Sunday, September 29, 2013

Big News

Well. I definitely have a job, and I survived my first week of work! It might be the most hectic job I've ever had, and that's saying a lot after the places I've worked. I've loved them all, but this is a really stressful area of expertise to begin with, so you're bound to work in a chaotic environment. Especially in the substance abuse field. My coworkers are so nice and helpful and have been doing their best to help me catch on quickly. My boss is an incredibly smart man, who is incredibly hard on all of the counselors. He definitely knows this field inside out, and I will learn a ton by working here. I just need to develop a bit of thicker skin and use the criticism to improve my work. What doesn't kill me makes me badass, right? ;)

In pretty much ALL of our spare time, Eric and I have been busy looking for furniture and places to live. Kristin has introduced me to the wonderful world of Craigslist! I always thought it was shady, and it can be, but it can also be awesome for getting nice things on a budget. All the rich people here get rid of barely-used furniture for really good prices. Eric and I got an entire queen bed set, including bed frame, headboard, mattress (it's practically new and not gross, I promise), end tables, and dresser with mirror, for $850. And it's GOOD stuff. Real wood. The kid we bought it from is only a few years older than us and happens to work in the same building as Eric and Ben! Small world. We picked up a practically new microfiber couch and love seat combo today for only $200 from this nice family who just moved from Texas and wanted new furniture for their new house. Score. Craigslist is my new best friend. We're also lucky that Kristin and Ben have some good friends who let us have their old coffee table and end tables.

You may be wondering where we are putting all of this shiz. Right now, it is being stored in a spare room in here.



Eric was told last week that he would have a full-time position after his internship ends in November (mad props to him for taking such a huge risk and succeeding in getting a job that makes him happy :) ), so we started to crack down on looking for a place to live ASAP. I saw a nice place online and called the contact number. It was a really nice realtor lady who asked me all about my situation, budget, the area I'm looking to live in, etc. That place wasn't available anymore, but she emailed me about 30 minutes later with a compilation of places she thought we might like.

We met with her yesterday to look at the places, and we were TORN between them. The one was a nice 2 bed 2 bath with a patio. The other was seriously only $30 more a month and it was a 3 bed 2 bath with a small extra living area space. We ended up going with the bigger one. Bedroom, guest room, and office/guest room. And room for our instruments and music equipment! I'm going to miss the patio, but it's only 5 miles to the beach. Plus, there's a super nice pool, a gym, community herb garden, playground, and beautiful lakes on the property. It isn't in Jupiter, but it's right on the outskirts by the entrance to 95, so it cuts 10 minutes off our work commute.

We went to her office immediately after viewing them and filled out the paperwork. She's drawing up a lease for us, which we'll sign in a few days. We can move in November 1st :)

This is all happening way faster than I thought it would. I really hope nothing falls through. It all seems too good to be true. I'm starting to feel a little homesick. Sorry I moved and kinda fell off the face of the earth, but I hope I'll have more time now to catch up with all of you. I want to see my family and friends so badly. Maybe you can all come visit for a housewarming party in November? :P I'm finally starting to feel settled, and I wish I could talk in person about it to everyone. Just hang out and catch up.

I feel like I'm doing such grown up things when I'M TOTALLY NOT A GROWN UP. 

Friday, September 20, 2013





I will tell you a little bit about Lauren Ann. First of all, she is only called Lauren Ann because we moved in across the street from each other when we were 4 years old and became best friends, and it got a little confusing to everyone to have two little Laurens running around. So she became Lauren Ann, and I became Lauren D. Don't know why I got stuck with the last initial, but it's cool.

We've been friends since then. We grew up in good ol' TWP together and stayed friends through college. We even lived together in Bmore for a couple years after college and struggled with a mice infestation together. It was gross. They were even in our rooms. Ew. We tried to lure them into traps with peanut butter. I'm going to go off on a tangent if I keep thinking about this, so I'll get to the point. A lot happens over the course of 21 years, but we have stayed friends. We might go awhile without talking or seeing each other, but we will always be family. Lauren Squared!

So here are the thoughtful things she sent me:

"A little beachy <3 for your Florida home!"
"For the Florida sun!"
"Even though you'll be in a bikini on the beach on Halloween, you can rock these festive socks!"
"Because Halloween is your favorite!"

