Monday, May 23, 2016

Mount Everest 2016

I have been so busy as acting PR manager for my brother, Isaiah, that my own blog has been the dismal, ignored, ugly, step-brother. I will get to that in a moment.

Between working ~50hour weeks, trying to make new friends in a new city, and following my brothers' every step, my free time has been near zero. Where to start?!

As I make more friends here, I am finding out how many local cultural norms I do not know. They are all subtle ignorance's, but make me look unintelligent in a group of people. Most of the time I just smile and nod and keep my mouth shut so I do not look/sound dumb then ask someone later what the context was. On a positive note, that means I am meeting more people and learning new things! My apartment has a pool, which is the best decision I unknowingly ever made. I am actually getting a real tan and have only been at the pool the past 2 weekends. I cannot remember the last time I was able to say that in Wisconsin in May. Needless to say, I love it! So, even though that is what I am doing with my free time, it is all in the name of meeting people, like my neighbors.

Work has been absolutely nuts. Two short months ago, I was one of about 5 people working at our new facility and now our parking lot is nearly full every day. It has been so exciting seeing it come together, but let me tell you how challenging!! I absolutely love my job, so working my first 13 hour day was not as depressing as it sounds. I have been wearing every hat possible, meaning I have been doing every and any role necessary to ensure customer satisfaction. Out of all my new coworkers, I have been with our company the longest, which means I know many things that no one else knows. Every detail counts. It is all very exciting including the fact I hired my first intern and have another starting in a couple weeks. It is beyond satisfying having a "mini-me" as well as getting to reminisce about my internship experience and how I can create that experience for my interns. Thank you dad for suggesting I take notes! Those notes are GOLD now.

MY BROTHER! My dearest, overachieving, extraordinary, big brother. Isaiah Janzen, in all his glory, reached the SUMMIT of Mount Everest this past weekend!! As I watched his progress throughout the day on Friday I became increasingly more excited and nervous as I watched his GPS tracker tick closer and closer to "Mt. Everest". Shortly after 4pm CST, I realized his GPS placed him on Hillary Step. I was sitting in small town Mississippi, behind my work computer, on the edge of my chair, watching my brother climb through "the death zone". Around 5pm, I felt like I was watching the slowest/longest golf game in the planet, immensely more suspenseful. By 5:30pm, I had everyone in the office painfully watching his GPS and by 6pm, we were all cheering when we saw Isaiah at 29,029ft followed by a Twitter update that he was on the summit. My immediate thought; "Okay, you can come home now". I updated Facebook to let the world know of his great accomplishment and received 200+ notifications over the next few hours from friends and family across the world celebrating his success. Getting up is one thing, now getting down is the other. I won't rest easy until he is home!

Those of you who know my brother, knows he stops at nothing. I am so proud of him for accomplishing this feat. This is a defining moment for Isaiah as much as he will likely down-play the seriousness and extremity of the situation. I am so proud to be his sister! What is next after climbing the tallest mountain in the world?! Only one person can answer that and I'm sure he'll find something.

On a serious note, putting this all into perspective, I want to offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 4 people who lost their lives this year on the mountain. Nothing is certain up there. It has been a painful, sleepless past few weeks knowing the danger that awaits its next victim. God bless!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Southern Yankee

I saw a funny newspaper article titled "Southern Yankee" yesterday while walking downtown Memphis. It has been somewhat of a culture shock from time to time living down here, but it's why I took the opportunity.

You get so stuck in your bubble that anything unfamiliar seems like a death trap, or at least oddly bewildering or unacceptable. It is weird being on the other side of the fence. For example, I had quite a few laughs when living in Wisconsin and explaining the "norms" to a friend who moved there from North Carolina. Obviously, it was easy to say he was the "weird" one, but that has quickly become me in my new home.

I mean none of this in a bad way, actually the opposite, but I am trying to enlighten you.

So let me tell you some things I have found interesting in my first 2 months living in Tennessee. The state roadkill is the armadillo. I am totally making that up, but I forgot that I haven't seen an armadillo in probably 10 years. Fire ants are a real thing here as are bees the size of a quarter. I forget that I have a different accent than everyone down here, so when I say things, I am often asked to repeat it a few times and visa versa. Not to mention I can literally feel the southern accent pulling on mine. I will say a word and almost not be able to pronounce it because I am using half my northern accent and half southern. I also get stared at when I talk in public because people know I am not from around here. I got passed by a Sheriff going over 90mph on the highway. Confederate grave yards are a real thing as well as Confederate pride. The Memphis Grizzlies are by far the biggest point of pride for everyone in the surrounding area. College sports and Greek life are HUGE. So, I am now a Grizzlies fan, Ole Miss fan, and Redbirds fan. Along with Packers fan, Badger fan, Brewers fan, and Kansas State fan. In other words, my team never loses. I am a "ma'am" or "miss" or "darling" and don't say please and thank you enough. I have not made the switch from "you guys" to "y'all" but I am sure it is in my near future. Recycling has not yet become a thing here. Oh and smoking in restaurants and bars is still a thing. Being part of or knowing someone on a BBQ cooking team is a must. And yes, I already took off the Friday after opening night to the national BBQ cook-off in Memphis because that is also apparently a must. Many gas pumps are missing the part that you can latch the gas nozzle causing you to HAVE to hold the pump handle the entire time you fill, which I haven't quite figured out yet, but I have some theories. I have been told everyone vacations here during the summer because it gets so unbearably hot. All of the fun activities happen late April through early June because the weather is perfect. Liquor is not sold in grocery stores like it is in Wisconsin. You have to go to a liquor store, which is inconvenient probably for the better. "Sin" tax is no joke as a 12 pack of blue moon around here sells for ~$18 (unlike WI ~$13). There are no [strict] laws on window tinting because of the deathly heat. I think that's a good start.

