Back at JMU

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This blogpost is clearly overdue since I've been in Harrisonburg since July 31st. Oh well.

Being back at JMU is exactly what I needed right now. I needed to be surrounded by people I love, I needed to be doing what I love, I needed to be in a town that I love. Everything about JMU means love to me.

When I arrived I spent a lot of time fixing up my room....and sleeping. Then at the end of the first week FINALLY some people from my program were really around to start hanging out with. I've never spent so much money in one week in my life. We were at bars and restaurants and doing other fun activities - thank god LCPS is still paying me or I would have been mega screwed. It's been so great getting to know everyone, and I've already developed a close relationship with a couple people in my CPSA cohort. I'm thinkin' we're gonna be a great support system through our difficult journey as graduate students.

I started my new job earlier this week as well. I'm the GA for Substance Education, meaning that I am responsible for teaching the Calling the Shots alcohol class while I supervise 4 Program Assistants who teach the By the Numbers class. From what I understand, the students that will be in my class have more serious charges, like they are on their second strike or they got a serious alcohol charge, etc. It's a 3 week class that meets once each week for 2 hours. Looking at the curriculum is definitely making me a little nervous just because I have to be well versed in the world of alcohol. At the same time, I'm really excited to learn about tolerance and trigger levels and many other things. I'm also looking forward to taking "field trips" with my supervisor to different stores in the area where we look at the alcohol displays to stay current with what's available in Harrisonburg. I'm also responsible for staying as current as I can in the world of alcohol and drug news, so it's fun to go searching news articles for the new fads. Tomorrow I meet my PAs and I'm super excited to get to know them and train them for their classes as well. I'm sad that my direct supervisor is leaving Judicial Affairs to move to SWO but at least she'll still be on campus so I can still see her - she's phenomenal! Totally someone I love to work with, very relaxed and hands off and super intelligent and knowledgeable about alcohol. I'll miss her!

My apartment is great too, except I'm a little sad that Muñeca refuses to go downstairs (it's a 3 story condo and I'm on the 3rd floor) because she's too afraid of my roommates kitten. Hopefully she'll get over it soon because I don't want her to feel trapped like a princess in a tower. She's doing well though, and I did a lot of decorating in the house so it feels homey. The downstairs level is sunflower themed with sunflower pillows on the couches, sunflower table cloths and accessories, even sunflower febreeze. It's that serious. In fact, I actually made the sunflower pillows and I reupholstered the couch to make it yellow just so I could keep with the theme. Here are a couple of pictures of the first level:

Kitchen/Dining Room

Living Room

So there you have it. That's basically what my life at JMU currently consists of. I'll keep you posted on what else is going on - though knowing me it'll take me another 6 months to blog so I'd just follow my Twitter if you really wanna know.

In the spirit of Tacos,

Muñeca's Story

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Meet Muñeca, my 12 year old kitty, who I love and adore with every ounce of my being.

Yesterday I was at lunch with Dan and my family, and while we were talking about a wide variety of things, the story of my kitty Muñeca came up. When I got Muñeca I was only about 10 years old so I honestly was too young for me to either remember being told this story or too young to be told because it's sad and depressing.

Earlier that year my mom got me a guinea pig, and man, I HATED that stinking thing. It would bite us, it was angry, it pooped every 2 minutes, the cage stunk and eventually got maggots in it because I didn't know how to clean it well. It was a disaster. So much for my first real pet that was all mine to take care of! Yes, I was 10, so you can't blame me too much. My grandma saw that I was struggling to take care of that guinea pig (whose name I don't even remember by the way) and she told me one day that she'd trade it to me for a kitty. I thought HELL YES I want a cat so bad, so without thinking too hard about it, I accepted the offer. A few days later grandma brings me a beautiful little baby kitten, covered in black fur from head to toe, small enough to fit comfortably in my hand. She was mine, that's all I cared about. This was SO much better than my baby dolls, I felt like I was caring for a real baby, a living and breathing creature. And so our love began....

Yesterday, however, I learned the real story about Muñeca's background. One of my grandma's friends (Adelaida) who lived in D.C. apparently became very friendly with an alley cat. The poor alley cat was pregnant but had no access to food so Adelaida started to feed her regularly. If you didn't know this already, in D.C. a lot of houses have windows with bars on them, kinda looking like jail almost. The alley cat started climbing in through the bars and would wait for Adelaida to feed her everyday. Finally one day the alley cat gave birth to a bunch of adorable kittens. Soon after the alley cat left with all of her kittens, but my poor Muñeca got STUCK in the window! Either she was too afraid of heights or too scared to leave the comfort of the window sill we will never know, but Adelaida saw the poor little kitten and told Grandma, who then asked me if I wanted to give her a new home.

Little did I know when Muñeca turned up on my door step that she was an abandoned kitten left behind by a D.C. alley cat. When my mom told me this story yesterday, now 12 years later from when that happened, I began to tear up. No wonder Muñeca is so strong, she has been through so much. I'm so thankful to God for bringing her into my life because we have made it through THE WORST. To say that she is my best friend is a huge understatement, because she means so much more to me than that. And now, here we are, in good ol' Harrisonburg, VA on our new adventure together. I just can't wait to continue sharing my life with the one creature on this earth that has always had my unconditional love. Thank you Muñeca for everything you've given me, I hope I have given you enough back.

Momma Taco