Saturday, July 24, 2010

A day at the beach

Manhattan Beach is pretty!

Being a California girl, who lives in Central California, only hours away from anywhere I could ever want to go, I pretty much just stayed in Fresno. During a cart-ride around the back lot with one of the ladies in my office, I listened to her tell me how she was going to Yosemite to just get creative inspiration for work and I realized that last time I was in Yosemite was when I was 8, when I lived in Bakersfield!! For crying out loud, if you live in Fresno, go to Yosemite!!! It is a disservice to yourself if you live so close and don't go!

This actually illustrates a larger lesson I have been in the process of learning as I have moved. If you want to do something, do it! Don't just plan obtusely to go out to lunch with someone; the "Oh yea, we should do lunch or coffee sometime." If you want to do it, then do it! Specifically, I wanted to just sit and chat with my friend Laura and I always had it in the back of my mind that one day I should plan it. Well low and behold I move! No more lunch. If someone is important to you, tell them! If time with your friends and family is important to you, then spend it with them. I always thought that if someone wasn't calling me, and I had wanted to call them, my internal monologue went something like this: "Oh, well, they must be busy with their own life, otherwise they would call me if they were free." And there it went, I sat at home and watched TV, spent hours at the gym, what-have-you. What is most important in life are the people in it. The ones who you do, or want to, share your life with. So go, do, share!

So as I start this new chapter, I will take this lesson from the old, and correct my passed missteps. I started today, waking up in my lonely, deserted town-home and I decided to go to the gym. As I got back I couldn't help but break down in tears. How did I go from on top of the world, being surrounded by love and support to coming "home" to an empty room with no one to go meet. So, I called Juan. As a recent mover himself, he has finally acclimated to living alone. That is not to say he enjoys it, but has finally gotten used to it. (Now, you may be thinking, I thought she said she lived with a lady. And that is true, I live in a lady's room in her town home, but I haven't seen her in days due to our difference in schedule.) Juan reassured me that I can do this, I am a mature adult, I am independent, I have a good head on my shoulders, etc. And sure, those traits allow me to be responsible and capable of living away from everyone I know, but those don't make my heart play any happier a tune right now. So I cried. Juan even sent me a bible quote that I sent him when he moved Psalms 46:1-3

After I cried, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "You can fix this. You go out there and you spend time with the other interns. You are the only one to make the next step. So do it right. You can either stay in your room all day and cry, or you can go out there and do this right!" So I got ready and went to Manhattan Beach with Tu and Kelly, two other Disney interns. We had a good time in the sun on the beach, getting ice cream, walking the shops and I finally got some sushi (and beer)!

Goodness! Such an experience it's been! I love it. I owe my family and friends and a huge thanks for all their love, support and encouragement! I can do this knowing you are all rooting me on! Thanks. Love you all!!! And good night!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling lonely, but feeling better

Hello All

So I have neglected you this weekend. I'm sorry.

My first week at my new position has been AWESOME!!! These guys who are the principle graphic designers at WDI are incredibly talented, knowledgeable, NICE, encouraging and totally understanding that my degree was focused on Print design not Environmental design.

For my graphic designers: this job is incredible! Where else can you design for turn-of-the-century late 1800s, early 1900s store fronts, Princesses, Frontier western-style, and for the Tomorrow that never happened? The range of style, design, materials, scope, media and creative influence is so broad that this position will always keep you on your toes. Besides the fast turn-around, the ability of seeing your designs come through execution and be visible by thousands of guests a day is an aspect that is totally unique of being in my specific off-site campus of WDI. When it comes to our creative endeavors: "If you can dream it, you can do it."- Walt Disney

As for my life. Today was harder. I left work feeling a little empty. I guess I could sugar coat my entire experience here for you all, or I can really give it to you straight and have you be thankful of my honesty. I'm lonely. Though I have a great woman I shared a living space with, and I have a wonderful team of coworkers and interns near me. I miss my friends. I want to go to Nicole's and enjoy her new place. I want to go home and talk with Matt. I want to be able to drive only two and a half hours to surprise Juan! I want to not be experiencing this part of my life alone. Now, I know I'm not alone. I can call you all whenever I need. But... it is something else entirely when I can chat with Jodi in the back room for hours face to face than to sit on the phone. I want ice cream with Rakis! I want to go to spin class with my mom!

I digress.

I am still happy. I did just get a gym membership at a 24hr Fitness with my Disney Discount! Yay! I'm excited to get back into the gym. This moving has taken me out of the gym.

One great note to leave off on, and then hopefully future posts will sound less like a letter home and more like a blog post, I had a great (short) conversation with one of the principle designers. As it started, he asked me how my first week had been. Timidly, I replied, "Great." And with a sideways glance he asked, "Really?" I toured the Glendale office last week and was overcome with intimidation. These artists, engineers and Imagineers have an unbelievable talent, execution and creative "sight" that I fear I just don't have. My coworker understood and sympathized. He had once felt the same. He laid it out simply, "You have to look at where you are in your career, and where we are." He described a professional and creative development that takes years or experience to get to this point. I am fresh out of college, and there is no school that caters to this job description. He, and it sounds like the whole team, knows and understands that this is new for me, I am not expected to perform at their level. Whew! Now all I have to tell the perfectionist working hard within me, that I will learn and grow here, I don't have to be perfect...yet!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New (Temporary) Home

Ahhh, just sitting down from the day!