It has been incredibly fun and at times interesting learning these cultural norms. Thankfully it takes about 2 sentences out of my mouth for people to get the fact I'm not from around here. :-p

It continues to be a fun journey and I'm so glad I made the decision to move!! I still look forward to visitors!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I am just kidding, the correct title is: Memphian.

Here we are!! I have officially been living in Memphis almost 3 weeks! I feel like I should copy my brother; "I Live In [Memphis]: Week 3", but, I don't want to put a date on it.

WOW! Everyone has been asking me; "So, what's new?", "How is Memphis?", "How are you doing?", "How do you like it?". 

You guys......I am so delighted to tell you, I love it! My first week here, I had 6 visitors mosey through my abode. SIX people in the first 8 days of moving to Memphis! Needless to say; I was a little overwhelmed!! Moving to a new city, hostessing, planning a move, dealing with no furniture, not knowing the city...but I have the most awesome support system, it all worked out. As overwhelming as it was, every moment was so enjoyable, I would not have wished for it any other way.

My mother helped me move, and boy did she help! My mom is SO CARING, it is insane to me at times (in a good way). It was so re-assuring to know that she was here to help with anything...literally, anything. My mom raised me to be independent, so I felt less-obligated to entertain her and did not stress as much leaving her home alone during the first week. Thank you, mom! Since I arrived on the weekend, it was so helpful having her here merely to keep my thoughts straight, accompany me on store trips, explore the city, etc. I know I can have quite the 'princess complex' attitude at times, but she can deal with it better than anyone I know. Mom, you are the best. I'm sorry for treating you way less than you deserve. 

While she was here, 2 other friends stopped by. I am so glad they did. They are the type of people to say; "hey, we are leaving Milwaukee now, see you in 10 hours", and actually show up the next day. I LOVE IT! Thank you B & S for coming!!! I can't wait for you to visit again, because I will actually be settled and able to take you around, however you are the best people to hang out with during the awkward; 'what do I do in a new town', phase. THANK YOU!

While my mom was sleeping on her last night, I had 3 more girl friends come into town. My mom left and my girl friends were right here to fill the void. We had the best weekend. I got to go to Graceland, experience Beale Street, Rendezvous, and I got to find out my boyfriend had different plans than expected for our relationship. Three years, down the drain. That's where I'm at. 

I am in a seemingly great place given the circumstances. I never dish this kind of stuff, but at this point, I have nothing to lose. Our relationship hadn't been in a good place for a while and I can't explain it, but we weren't 'meant to be'. I am just glad we came to those terms now, rather than months into a marriage. It is very hard losing a close friend regardless. In the big scheme, I just lost all my friends moving across the country, it is just crappy circumstances to cut every cord. I am making it sound more depressing than it really is. I have been so busy at work (which I don't mind at this point) and busy decorating my house that I haven't hit the "oh my gosh, I don't have any friends" phase.

Everyone here is so nice! I walked into the grocery store today and had a group of girls compliment my sweater. Then, the guy at Starbucks couldn't even take my order because he was land-locked with my hair. <3 I love the attention, but I feel like the meanest person around here, not saying "ma'am" and "y'all".  I love it. Southern hospitality is no joke and it's contagious.

I feel obligated to talk about the weather. IT'S AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Snow and cold is a thing of the past and summer hoodies now become my winter coat. I am so overjoyed, I can't even explain. I am happy here, there's not much more to say. 

Thank you everyone for your prayers, I am having a great transition. I look forward to hosting you all as I slowly build my fortress in the south.

Take care Y'ALL! ;)

Friday, March 4, 2016

If I Won the Lottery...

Which won't happen because I don't gamble, but IF I came across a large sum of money, this is what I would do.

  • NOT quit my job. I love my job enough to do it because I don't have to. 
  • Donate 15% to God
  • Pay off my student loans
  • Pay off my best friend, J.D.'s student loans
  • Pay off my brothers student loans and Mt. Everest debt (as well as his next Everest trip)
  • Buy my parents a new car, that they never would
  • Buy my parents a vacation, that they never would
  • Give my parents a lump sum of money in payment for all they have given me
  • Take my best friend, A.H., on a 1 month, all-paid vaca to Europe including lost wages for pulling her away from her job for that long
  • Go back to Vegas with my "Vegas girls" for an all-paid trip
  • Buy my boyfriend a jet 
  • Buy my brother a Tesla
  • Get my parents anything else they want
  • Take a month to knock out some items on my bucket list
  • Buy myself a GT-R
  • Buy a vacation house somewhere
Doing the math, all of this would only cost under $6 million, including taxes and assuming I don't retire. So, who wants to fund me? :-D