1. SPF 50 is most definitely necessary in the Florida sun.
2. You can bet your ass I'll be rocking those socks in my bikini on Halloween, even in the Florida sun.

But here is the gift of all gifts...
"Because a cheesesteak just doesn't ship well, here's another yummy Philly snack!"


Oh, I also have a six pack of Mysterium from DuClaw Brewery that Lauren gave to me as a going away present waiting for me in the fridge in Jersey for when I come home next :)

Thanks for everything, Laur! I'll take you to Disney when you visit as repayment for your kindness ;)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hobo No Hobo!

I am not on vacation. This is real life, and I got a real job! At least I think I do.

I had an interview on Friday, and I wasn't sure how well it was going at the time. The dude really seemed like he was skeptical of my abilities. That tends to happen when you are a small, nicely-dressed and made-up white girl applying for a job in an urban substance abuse rehabilitation center. But at the end of the interview, he said I have a job there as long as my background checks and references clear.

Seeing as I haven't killed or otherwise harmed anyone ever, I think I'll be good ;)

I start my training in two days, on Friday, while my paperwork is being processed! I will be a substance abuse counselor, working with dual-diagnoses clients. For all you non-psych people out there, that means clients who have addictions and other mental illness diagnoses, like depression/anxiety/schizophrenia/etc. They also offer supervision for licensure. This is exactly what I want to be doing.

One of my favorite quotes, by Andy Warhol:
Some people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say 'So what.'
That's one of my favorite things to say. 'So what.'
'My mother didn't love me.' So what.
'My husband won't ball me.' So what.
'I'm a success but I'm still alone.' So what.
I don't know how I made it through all the years before I learned that trick. It took a long time for me to learn it, but once you do, you never forget.
"So what" has been my life motto lately. I wasn't going to write about this job until I was absolutely positive and had a written offer in my possession, but I want to talk about it now. I want to put myself out there, even though I'm anxious that I'll suck at this, that I'll fail, that they'll tell me last-second that they aren't hiring me for whatever reason.

I'm anxious about a lot of nonsense, but that's okay. I have come a very, very long way from the person I used to be. If, for some reason, things fall through, so what? So what if I wrote about getting a job, and then I don't. I am proud of myself for stepping so far outside of my comfort zone. Raise your hand if you actually thought I would leave NJ and move to Florida with no set plan for what comes next. Anyone? I didn't think so. But here I am, taking each day as it comes, and I love it. I'm homesick for my family and friends and the events I'm missing out on (i.e. Megan and Tom's wedding this Friday :( Have fun guys!). But I love it here. I love the palm trees, the heat and humidity, being a 5 minute drive from the beach, going out on the boat, the fresh seafood, being able to actually SEE Kristin every day instead of once every 3 years, and I even love it here when it rains.

This is what happens when you push yourself to take risks. You go on life adventures and learn to convert your anxiety into adrenaline and excitement at the unknown :)

Next step: find a place to live and some furniture. Because even though I'm kind of not a poor bum hobo anymore, I'm still a hobo taking up space in my friends' house, and I do not like being a useless hobo!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spread the Love

I'm sitting here, trying to get back to the job-searching-settling-in grind, but it's thunderstorming and dark and dreary and there are two sleepy puppies on my bed. So I have a special post for you, because today is a special day, and also because I hate storms and need to get my mind off of it. I moved to the wrong state for someone who hates storms, right? Hah.

12 years ago today, the importance of not taking people for granted was made very aware to me. I was sitting in Mrs. Benninger's 8th grade reading class doing partner work with Lauren Ann, when my usually very composed guidance counselor came in looking all frazzled. My mom was waiting in the guidance office, where they both told me that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in NYC. My mom didn't want me to be worried if I remembered that my uncle worked there. She said he was out of the building the last she had heard.

They really tried to downplay the situation for my sake. But as the school day went on, announcements were made about terrorist attacks. The teachers were told to keep the TVs off. Some teachers updated us on the news when they got back from their lunch breaks. The towers were collapsing, people were stuck in the city, and I had no clue what was going on.

