Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Era

It has become apparent that The Little Black Dress blog is no longer in functioning condition. I blame this on leaving Italy, getting married and moving into a new phase of life. This blog was just a casualty of craziness in my life.

But now... I have a wonderful husband who encourages me to write and be creative.. so I'm announcing my new website! (Oh yes, I am super official.)


Go check it out!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Come in, sit down and pull out your notes please.

I am now officially Miss Vierling.

I have learned to respond to this new name. I even respond to "Coach"-- gotta love the cheerleaders.

I now resist the urge to turn around whenever someone says "Sarah" in the halls. Like I said, this is big. I'm become an official teacher.

I have 2 weeks under my educator belt, 1 chapter test administered and graded, and yes, 9 fewer kids than I originally started out with.

There's the biggest shock of the school year: apparently I'm hard.

Who knew?! Here I was, totally stressing about not being their friend, chickening out of really giving someone an infraction, and desperately trying to understand the material I was to teach the period before I had to.... I didn't have the mental capacity to even consider the chance that I might be the exact opposite of my fears.

They are all dropping out of my class!

At first I felt personally slighted... like somehow they had decided they didn't want to be in my class because I wasn't young and fun like they had hoped.

And gosh darnit, I am fun!

I've made reference to National Treasure, Nicolas Cage, Michael Jackson, Captain Jack Sparrow and other such standard, classical historical figures in my lectures.

Who doesn't love that?!
I was thoroughly entertained.

But, alas, the fact that I expected them to read on their own and take notes during class proved too much for some of them.

I don't know about you, but I didn't grow up being spoon fed information or having grades just handed to me because I merely showed up.

So after a few lame excuses and a lot of obvious laziness, I decided... No more Miss Nice, Easy-going, Laid-back Teacher.

My catch phrase for these past few weeks has been the very sympathetic and understanding...
"Welcome to High School. You actually have to do work."

**Sidenote: I also feel like my naturally sarcastic wit has finally found a home. Although misunderstood by some, I find that this style of communication works wonders with freshmen boys.**

Part of me feels really bad and I want to be a positive, encouraging part of their day... but if they aren't going to turn in homework then I don't have time to sugar coat the outcome.

When did this happen to me?

Lest you start to worry about the fate of these students, the administration said that there were too many in Pre AP anyways.

Lovely, now I'm the "weed out" teacher.

This is so not the reputation I was going for... but I'm starting to find that it does have it's benefits.

I've heard rumor of kids studying for my class in other teachers' classes. (This makes me feel so cool for some reason.)

And since they're dropping like flies.... it means I have less papers to grade!

Now if I could just work up enough courage to actually give out an infraction...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Year in the States....

I have officially been back in the good ol' US of A for one year, one month and 3 days.

It feels good to be an American again. And it really did take a full 9 months to feel that way. It has been 7 months since the last update, and I thought it only fair to let you all in on the journey. Plus, D.O. put the pressure on. (And for that I thank him.)

You may ask what this transition has done for me... where have I landed after 4 amazing years in College Station and 2 fabulously adventurous and fulfilling years in Italy??

Ummm, way back at the beginning.


I am teaching at my high school.
Living with a friend from high school who was my roommate freshman year at A&M.
I am coaching the cheerleaders. (Hello, glory days.)
Oh yea, and I'm dating the boy that I had a crush on in high school.

Someone should sign me up for a reality show.

"Where are they now? - The High School Yearbook edition"

It really blows my mind. The creativity, the humor, the total surprise attack of the Lord to put me here all over again. Yet again, how sweet to have a chance to reconnect with people I never thought I'd see again, to have a chance to "re-do" a few things, and to see how much I've grown since I was here last.

Other people notice the changes as well. One older male teacher who was at the school when I was there, came up to me and said: "Welcome back dear. You sure are prettier since I saw you last."

I wasn't sure if "ouch" or "thanks" should follow, so I just smiled and nodded.

I officially started teaching two days ago, so right now I feel like a crazy person.

My head is spinning, my feet hurt, and keep forgetting to pack my lunch!

I keep waiting for someone to barge into the room and say, "Miss Vierling, we need you out in the hall-- we've made a mistake."