I toured around the park twice today, snapping pictures of different reference sites. Basically cataloging for a project I'm doing. But it's in Disneyland!! I have field work in Disneyland. Which, may I add, just for your information, just because one may have an official Disneyland Resort ID AND an "off-stage" door access key-card for the back lot of Disneyland, does NOT mean it's any easier convincing people you can access through the main guest entrance. Wow! I had to trek from one side of the park, under and over, and through and then over again to get anywhere near my side of the back lot. And then I had to go over a bridge behind an attraction which makes sounds/revibrations like the world is ending. There is truly nothing else like working for Disney. It's an adventure which at the end of the adventure, requires you to creatively perform at the end of it!

AWESOMENESS! So blessed!

More good news: I just signed my half month's rent and security deposit to a wonderfully sweet lady named Connie. I will be living in a town house with Connie and her recluse daughter (a very focused student) and a possibility of a second renter for the smaller room. It's a cute, safe-seeming community. With a pool, free utilities, free wi-fi and washer/dryer in the unit! The one thing I could ask for is a gym inside the complex. But no worries ladies and gentl... (well, probably just Juan and Matt), I am yelp-researching both 24/Hr Fitness and Fitness Planet. What is really cool is that the 24/Hr Fitness is in Garden Walk right next to the park!! I will walk in there Monday night and hopefully get a tour and free day.

Those are my updates! Sleep is in need, tomorrow 6:30 AM I have a private-ish History Tour down Main St, Disneyland. Ready to meet the rest of the employees crazy enough to get up that early! (tehehe, I'm used to it, kudos Starbucks Partners!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Chapter

Now, what you have all been waiting for....

Monday July 12 - Official Start Day!

Disney has their act together! Let me tell you what, you must have clearance for everything! Apparently, I am currently privileged with the ability to drive up to my "office" in the back lot of Disneyland since all other full-time employees are permitted to parking in the parking structure and then bike to their offices. It was the oddest thing to see hundreds of bikes and several bike stations on the back lot of Disney, but the back lot is huge and if you can only drive to a certain point, then it only makes sense that the Company would provide employees with other means of transportation to their respective offices in the back.

Disclaimer: Disney may very well be the only company that makes decisions that actually make sense for employees as well as customers/guests! It's exhilarating!!!

However, I must also warn you that due to the nature of the Company policies, there is very little I can tell you all. The Company is very smart in ensuring the safety and security of physical and intellectual property.

I started the day out with a walk in The Park, looking at the different kinds of signage, "show" (attraction) fronts, and vendor displays. We headed back to the back lot for a meeting of an attraction in development. I was sent out to take a photo for a photo shoot. Came back, took a tour of Disney's California Adventures. And then back to the office for practice with scales and graphic sheets.

By the way, even before I arrived, I had my own cubicle, supplied with a desktop computer, ergonomic chair, side work bench, movie concept posters and my name on my name plate with Mickey already fabricated to my cubicle! Not that I'm trying to gloat or anything! :)

Today I started out in Glendale with an official sign-in process of paperwork-signing, badge gettin' and tourin'. I also went into Mickey's Glendale (which I believe may be an employee's only store), where I also received a free copy of Walt Disney Imagineering book, second ed.

Headed back to my office in Anaheim and started my "fall back" project.

I don't know what else I can do to convey how much I LOVE THIS!!! I am finally working a job that involves my degree that almost killed me to complete! I am surrounded by brilliant, creative, unique, welcoming, intelligent, out-going, fun-loving, happy, respectable people who are always willing to answer questions! Plus I'M AT DISNEY!!!

I'm happy.

I do want my friends and family with me. Though I may be lonely, I do have a full schedule of a traditional work day complemented with a full night's work of organizing a place to live for the next three months. Which, by the way, I still haven't found one. Well, that may be a lie, I found a great place, just not sure if I will make an offer yet or not. Ah, the decisions I must make as I start on my journey in the New Chapter of my life!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The chapter before this

As I say goodbye to college, my part time job at Starbucks, and apparently Fresno, I say Hello to WDI Graphics Internship, to Anaheim and to living away from everything I've known.

From Bakersfield to Fresno, and from elementary to college, my life was leading me toward a goal. Graduate college! My parents instilled in me this most important objective, "No matter what you do, get a college degree!" And thus, I got my college degree. I flip-flopped from Psychology, to Biology, to Graphic Design. As of December 18, 2009 I was certificated with a Bachelors of Arts Degree - Graphic Design Option. Throughout college I created handcrafted beverages at Starbucks. I loved my boss, the actual work and the flexible hours (I'm talking 4am-11pm flexibility!)

But during the time between my graduation and July I had been applying EVERYWHERE. There was nothing I wanted more than to have a job in the field for what I had spent the last three and half years crying and bleeding over. I worked so hard to graduate, I had worked so hard for my A's and it was just not making sense that I couldn't even get a call or response about even having my resume reviewed. I had entered Disney ImaginNations Design Competition with my friend Michael, however we never went passed the first round, so we both counted it as a great learning experience and moved on. I continued creating wedding invitation packages for friends, as well as applying to invitation companies considering my profile was growing in that kind of design.

Maybe I should explain something about Graphic Design.
There are many disciplines within Graphic Design (which doesn't even include DESIGN as a category itself). Graphic Design in its most simplest form is visual communication: getting a point across, communicating to a viewer through use of graphics, images, pictures, typography, layout, color and medium. Graphic Design breaks down into print media, digital media and interactive media. As a designer, one could create websites, brouchers, annual reports, movie posters, dvd title screens, signs, business collateral, stationary, invitations and still be titled a Graphic Designer. So understand that Graphic Design means visual communication.


About two and a half weeks ago I received a call from a recruiter at Walt Disney Imagineering. I hadn't applied to anything with Disney and she had informed me that my group entry for Disney ImagiNations Design Competition was how she found my resume. With in two weeks I interviewed, completed new hire documents and accepted an official offer from Disney to become a Walt Disney Imagineer Graphics Intern!