Living on unemployment for a year has definitely taught us how to be more aware of every dollar we spend.
Working closer to home, not having to pay MA income tax on my salary, and getting a small ‘bonus’ for not needing health insurance from my employer has resulted in my finally getting to live the life I really want to live. (It doesn’t hurt that I turn 41 next month and I can’t get rid of the little voice in my head that keeps telling me that I’m getting closer to the age my mother was when she died…)
We’re taking two major vacations practically back-to-back and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to take FOREVER for them to get here.
First, we’re going to Ukraine. I found my grandparents’ villages and will be going to check them out, plus spending some time in the absolutely GORGEOUS city of Lviv.
I’m going to focus on getting my grandmother’s birth certificate in the coming weeks - I have a photo of it (from the researcher I hired), but I want the real thing. After I manage to get my grubby little paws on that, I’m going to apply for Ukrainian citizenship. What’s the worst they can say, no? If they say yes - and depending on the outcome of our election - I may not come home.
Then… we’re going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
It also marks our long-awaited return to London!!!!! We were supposed to go in 2013 for a wedding and then I got laid off. Since then, we’ve put off the trip to stay closer to home and rebuild our savings. The exchange rate right now is still ridiculously prohibitive (1 GBP is almost 1.50 USD—contrast that to Ukraine: 1 UAH is .04 USD), so it’s been easier to justify putting the trip off.
In other news—
Work is getting better. Slowly. I’m being forced to spend a week in Phoenix with our Assistant Controller at some Timberline National Users Conference. We were supposed to drive together to the airport and then we were supposed to share a hotel room. We haven’t even registered for the conference yet, and she’s already driven me to the point of wanting to murder her. I got out of sharing a ride (we live in opposite directions) and sharing a room (5 AM Ukrainian lessons 5 days a week), but I’m still not overly happy that I have to go with her. To be honest, I’m still a little butthurt that she was hired and that I wasn’t promoted. It’s the third time I’ve been passed over for a promotion because I’m too good at my current position… although part of the reason they’re sending me is so that I can learn more about the software and using it for construction as opposed to HVAC service. Who knows what that means for my future with the company… I can only hope that she burns out quickly and I can jump into her job. I’m not so sure I want to work under her.
I’ve started working out again, too. Back to the gym two days a week. The end goal is to attempt a GORUCK Challenge again. The short-term goal is to lose some weight and fit back into my fencing gear. Yeah. I’m going to start fencing again. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed it.
The Ukrainian lessons are going well - I’ve decided to work with two tutors. I’m still using my italki tutor and I’m using one from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. They’re about $15 USD/hr. and doing 3 days with Svetlana and 2 days with Oksana has been better than I thought it would be. I’m being forced to do more active learning (homework) and they’re actually complimenting each other. It’s insane how the class content seems to have aligned itself without any input from me. Plus, I’m supplementing those with independent work from a textbook I found on Amazon and a grammar reference book. I WILL BE FLUENT-ISH BY OUR TRIP! It feels good to say that. Really good.
Ahhhh… it feels good to be blogging again. But that also reminds me, I never wrote my New Year / Three Words post.
Obviously, UKRAINIAN is the first one. This encompasses cooking, reading about the culture, our trip, and my continued efforts in learning the language.
The second is HEALTH. That includes doing the Zombie 5K app (with the end goal to actually run a 5K), meeting with my personal trainer, and fencing. I should also add that I’m meeting with a nutritionist soon. I have the eating habits of a 5 year old… if that. The GORUCK Challenge won’t be until 2017, but I definitely need a year of intense work to be ready for it.
The third, I’ve been waffling on because I don’t want to reuse the same word over and over, but I really do want to keep focussing on my WRITING. Here, there, and everywhere!