Until that happens though, I guess I'll keep showing up, making transparencies (so 7th grade math to me), and assigning homework (such power!).

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the students say, "Sarah" and I turn around and ask "What?"

Better yet, a few of the JV cheerleaders came up to introduce themselves and I just flat out said, "Hi, I'm Sarah." Two other teachers jumped in to say "Miss Vierling" to cover my blunder. Smooth, real smooth.

If you had told me a year ago that this is where I'd be, I would have been skeptical at the very least. Even my Italian friends think it's a little strange.

A direct quote from Ilaria when I told her I was teaching: "What?!?!? It sounds strange. You are so young. Anyway, i guess that you are happy about it so good luck my dear!"

"So good luck."

She must know I'm in way over my head!

This year might not hold adventures like my years in Italy did, but I'm confident that I'll have just as many funny stories.

After all, I'm teaching freshmen.

They think that Columbus discovered America in 1942... so we're on a roll already.

And I promise, more updates to come.

For now, I'll leave you with this:

By far my favorite thing about coming home! We've improved so much since high school!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Inside Look at Internships

Once again, I apologize for the delay between posts. The blog often beckons when I have a spare minute to think, but sleep usually wins out when my creative juices refuse to produce anything worth typing.

Since I have officially had two days off from work, I now have ample brain power to put something together. Finally.

One of my Ohio-ian (Ohioan? Ohionite?) friends recently told me that he pictures my life looking somewhat like the Devil Wears Prada. I had to gently let him down. My internship days are not glamorous. The only thing that Anne Hathaway and I have in common is the frantic pace, the odd requests, and the emotional turmoil of wanting to fit in but at the same time not wanting to at all. Interning is one very twisted plot.

I am working in PR. Public Relations. Although I rarely see the public. I sit in a very tiny room with five other people with no windows and a very poor ventilation system. The work is tedious and stressful, hectic and monotonous all at the same time.

I have gone on coffee runs (oh yes), picked up birthday cakes, delivered pastries to radio stations, and mailed packages to Phil Mickelson. I relish the random errands because they allow me to actually leave (gasp!) the office. Drive away in my own car, music blaring at 11am in the morning. Of course, I dutifully return in under an hour and then proceed to spend the next hour trying to figure out how to file an expense report.

After seventeen weeks at Big Company Downtown (no, I'm not counting!), I have learned the ropes of corporate America. Sort of. I stumbled through at first, getting reprimanded for "disappearing in the copy room," "unnecessary out of office messages," and "an unstocked refrigerator." Sure, I had a reason for all of this mishaps, usually they included some highly important project that had to be done in the next 30 seconds, thus taking me away from other "duties," but I never voiced them. That, of course, would be a very non-intern thing to do. Meet deadline, keep mouth shut. End of story.

It hasn't been all bad; most of you know I freely use a little elaboration in my creative license! And I have learned so much. My friendships with the other interns have been so fun and eye-opening. I see so many resemblances between my Italian friends and these recent graduates. Our little intern room has started to feel like home. I look forward to the boring minutes when we can just talk, and I get just as annoyed with them as with my actual family. The girl that chews ice everyday around 10am sits just to my left. The girl that answers the phone like she trapped in a tunnel far away is on my right.

I have had to let go of my pride so many times at Big Company Downtown. I have learned that it takes a lot of time to truly get to know someone in the "real world." I have become a master at crafting professional sounding emails. I have struggled as Big Company Downtown has handled situations differently than I would have done. All in all, I know that it has been a blessing to be an intern. That is why, in some crazy God-only-works-this-way twist, I will be staying at BCD for a while longer. They asked me to stay on as a spring intern. Not my first choice, but since I have very little clue as to what the next step is and the fact that I need a paycheck--I am grateful.

So no, my life is not glamorous. Thanks for picturing it that way, Matt. But I do have a strong suspicion that the "devil" does perhaps wear Prada. And probably Chanel, Coach, Louis Vuitton, etc. After all, Neiman's is just around the corner...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Update: Transition stinks but I will be okay

Most people have just about given up on the LBD, but have no fear, I am back and more determined to sort through my thoughts via blogosphere. This may or may not be welcome news seeing as how I am still one big mess of transition. It takes a really kind-hearted person to listen (or read) the same process erupt out of my over-stuffed head, but alas, I am also determined to think the very best of everyone! So, without further delay, let me fill you in, Kind-Hearted Person.

