Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spontaneity and Change are NOT the Same

I've always been a fan of mixing things up.  I like to try new things (well except new food, which I have only recently been brave enough to branch out in) to bring more variety to life.  By very nature, I love being transient, moving from place to place and country to country.  It would seem to follow that I would also embrace change gladly, but I don't.

The truth is, that while I get the itch to change scenery every few years, I'm mostly a creature of habit.  I like my morning routines and knowing what I need to do to make things run smoothly at work. Every time I establish myself in a new venue, I quickly come up with a pattern to organize my days, and I generally stick with it, varying things only after considerable contemplation.

The thing that throws me off the most, however, is when the people I work with change.  New teachers always challenged me until I knew what they were looking for and how to achieve the best results.  New students at Winfield alway took a while to understand, especially when I had not anticipated a change.  When babies or staff at Mother's Choice would move on, I was always left with a tumult of emotions, which was ultimately the reason I moved on as well.

These days I have to DSL with postal customers closing their boxes, or office staff moving on to new jobs and being replaced by new mail droppers.  It always messes me up, and leaves me feeling like I've lost something, despite the fact that I typically only see them for a few minutes every week.

When I have been prepared for a change, I can generally manage to accept it with a certain level of understanding, but when a major switch up takes place without previous knowledge it is far more difficult to manage.  About a week ago the woman who has been the manager at our local Plaid Pantry since we arrived in the US a little over four years ago, has been replaced.  I don't know the circumstances, but I have been hugely distressed by this disruption to my regular life. She was there the first morning I walked my husband down to see the store where I used to buy candy as a child visiting my grandparents.  She was there every weekday morning for whatever little thing I needed to pick up, and frequently at other times when new people needed to be trained, or needed an unexpected break.  She was always friendly, and practiced the sort of customer service I seek to offer as well.  In short, she cared.  She remembered purchases, as well as the little bits of life that we shared back and forth.  

We are out of town a lot, and it has been difficult to get to know people in the neighborhood, let alone in the town in general.  I always appreciated the fact that, if I needed to see a smiling face I could walk down to the Plaid and share a moment of my day with Rachel.  I even brought her cookies at Christmas time, which in my busy holiday season really says something.

I haven't been brave enough to push and ask why she no longer works there.  I am hoping she has a new, better job, closer to where she lives.  I know that change is a part of life, and that he cranky grandma who now manages the place is not responsible for what feels like an injustice, but, suffice it to say, change is really not always my thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Musical Time Capsule

This week I filled my cars CD player with an assortment of mixes and discs from my Hong Kong era.  One, in particular, struck me profoundly as I listened through it.  All the songs were ones I still think are amazing, but the themes were definitely lacking in lightness.  As my mother has often pointed out, a least majority of them were downright depressing.  They are songs I have turned to on dark days, in times of stress, frustration, heartbreak, and general gloom.  

As I listened to them this week, with the sun streaming through the windows and my life in a very different location, I wondered what I would say to myself on the days when I was putting this assortment together.  I actually sent a message to the friend I made the mix for and asked if I was really such a drag to be around as my collection seemed to portray.  Was I so afraid, so alone, so desperately in need of escaping from myself, as these songs implied.

It fascinates me to see how much the music I listen to can sum up an era.  I haven't bought any new music in several years, not because I don't love it anymore, but because it is not in my budget, and so easily accessible online that it hasn't made sense to invest.  If I made a mix today, it would definitely be lacking in anything up to date, but I'd like to hope I would chose a few more hopeful songs with people, rather than those ones I turn to when I'm in need of serious music therapy :)