The student is now the teacher

Hello 2013, this being the first post of the year, and the first blog post in about 3 months. A lot has happened since I last reminded everyone that I was alive.

Today is the 2nd day of January, and here in China, it coincides with a 3-day national holiday that starts on New Year. Since coming back to Xiamen after my 2-week semi-vacation in Manila for the Christmas holidays, I haven’t been doing much of anything besides staying home, sleeping, and trying to keep myself warm. In fact, my assignment for my part-time work ended 3 months ago so that part of my productive life hasn’t been awake in a long while.When I first came back to Xiamen last 28, I had to initially decline offers to renew part-time work because I was hoping to catch up on schoolwork, and previous tries to do part-time work online last month never pushed through due to various circumstances. But yesterday, my boss asked me if I could spend the holiday doing work and since I didn’t have anything planned today except a shopping date that could be moved, I decided to okay a schedule to teach.

At first, I felt very iffy about coming to work on one – a holiday, two – the morning, and three – cold winters day. Owing to the fact that I had a hard time falling asleep last night, among other things, I woke up tired and not excited to commute to work. But my initial blah-ness over the situation changed for the better over the course of 8 hours, more or less.

Today, I taught 4 different students with varying ages, which is a lot different from before when I had 4-5 students who were all the same age and in high school, and with a set of more or less the same exercises which I had to drill them on and review with them.

My first student today was a 15-year old girl. She wasn’t that hard to adjust to as she was very similar to my past students, and her comprehension of English was okay so I could speak English without worrying so much about translations. We spent 2 hours correcting her English essays, which weren’t that bad for someone whose mother tongue isn’t English. She was really nice, and quite adorable all wrapped up in her thick down-feathered jacket and scarf, and even asked me to lunch with her. We had lunch together at a small Chinese restaurant across the street, and I had one of the cheapest (yet filling) meals I’ve had in a long long time. And did I mention she thought I was 17? 🙂

My second student was a lot different, and reminded me of myself when I was much younger. I arrived late because during the lunch break I had decided to go to my friend’s house which was nearby and commuting back to work was harder than commuting from work to my friend’s house. My student was a 11-year old girl in the 6th grade, very talkative, curious and distracted, which was probably what I was when I was her age. She was just so jittery-flittery (yes, I know it’s not an actual word) the entire time I was correcting her essays. As compared to my first student of the day, her comprehension of English wasn’t as broad so I had to speak Chinese more than I did English, which proved a little trying because my wrong intonations were more noticeable when I was trying to explain things to her. Besides editing her work, I had to write down why certain words were used a certain way, compared to similar sounding words which could mean something completely different. I couldn’t just explain because she couldn’t understand my way of speaking very much, so I had to pretty much write everything down. She was quite hyper though and kept looking around the room, at my bottle of coke which she at one point started shaking vigorously, and kept glancing at my bracelets and whatever else could distract her from her essays. Not to say she wasn’t adorable, because she was. She made me realize how hard it must have been to teach me when I was her age.

The last batch of students were cousins who were in the 4th grade, a 9-year old girl and a 10-year old boy. I think I found the most joy in teaching them among today’s students, because they were so enthusiastic about studying. And despite seeming somewhat distracted with their cellphones before our session started, they were so concentrated on me when I was teaching them. One part we did when we were studying was that someone had given them phrases in Chinese which they had to translate into English and I had to correct it as homework. Both the students were so diligent and though they had mistakes, they diligently copied what I wrote in English so they could practice their English strokes. Next we did the months of the year and I tried correcting their pronunciations before I moved into quizzing them on the months by giving them the English name and asking them which month it was, and later by giving them the Mandarin name and asking them to translate it into English. I also gave them hints on how to remember which of the months were what in their Chinese counterparts. We also did a bit of fill-in-the-blank exercises and reading, which they were very excited to do. I think this is probably why if I had become a teacher, I would have gone out of my way to pick elementary school students to teach. And even if I had to speak to them in Chinese most the entire time, I was pretty smooth when it came to talking to them, and I didn’t feel nervous or anxious. And, they kept talking about so many random things and telling me how they had already studied their entire book and had memorized all the English dialogues inside. When I asked them to translate the English dialogues into Chinese, just to make sure they understood it and weren’t just reading it, they proved to be quite good. I was amazed.

The best part of today being that it started off on what felt like the wrong side of the bed, yet ended up feeling very satisfying.

Let it not be said that I have never considered education as a career, even if it’s only short-term.

