This past year has been an amazing year for me. I moved into a wonderful new position at Temple University as their Assistant Director for Staff Selection, Recruitment and Development. With this new job, my family moved off campus for the first time in 18 years, and after six months purchased a home. It’s been very surreal this transition. There’s a lot that goes in to moving off campus and adjusting to a different community setting. There is no 24 hour lightning and alarm system in place. There are no noises, or running through the halls (though my kids do make as much noise as college students). And there are no students to randomly knock on your door at 2am. I’m in bed by 10pm every night — not what I’m used after 18 years of a 1am bed time. I am now up at 5am to work out and catch the train into Philly for work. This doesn’t compare to living in, when you can roll out of bed, get kids to school, work out, shower, and then get to your office (located right outside the door) by 9am. O, how I miss that life! It’s a surreal life this ‘normal life’ that the rest of the world lives. These thoughts are what I wrote to HGTV HouseHunters last year when I applied for the show. I had a great story, living in the halls for 18 years, getting a new job, two kids, etc.
The producers loved our personalities and the story, so we got on the show! But what you see on TV is not how the process really works. I won’t give away all the secrets of the show, but the filming is not done while you’re house hunting, and the top three really are not the three the HouseHunters want. The process took over a year and when I watch the show now, I can’t believe how well it came out. The experience behind the scenes completely disappears as you watch the show, and your reality and memories adjust as you buy into what you see.
The lessons I learned from doing HouseHunters, moving off campus, and ‘becoming a grown up’ have taught me that everything is scripted reality. Things are not always what you thought they were. You make mistakes, and you try to fix them. You try to get the best, and adjust if you get something less, while putting on an appearance that that’s exactly what you wanted in the first place. You think ‘when I get that next job, it’s going to be like this’, or ‘when I move off campus, life is going to be so easy’. You are the designer of your reality, and the script is influenced by how you view your situation. You let others see what you want them to see, and you buy into your own perspectives.
I loved my old life, and I love my new life. And both are examples of my reality.
Licinia “Lulu” Barrueco Kaliher is the Assistant Director for Staff Selection, Recruitment, and Development at Temple University.