Thursday, August 16, 2007


This is something I will not be posting on the other blog...too many British readers. But I'll have to tell them sometime...

At my current level of determination, before another year is out, my blog may be renamed.
Here are a few possibilities:


New York Nibbles
Washington Posts (no not really, I'd probably be sued)
Wilmington Wibblings
Baltimore Blabber
Asheville Articulations
Richmond Ramblings
or even
Houston Highlights

Recent events have re-inspired me to all that I wanted before I came back to the UK, only now I have a Master's degree and more work experience.
I have once again turned my eyes to the mid-Atlantic states, and maybe a bit of New England, followed by some other reasonable possibilities.
Not the midwest or the far northeast or the southwest. Can't stand bad snow and slush, or sand and bone-dry air, or being more than a few hours from coastline, for some reason.

After a 4-year hiatus, my resume is back up on the federal jobs networks...
Amongst other suggestions, I'm also trawling through a New York arts related job site sent to me last year by my friend Denise.

To my American readers: If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to advise!


Seeing as I've been so reminiscent lately, all the jobs I ever wanted to do since I can remember have returned unbidden to my mind. When I was really little, my mother says I was noncommittal. My first memory of wanting to be something was probably in 9th grade (age 15). So let's start there and work our way up:

--translator at the UN - I studied French from grade 8-12 and then some in university
--palaeontologist - as above, love doing fiddly things
--dentist - fiddly things + people
--veterinarian - always rescuing animals
--doctor - attended the Young Explorers program at the local hospital but the prospect of not sleeping for 3 years of residency put me right off

By the end of high school I was even more intense, concentrating on the sciences and considering these things:

--joining the Navy, and the Nuclear Power Program tried really hard to recruit me. I had to beg my mother on this one, though. And I wished I had joined the ROTC when I'd had the chance, instead of sitting there envying them...

When I started college with a science concentration, I worked in the biotech lab and thought I was going to become a researcher in the Houston Advanced Research Center, or at one of the many biotech firms in The Woodlands' Research Forest. I remember when the Navy-funded lab there discovered how to grow skin grafts in a dish using only one sample so that burn victims could receive their own skin. That was exciting stuff back then.

Other things I considered:
--NIH or CDC epidemiologist or something at the armed forces institute
--attending the officer training academy after a degree

At university, I soon put aside biology studies in favour of psychology until in the middle of it I realised I didn't want to be a psychologist; nevertheless, here's that list:
--organisational psychologist
Then my dad got excited about me getting into military psy ops. It was the only thing he ever nearly told me to do.

Returning to type, here was the most interesting phase I reached during my last two years of university, and I actually applied:

--all of the government and military agencies and subsidiaries which are best left unnamed
--foreign affairs officer/specialist with the Dept of State
Suffice to say, I started an International Studies minor and on one application, got to the last stage of examinations and testing before training began, and they said I should try again!
--forensic pathologist (took a criminal justice class and researched grad programs, some with stipends)
--Oh, and I nearly got into one of the NASA programs but while they could accept me taking final exams during orientation, my going off to London for my cousin's first baby was one delay too many. They were right, and I wish I had cancelled.

After graduation, working with the Houston school district psych services, I remember looking at jobs in NYC for:
--editorial assistant
--publishing house graduate training programs
And then art history jumped up and slapped me in the face and I opted for a grad degree in it, which pleased my parents, and let me tell you, they never, ever tried to make me be anything, which is probably why my list of career possibilities is so long and frustrating.

You've got to wonder why I have so often tended towards "serving my country"...

And why it has been stirred up once more by someone I need not name (American Boy), someone who mirrors so much of what I wanted to be before I came here. Added to that, the other signs are rife! I have psyched myself up to this for a couple of years, and this summer finally tipped me over...

To my English friends this sudden about-face seems against my type (the type they know), but to me it is a return to origins. In the States, I had grown up to believe a woman can do anything. I just put it aside when I returned to London and I became the English girl again. By all appearances, I had returned to my roots.

But I have now reached the point where I don't care to impress myself or anyone else with how posh and cosmopolitan we are darling. Now I just want genuine people who take me as I am, no judging, who make me laugh from the inside out, who let me be myself. I want a good finger lickin' barbecue with friends, and the option of running off for the occasional sushi and symphony downtown. I want accomplishment without pretence, success without snobbiness.

