Friday, December 31, 2004

Here it is...

...the final one of the year.

Emily's in India. The family's in Monteverde. Alex is working. I'm alone for New Year's. This sucks.

Panera's has become my new favorite hangout. I just order a cappuchino, plug in my laptop, and off to happy land we go.

This is what I came up with:

Presenting 2004

January. I don't remember anything cool happening in January. (But I'm sure Emily will remember something for me and be angry at me for not remembering)

February. The drama with Alex and Sandra begins. Alex moves out. Drama, drama, drama.

March. And now for a taste of things to come. I see John Kerry speak in Orlando on March 3. Out of about 2000 people standing in line, only about 150 get in. I was about the 5th to last person to get in. I see him speak a week later in Ybor with Emily (who is really sick). I get to shake his hand. I also meet Allan Oliver in March, and so begins my LCV oddysey. I basically stop worrying about school work and start spending a lot of time volunteering for LCV.

April. April started off with National I'm Embarassed by my President Day. I put a brown ribbon on the antenna of my car; somebody pulls off my antenna and pours soda or beer all over my car. I also actually meet John Kerry on April 20th and a small rally on Tampa Bay. Helped plan Earth Day at Rollins. Gave a mini-speech at the kickoff of the EVP and then went to DC with Emily and Margeaux. Skipped work at the Cheesecake Factory for the March...never went back. Allan offers me a job as team leader with LCV. I accept.

May. Graduation! China! EVP! I started as a team leader 2 weeks early. Brian Riley never showed up. Another team leader never shows up either (don't remember his name). The other team leader (Raina) and I don't really get along. Stress.

June. I meet John Kerry again on June 1. I quit LCV the next day. A week later I go back and do some volunteering. I have terrible feelings of guilt for quitting, but I am not ready to devote that many hours. Steve steps in and takes over Red Team. He does a kick ass job; he turns into the cool team leader.

July. Emily and I go watch the July 4th fireworks in Sarasota. I sell a bunch of T-shirts at a theater showing Fahrenheit 9/11. I worked at MGM during most of the month of July. I got really fat because of Kraft services. Spent a lot of time volunteering with LCV. Emily is in Sarasota all summer going to summer school.

August. The start of the never ending hurricane season. Charlie postpones the start of school for Emily. The campaign gets sidelined. I crawl back to Allan and ask him if I can be an organizer for the fall. A few days later he offers me a job as a team leader. I accept, get the keys to a van, and move into LCV housing.

September. More hurricanes. The campaign stalls. I get fatter from all the fast food. I hardly see Emily. I'm working 100 hour weeks. I don't have time to sleep, shower, or do laundry. I took Emily out to Hue for her birthday. I got her the Sims 2 and diamond earrings as gifts.

October. RED SOX BEAT THE YANKEES IN 7 GAMES. RED SOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES. I AM NOW A WORLD CHAMPION AND ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS CAN NOT TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME! Nothing else matters....but....the campaign is kicking into high gear. People from all over the country pour in. I turn 26. My team keeps getting bigger (even though I keep having problems with Chip). I get assigned 42 precincts to organize for the weekend before Election Day. We also have to deal with over 40 out of state volunteers staying in Kissimmee.

November. On Election Day my team canvassed 144 canvassing shifts. We still lose. I go to Emily's hours after the polls close and fall asleep. The next day I went back to office and cried. Like a girl. All morning. I spent 8 more days in LCV housing. I got a job at Kres. I crashed at Emily's. I got an apartment with Crissie. Thanksgiving at Emily's.

December. More work at Kres Chophouse. I pick up every shift that I can. The week before Christmas I worked 8 shifts (out of a possible 11). I spend Christmas with Emily's family because my family is in Costa Rica. Emily goes to India. I spend New Year's Eve with Steve eating pizza and watching South Park in my apartment.

Come on 2005, what do you have in store?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

This is my JET essay...

I Want to Spend the Next Year in Japan

I have always done a lot of traveling; by the time I was twenty-one I had stepped foot on four continents. Growing up, I spent school years in Massachusetts with my mother and summers in the Western Pacific with my father. I also lived in England for a year, and in the last eighteen months I have visited England, Costa Rica, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and China.

