Honestly. This is the shortest blog post ever from me by far, but I wanted to bookmark this moment so I don’t let time slip by again! I can’t believe it’s been days since my last update, for shame. With trips and networking and life, it’s been a bit nutty. But back on track next week for some more interesting stuff, promise.
Tag Archives: opportunity
Although I am thousands of miles away, every April my heart goes right back to the dirt streets of Feria, where horses are ridden down temporary paths, skirts swish and drinks are poured by the dozen. I’ve never seen anything like it in person before – in the middle of nowhere on a massive abandoned lot in Seville, Spain, a pop-up tent city is erected and filled with traditional dancing, meals, music and lights that flicker until dawn.
Every year the massive archway, that is dozens of feet high, marks the entrance to the temporary chaos of Feria day and night (seen on the bottom right of the photo). The design is changed every year to highlight some of man’s accomplishments – when I was there in 2010, there was a nod to the birth of aviation.
The whole thing goes on for a week, with months to prepare. Women wear traditional flamenco-style dresses and the males often dress as horsemen. Families have their spot carved out for years and each clan owns a tent with a wooden platform to create their very own bar/restaurant/dance floor that’s invite-only. Everyone does the Sevillana, which is a kind of flamenco line dance that locals have mastered since birth, done in partners or in groups (usually just the girls). There are larger public tents for the common folk and tourists to enjoy, plus food vendors, live music, drinks and anything else you might need to throw a giant outdoor party. Not to mention the actual carnival for kids attached, complete with rides and coasters and plenty of bad 80s music to go around.
Who knew I would acquire a taste for “rebujito“, a supposedly cold drink almost always served warm, made of sherry and lemon-lime soda. After the third or seventeenth shooter though, it wasn’t so awful. It certainly helped get me on the dance floor more often than I would sans rebujito!
I had a dream that I was going to make a mini documentary about being an au pair in Seville someday and the wonders of Feria. It might still happen, but for now I think it’s time to unearth some of the footage I took while in the city.
For example, see below. Raquel, out faithful dance teacher, did the impossible – this poor girl took a room full of bumbling foreigners from a half-dozen different countries and turned us into passable Sevillana dancers. Here she is demonstrating how to use a shawl while moving to the rhythm.
The work paid off, as my friends and I were invited to a couple of private tents, allowing us to see how the locals do it and do it flawlessly. I later crashed my way through the steps in the public areas, but for that evening I simply watched in awe and wished I could absorb this infectious Spirit, or as they call it, “duende”.
With all this tradition floating around, making you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, it’s refreshing to be a little progress among the polka-dot ruffles and shots of sherry. These handsome gentlemen took the stage in one of the public tents and showed everyone up. Work. Bravo.
If you want to even dream about hitting Feria one of these days, plan way, way in advance. Unless you have an in or some friends who live in the city, accommodations are booked months in advance. I would suggest couch surfing or even a home swap/stay around that time, unless you have the cash to drop on an inflated hotel price. I was lucky to be an au pair living downtown at the time, sporting prime real estate near all the action.
In an upcoming post I’ll highlight the Holy Week too, which happens before Feria for the seven days leading up to Easter. Sevillanos do holidays right and shut down their entire city for parades, processions, food, partying and dancing until dawn. This is all BEFORE Feria too! Then I took off to Lagos, Portugal, for another party, but that’s another story.
Freelancer Tip #3: Listen, you are on the job even when you are not on the job. Of course enjoy your trips and live free, but don’t miss the chance to jot down some notes about a potential article angle or spend some time snapping well-composed landscape photos. Stay curious, even when home – you never know who will contact you about a lead or image request, so be constantly collecting and learning.
It’s time to switch gears. Honestly I thought it would take longer to get my feet wet in the industry and figured I’d be hosting at restaurants until I was wrinkly. But as luck and hard work has it, I haven’t set foot inside a sports bar for months and no longer need to bus dirty dishes to get by.
While I muse and reflect the blog is going to change over to my adventures here and abroad so I have a base to go on. Things are happening fast and I’m having a strong desire to be tethered somewhere solid, despite by unquenchable wanderlust in real life and online.
For now the focus will shift into travel – the broad and awe-filled topic that many choose to chase and others are left wondering how great it really can be. I hope to immerse myself in it, the one thing that’s consistently let me feel alive. A scary though, while love and faith and worry tend to ebb and flow throughout my life, the absolute need to see everything, in person, all over the world, has never left me. I want to share that deep desire with everyone.