Do you know what I mean?

I knew my 30th year would be a year of change. I had no idea how much. I've heard this happens to people as they age, though.

Now, how can I compromise? Being a social/cultural chameleon is soooo tiring...


nikkipolani said...

No compromises, Olivia. Now is the time to grab your dream.

amillionpieces said...

Go for it Olivia, you should go live where you're going to be happiest, wherever that may be. I hope that your CV is picked up by someone big who will recognise your skills and give you a nice healthy pay cheque. (and if they happen to be the Guggenheim, all the better!)

Dan said...

Olivia, we talked about this, didn't we? :) I'm glad to see that all your options are open! Hugs!

Check the US job markets by searching here: or or

No New Jersey Nibbles? :)

liv said...

Clean up your resume, narrow down a few areas and start looking at those dread online sites. You might also consider contacting organizations directly. Have you thought of getting in touch with a jobs headhunter? (My previous job before yoga took over...) Good luck!

*and now, what to do with my childhood dream of moving to the UK? :)

MattJ said...

To be honest from your blog posts of late we could see this coming, its beena progressive slating of where you are and a rose-tinting of where you want to be..

I don't mean it in as bad a way as it sounds, its something that I do when i look at change and its a great way of building momentum and will! Of course I disagree about your view of the British, but then I am one - all arrogance and bad teeth lol!

Your reasons are sound though, if you're not happy in a place and you can move to a place where you remember being happy then there really is no competition is there? Personally i don't know how you lived in London for so long lol! Anyway, good luck to you and I hope you have better luck finding what you want in the land of the barbarian than you did here! I don't think it helped that no one gave you the job you clearly deserve ;)


If you see any IT management/service delivery jobs give me a jab lol!

MattJ said...

Hmmm, I don't sound as positive as I intended - the written word always does that to me lol!

More plus sides to a move! - It's now much easier to get Marmite and Vegemite in the land of the Heathen now. And they have toaster ovens - a genius invention that cost about 40p over there and IF you an find one over here they cost a Kidney. They have The Steelers and usually access to cool gadgets before us backward europeans (apart from US cell phones which are generally lame). errrrr....oh yeah. Target. oh my God. Target.

Cheesesteak sandwiches. And lots and lots of galleries and museums that no one appears to know about. Awesomeness. remember - no flash photography. No need to show off, just do normal photography. :p

Anonymous said...

A vote for Houston Highlights!!!!!

Wow, i knew about most of career choices but that's very varied when it's all written down.

Keep your options open and keep your dreams alive. Life without dreams is meaningless.

hope to chat again very soon.

Olivia said...

Nikki - well said. I have to say, though, that "grabbing my dream" is what I came to London to do, 5 years ago :(


Pete - I should have listened to everyone years ago when they told me to go back straight after my degree!


Dan - yes, and thanks for the encouragement. My old friend in Houston has given me a bucket load of useful links.

Ah, New York sort of encompassed New Jersey, and by NY I meant the city and upstate.



Liv - I found one arts staffing co in NYC, but am not sure how to find headhunters...

One of my friends is an IT headhunter in Georgia and she just told me that companies are unwilling to hire someone who needs relocating in case they end up leaving after a few months. I hear it's best to be local. I mean, evenwhen I lived in Houston and was searching on the East Coast, I remember thinking that, and now here I am in London...

Want to swap countries?


Matt - yep, I've finally given in.
London has broken me, and when that happens the love is gone.

I thought I could conquer it, but I haven't, and to continue as I have for much longer would just be ridiculous. I can't be a temp forever.

I don't like Marmite or its Aussie cousin, I do miss toaster ovens and can't understand why they cost hundreds of pounds here. I miss driving, and I miss the sense of freedom I had there. I also miss Target, a lot!!!

If I see anything IT related I'll let you know.

What's with the photography tip? I rarely use flash as my lens is so large it picks up everything.


Olivia said...

Hey Vee!

Speak again soon I hope!


Torchlight said...

Hey! Some of us visit you here as well you know!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Let's about:
Yankee Yammerings
Yankee Yearnings
-or even-
Yankee Doodles
Washington Pillar
The Liberty Belle
The Statute of Oliviarty
Chesapeake Chattering
Beyond the Edge (of the world)
Rebel Without a Pause
A Pound for a Dollar
Life in the Brave New World
Shedding the Red Coat
Lobsterback Back to Lobster
(time to quit...)

M'lady, how in the world can we be so uncannily alike and yet so totally different? (Or something like that...)

Navy Nuke Power tried very hard to recruit me, too...even though I told them I quit my science major midcourse partly due to death of interest but mainly because my math ability suddenly went straight down the shaft. I told them my main interest had become foreign languages, and they threatened to put me in ELINT (electronic intelligence...guaranteed legally deaf on completion of duty). That's another reason why I decided not to enlist.

Follow your path. Zum Teufel mit alles sonst.

MattJ said...

I know the feeling 'Liv, once you're broke you're broke. For lots of reasons that aren't important now, I felt that way about my home town whch is what spurred me on to actually strike out and go to University so late - distances aren't nearly comaprable to yours of course! Now I love visiting and have actually started to feel like I could live there again if I had the means etc. but that has taken the best part of 8 years to feel that way.

Fact is you'll never even remotely like London again unless you leave and good luck to you I say.

the photography thing was just soemthing I heard on the radio 'Welcome to the museum of Everything - no flash photography, stop showing off and just do normal photography like everyone else!'

MattJ said...

Oh and I knew you were flawed somehow, your attitude towards Marmite and Vegemite (the crack cocaine of marmite) has confirmed it. At least its out there now and we can all stop looking. ;p

Olivia said...

Torchlight - you mean you're from the other blog, or you're British? Then maybe I should say that the British readers of this blog rarely comment, whereas on the other one, they are British almost without exception.


Minstrel - hehe! I should have asked you in the first place!

I think at first I will call it "Olivia's former London Dispatches" until I settle on a new name, depending where I go.

I think you might have to stop calling me m'lady, once I am back in the Colonies.

Do you see similarities in addition to the Navy Nuke Program?
Did you have similar career tendencies?

I decided against the program for the same reason - I struggled in college physics, and had to take chemistry twice, though the second time around it was so easy I wondered why I hadn't got it the first time around. I had been an A student in high school chem!

In the end, I didn't enlist for anything because one day, seriously, I suddenly realised I was actually smaller than everyone else. The recruiter still tried, and said that there were 90-pound girls on the decks of aircraft carriers (which is true!) and that the field they would put me in was much less physical.

Some fields recruit until age 42, and then there are always the reserves....Oh, shut me up! What am I thinking???

But seriously, I've spent so long not having a job that I just want to "donate" myself to some organisation that will DO SOMETHING USEFUL with me...


Matt - there is so much that I am fed up of here, I can't even begin to list it all!
One of my friends just tried to sell me on the benefits of the Isle of Wight, but....huh?

You are more than welcome to believe me flawed for not liking that rancid stuff!!!


hoverfrog said...

Best of luck to you, home is where your heart is after all. It has been fairly obvious that your heart isn't really here any more. I will miss the seeing you whenever I do pop up to London though, rare as it is.

Hey, you should throw a great big leaving bash. A traditional English one with rain, soggy cucumber sarnies and warm beer. There'd be no crying but plenty of stiff upper lips as we pat you on the shoulder and wish you a safe trip.

Um Naief said...

my dear... 30s are a time for change. i let go of all and moved to bahrain. it's good to change.

i think it's wonderful... i'm just tickled pink.

i think what you've done is excellent, but working in consulting for years, make sure to put your resume on every job search engine as possible. when recruiting for jobs, as a researcher, i checked all of those daily. put in specific search criteria when you do so... to create the hits. i think w/ your background, finding something in new york is very likely.

i agree w/ you re: weather.. but remember, it gets really cold there... but you can handle that, easily...

new england area would be the best. i've never personally been there but have wanted to go most of my life. i hope to still do so one day.

olivia, i can't begin to tell you how happy i am that you are making a change. i truly believe in taking the road less traveled. it's only then that you find the treasures.

Um Naief said...

like mattj, i tend to leave things out sometimes...

i didn't mean only in New York. i got a feeling that that is where you want to go by your post, but now i see it's many areas.

i think that you should go to where your heart is leading you. if something doesn't come immediately, temp work in the states is good money. i did it for a while before coming to bahrain and i made a decent living.

houston... well, it's too dang hot for me there.. but here i am living in the middle east. go figure! :)

but you'd be close to water there... as well as in new york, but a different type.

i see california, but not sure that you'd like it there. i see you as a new york girl.... or even a southern state.... but w/ hurricanes, i would never advise someone to move there!

i know you'll make the right move...

amillionpieces said...

Don't go for regrets Liv, because you really never know, maybe that wasn't the best time to go back and now is, don't dwell on what may have been but instead on what can still be. x

Olivia said...

Froggie - good point. A bye-bye blinks.
However, don't get ahead of things. I haven't even decided where to go or booked tickets yet. For this anyway, though I do have a two week Toronto-NYC trip coming up. I wish I had booked an open ticket...


Um Naief - that is what I am busy trying to convince my mother of at the moment. She is sort of accusing me of making them move to Texas, then coming back to London, and now wanting to return to the US. But lots of people move and change over the years, and 5 years have done it for me. She herself mentioned the example of moving from Tx to Canada last year. So I don't see how my plan is such an issue.

I'm glad you are pleased with my decision! Encouragement from you means a lot.

Anyway, I am slowly working my way through the site registrations, etc. Cover letters and mission statements are going to be like pulling teeth - they get harder with each successive attempt. But needs must.

I do have reservations about NYC - why would I swap one London for another? I yearn for some southern gentleness and warmth rather than the English-style hardness of the north. Boston, then, is way out of the question but I don't want to go as extreme as the Deep South either.

I am a southern girl at heart, in two ways - when I am up in Scotland too I cannot wait to return to the gentleness of the English south!

I don't like the winters in NYC anyway, but it's not as bad as Toronto which so far has been my winter destination.

My heart is really where it was 6 or 7 years ago, in the mid-Atlantic states. I think the safe thing would be to "go home" to Houston for a while and sort things out. There are a few jobs I cannot apply to unless I am living in the US, anyway.
On the other hand, the wisest thing might be to go to Va or Md so at least I'd be local, but that is another thing I'd have to convince my mother over.

I think you're right about California, though I figured I'd give it a try. What are your reasons though? Mine are instinctive and I cannot put them into words...


Pete - you're right. It was what was right at the time, and I like to say, you can only make a decision that is the best thing at the time. I was convinced then of one thing, and I am convinced now of the opposite. Does that make me contradictory? No. Things change.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I think when we do what Gloria Vanderbilt told her son to do...'follow your passion'...that's when we succeed.

Hope you find it and go for it, Olivia.

jojo said...

run liv, run while you still can!

to the Americas!

Mikeachim said...

It's the right decision.
Not for any objective, logical reasons. It's the right decision because it fires you up and renews your sense of purpose and determination. Those things are bedrock. Everything else rests upon them.
Just don't be a stranger. :)

Mikeachim said...

And I think you and Liv should swap, definitely. You buy her ticket, and she'll buy yours. :)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I think you're right about California, though I figured I'd give it a try.



[plug]What about the Pacific Northwest? Lotsa friendly people there, and eventually you do get used to the rain![/plug]

(Actually, Portland, Oregon has tried to establish a "gourmet tea" culture as a response to Seattle's "gourmet coffee" thing. And most of the "gourmet tea" shops in Portland are owned and run by Brits!)

Olivia said...

Guyana Gyal - welcome back! And thanks. I have a pair of Vanderbilt jeans ;)


Jojo - *puts on running shoes*


Mike - yep, it's just time to make a change.

Is Liv in Georgia or New Jersey?


Minstrel - friendly people yes, rain, no. My mood is easily influenced by the weather.
London is full of unfriendly people and rain, both mood destroyers.

Christopher said...

I agree with Moody about Portland Oregon :) Why? Because I live there. Though it does annoy me in MANY ways that Starbucks has bought out competitive chains. 12 years ago, for every Coffee People (a local chain and VERY popular with much better product than Starbucks and it was also Unionized as well as free trade products) that was in a nice little neighbourhood, a Starfucks would open...(sonsabitches!) and then Coffee People couldn't keep up and sold all stores (which were converted) to Starbucks...I hate it. But luckily the backlash of coffee culture here is wonderful, with many other places to go to that are in the same areas, with wonderful drinks and homemade organic foods with a cozier feel...the way a coffeeshop should be. The teahouses around here also are quite a hit, and just as great with many of them attatched to Powells bookstores (another Portland Oregon chain of booksellers, unionized and the downtown location is the largest new and used bookstore in the world, with an entire large square block, and 8 floors. FABULOUS!) Seattle doesn't have an edge to Portland, though both Portlanders and Seattlelites love visiting one another...The Pacific Northwest is just an amazingly beautiful should come for drinks someday dahling!