My father lives in Saipan, which is the largest and most populous island in the Northern Mariana Islands. The journey from Massachusetts to Saipan usually had a layover in Narita; as a result, I’ve been to Japan at least fourteen times. However, every visit was the same. Fly into Narita. Spend the night in a hotel. Fly out the next morning. I have always wanted to spend more time in Japan, but the situation never presented itself.

I have many reasons for wanting to spend time in Japan. I have always been interested in studying the country because Saipan was once a Japanese territory. During World War II, while my father’s family was hiding out in caves, my maternal grandfather was storming the beaches on Tinian, an island three miles south of Saipan.

I have taken several Japanese culture classes at the University of Richmond; I also made several Japanese friends. One of my best friends is a girl named Akiko. I also went to England with a student named Norito. Listening to their stories (especially about Japanese baseball and Tokyo Disneyland!) has always made me want to visit Japan.

I first heard about JET when I was a student at the University of Richmond, and applied in 2000. Unfortunately, I was not accepted. Undaunted, I worked for a couple of years, saving money for my return to college—this time, I would work harder and receive better grades. I successfully graduated earlier this year from Rollins College with my second bachelor’s degree and the distinction of Environmental Studies Student of the Year. After devoting my summer to an environmental advocacy organization, I am spending this year in Orlando with my fiancée, Emily, who graduates from Rollins College in May. Emily and I want to spend next year living in Japan. We researched several programs, including NOVA and AEON, and decided that JET was superior. We believe that the JET program provides American college graduates with the best and most exciting opportunity to live, work, and learn in Japan. The program’s placement, housing, transportation, and compensation are infinitely more attractive than other programs. We are specifically interested in the Assistant Language Teacher position because we both want to work with young people and sharpen our skills as instructors, especially Emily, who wants to be an English professor.

I am an excellent candidate for the ALT position. Although I have never been a teacher in a formal classroom setting, I taught a staff of eight organizers and hundreds of volunteers the fundamentals of campaign canvassing and grassroots organizing for the League of Conservation Voters last summer. I was also a corporate trainer for Wolfgang Puck Café. I trained servers, server assistants, food runners and hosts for over two years. I also became the company’s youngest manager at 22.

Once I am accepted, I have two goals that I want to achieve as an ALT. First and foremost, I want to be an ambassador for America. The world holds many misconceptions about Americans; I want to dispel these notions and make a lasting positive impression on the people that I will meet. I also want to learn Japanese language, custom, and culture. The ability to speak Japanese will help me in my future business ventures in Saipan and in the United States. Tourism is the largest industry in Saipan, and most of the tourists come from Japan. One of the most successful business owners I know is my Godmother, Frances. She is one of the few locals on Saipan who speak Japanese. Her language skills have been invaluable in her dealings with Japanese investors in Saipan.

I believe I have the right combination of educational, work, and international travel experience to be a perfect candidate for the ALT position. In the four years since I first applied to JET, I have worked very hard studying and working so that I would be more competitive in the job market, and in doing so, I have also made myself a stronger candidate for JET. I hope I am given the chance to prove myself right.

Click HERE to read Nina's SOP.

Click HERE to read Chris's SOP.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Dinner at Kres Chophouse

Emily and I had a wonderful time last night. She shipped out to India earlier this afternoon, so we treated last night as our pseudo-new year's celebration. We went to Kres for happy hour and used my gift certificate. We had a really great time sitting in the bar. We had four appetizers, the cheese fondue, calamari, tuna, and beef carpaccio and a whole bunch of drinks (won't say how many).

Afterwards we went over to Sandra's to celebrate Tiana's 4th birthday. I gave her a giant Patrick doll (from Sponge Bob Square Pants) and a bunch of Dr. Seuss books. She already had two of the books, so I'm going to return them and get a couple of books that she doesn't already have. We ate some pink cake, watched a really horrible ballet video, and then Emily and I came home and passed out (we are such an exciting couple!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The first post

I am applying for the JET program. I sent in my application about a week and a half before the deadline of December 1st. I received a letter stating that they had received my application a couple of weeks later.

It is now the end of December, but I feel like I sent in my application months ago. Hopefully I will find out in January if I am being granted an interview.

(I'll give more details later...I don't feel like writing)

Random photos posted over the years: