Saturday, September 16, 2017

New Chapters..

I regret, looking back at my posts on this blog, that I have only posted three or four times since 2014.

I have had many thoughts that could have been written, but seem to have been too busy or lacking in motivation to write them out.

Currently it is September 16th, and I am less than a month away from the last day of my current job as a support technician for hundreds of businesses in Athens, GA. I am very excited for this day and indescribably ready for this job to be over.

What have I learned from this job?  What has it "done" to me and my life?  Well, since I am on call this week, I may have a less positive answer than I usually would, but I will give it a try anyways. I am tempted to throw out, "stress, anxiety, depression, and 20 pounds of fat" in response. But that, though partially true, would be unfair.

I have learned countless facts about technology. I've been like a sponge soaking in everything from random adjacent facts about particular technologies to core theoretical basics about the way computers, networks, and their peripherals work. I am now confident I could fix just about anything in information technology if I was given enough time.

I've also learned the kinds of things it takes to thrive socially in the business world. Is it so unbelievable that following the words of Christ in a business setting would actually lead you to build trust in your co-workers, supervisors, and boss? I'm joking, of course. I think Christ's words apply in any aspect of life.

Apart from that I've learned there are some things I am very *bad* at.

I am not good a standing for positive thinking when everyone around me is negative.  The propensity of many employed workers between the ages of 20-30 is negativity and cynicism towards their jobs and superiors. At this point it's become almost a common narrative we all agree upon. The purpose of conversation becomes conveying negative experiences with the occasional exchange of actual information. And rarely, ever so rarely, are there exchanges of positive thought.

I tend to allow this mindset to suck me in while I am working, and it harms and usurps my less self-centered disposition I managed to obtain by praying in the morning. The reason for that is that sharing negative thoughts is inherently self-centered. It has taken a very real toll, but I have no person to blame but myself.

I also struggle with being overwhelmed by numerous tasks. At my current job we have a number of tickets dumped on us and we need to sort out what is most important and distribute our time properly. Sometimes, when I am particularly tired, my brain becomes so overloaded with my tendency to overthink and over-analyze that this ticket count paralyzes my ability to decide. Often I end up doing nothing and finding something easy to work on.

I have improved dealing with these things, but there is a lot to be done in terms of curbing these neural paths that dominate my thinking. With God's help I continue.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The First Time

The first time I ever set foot in Europe was yesterday. This is a place I've dreamed about visiting for years.

Jodi and I are celebrating a lot of "firsts" this week:
First time driving in Europe
First time having a successful conversation in German
First time making a purchase in German
First German sunrise
First German sunset
First of time making a fool of ourselves (out of many to come, surely)
First anniversary of being married
... and many more...

Here's some interesting thoughts from our observations so far:

What didn't take us by surprise:
German grocery lines: they go really fast and you don't mess around

So far Germans don't seem too interested in much more than a "hallo", then getting to business. We are going to have to work hard to stop with the goofy American over-socially-eager smile and "how are you doing?" intro to every social interaction. But really I don't think either of us, being introverts, really enjoyed that aspect of American culture in the first place, despite many people seeing us as being very friendly.

What did take us by surprise:

Reading about German culture one might think that if you're not already friends with someone, it's a cold world to live in. But really most Germans seem to be extremely helpful if you ask. They even smile a lot when speaking with you!

As an expansion of the last point, we had also thought one simply didn't greet others unless they had business with them. But in walking the streets of Kamp Lintfort, I've noticed that just about everyone that passes us says "Guten Tag" oder "Morgen!". One time, a guy riding his bike about 200 feet away from me headed another direction looked at me and said "Hallo!".  So, I'm not entirely sure yet what to expect as I know things change city to city. Either way, this has been an amazing experience so far.

I will add more to this later as we spend more time here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ein Ganze Welt zu Wissen

Tomorrow night we leave for Germany for two weeks, setting out to answer a number of questions about the culture, get to know the people, and enjoy the history.

I will be posting updates as we go.

- Evan