Officially, I am no longer unemployed. I am SELF employed, which is something I never thought I’d say. It’s time to embrace this, realize it, roll with it and carry on. I’m thrilled and terrified all at once, but I alone am in control now and it feels wonderful.
I haven’t quite decided if I should keep going here or go out elsewhere. BECAUSE, I have arrived. I am no longer unemployed. Sortof.
Jobs are flowing in, if not perfectly steady, and my numbers continue to rise. My reviews are flawless and most clients are satisfied with what I’m doing for them on a freelancing basis. I’ve found that with a lot of my clients I’ve been moving into a different direction, encompassing more marketing and social media help. Thta’s fine by me, it’s still somewhat steady.
Now, for the challenges. One, time management. I have absolutely none. It’s very late and I’m blogging now to continue to avoid the task at hand. Which reminds me, I should get back to work.
But good news? Yeah, free trip to Mexico. It happened. In less than six months of venturing out on my own I earned a press trip to beautiful Mazatlan to rub shoulders with some incredible personalities and writers for a week. Oh and enjoy some time at the spa, ziplining, drinking tequila and dining on all the shrimp I could eat. Things are happening. It’s all happening.
Job Hunt Tip #9: Confidence is key, but don’t be an egomaniac. Feed on a few recent compliments and use your best assets of charm and grace to snag that interview.
After a year and a half at the content writing company, I’ve decided to navigate my own waters and become the captain of my own ships. I thanked them for the opportunity and moved onto hopefully bigger and better things, taking the skills I learned with me. What a ride. Most days I would pump out 4,000 word a day, answer client communications, peer-edit and maybe squeeze in a meeting or two. With some proper vacation days, regular hours or wages, this would be tolerable, but unfortunately, we did not receive any of that. One day, in a cloud of anxiety and way after the sun went down, I looked around my office and thought, enough. I know now what to do and what’s expected in this writing world, I should cut out the middle man and do it myself.
And that’s what I did.
So now I’m back to being unemployed sort of. But I feel much more in control of the situation and excited about my future. Already I landed a few gigs through a great freelancing website that seems to be wonderfully easy in finding fun projects. In two days I crafted a funny blog on how to get your ex back as well as a post on teen confidence. One of the best parts of this new venture? Both of these short assignments paid 5 times as much as any story I wrote for the big content writing mill.
Now, all I need are a few more jobs…!
Job Hunt Tip #7: Following up is essential. ESSENTIAL. When you compete for attention, having your name come up a couple times in e-mails helps. A short, friendly and professional inquiry after your initial application doesn’t hurt at all.
A great friend of mine in college once crashed into my dorm room and started yelling my name. He said, “Eileen, Eileen, get up!” I kept shouting back, “UURUUUMPF”, or something like that.
When I finally started to get a grip on conscious reality, I started smiling and poking fun at this unabashed intrusion. I told him, “OK, alright, I’m up, I’m uuuup. I’m a queen, here I am, I’m going to change the world! Bring it on!” I raised my fist in the air triumphantly.
He said, “Eileen, if you’re going to change the world, you have to get out of bed first.”
Well. Really now.
My biggest most awful flaw is that I am so. Tragically. Lazy. Exactly half of me wants to change the world and fix all it’s problems and solve hunger and meet everyone alive and love until it hurts.
The exact other half of me wants a big fat, free paycheck to cover me for a life of curling up in bed forever in hazy contentment.
It is a constant struggle that I always wonder about, because if things were handed to me, which would I choose? Would I stay in bed or get up?
So recently, ish, I did land a job. I am now a content writer at the downtown company. I truly enjoy the work, which is a great start. It has been far from easy, but I try to consistently create content that’s interesting and thoughtful. Time constraints don’t allow for this, well, almost ever, but I still try. I’ve hit the six month mark, which is a big deal for me. Who knows where this will go, where this will lead me. Although the position itself has been challenging, it’s good to sit still for two seconds and think. More on all this later.
Next time I won’t wait six months to try to squeeze in everything that’s going on.
Job Hunt Tip #6: If the dream job ends up being a nightmare, try to give it a chance. Hard work usually pays off, especially in writing. If perfect positions grew from trees, a lot more people would be happy. So, if you’ve become employed and aren’t completely thrilled, wait a while if it’s tolerable and see where the wind takes you.