The first (official) trip, Washington DC

View from my hotel room

My first official trip (second overall) to Washington, DC, as SOI staff, occurred this week. I boarded the flight very nervous, even having some doubts about what I was getting myself into. I knew that the week would be filled with meetings and information overload. I also knew that I would need some down-time, alone, in order to properly process everything. 

So, that’s how the week went. Meetings throughout the day, alone time into the evenings as I read and wrote and relaxed. My boss has apparently talked me up to everyone, as there seem to be some high expectations already. I’m feeling very confident about it all, though. This is what I wanted; it’s a chance to use my existing skills/experience and challenge myself to gain new ones. 

I didn’t do any sightseeing. And, even though I brought my camera, it never found its way out of the bag. I kept telling myself, “you can photograph that on the next trip” as I simply wanted to take everything in, naturally. 

I’m also taking notes on my travel habits and tendencies with the hope that I can 1) establish a solid routine, 2) eat healthy consistently, and 3) be realistic about what to pack, with the goal of always packing as little as possible. These are all very important, as I will be traveling quite frequently. 

The shake up

On Monday, I start my new position as Senior Manager, Program Technologies for Special Olympics, Inc. The possibility of this happening has been in discussion for a while now, dating back to when I first became involved with supporting some of our World and National events, in 2011. But, even with all of the talk, the position wasn’t created until just recently. 

And then, once created, everything happened so quickly. So, so quickly. 

I’m looking forward to this for many reasons, like: 

  • An opportunity to challenge myself at a different level, moving from supporting programs in Southern California to being able to make an impact on all of the programs, across the globe. 
  • More focus on information technology strategies, and the opportunity to bring the organization up to speed with software and tech solutions to help run our programs better (and make it easier to do so). 
  • A whole new set of challenges to work through (my favorite part of working) and skills to learn. 
  • Opportunities to travel and see how programs are run in different geographies and cultures. 
  • Being able to stay with an organization that I believe in, and am passionate about. 

It wasn’t that I was looking to leave my job at Special Olympics Southern California. There are plenty of opportunities for me there, if I had stayed. It was more that this opportunity came along, with all positive things – both personal and professional – converging on it at the same time. Simply put, it was too good to pass up. 

Most of all, I’m anxious, nervous, excited, optimistic… happy. 

Just over a week to go

“No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself” ~Haruki Murakami

I’m collecting inspirational quotes in preparation for a series of presentations, workshops and meetings that I will be facilitating over the Summer. I’m charged with a lot of new responsibilities (at work), and really want to be sure that I take the right approach in “activating” my team to achieve the set goals and objectives we all face.

In my collecting, I’m findings words that are extremely relevant to my upcoming journey back to Korea. I still can’t believe I’m going back. In fact, I leave just over a week from today!

Love it or hate it, there’s no in-between

Usually, 90 minutes to the office and 120 minutes on the way home. Average. On the worst day, it took us just over 3 hours to get home. That was incredibly aggravating. They’re not kidding when they rank I-405 the worst freeway traffic in the country.

Thankfully, that commute is no longer a necessity. Now, it takes 12 minutes to get to the office, 15-20 to get home (depending on the traffic lights). Average.

This move, for that aspect alone, has been completely worth it. I’m experiencing less stress. We’re eating better (with more time to cook and prepare meals). We’re more active; more social with coworkers and friends. More peaceful in our lives and marriage.

But, there’s still Long Beach. There’s still the part of me that longs to be, well… elsewhere. Asking those who live here, you get two responses. Either they really love Long Beach, or they hate it. I’ve yet to get an answer like, “Well, it’s okay”.

My verdict is still TBD. We’ve walked through downtown, which is great. We’ve driven through some neighborhoods, both good and bad, that keep us wondering about our decision.

I think I just need more time to discover and get used to this city.