Saturday, November 22, 2014

One month Later

Incredibly, amazingly, even miraculously, I have survived an entire month in Houston Texas. Not that I have been able to explore much outside of Spring which is about 30 minutes from the office (with no traffic) yet. I put so much effort into getting here that at first I thought the cultural and personal transition would be too much to bear, especially leaving behind my comfortable life in California in order to (hopefully) advance my career further. I hope to make more of these posts more frequently. Monday I am having my 30 day review at the newspaper. Wish me luck!

One thing which has been a big help has been focusing on the many assignments I am juggling for the paper. The latest one has been the most interesting: A community forum at Spring Independent School district (ISD) designed to give staffers an opportunity to share their feedback and address grievances in front of district administrators. I am hoping I will get a good web story out of it for next week.

I am also working on a story about a study put together by the Houston Galveston area council regarding redevelopment in the North West Houston area: Specifically a region called Cypress Creek Parkway which has been lagging behind other areas due to numerous factors including a rapid shift in demographics and older infrastructure.

One big adjustment, besides the weather, (it hardly rains now in So. Cal due to the ongoing drought, whereas it has been rainy and wet here for several days)  has been not having enough time to enjoy some of my hobbies like reading comics, writing about superhero culture and happenings and table top gaming and playing mmorpgs, which I hope to change by devoting more time to on weekends, days off and evenings. There will be four days to catch up on it all this coming holiday weekend.

I also plan to find a paper to freelance that covers sports on weekends because I really miss doing that. Last Saturday I attended a playoff game at Spring High School just to be in the midst of prep football once again, though being a spectator is not as much fun as actually covering the event IMHO.

Another change has been that it is hard to make new friends because of my schedule. Back home, a lot of the people I grew up with are still in town or came back to town, including my brother and I missed hitting up my old haunts like the bookstore in Glendora and Frank and Son's Collectibles in Industry. Yet, I think these are adjustments everyone faces in life at one time or another and counting my 2 year stay in Fullerton for graduate school, this is the second time in recent years that I am faced with making these life altering changes. Here we are a mere 6 days away from thanksgiving and less than a week from Black Friday craziness, but I have no plans for the holiday other than watching some football in the AM and maybe joining a gaming group to do some gaming into the evening with, hopefully, a lot of turkey eating in between.

I got my EZ tag in the mail this week, this is a device which allows me to go through the highway tolls and it electronically deducts money from an account, this has saved me quite a bit of time and it is nice not having to worry about looking for money or change for my commute on a daily basis.
CI is having their annual Christmas celebration in Austin near their headquarters in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to the trip. Also, the most joyous news of all is the fact that I get to go home for Xmas for nearly a week on Dec. 23. It will be nice to be in the Covina area for a few days and be briefly reunited with my old haunts.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Community Impact job in Houston TX

It's funny that a week ago I was driving through Texas and stayed at a hotel in a little town called Sonora on my way to my new job in Houston.
Last night I found myself near downtown Houston a the grand opening of a bar that was offering free food for Halloween revelers.

I got offered a job as a reporter in the Spring-Klein market, so I packed up my Kia with as much of my belongings and trekked my way through two states.

The Friday before Halloween I found myself having dinner alone after a long day of driving at a place called Ozona, 36 miles or so away from my destination, the hotel room I reserved that night in Sonora. Though the wi-fi was spotty, the room was comfortable and I had a good time speaking to my sister, whom I stayed with two nights prior in Arizona.

It wasn't easy to say goodbye to family and friends and my routine, but I relished a fresh start and full time work so the decision really was made for me. I drove for four straight days with stops in Arizona and El Paso along the way before finally reaching Houston a week ago.

Right up till my move I had been practicing journalism and writing as much as I could, doing some freelancing for the SGVExaminer and tweeting out scores of prep football games for the SGVTribune. In fact, I was freelancing for three newspapers including the Weekly News in Chino and

Thought I was comfortable with my freelancing, I wanted to work full time and doing it out of state was my only options. Journalists are often told to start in small markets before pursuing bigger more saturated media jobs, but with all my experience, I am not exactly new to the industry.

My experience in the new job, though I have had some rough patches, is plugging along and I even participated in our office Halloween party this past weekend.

 It is great to be able to practice journalism full time with a good market to cover including coverage of school districts and local government.

I have not completely got used to some things in Houston, the highways and toll roads, and the differences in weather patterns, but I think getting acclimated in a new region always takes time and patience and hard work.

I never knew how much I would miss my old life, my routine trips to Barnes and Noble on weekends, jaunts to North Orange county near my alma matter, high shool football games and Mt SAC and Citrus College games, and even my old desktop computer.

Thus far, the fruits of my labor has been covering an event for the Spring ISD (Independent School District) which gave me a chance to get to know the communications people for the district and to write a nice little web story. 

Next week I will be covering local races in Texas for the upcoming election, and who knows what else. Though today I finally got a chance to rest for a bit, and though I am grateful to be working in journalism, I felt homesick for the very first time, missing my hometown and my routines, but I think that the future holds good things for me.