Long story short, I spent the day freaking out, wondering where my uncle was and if he had made it out. When I got home, I finally saw the news. Seeing pictures of the towers haunt me to this day. I hate it. Seeing people jump out, people running from the scene as the buildings were coming down, the flood of people walking across the bridges to get out of the city. My uncle ended up being one of those people. I remember standing on my sidewalk with people, talking about how eerie the lack of air traffic noise was. We live right next to Philly, so we always hear and see the planes coming in and out. My uncle got to our house as we were standing out there. He worked on one of the top floors of the first building, but he had gone down to a lower floor to get a muffin... Most random thing ever. Was it fate? God's will? Pure coincidence? I don't know what you believe in, but... a muffin. Yes.

Every year I tell people this story, because it's important. Whenever I say goodbye to people, I always keep in mind that it could be the last time I see them. People tell me I'm morbid when I say this, and maybe I am, but ever since 9/11, that is how I think. You never know when you are going to lose someone. So even if you're one of those people who thinks 9/11 is a government conspiracy, take a minute to let the people you love know how you feel.

This week is also Suicide Prevention Week. Let this day and this week be a reminder to you to do your part to make the world a better place. Just one smile or kind word can completely turn someone's day around, so do your part and spread the love to EVERYONE, even those you don't know.  :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

One Week Down

HELLO! I am writing from Florida, wooooo! I have officially been here for one week today. It hasn't been a particularly interesting week, but I've been trying to get my life together.

I could barely sleep after writing my last blog post. I was really anxious to the point of getting sick in the morning. I couldn't stop thinking about how I will probably never be able to call that house MY house ever again. I kept getting upset about leaving my family and my cats (and the food in Jersey...). I also couldn't stop worrying about what I had packed, if it was too much, if I forgot something, etc. On top of all that, I hate flying. I'm one of those people that always thinks about the plane crashing.

Anyway, that did not make for a very comforting night or morning. I ended up taking a ton of crap out of my bags in the morning because I was scared they would be over 50 lbs. I said bye to my room and my piano and my bad cats, and then we were off. Linny gave me a muffin from her bakery for breakfast, which was delish. We had to drag my huge bags all over the effing airport because my flight was leaving from international but I had to check in at domestic. Then I encountered the biggest security line I had ever seen at an airport. I said bye to my family, which made us all cry a lot. Then I got in line, but they moved me to another line farther away, so I didn't get to turn around and wave bye to them one last time as I was going through. It was better that way though, so I didn't cry even more.

Fast forward to the flight. We sat on the tarmac for a long time, and the pilot finally told us there were 30 flights ahead of us waiting to take off. Then he said they stopped all southbound flights. I was almost positive my flight would be cancelled, but they let us go through eventually. I was only delayed a little over an hour, and only landed 10 minutes late after a very bumpy ride.

It was the best thing in the world to see Eric and Kristin and Ben waiting for me. Kristin was holding a piece of paper that said "DiGiuseppe, Jersey Girl Florida Girl" hahaha loser. I was so happy I wanted to cry when I hugged them.

The first words out of my mouth when we left the airport were "Holy fuck it's hot..." I'm not gonna lie. It was really, really hot and humid. And that is how it's been every day since. And I love it :)

We went to the beach after I dropped my bags off.



<3 !
Then Kristin helped me unpack and organize all my stuff. Thank god I got that out of the way. Unpacking is the worst. Then we went to P.F. Chang's to celebrate :)

The rest of my time here has been spent chillin. I get up and run in the morning most of the time (it is HOT), and apply for jobs the rest of the day. I didn't have a car all last week, so I was stuck at home staring at the computer screen. I'm getting really frustrated, because I've applied to SO. MANY. JOBS. and have not had an interview yet. I know it'll happen eventually, but I want it now.
I sit on the porch and apply apply apply
I did finally get a car on Friday night. Kristin and I had gone to a few dealerships on Thursday to scout them out, and the next night we brought Eric and Ben with us. I know they all loved spending their Friday night helping me buy a car... but I would've been freaking out without them there. Yay for good friends! I was able to get $1000 off the price of the car! My haggling skills are improving ;)
Florida car!
Saturday was busy. Eric and I went to the bank in the morning so I could change my address on my accounts and get a check for the car, which we then had to take all the way to the dealership. Everyone at the bank was so nice, congratulating me on the car and my move to Florida, asking how I like it here. That's the response we get everywhere we go, like in the supermarket when we show the cashier our ID for alcohol (you can buy beer and wine there!). I've really never encountered so many nice strangers.