For those of you who have been in the trenches with me when life is messy and I am clearly out of control, you know that my exterior on "in control" is a total fraud. I ran into a dear friend last night and as I explained my transition woes and how I was slowly working through it and not even sure how I felt about it all yet, and she calmly replied, "But that's just your way, Sarah."

A wonderful reminder that I am not put-together.

My brain lately has been tumbleweed. All one big tangled mess, trying to work towards some unknown end goal, yet just bouncing around lost and searching. Most of the tangles come from the job situation.

Basic Recap:
I have a job.
It ends in one month.
Thus, I need a job.

I have never encountered something more challenging to my identity and insecurities. What have I been specifically created for? What do I really like? What am I passionate about? How do I make my life truly count? What if I'm not good enough, qualified enough, talented enough, etc?

You can see the tailspin my little ball of tumbleweed has taken.

After speaking with a lot of my closest friends, I came to realize that I am not the only person to ever feel this way. I might be one of the few 25 year-olds wrestling with the "real world" adaption though. Italy was a place that my faith was tested, where I learned a ton about myself, and grew up...but it was idyllic. I was surrounded by the most solid people I have ever met, that cared for me, laughed and cried with me and I never had a shortage of who to hang out with on Saturday night.

Come to find out, that is not how it works here.
Silly me.

Yes, I have amazing friends.
But we all work and are not on the same schedule.
For some reason, this reality was not in any of my dreams of Dallas!

Transition is lonely.
And for me, processing through everything is slow.

Neither of those words do I like.

I like things to happen fast and I want everyone to be in it with me.

Hello, Selfish! How are you today in your little bubble-world?

My selfishness has risen to the surface more times than I am willing to admit along with a host of other ugly sins. Some of you may recall my reasoning for coming home to the US of A, namely the fact that I knew my faith would be challenged more in this move than staying in Italy. I really felt the Lord’s assurance that moving back was the best thing then, and now—I can see He was totally right.

Anytime Jesus takes time to show me where I am totally missing it, I know it is a worthwhile season to be in and to fully embrace. This transition period is really hard, but if He is teaching me and changing me to be more like Him—then its good. Really good, in fact, because He loves me enough to do all this pruning!

That is the Big Picture. That is what I need to hope in.
Not a job to define my skills.
My perspective can get so skewed so easily.

So as I slow down (or try to) and as Christ continues to reveal my need for the Gospel, I am just putting one foot in front of the other on the path of pursuing Him and trusting Him to work out the details.

If any of you already adjusted, Kind-Hearted people have any advice or thoughts, feel free to share.

Soon to come: Working 8-5: Why Daylight Savings Stinks, Driving Miss Dallas, and An Inside Look at Internships.

You won’t want to miss a thing!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Observations on America: The Transition Continues

I don't know if any of you are still checking this site...my life and my posts have lost a little of that edge since I am no longer overseas. Sorry for the lack of updates, but the creative juices have been drained by the emotional stress of trying to be an American again.

Just to catch you up before I get into the observations:
I start work this week at a PR firm in downtown Dallas. I am excited to start something new, although the lack of freedom in my schedule is not my favorite thing to think about. I am going to try to be patient as I figure out how this new schedule works...but I have heard that it can take some time. In the Vierling house, working 8-5 doesn't exist. I will be the first to launch into this new world of corporate America. Somedays, I really wish I could just fly around like my parents do!

Emily and I have found an apartment. We have been tirelessly searching for something safe and affordable (and cute!). I think we are both ready to settle somewhere as much as this season will allow us to. And I am so thankful to have her here during this awkward, stressful, rollercoaster journey of relocating. We have laughed and cried and researched--and I am so glad we are doing it together.

