A few things happened in the last two months that kept me away from blogging and regular social media updates, the most notable being our move to Seattle so that I could start a new job here.
I had decided months ago that it was time to come back to the U.S., and while I still love California and going back to LA was on my wish list, I needed certain things to align in my life for the move to happen. The first one was finding a full-time job that offered me the reassurance I needed to embark on another move across countries. It wasn’t just about finding a job that looked good on paper but also about feeling good about it. Coming upon the right opportunity was a process. It took plenty of time, definite effort and a lot of faith. I was open and willing to embrace change yet again as long as I felt internally aligned with it. It had to feel right.
Having options was important, too. I wanted my next move to be a conscious step, not a desperate one. I began imagining what that would look like and mapping out my vision on a wall in my room. As I prepared to wrap 2019 up, I was exploring different paths. Each of them was promising in its own right and very different from the other. On Christmas Eve, I received the first offer: an invitation to join the communications team of a Hispanic non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. Then, as soon as I rang in the New Year, I had two companies fly me out for job interviews on opposite coasts: Philadelphia and Seattle. Things moved fast from there. My second job offer came in as I was on my way back from interviewing with the Philly-based company. After a couple of days of wooing, the path opening ahead of me became clear. Our new home was calling us in Seattle!
There was little time to get everything ready for the move. Some things simply had to be left behind for now – including my car, which I drove to Mexico from L.A. when we moved there. We arrived in Seattle the last week of February with barely a few days to get settled into our new apartment, enroll June in school, find an after-school program that was still accepting kids (most of them had waiting lists through the summer) and to try to get our bearings before my job's start date of March 1st. With little time to spare, we hit furniture stores and home goods shops to get a few essentials for our new place. Coronavirus was starting to trend in the local news but it wasn’t keeping anyone away from their normal life – yet.
And then, Coronavirus
Halfway through my second week on the new job, Washington State’s governor announced the closing of all Seattle schools at least through the end of April in an effort to stop the growing spread of coronavirus. Following the government's directives, my company gave all employees the option of working remotely. What a strange position to be in! I barely got here and now I had to consider the possibility of staying home with June. I decided to keep going in, especially after my office offered child care for those of us parents that needed that extra support during these unconventional times.
Things kept escalating though. With every day that went by, there were fewer people in the office and the feeling of dread started to creep in. So on Week Three of starting the new job, I too decided to stay home and work remotely. As I write this, on Week Four, staying home isn't optional anymore. Washington State has ordered us all to stay in and not participate in social gatherings of any kind regardless of the number of participants. "Essential activities" permitted out of home include buying supplies and groceries, seeking medical care, caring for a family member or friend who needs help, and going outside for a walk while keeping at least 6 feet of distance apart. I keep working from home, and June is home with me.
Timing is everything and the irony of moving to the place where the U.S. outbreak began is not lost on me. For a minute I wondered if it’d be better to take June back to Mexico so she could continue going to school there while things returned to normal here (I’m glad I didn’t; schools are closed now there, too).
I panicked when considering the idea of having to be stuck in our small apartment for the next few weeks struggling to keep my 7-year-old entertained while trying to get any work done. I felt frustrated knowing we wouldn’t be able to be out-and-about, getting acquainted with our new surroundings and starting to make new friends. I let fear in for a minute when I worried if our local grocery store would run out of the basic provisions we all need.
Then I looked at the timing of everything with a different lens. I pondered what a difference a couple of weeks would have made in our plans if our move had been delayed. Would we still be in Mexico now? Would the job offer have been put on hold? It’s hard to tell. But we are here now and we are making it work. Things might get tough for a little but this is still better than what I’d probably be dealing with otherwise. I’m extremely happy and grateful that things happened the way they did and I keep reminding myself this every day because this type of unknown situation we are all in today requires just that, taking one day at a time, being thankful for our blessings, and continuing to hope for the best.
So What's the New Job All About?
Not to brag or anything but I’m thrilled to have joined a team of actually awesome humans that believe in doing good and have built a social marketing and PR business on the premise of helping clients do good, too.
C+C (Colehour + Cohen) is an integrated communications agency that focuses on making the world a nicer, healthier, more sustainable place through behavior-changing campaigns. When I was first approached by a recruiter looking for someone to lead their multicultural communications practice, moving to Seattle wasn’t something I had considered. I didn’t know the agency or anyone working there. But I was intrigued about their cause-oriented vision and wanted to find out if they truly stood for what they said they did. After several Zoom and in-person interviews, I started to believe it. I knew it was the right fit when they sent me a video they pulled together in one day recounting the many reasons why I should say yes to working with them.
The state of the world today is far from certain, but there’s still work to do helping clients communicate how they’re helping others navigate these difficult times with timely and useful information – particularly those in underserved multicultural communities. I’m both excited and grateful to be in a position where I can help do just that and where I have at my hand the resources to deliver helpful messages on behalf of public and service organizations in varied languages (beyond English and Spanish, we also provide services in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Somali, and many other languages) and across multiple media channels.
The rest is hard to predict right now. Everything is changing around us every day. So we are taking one day at a time, looking forward to that day when we can head out freely again to start exploring this beautiful city and its surroundings – and writing all about it!