Life Updates

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My Halloween costume this year was a fuzzy leopard print onesie from Forever 21. Comfort is key; gone are the revealing costumes of my past 😛 This onsie is definitely gonna get good use this winter, too!

I’ve never done of these “journal” type posts, but since it’s been a while since I blogged (whoops!), I figured I’d write a bit about what’s been going on lately. Things have been super busy lately (I know, I know more excuses), but the reason is that there’s a big National Science Foundation deadline every fall around now that keeps everyone up at night. I even saw some of the tenured profs in the office this weekend! Sigh, my job is basically constant fundraising to support my research.

So besides work that’s burning up my brain, what else has been up?

Permanent residency interview

Our green card interview is tomorrow, yippee! It’s been a long haul. I was flipping through my old passport and saw my first entry into the US was in 2006, woah! 12 years of my adult life here now. Fingers crossed that all goes well at the interview tomorrow. I never want to wait in a customs line at the airport again.

As a side note relating to permanent residency/citizenship, I realized have never been able to exercise my civic duty to vote – sad, right? The reason is that I moved to the US to go to university when I was 17, before I could vote, and after a few years, I lost the right to vote in my home country because I was no longer a resident there. And of course I couldn’t vote in the US, not being a citizen.

The other day on campus I overheard a conversation between two undergrads about the midterm elections:
– Girl A: “Are you voting?”
– Boy B: “Nah, it doesn’t make a difference anyway, it’s just one vote.”

Come on, guys, that’s sad! If you have the right to vote, use it! Maybe I should’ve said something…

Performance review

Another recent event was my merit/promotions review. In my university, this happens every two years, and the third time (after 6 years) is your tenure review (eep!). This was my second time, so I have 2 more years to tenure. The salary bump associated with each merit is on a fixed, university-wide scale, and is about $5k at my junior level.

The way it works is that you submit a record of everything you have done in the past two years (students advised, papers published, grants awarded, teaching evaluations, etc.). Probably the most important thing is the number and quality of publications. Then the rest of the department faculty sits in a room and they discuss your progress and whether you have done enough.

In my case, the feedback was essentially “you’re doing fine, but step on the gas pedal for tenure”. Which was not exactly what I had been expecting in my own self-evaluation (I thought I was doing a bit better than that). It kind of threw me off for a day, since it’s hard to hear direct feedback, and I’ve been working pretty hard, but unfortunately the results have yet to show up in terms of papers and grants. Oh well, I’d rather have that feedback now rather than in two years’ time. Onward! Harder, better, faster stronger.

Shopping for black flats

On a more fun note, let’s talk shoes. Now, everyone and their suburban mom has the Tory Burch Revas, but I’m happy/sad to report that mine are completely worn out. Sad because, well, they wore out (after 4 years of moderate use). I even took them to the cobbler, and he recommended I replace them rather than attempting a repair. Happy because, well, it’s fun to shop for a replacement!

My requirements are: black, minimal embellishment, leather, almond toe preferred. None of that new-fangled loafer or pointy toed stuff. (I do look pointed toe flats, but not in black – it looks too witchy to me). Here were my top contenders:

  • AGL – These have really good reviews in terms of comfort, but they look kinda grandma to me. I think it’s the shiny buckle that provides too much contrast with the cap toe.
  • Repetto Cendrillon – This seems to be the OG ballet flat. I like the simple look, but the Interwebs reports widespread durability issues.
  • Ferragamo My Joy – The Ferragamo Varas I have are not my favorite in terms of style, but the quality is definitely fantastic. These My Joys are from the same brand and seem a bit more casual. The gathered square toe is kinda interesting.
  • Taryn Rose Rosa – In a moment of craziness, I looked at the Chanel flats, which I actually really like the look of, but no way am I paying $750 for shoes. I’d never heard of the Taryn Rose brand, but they look like a good dupe, and they’re supposed to be comfortable because they’re designed by an orthopedic surgeon (although I’m dubious if that’s really a strong credential – operating on someone seems rather different from manufacturing shoes). I also like the non shiny version.
  • Cole Haan Tali – I have a pair of Cole Haan sandals that are super comfortable, and I’ve had great customer service experiences with Cole Haan stores (they replaced a broken pouch of mine for free). I bet these would be really comfortable, and I think that Xin had a pair she liked. However, I’m not sure sure about the bow, it might be a tad too formal for me. I’m leaning more towards a simpler (boring?) style they carry, the Manhattan.

I might  have to hike over to a real store at some point (gasp!) to try them on in person. The bottom three are probably the top contenders, with the best balance of comfort, price, and preferred style. But there’s no rush. I’ll continue to wear my existing shoes to the ground in the meantime.

Well, that’s it for my update! How do you deal with performance reviews at work? Any black flat suggestions?

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