I made a decision to move back with my parents. I figured 3 months wasn’t long enough to start butting heads. Boy, was I wrong.

My parents and I use the same email provider – Gmail. I was actually the one who introduced my parents to the wonders of emailing just a little over a year ago. I insisted they get with the program and get an email account, since, for crying out loud, it was 2007 and it was about damn time.

I frequently use my parents computer to check my email and most of the time, I tend to leave the window open without signing out.

Yesterday, while I was at work, my mother decided that it was a lovely idea to go through my emails that, in her opinion, had questionable and personal content. She, then, left me a distressed voice mail saying simply that we “needed to have a talk.”

Later on in the evening, she proceeded to tell me how she opened one of my emails between me and the boy I have a vague romantic interest in. The email was fairly flirtatious, but by no means X-rated in nature. That wasn’t the point, however. The point was that she violated my privacy and trust and acted as if she had the right to do that.

A year ago, I moved out of my ex-boyfriend’s apartment because he started having trust issues with me. He found out my email password and started going through my emails, much like my mother did yesterday. My ex did it repeatedly, even after I asked him not to do it and changed passwords. This type of violation of privacy is a very sensitive subject to me to this day, and I can’t tolerate anyone doing that to me ever again. My mother knew the whole story with the ex. She chose to do the same thing he did anyway, without a doubt knowing how much she would hurt me in the process.

I don’t hold grudges, and I am a firm believer that the sooner one can get past an argument, the better it will be. What my mother did, however, stripped me away from all the trust I had in her. It wouldn’t make a difference if she read an email in which I talked about puppies or an email in which I admitted to having an orgy with 27 men. It made all the difference in the world that instead of closing the window, she chose to read every email between me and this guy, thread after thread, and then acting like it was her God-given right to disrupt my personal life like that.

I had never ever disrespected someone’s privacy like that. I don’t have much tolerance for anyone who does that to me. I thought I would feel more calm about the situation today, but the truth is, I probably won’t be able to look, let alone speak, to my mother when I see her tonight. I don't want to say a word to her because I will find no kind words to say. I just simply don't know what an appropriate reaction to her actions would be, nor do I care to explore the idea of trying to reason with her until I hear an apology.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


There was only one reason, as far as I was concerned, to take a Math 103 class at 6:30 every Tuesday and Thursday night when I was a freshman, and that reason was the total dreamboat who would routinely sit at the desk to my right during every class.

He would always show up for class five minutes late, his hair slightly messy from the track team practice. He would slip into the classroom through the back door, unnoticed by everyone including the absent-minded professor. He never carried a bookbag, simply a notebook and a pencil in his hand. He didn't believe in bringing a textbook to class. If he needed to look at a problem we were working on, he could simply borrow the book from me.

I had a total of one, and only one, conversation with him. That fateful night, we were both early for our class and the room was locked, so we were forced to wait it out in the hallway. He introduced himself to me and asked why I was taking math 103 instead of 104. Because I didn't do so well on the placement test, I said to him, slightly embarrassed. That's ok, neither did I, he replied casually. It was love. We were meant to be.

However, our unspoken love affair never went any farther. It was getting close to the end of the semester and I was a bit frustrated with the lack of progression in our relationship. I had to take matters into my own hands.

I searched for his name on Facebook and, luckily, there were only two people in the entire school with the same first and last name as him. One was a grad student majoring in African Studies. Another one was the man of my dreams himself. Well, he didn't have a picture up but I had to assume it was him since his graduation year and major corresponded to what he told me.

So my 18-year old self wrote a rather clumsy email which, and I kid you not, went something like this, "Hey, I think you're totally hot." Gosh, I was such a smooth talker. I made sure that I created an anonymous email address so that he wouldn't know who his secret admirer was at first. I was afraid of rejection.

I was a bit disappointed when I didn't hear from him in a couple of days. How could he resist my blatant praise of his gorgeousness. But I wasn't about to give up that easily. I emailed him again three days later with this little gem. "Hey, I know you haven't replied to my previous email, but I still think you're hot." He replied back two hours later with a rather rude "Who is this? Is this a joke?" I had no choice but to coyly reveal my identity. "We take pre-calc together and we talked a few times.I find you very attractive," I wrote, abandoning all sense of dignity. What he wrote back, however, really hit me hard. "I'm really flattered, but I'm not in any pre-calc classes this semester. You must be mistaking me for someone else."
The next day was our MATH103 final exam. I showed up early and handed in my exam early. On my way out of the classroom, I glanced at the man of my dreams one last time. He was looking back with a faint knowing smile. He was silently letting me know that he, in fact, was the guy who received my love emails. He was letting me know that he was rejecting me, despite our undeniable math class connection. Ouch.
Two weeks later, my spring semester started and I had a new man of my dreams. We took a writing class together, and he was so deep and profound and from Los Angeles. It was love all over again.