Sunday, October 11, 2009

You're gonna be my bruise.

A lot has happened since the last time I posted. And that is an understatement. So before anyone jumps on me for my terrible blogging skills, I promise you there are many good reasons why blogging has been the last thing on my mind for the last 2 months.

I think the last time I updated was the last time I was really happy here. Life has been all downhill since August 26th. Why you ask? Well I’ll start at the beginning . . .

Probably a week after that last post I got the terrible awful news that I would be permanently transferred to another location within Hollywoodland. I was working in the morning that day, and my friend Stacey who is from Ireland comes from the stockroom in a daze and just stands next to me and tells me she’s “being deported to another area.” I thought her word usage was funny. She told me then that I was on the list as well. For the rest of the day after I got confirmation I sat in the manager’s office and cried. I got paid for 6 hours of crying that day. No joke. I had two weeks left on Hollywood Blvd before being banished to Sunset Blvd.

Problem number uno. One of those weeks was to be spent in the Backlands (which just sounds like a punishment doesn’t it?) so I didn’t even have my 2 weeks to take in everything that was amazing in my area. I had 4 days.

Problem numero two. The transfer fell on the week of my birthday. I had requested September 22nd off in May to make sure I got it. With training though this meant that I might not have it off, and guess what. Of course I didn’t. And I really do know that this is the single straw that broke the camels back. This is the thing that makes me the angriest about Disney in my 5 months here. I am not a difficult employee. I don’t call in. I don’t ask to go home early. I don’t ask for days off. In fact that is the only day that I have ever asked off and it was approved in May. They wonder why so many college program kids don’t make it to the end of their program. Yes, some of them are stupid and do ridiculous things that are going to get them kicked out, but when you tell us we will have a day off and then take it back and schedule us 10 and 11 days in a row without a day off, there is only so much 18-22 year olds can take. We have no time for ourselves here and I can tell you for sure that if I had not been through all of my changes and moves and the need to be strong in times of weakness, I would have crumbled long ago.

Next was my birthday. Which despite the having to work the day of went off ok. I didn’t do anything exciting, but then again I turned 23. I have just realized also that I have not yet had to tell anyone out loud that I am 23. I don’t know how that is going to go when I need to. I can’t believe I’m that number. I feel like I should be in love. I feel like I should be doing something I love, not slaving for Disney. I feel like I should be doing a lot of things that these 23-year-old eyes have never seen. The only thing good about being 23 is that I eternally look 17. Twilight? Spring Awakening? Apparently these are my destiny.

Here’s my last complaint I promise. I have been working on Sunset for 3 weeks I think. All it took was 3 weeks for “them” to start sending me all over the universe again. I’m in the Backlands again all this week. And that’s fine, I don’t mind being a little nomad, but I wish they would just put that in my notes. “Lauren does not belong to any area. She is a nomad.” I thought all the moving around would stop when I moved. I thought that was the point of the transfer, to even out the number of cast members in each area, to make schedules more stable for all CPs (college program kids). Apparently it did not or else Disney scheduling just doesn’t know what it wants. One fun fact though: after this week I will have worked at every shop in Hollywoodland. I’m the only person I know that can say that. I like that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She's so lucky, she's a star.

Sometimes I look out my window and think, ‘oh, that looks nice. That doesn’t look like the place I live. It looks peaceful and calm.’ And then I rush out 15 minutes later and remember that this is exactly where I live and this is exactly how it feels to live here…stressful.

People always want what they can’t have. Each time someone would visit me at school in Arizona they would comment on how fabulous it would be to live there. Perfect weather, perfect temperature, perfect, perfect, perfect. But you know what? After just one summer of constant 115 degree heat and having to go to school and work everyday, it starts to become less perfect and more like just home or just the place where I live. The summers are too hot, but by October when the tourists are still wearing shorts and tanks, I’m freezing. It begins to lose its magic. Those same thoughts my friends had that I also used to share are gone. And all of a sudden it’s just a place.

