Small, tiny, world...

I just sent the below Facebook message to several girlfriends from high school...

So you know (or maybe not) I live in MS part of the year, France part of the year and London for a little in the summer....I'm back in MS for a few months until I move back to France in Feb. I was walking up the stairs to my office this morning and heard someone say, "well look who it is...."

I looked up and there was this guy standing there, on the landing halfway between the 3rd and 4th floors (my office is on the 4th) looking at me.

"Hiiii, how you doing?" I said, as I continued to go up the stairs - it was one of those, "clearly he made a mistake, he thinks I'm someone else, but I'm not going to make him feel like and ass, so I'll just say hi and go on". Because I didn't know him.

But then I stopped and did a double take - wait - I knew him.

No I didn't.

Yes I did.

No, he just looks familiar...

You can imagine my face going back and forth like this...I acted as "normal" as possible as he walked up the stairs with me, and I asked questions like, "what are you doing here...are you planning to study abroad....again"? The whole time trying to place what part of my life I knew this random dude from! I thought, "did he go to the Abbey with me as a student in 2004?", no, I don't remember him from there..."did he go to HIGH SCHOOL with me?" Nooooo....that's not possible, why would anyone from my high school be here in Hattiesburg, MS? That's too random, think smaller Jess....the whole time he's talking I'm hearing only bits and pieces of what he's saying because I'm starting to feel like I should know him and it's been a really long time, and if I can't place him soon it's going to drive me crazy.

So anyway...I learned from those few minutes that he was just starting his degree here, he had filled out one of our interest cards but no one ever got back to him so he was in our office yesterday to see Dr. Steen (my Director) about a Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad, and noticed my name on the wall (outside my office) and thought, "it can't be the same Jessica Lamb..."

What does THAT mean?

He left, and I sat down at my desk going INSANE! I told my colleague about it, she asked "Jessica, why the HELL didn't you ask him his name?"

BECAAAAAAUSE something told me I was supposed to know him and that I COULDN'T ask his name because that would have been so insulting and show just how awful a memory I have....

He came back....he said, "I just wondered when a good time would be to catch up on old times...."

"Well, why don't you just come on in right now! Let's catch up! And since you already mentioned you gave us your information and we didn't contact you, go ahead and fill out another form and I'll put you on our list RIGHT NOW"

"Sure, I can do that - what information do you want?"

"Full name, ID#, email address...."

"Alright. So, how's your dad?"

WHAT?? This dude knows my dad....WHERE do I KNOW him from!?!?!?

He finished filling out the card and I checked out his name....

EDWAND RIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's when I started to FREAK OUT.


You guys....I feel like I'm having an out of body experience. He asked me if I keep in touch with anyone, I told him only what I know from my own facebook stalking....IT WAS CRAZY!

So now Ed goes to college at USM - random.

Just had to share this moment with you guys, hope it was entertaining for you too.

Much love!


grad school drop-out...

I withdrew from graduate school yesterday. I've been part-time for a year. Don't worry, I only have 9 hours under my belt due to not being able to take classes in the spring.

My friend Ronnie said to me, "Lamb, that's like, a THIRD of the way done!" Yes...okay, it is. BUT, at the rate I've been going it would be a least another two whole years before I could finish (and that's not including writing a thesis).

It hit me the other day, "I'm unhappy!"

It was an enlightening moment when I realized I've been so miserable lately because I'm completely overwhelmed. I can see now that it started months ago, probably around the time I returned from The Abbey. Since then I've been overworked, over-programmed, I haven't had enough "me" time, I don't get enough time to cultivate the relationships that are so important to me, or enough time to volunteer, or enough time to just read for pleasure! There were issues with the house right when I returned from London, I don't feel like I had a break between BSP and walking back into the office Monday (yes, I realize taking the weekend to go to AR in search of a bridesmaid dress was my choice, but also my duty as MOH, and I wanted to go), I've moved three times in less than a year (house, Pontlevoy, London), started graduate school in a program I now realize I "settled" for just to start a degree...

The list goes on but you catch my drift.

I came to the swift realization that I have ZERO interest in spending another moment of my precious time completing a degree I was pursuing "to have a degree". When I asked myself, "why are you in graduate school?" the only answer I could honestly state was, "to put it on my resume?"

WHAT? That's never been me. No, thank you.

