So that's it - as of about 3:30pm today my work with The Field Museum ended. Needless to say, it wasn't personal - 'it's not you it's us' - etc.. They needed to lay off some people, and I already knew I would probably be one of them. Touchingly tears were shed on my behalf, not only by myself. I managed to make it 3/4 of the way through the speech by the HR personnel, but I'm not made of stone. They were nice enough to have a person from a career service meet with me, offering me three months of free resume building, coaching, etc. to help me get back on my feet - something I didn't expect. I also will be getting a severance payment in addition to unused vacation time, which was also an unforeseen bonus.
So, here I am - waiting for the minutes to roll over to start Tuesday and the first day of joblessness so that I can register for unemployment online. It's hard not to feel deeply embarrassed about this one remaining act, even though I'm forced to take it through no fault of my own; as far as I know, nobody in my immediate family has ever been on unemployment. I know the economy sucks for people with professions like mine, but I was silly enough to think that maybe I'd never have to be here either. I take comfort in knowing that at this time I am collecting these checks with a handful of close friends who have found themselves in the same situation, though I hope we all can set things right asap.

What's next? I have bumped my course load from 8 hours to 16 for this semester because I know I'd be able to land a better job as soon as I'm done with this degree. If I manage that number well, I might do the same next semester, and will consider looking for something part time. I've applied for a full time dream position, but I'm not currently holding my breath - needless to say I don't have the confidence to count on my resume as it is now.

I have also started to plan a trip with my best friend and traveling partner, Claudia, who just moved to Hawaii this summer with her man. She will be meeting me in either San Francisco or Los Angeles the day after Christmas, and from there we will be road tripping back to Chicago by way of AZ, NM, TX, OK, MS, and IL. I'm thrilled about the prospect of getting back onto the open road, seeing Claudia again, and sharing the experience of travel once more - I love a good journey, and I know this could be what we both need. More about all that later, after I've licked me wounds a little more.

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