Sunday, December 1, 2013

The First Holiday & Brook's Promotion

Hey everyone!

I'm so sorry for the picture quality-- they were taken with my crappy phone (but I'm getting a new one within a few days!) because our camera was broken at a Rocky show (someone stepped on it and blacked out the screen).

The first exciting thing that has happened to me recently is that I got a promotion at work! That's right-- I'm not even past my 3 month probationary period and I've already gotten promoted over everyone else (and, remember, I'm still the newest person working there)! I'm so excited about this opportunity. I also feel that it's going really well so far! I'm proud to have reached the point where someone recognizes that I don't hold back when it comes to work and that I will do what it takes to get the job done. I've gotten a raise with this promotion, so that is also super exciting! I started out as someone who just cleans out kennels (remember, I work at a cat hotel, so every morning we clean out the kennels so our kitties can have a fresh start each day). Now, I'm in charge of everyone who does that. In addition to cleaning out kennels, I'm the one who comes up with a game plan for the day and organizes the back, making sure everything is clean, accessible, and equally distributed. It's a lot of work, but I'm up for the challenge (and the increase in hours)!

On the second day your kitty stays with us, we take a picture of them to reassure you and show you how much fun they're having! For holidays, we have a small separate room that we clear out and decorate for the holiday accordingly. Here is the "Thanksgiving" setup that I did!

While that was more of an announcement, the next bit is more of a recap of the most recent event, Thanksgiving.

I knew moving away from my family would be difficult. I've never been very good at making friends, so while I had three or four friends back home that I would spend time with, I was always (and still am) extremely family oriented. Every day gets a little easier, but I never stop missing my loved ones back home. While technically Independence Day was my first holiday away from home, it's not one that I normally celebrate-- and Halloween isn't exactly family-ish, either-- so the first "family holiday" was Thanksgiving. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I became increasingly sad. I have never spent a holiday away from my family, and there are staples in each holiday that I am so used to because they have become tradition, so there was a very sad overcast surrounding the upcoming holiday.

On Thursday, I ended up having to work (because the kitties need love and care, too!), so I woke up at my normal 6am and headed in to work an hour early so that I could try to get some of the base work done so that the rest of the employees could come in at our later holiday start time and just get started on their assigned tasks. The day was very long and dragging, but my boss made it so worth it when our manager sent us all on lunch and we found a gigantic Thanksgiving feast in the break room waiting for us. Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, spinach dip with crackers, stuffing, broccoli and cauliflower, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin pie, and sparkling cider, all laid out on the counter for the employees that worked on the holiday.

Let me quickly go off on a bit of a tangent here and tell you about my work experience. Since I turned 18, I have had five jobs (my current job makes six, keeping in mind that I mostly did not work while I was in college). Our of the five, my favorite was obviously the Han D Dip. Cathy and Dawn made our jobs so worth it and I was almost always excited to work. This was when I discovered my preference for Mom & Pop shops. Franchise companies or even companies that work contractually are very strict and, at least for those that I have worked for, tend to ignore/fail to notice when an employee is doing ANYTHING. Let me give you an example of what I mean when I say ANYTHING-- they fail to notice when you work hard, when you slack, when you need help, when you're doing extra to make up for someone else, and even that you're a human being that makes mistakes. My favorite thing about working for a small company is that you are noticed and treated like a person-- not something that is expendable. When I decided to move here, one of the hardest things I had to do was leave my job at the Han D Dip. Patrick was so patient with me as I looked for work here and waited for the right opportunity, and I cannot thank him enough for that. When I applied for my job, I was nervous, but even my interview felt intimate and friendly, so when I was offered the job I was so excited to take the deal. I have not regretted it. Working for a small company with such compassionate people in charge is the only way I ever want to work. A boss who brings you an elaborate feast on Thanksgiving is the kind of person that I will work for any day. It takes the sting of missing the holiday away, and that is so significant and heart warming.

If I can't spend the holiday with family until later, I think I'm okay spending it with this guy!

Sahib loves me. Really, he does.

After we finally got out of work (holidays are busy because while our clients go out of town, we get to house their kitties! So we had a very very full house this week-- we were booked full), I headed home and Patrick and I got ready to go to Shannon and Jared's house. Shannon and Jared are such incredible people. Patrick doesn't have much family except for an out of state sister and Jackie, so holidays aren't as important to him as they are to me because he didn't always have someone to spend them with. However, when he joined the Bawdy Caste, the directors pretty much adopted him (and me, too, when I got here), and then invited us so spend Thanksgiving with them and their family. To say that this meant a lot to me is an understatement. I was so afraid when I moved here that no one would like me, yet I've been adopted into a family that loves me and supports me in every way, no questions asked. It's more than I could ever ask for and I am so very grateful!

We spent most of the day at S&J's but I wore out quickly because I had been up all day and had worked beforehand, so we left around 9pm and headed home. The next day, I was a little bit sad that I didn't have some specific things during dinner (things that my family makes without fail every year), so that night Patrick and I made our own "Thanksgiving" feast: chicken breast (because I hate Turkey), green bean casserole (my standing favorite of all holiday dishes, even beating out pumpkin pie), mashed potatoes, and for dessert, oatmeal cookies.

Leftovers from Shannon and Jared's. Mmmm breakfast mashed potatoes

Our "makeup" Thanksgiving dinner (pretty much just so I could have an excuse to make green bean casserole and then eat all of it)

Overall, while I would have loved to spend the holiday with my family back home from Michigan, I had an incredible holiday this year because I got to spend it with my work family, my Rocky family, and Patrick. If I focus on that, everything else is just quite alright with me.

***For those of you who fail to read my Facebook posts but read my blog, here is the Facebook status I put up this week. It addresses the upcoming Christmas holiday:

"Hey everyone,
This is a quick message for anyone back home who is wondering about the upcoming holidays. Though I've been trying to save up for a plane ticket so that I can come home for Christmas, unfortunately I do still have bills to pay and right now it is about $1,000 for a halfway decent plane ticket back to the Mitten (meaning I do not have 8 hour layovers or a board time of 3:00am or flights spanning beyond one day's time). Therefore, I will not be able to make it home for Christmas even though that was my original plan. For anyone who suggests a bus ticket, please realize that I do have a job and that traveling for 3 days to get to Michigan and then 3 days to get back to California is just absurd and I cannot do that, especially with my recent promotion at work. While I miss everyone and tomorrow will be especially difficult for me since it will be my first holiday away from my family, I hope that everyone understands the situation that I am in and respects that I cannot make something like that happen. I love and miss everyone and hopefully next year will be different.