Could I continue and complete the degree and do very well in the program? Yes, of course - but I don't WANT to. The professors are wonderful, I will miss being in class, and I was learning a lot, yes, but I have no interest in taking a Communication master's degree anywhere further. So why continue just to finish and be miserable along the way? I even went to the Department's welcome-back-to-school picnic the other day, just to be sure I wasn't having one of my flighty moments...but I didn't waiver.

Before I clicked "the button" - the button that would drop me from ALL classes - I sent an short email to dear friends and family I trust, just asking their thoughts. The reactions were different but similar. Everyone told me to do what is best for me.

Kim called to say, "I don't know why you even sent that email out, the fact that you sent it means you've already made up your mind to do it because you don't talk about things like this unless you've already decided what to do, so why do you care what anyone's opinion is?"

Ha! She's so right!

Sweet Lolly shared her 100-Page-Rule, "I have a 100 Page Rule when I read a book. I give it 100 pages to draw me in. If it doesn't happen by that 100th page - I put it down and give it away. There are too many lovely books to read and my time is too precious to waste." She said that it was clear I had reached my 100-page-limit!

Holly agreed with Lolly - and her response has been my favorite so far, "Finishing for the sake of finishing is no good. Would you finish all the french fries just because they are there - even if you knew it was going to stress you out because you ate them all? Would you drink a bad martini or would you order something else? Would you keep a dress you didn't really like that cost you $200 or would you return it and get a dress that you did like? Would you date a guy you weren't totally in love with just because you invested time and effort or would you "quit" him because that is the right thing to do (we know your answer to this one)? Life is too short. Say adios to this program and do something you like. You are awesome."

So, I did it. I clicked the button yesterday. That was an event in itself. I had to complete a survey questioning why I was leaving - and then a screen popped up sharing all the departments that would be notified of my "dropping out". Luckyday was one of them and I didn't have the option to un-click it even though I don't receive any aid from them anymore. For those of you who don't know, The Luckyday Scholarship is a service-learning-based scholarship I was a part of in undergrad and am now still involved in as part of the Alumni Board. I was instructed to phone the Director PIROR to my completing the withdrawal process. The number listed was Staci's - so I called, and informed her of my decision. I have always been one to follow the rules and do things, "the right way". She said very few students actually call, so I was setting a great example! Thanks Staci :)

At the very end of the survey I was told that personnel from our retention office would be in contact with me over the next 48 hours to discuss my decision.

NOOOOOO! I don't want to TALK about it anymore!

Then it occurred to me that the Office of Retention is down the hall from my office - I KNOW those people! So I marched down to see Dr. Kemker. Laura was on the phone so I walked right into his office, sat down, and the word vomit commenced. I think, by the sight of his grinning the entire time I spoke without breathing, he found amusement in my story?

"Hi, can I come in? I just clicked that button to drop ALL my classes so I'm withdrawing from Graduate School, I'm just not happy and it's the right thing for me to do but I don't want anyone to call me to talk about my decision so I'm here talking to you right now, I'm not a lost student, there's no saving me, I'm dropping out to pursue other opportunities that are more important to me and my life path at this point in time...."

"Hi Jessica, why don't you come on in and have a seat?"

That's when I took a breath. Everything was fine. Dr. Kemker is great, and I slowed down and updated him on what's been happening in my life - it was very therapeutic, actually. Anyway, I don't think anyone will call me, but if they do, I will just tell them the "short" version of all the above.

Will dropping-out of grad school solve all my "issues"? No...I'm sure they run deeper. But at least now I will have more time to do things that I want to be doing, and I feel more in control of my life...

Next step? TEFL certification. I think :)


I need to have my unit serviced...

I came home from London to a leaking AC. It flooded the carpet in the third bedroom - well, half of it. And the outlet in the guest bathroom doesn't work either. Could I do anything about any of it from the airport just minutes after my landing in Dallas? No, but I'm a landlord so I have to take the complaints and work orders irregardless of date or time. The previous homeowners bought me a home warranty with AHS, thank you.

How ironic is it on a day like today, after I placed not one, not two, but THREE service requests online, (at $60 a pop) that I also received my "reminder" notice in the mail concerning my upcoming expiration date. I renewed it. It costs a pretty penny, but I'm convinced it is well worth it.

Today, maintenance man James came to my house to check out my unit. He confirmed that it was a leaky AC, but that it is my main pipe. He would try to "blow it out" but if that didn't work I would have to put in another request for a plumber.

The blowing-out worked, leak gone.

Then James asked if I had any bleach.


"No, I don't...but I should, shouldn't I? A good home owner would have bleach handy, wouldn't they?"

