Today I Became an American Citizen

On March 30, 2002 - almost 17 years ago - my family and I disembarked from an airplane in Houston, Texas.  Our new home.

I had long dreamed of moving to America, Texas specifically.  As a fifteen year old in high school, I remember telling a classmate, "before I am 21, I will be living in Texas."  I had absolutely no line of sight as to how I would accomplish this but I was willing to talk a pretty big game.

My dream came true two months before my 19th birthday. Even though it was a dream come true, it took a while before I began to view Texas as my true home.  One summer in 2005 I had gone out of state for a week, and as we crossed back into Texas I experienced for the first time that I was coming home.

Today, after many years, I became an American citizen.

It is sort of a surreal experience.  For ten years, I have carried a green card in my wallet.  For years before that, some other type of paper documentation to support my existence here.  I have stood in international st…

Functioning as an Introvert in an Extrovert World!

Most people who know me only from workplace or social situations are surprised to learn that I am an introvert.  I am never afraid to chime in with an opinion, lead a discussion or run a meeting.  I dislike small talk but I am not afraid to open up conversations with strangers or make them feel comfortable.  I have been given feedback that I come across as cheerful and enthusiastic.

However, this all comes at a cost to me.  I am a high functioning introvert in these situations, but it requires me to be outside of my comfort zone.  After a full day of this, I find myself exhausted.  Just speaking at length makes me so tired.

I have learned to find ways to cope with this.  We can't really change who we are or how we are wired, but we can find ways to adapt to the pressures of our environments.  Being aware of our needs makes it easier to strategize ways to function while not causing too much suffering to ourselves (sometimes a small amount of suffering is unavoidable!).

This week wa…

A Plea for Women to Stop Judging Other Women In Their Reproductive Journeys!

One thing I wish, as we continue to reflect on women and our empowerment, is that we would stop passing our opinions down on other women as to when or if they should be mothers, how long they should breast feed, how to parent their kids, or any number of "none of your business" topics that come with reproduction.

I have been down this road for a long time.  I have written before about my struggle with infertility.  In my twenties I tried for years and years to conceive without success.  During this time, a lot of female coworkers made comments to me like, "by the time I was your age I had two kids, don't you like children?"  Saying this to a woman struggling with infertility is just the most absolutely ignorant thing you can do.

Never shy and always feisty, I started cracking back at them with the journey I was on and would say, "But thank you for so rudely drawing attention to my struggle."  Unkind perhaps, but sometimes this is the only way people l…

Women Helping Women Succeed

Today is International Women's Day and as I reflect upon that I wanted to share a recent conversation I had with a female leader in my life.  
Over the course of my working life, I have had a lot of interaction with both men and women but in every role that I have had I have reported directly to a woman.  I like dealing with women, I like working with women and over the years I have better learned to manage how I am managed by women, but even still, there are struggles.
I was telling this leader how in the past I have been told by my female management that I have no leadership ability, or worse, they stick me into roles where I am disengaged from people, getting no visibility, hidden away.  I described it as feeling like someone is always trying to put a lid on me.
She stated that for some women, seeing confident and capable women makes them feel insecure or threatened.  I asked why they wouldn't just leverage that strength for the benefit of the team rather than trying to dim…

My Kaizen Experience: Personal Growth

Over the past few weeks I have been engaged in a truly empowering and mind-opening experience at work.  I was leading a team for our local Shingijutsu Kaizen event, which was entirely new to me.  I was previously familiar with kaizen principles - and throughout my masters degree program I was certainly experienced in using lean tools and process improvement - but a kaizen event, especially of this magnitude, was new to me.

Last fall, I was in the process of restructuring my department and for about two months I worked 70 hours a week, so when Christmas time came along I was very pleased to be back to normal hours.  When I was presented the challenge of leading a kaizen team in early January, I freely admit that I accepted with a bit of resignation.  Thankfully, I am genuinely passionate about patient care, and I am a deeply competitive person.  Finding innovative, competitive ways to enhance patient care is exciting to me.

The details of the project and the tremendous work that went i…

Grace and Dignity in Difficult Times

Sometime back, a situation arose at work where someone was behaving pretty disrespectfully.  When I called attention to this, I was told, "she is going through some things at home" and that I needed to give her a break.

I took exception to this.  There are some things I would gladly overlook or have compassion for when there are issues.  Sometimes when people have a lot on their mind they forget things, they overlook things, they make mistakes.  But to behave with blatant disrespect didn't seem acceptable, regardless of what was going on behind the scenes.

Recently, a friend and coworker of mine went through a truly heartbreaking time - for the second time.  I won't go into the details of her situation, but with her permission I will allude to it.  This woman has been dealt a very tough hand, and yet all I see in her is grace and dignity. 

I had sort of a revelation about this in a meeting a few weeks ago.  I had just heard the news about the difficult time she was f…

My Thus Far Experience with Rosetta Stone

I started using Rosetta Stone to learn French a little over a month ago.  I hesitate to call this a review, because one month is not long enough to tell whether I will be successful at this.  However, one month in I definitely have some opinions to share!

So, to start, I bought the electronic version of this from Rosetta Stone itself on a pre-Christmas deal.  I believe the 2 year subscription package I bought was normally $250 for one code to be used on the app and on the desktop.  However, I got two codes for $150.  I felt like this was a pretty good deal, and I was able to give that code to my sister so she can learn with me!

I should preface anything further by stating that I am a dunce at second languages.  I managed to avoid them in high school by taking law, economics, keyboarding...anything at all to keep me away from it.  When I was attending a local college to get my basics for my degree, there was a requirement for a second language.  I took the first level of Spanish.  I wa…