This rule does not seem to apply at Disney World. I’ve lived here only 3 months and a few days so maybe I’m not the best source right now, but everything is still magical. Sure the long weeks are tiring and work just seems like work five to seven or sometimes even more days a week, but the second I step into a park as a guest it’s like Tinkerbell has just flown by and blurred my vision with pixie dust. I forget about backstage, stock rooms, managers, co-workers, and the weird living situation I call home and remember that I live in Disney World. I get free entry to Disney parks around the world that some families save up for years to come to. Everything I take for granted and everything I tell myself I hate those five or more days a week I have to clock in and out does not compare to that perfect moment when you’re walking down main street with Cinderella’s castle in front of you. I’m a pretty lucky little nomad, sometimes it just takes a little bit for me to remember that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A summer wind that no one yet has known

Having lived in Arizona for almost four years of my life, I can’t say that Florida has been much different. Sure there is humidity and the almost constant downpour of random rain just minutes after the hot, sweltering sun beats down on you, but apart from those two weird weather phenomena I can’t say it feels like much has changed. I’m used to the heat and I really love it, but the past few weeks I have found myself longing for a Midwest autumn, something I haven’t experienced since I was a senior in high school. That was only four years ago, but I can say the thing I miss the absolute most about my lovely Chicago suburb is watching the leaves change and the gradual nip that bites your face as the autumn winds begin to blow.

I miss the summer blowout I used to make myself have every year on my birthday. I have always thought I had a cool birthday, some years it was summer, and other years it was already fall. September 22 was always a magical day for me. I am a summer girl through and through. I love the sun and the pool/ocean (whatever happens to be around at the time). I love tank tops and flip flops and when I was in high school I would refuse to wear anything with sleeves until after my birthday, trying to hold onto summer as long as I possibly could. And even though September 22 is still a magical day (maybe a little less magical now that I have passed the 21 mark and am now sadly just getting older), it doesn’t have the same appeal as it used to. Last year it was almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit on my birthday, and this year I’m sure it will be the same. I will wear a tank top on Septemeber 23 and probably still be too hot. I miss the fall. It’s the little things I hold onto from home that I love, and this little nomad will always be a Midwestern, big city girl as long as I live.

Now that September 22 is rapidly approaching, I am beginning to miss the most magical of all the season changes to me. I really have no desire to go home (I do miss my family, but they are all coming to visit within the next 2 months!) but I do miss seeing all 4 seasons, except for the nearly 6 months of winter which is the only time I’m ever home anymore!
On the bright side, I’m about to experience a lot of things I never have before! This will be my first hurricane season (Yay?) and what I’m most excited for, the holidays at Disney. Halloween decorations will begin to go up soon and as my favorite holiday I am already planning out costumes and trips to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The loss of Disney magic from being a cast member is definitely starting to return and the thought of Halloween makes Orlando feel a little bit more like home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to go, this is goodbye she said. Does it ever get easier to live like this?

best guy friend (night before I'm leaving yet again): I don't know how you do it.

me: I don't know how you do it. I would go crazy here, I am going crazy here. (After a little less than 5 months!)

him: I would be content staying in Chicago the rest of my life, and I probably will. Although I do wish I could be a little more like you, pick up and leave whenever I feel like it.

me: You know I wish I could be a little more like you. I wish I could be content somewhere, but I haven't found that place yet. I'll let you know when I do.

him: Well until then, keep in touch my little nomad girl.

I've heard those words one too many times, and frankly I'm not good at KIT. I have those friends I have had since I was little and I will always keep in touch with them, but really there are friends everywhere and I have no problems making new ones along the way. It can make for a pretty lonely journey at times though and I have gotten pretty accustomed to doing almost any type of activity by myself. And all of this moving and traveling have shaped me into this person that I absolutely love and am so proud of today!

But who am I? My name is Lauren and I come from the wonderful, beautiful city of Chicago. I spent 18 years growing up in the western suburbs of the city and couldn't imagine growing up in anything less than a huge city atmosphere, part of what drives me to my unknown finish line today. In high school I had my first experience abroad, spending 2 weeks with an amazing Spanish family on an exchange program through my school. I was terrified and thought I would never make it through those 2 weeks, but I loved every second of it and was bit with this terrible travel bug that haunts me every single day. High school graduation came along and I made my first real move across the country to attend Arizona State University. I had a wonderful 3 1/2 years there and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in December 2008. For the first half of 2008 I studied abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and found the one place I have ever been truly happy. I made the most amazing friends in Sydney and had so many new and wonderful experiences. During my 6 months there I was fortunate enough to travel to both Thailand and New Zealand for a week each, as well as much of Australia's East Coast. Since then I have been itching to go back, and I know I will someday to live there longterm.

Back to today, I am currently participating in the Disney College Program for the Fall Advantage session 2009. I work in merchandise at Disney's Hollywood Studios in by far the best area anywhere! I am in love with Disney and the people I have met here, but of course like anything else it is definitely not all it is set up to be. I have been here almost exactly 3 months and just recently I have begun to feel that itch that it's time to move on and try something new. I love it here, but I'm performing a job I did throughout college and I want to move on to bigger and better things, or at least a different role here! I have until January at least though, and for now this blog is going to be the ups and downs of a Disney cast member.