James smiled at me (I could tell my cute and innocent naivety would work to my advantage today - along with my sleeveless-leaopard-jungle-sundress and new wedge heels from Zara - so glad I picked today to wear this outfit!)

I smiled back, "Can you tell this is new for me?"

"First time home owner?" James asked.

"What gave that away?" I replied.

James told me to get me some bleach and he would put in a "part" - it's this "T" shaped thing - that has a cap on it so I can add bleach once a month to the pipes to avoid algae buildup. He also taught me that filters do wonderful things for "us" as people and the air we breath, but they are hard on our units - so I should buy the least expensive filter and change it every 30 days. Except in the winter. At the same time I can add the bleach to the T-unit-thing-he-installed (which I will at once purchase and keep on hand for the next service man who asks me). I can remember to do that. I've already added a calendar reminder.

James then wanted to check my freon in the outside unit just to make sure I had enough and everything was working right. I followed him outside.

I learned that I "should have my unit serviced annually". Then James told me that while my unit is the correct size for my square footage, my inside coil is .5 tons larger - so my "parts don't match". My warranty will not replace improperly installed equipment. So, as long as I keep my unit maintained, once the AC breaks down, my warranty (which I will continue to renew) will cover the replacement.

Then James serviced my unit free of charge - he said because he's not one of those guys that wants to do me wrong, he would service my unit on AHS's time and not file it on the invoice. Then he told me I was set for the rest of the year.

I got James' card to be sure to request he is the one to return should anything else go wrong with my unit.

Oh the things you learn being a home owner!


six degrees of separation...

It's crazy how small the world actually is. I remember when we used to fly home through Tokyo, we would ALWAYS see someone we knew. Well, Mom and Dad would, and they would know us by association - being young you never really remember your parents friends, or friends you knew when you were an infant. But I remember Dad saying, "oh look, Laura, there's the so-and-sos!" just about every time we had a layover in Tokyo.

Anyway, last night I had dinner with two friends. Dewi I hadn't seen since I left Surabaya in 1998. Karen I hadn't seen since then either, but we managed to meet up for about 30 minutes last summer when I was in London for a quick visit. Then, Adrienne and I bumped into her our first day in London this year, crossing Waterloo bridge - totally random. Karen said she was moseying along thinking to herself, "shall I go in the tunnel under the road, or stay above ground...under or over?" and if she had gone under we would have missed her! Fate, that's what that is.

Karen, Dewi and I met at Victoria station and walked to Giraffe for dinner. It was so wonderful catching up with the two of them and it only makes me hope that next year we can meet up sooner during my month here, and more than once!

Back to the 6 degrees of separation thing:

Liz (friend from Surabaya days) got married in Bali in April Karen was in her wedding. Karen and Dewi were also in Angie's wedding, another friend from those days, in Indonesia last year as well. I couldn't go to Liz's wedding because I had duties at the Abbey. But mom and dad went and had a blast, and saw all my old friends - including Karen. Liz's husband Leo is in the silver industry - he designs and sells jewelry. Karen's dad brought some over to the UK a few weeks ago when her parents visited. She was telling me about how she sold some of it to a friend when they were having dinner one evening and the waitress walked over interested so Karen has her contact information to be in touch about the jewelry. As she told the story she showed Dewi and I some of the pieces. I saw a pair of flower studs I had to have, and bought them! Our waitress came over and admired everything simultaneously - ha! So...I now own a pair of earrings that one of my oldest friend's husband designed, I've never met him, and haven't seen her since the early 2000s.

It's just awesome how the world works.

Meanwhile...the BSP student drama continues. Without going into the whiny details - suddenly it's our fault a student overslept 2 hours, missed her flight, and had to pay $150 to fly standby all the way home. "No one took role that morning, no one came and knocked on my door". I think she's really upset with her friends because they phoned her but she didn't wake - nor did they come to us to go knock on her door - and now she's looking for somewhere else to point the blame, because she can't blame them (and she shouldn't!). I knocked on plenty of doors that morning, after students came running to me asking to let them check on so-and-so; but in the end it is NOT my responsibility to wake your ass up to get on the courtesy bus. Sorry. It's time for you to accept responsibility for yourself. Besides, I'd have rather flown standby for $150 because I accidentally overslept than buy a whole new ticket!

If I miss my flight tomorrow, due to oversleeping, it will NOT be my fault....I will find someone else to blame.


That's just ridiculous.