Torchlight said...

Both! lol
You know who I am!
I was the Purple one in other places!

MattJ said...

Well my final 2 pennies! looks to me that um naief has given some sterling advice re: the job hunting - so much so that i am going to take it myself :p

the more I re-read what I wriote earlier the more negative it looks when in fact i just meant that you can't change how you feel and doing what you plan is the best way to go before you truly start to despise a place. It's like some relationships - they need to be ended when you know you're not right for eachother or you'll end up hating everything about the other, even things you used to love.

Above all, I admire anyone who can make that kind of major change, even if its going somewhere you are kind of familiar with - the logistics and the emotional trauma of such a thing is not to be underestimated.

on a more selfish note - please move to New England, I don't know anyone there :D.

Mr B said...

Sorry to have to say this dearest Olivia, but you're wierd!!

Don't care for marmite??! That deliciously black, solidly-sticky, savoury nector-ish thing from the gods? (Ah yes, we Brits know how to tantalise the tastebuds of the world) Frankly dearheart words fail me...

Then... to spurn so publicly the delights of the Isle of Wight. Have you no shame?!

You wound me my dear, you wound me.
(But I'll forgive you).

Olivia said...

Christopher - Did you enjoy your rant? I don't like Starbucks either, anyway. This is the second time I have heard that teahouses are taking off in the States - choosing a good time to come back then eh!

I would love to visit the whole West Coast sometime - might just change my mind. I have some friends there already. And I'd definitely pop over to see you!


P.S. Who knows? Once I get a job there, I might dedicate more of my holiday time to exploring the US, the way I didn't when I lived there before (and something I always regretted).


Torchlight - well, hello Purple. It's a bit slow on the other side, isn't it?


Matt - this is turning into quite a long thread.

I got rather fed up of looking at my own CV last night, I was cutting and pasting so much here and there!

The major change, I did it when I was 12, again at 25, and hopefully before I turn 31!!! The move up to Harrow has been more traumatic than my move back to London 5 years ago. Isn't that sad?

You do too know people there, in Pennsylvania.

Olivia said...

Mr B - welcome back to my blog!

Bleeee, I say I don't like Marmite and then you go and describe it for me! Ugh! *shudder*

You and Matt are like two peas in a pod.

Sorry about the Isle of Wight but my mind is made up!

See you soon, as in, before Christmas.

MattJ said...

I know! It's only because my original response may have appeared quite negative and I didn't mean it that way so I have gone for over the top positive reinforcement lol!

I though NE was conneticut, maine, new hampshire, rhode island and vermont?

Olivia said...

And I thought it included New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania! Got the original 13 colonies mixed in somehow.

I have forgotten my geography lessons, and I was the top student!

OK, I am going to write a new post now.

In Ink said...

Stick with the States. I did and never regretted it for a moment. I couldn't go back to England now.

Olivia said...

In Ink - Thanks. I should never have left the States, or gone straight back after my degree. It was my idea to move there in the first place! And look, I want to go back now. It is the right thing to do. Doors are definitely closing here for me now, as if I needed more signs...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Sounds like you have made your mind up to relocate. Good luck.

Here's a bit of devils advocate for you though. What will change? What will really change? Different location sure, but same you?

Are you sure this is not a reaction to recent events rather than a genuine desire to relocate?

Don't shoot me, I'm just the devils advocate.

Let me take you for a drive in my (hopefully arriving soon) Lamborghini Gallardo before you go!

Olivia said...

Anonanon - different location, slightly different me.

Don't worry, I have been my own devils advocate for a long time now. Nearly the whole 5 years I've been back, I regularly weighed the pros and cons and was able to convince myself to stay here. The actual decision to come back has been an internal conflict for nearly two years though, and it had to happen sometime, so recent events were definitel a catalyst. I can't think of a single practical reason to stay.

I don't believe it, a Lamborghini??? But your Porsche has spent barely a year in your garage!