I helped Kristin weed the flowerbeds that afternoon, and then kinda watched while Ben and Eric made pumpkin beer. And yesterday we went to the beach again.
Eric looking like a tourist making drippy castles... Some lady walked by and gave him the most judgey look hahah
I think I'm transitioning really well so far. I do need to get used to a few things, like the nice strangers... haha. And lizards EVERYWHERE! They dart out in front of me while I'm running. There are a lot of snakes, too. Ben tried to kill one on the porch yesterday, but it got away. I miss my family, but Skype makes it easier for me. I'm a little jealous that I'm not experiencing this "fall weather" you are all talking about up north... but I don't think I'm jealous enough to want to go back just yet ;) I'm loving the weather and the scenery here. Eric and I were talking in the car the other day about how weird it is that we are driving around in Florida, looking at palm trees. It's a big change, and it still feels kind of like a dream to us. We're really grateful that Kristin and Ben have been so welcoming and helpful. I don't think we'd be able to cope with moving away from Jersey without friends. But Eric really likes his job here so far, and I think we can be really happy here :)

Monday, September 2, 2013



The past few weeks have been crazy. I worked almost every day/night, including overnights, up until a couple days ago. It was so difficult to leave there. As hectic as that job is, I really loved the people I worked with and the girls. I baked them Nutella cupcakes as a special treat on my last day :) When I walked in, there were balloons all over the entry way that said things like "Lauren Rocks!" and there were cupcakes that they had baked for ME waiting in the kitchen! So awesome. I cried when I left because I'm an emotional wreck :)

When I wasn't working, I was either sleeping, job searching, saying goodbyes, or getting my life together so I could pack it all away into 3 suitcases... which I just finished doing, by the way. Less than 10 hours before my flight leaves. Procrastination at its finest ;) My cats definitely know something is up. They've been extra cuddly and are following me EVERYWHERE. I'm going to miss my buddies.

I've tried to say goodbye to as many people as possible. It's been way too difficult to see everyone with my crazy work schedule. Dave and Sunny trekked up to the Jerz for dinner one night, I had a few family get togethers, and I got to see most of the Delaware girls yesterday. I've cried every single time I had to say bye to someone, so it's probably better that I didn't get to see every single person, hah. EMOTIONAL WRECK. But I've had a good time with everyone. And I got to eat tons of delicious food ;) I've been stuffing my face for the past 3 weeks. Probably not the best thing to do before you move somewhere that requires you to wear a bathing suit all the time... TOO BAD. I've loved every second of it. I'll be forced into being healthy again starting tomorrow when I land in Florida, the land of no good Italian food/bakeries/cheesesteaks/pretzels!

Going Away cake made by the bakery Linny works at. DELISH.
PIZZAAAA, hoagies, and every flavor stromboli that exists in the world
The girls and I went to the shore for one last Jersey shore hurrah. I got to go to the beach in Longport one last time, eat at Junior's and Lamberti's, and party at Maynard's. Best send-off ever. I was REALLY an emotional wreck when I said bye to them and to the Longport house. No Florida beach can replace the Jersey shore. My second home. Most of my best memories were in that house, from spending time with Aunt Joyce and the fam as a kid to Eric proposing in June. My fam is selling the house soon, and I'm having a lot of trouble knowing that I may not see it ever again, so I enjoyed it one last time with my friends.

My mom saved part of the cake from the Mint grad party!
Minties posing with the cake
Minties about to eat the cake. Just so you know, eating a defrosted cake after 3 years doesn't taste very good.
I am going to miss it here. I am freaking out about leaving. But I know I'll be the happiest I've ever been when I get there. I can't wait to see Eric again, especially since he's been a jerk doing stuff like this while I'm sad about to leave for a night of work:
Left: Eric being a northern tourist loser. Right: Me being miserable before work because I know Eric is floating in the Florida water without me.
Hah! What a jerk! But for real, I'm glad he's been having a good time and loving his new job. And I'm super pumped to live with him, AND one of my best friends. I've lived with the Minties and crew, Lauren Ann, and now Kristin and Eric... not many people are lucky enough to say that they have lived with all of their best friends at some point in their life. So yeah, I really have no reason to complain or be sad. This is going to be the start of a crazy adventure :) And now I will go to bed, because it's 1:40AM and I leave in a few hours. PEACE, JERZ. RAMBLE ON