Okay, so moving onto...The Observations

First up: The Grocery Store

I cannot begin to explain the overwhelming sense of "out-of-placeness" that I felt upon entering Tom Thumb for the first time. My cart was bigger than most of the cars in Italy. I didn't even know how to maneuver it! I promptly returned it to the huge lobby area and picked up a smaller, more appropriate, basket. As I entered the produce section, I stood in front of the avocados looking for the plastic glove with which I could use to make my selection. (In Italy, you always use a glove to pick up fruit.) I literally made a few laps around the fruit stands trying to find the gloves. After a few minutes, it hit me. I was in America. I could use my bare hands without fear of some little old lady yelling at me about germs. I selected my avocados and moved on, slightly weirded out.

After I managed to walk a few miles in the massive store trying to find everything, I made my way to the check out line. Amazed that the woman in front of me fit her ginormous cart through the check out line, I was a little flustered when it came time to pay. I couldn't remember how to use the credit card machine!! The cashier boy had no idea what to do with me. He showed me how to swipe my card and use that little pen like I was from outerspace. The look of shock never left his face.

Slighly humiliated and very much in awe of my own "Italian-ness," I walked about 20 feet out to my car, lifted the back hatch, placed my bags inside, and drove home. It was then that I remembered how much I love NOT hauling my groceries through crowded mobs. I would return to the grocery store confident and better prepared the next time.

Second: Air Conditioning

I refuse to believe the Italian proverb that air conditioning will make you sick. I think death by melting in your own bed beats out a slight cold any day. But, I will say that the air conditioning here in Texas has been taken a bit too far. Emily and I were at an apartment agency the other day and my hair was blowing in my face, papers were flying off the woman's desk, my teeth were chattering---and we were INSIDE. The line must be drawn somewhere, people. Snow flurries inside are just not right.

Not since this picture can I remember being so unprepared for such cold weather!!

Lastly: The Meg Ryan Syndrome
Remember her in When Harry Met Sally? (And I am not talking about that scene, c'mon!) She is an insane orderer in the movie. Everything off the menu must be slightly changed or altered.

Well, as I have slid back into my comfy American booth in the generic American eatery, I have become a Sally. I admit it. The freedom to say, "I would like the BLT, no B" is very liberating after two years of getting no say whatsoever. And then, to add to my already increasing Sally-like tendencies, I saw this last night at McAlisters:

Our freedom of options astounds me. This one will definitely take some getting used to, but I fully intend to keep ordering things exactly like they are but totally different.

It has continued to amaze me how this process brings to light just about every area of my heart--not just what I think about jobs, apartments, and cars. It has gone and is going so much deeper than that. Even the things that I knew to prepare myself for have been hard to handle. Friends living far away, community feeling distant, the pressure to be "successful," the realization that life is expensive (even without the euro).

My faith in the Lord's goodness is being tested. Like I knew it would. It is one of the very reasons I decided that moving back was the right thing...to put myself in the place where I would be most needy of the Lord. But I am still struggling with the day to day reality of resting in Him, putting holiness as my highest aim, and being content with the fact that He has the plan and I don't. I am a such a work in progress. Even trying to figure out how I am truly feeling in the midst of this whirlwind is a work in progress. I feel like a big, huge, grocery store-size mess most of the time these days. But it comes as no surprise to Him. And in that--His grace--I find hope.

Messy or not, He is one who is capable.
And I am thankful that He has given me sweet moments of laughing at myself.
They almost make me excited to see how I will embarrass myself next.

The world inside my head is a strange, strange place.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The transition begins

It's hard to believe that I have been in America for a week now.
Just a few days ago I was living it up with my mom in France.

Now that I am back though, I am thoroughly enjoying my double-size bed, automatic coffee maker and guacamole.

I also love seeing and hanging out with all my fun friends who I have missed so much.

Road trip with La and Hay.
Fish fry with Cla.
Dinner with Connie.
Lunch and cupcakes with Amanda.

Such fun times.
I really am blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.
And I can't wait to see the rest of you!

I wanted to let you in on the biggest happening of the week

(besides finally getting a pedicure)

I bought a car!!

I feel so relieved.

So excited.

So... adult.

I love having wheels again.

It makes me feel ultra American.

And for now, I think that is a really wonderful thing.