Like working from 9-5

So recently, it’s like I’ve been working from 9-5. Some days it’s 8-5, and some days it’s 10-5. The new semester has begun and I’m finally feeling what it is to be studying and doing part-time work at the same time. I know so many people will think that at (almost) 24, I should know how it feels like, but coming from a country that doesn’t generally allow part-time work to students who haven’t graduated from university, it’s not something completely unheard of especially since I came to China soon after graduating from university. Back to topic, I’ve been doing two things since the semester began this week – studying and working. I’ve been granted a very practical schedule that allows me to study in the mornings and work in the afternoons, though it doesn’t leave me with much time to rest or study, though I’ve tried to remedy that by bringing some of my books to work with me so that during breaks or times that students are answering seatwork I can do my studies.

It’s been very draining and tiring, most especially since most of my classes start at 8 and that means having to wake up a lot earlier than I’m used to, and that means that I don’t come to work fully refreshed unlike during the summer holidays. In fact, this week was so stressful because I was trying to fix all my visa and passport documents (before my visa expires next week) plus I was trying to schedule my classes since I initially wanted my listening class to be on a lower level compared to my other classes, but what was most frustrating was that the language program office decided to re-do the level arrangements and I had to rethink the levels I wanted for my classes. In short, it’s just been really confusing and tiring.

Black blazer from H&M Xiamen; Striped tee from H&M Xiamen; Legging pants from UNIQLO Hong Kong; Eyeglass frame necklace from Xiamen; White and gold bracelet from Xiamen

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A Quickie

Don’t get any wrong ideas from the title. Haha, I’m just dropping by for a while to say hello to any friends and readers out there. I’m currently out of Manila, living in the province with my relatives. As today is Sunday, I can say that being here a week and a half hasn’t felt this long in a long time. I’ve been helping out at our family business here so work there pretty much takes up my time from Monday-Saturday, morning till around 7/8 in the evening. I did not expect work to be this time-consuming, but apparently it is. My free time in the evenings and on Sundays hasn’t left me with a lot of time to go out and go around, not that I need to since the city is pretty small and I’ve been coming here since I was a baby…so I’ve been to a lot of tourist-like attractions in the area.

Today was the Pacquiao-Marquez match, and a lot of my relatives came over to my grandparents place (where I’m living right now) to watch our pay-per-view match on television. Besides the few of us who aren’t that interested in the match, the rest of the family was gathered around the television room with eyes glued to the telly. I guess that’s one of the things that I missed as a child, as all my cousins here would gather together on Sundays for family time and such with my grandparents and uncles and aunts. Us in Manila on the other hand, well…we treat Sunday like any other day and generally spend it doing our own things. Even if Dumaguete is a whole lot different from Manila, as there is only 2 ‘malls’ here, there is no Starbucks, McDonald’s has only one branch and both that and KFC haven’t even been here for 5 years….well you get the picture, being with my family and relatives is a good change of pace. It’s not Manila, but hey….how often do I get to spend time here anyways.

Other than that, I’ve learned a lot since coming here and working at our family store. It’s been a real experience. I don’t have any interesting pictures so far, but I’ll try to share some pictures in the near future. 🙂

Take care, and till next time!

Before my not-really-a-vacation vacation

Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving Manila to head to Dumaguete, my dad’s hometown. When I was little, I’d go here every summer to spend time with my grandparents and cousins. In more recent years, there were times that I missed out on going home because of school-related issues. The estimated one hour trip will probably be my last trip for some time. If ever my plans for China push through, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to make my way home, so I should make the most of this trip. Plus, it’s my granddad’s 96th birthday in a few days, so that’s something to celebrate right? 🙂

A few days ago, I finished an 8am-2pm exam at the place where I was doing my job application. It felt good to feel the environment there, though there are a lot of things I’m now considering after having gone through that. Some good things, some uncomfortable things, just normal job jitters. After I had the exam, I went back to university to submit my application for my transcript of records and translation of diploma (FINALLY) and went to my department looking for a professor of mine. It was somewhat weird, the feeling of being in university despite already graduating. I probably felt it more then as compared to my previous post-graduation visits, since I had just come from a job application and was wearing heels and such. There weren’t that many students on campus then, since it was exam week and most were off studying somewhere, or taking exams.

Also, I have finally watched the Princess and the Frog. During the time it was airing in theatres, I was enduring that whole freaking-out-at-thesis phase so going to the movies was a no-no. It’s much nicer than I imagined, to some extent, though it’s quite different (yet oddly similar) to the older Disney classics. Didn’t expect the ending to turn out the way it did.

Okay, so it’s almost the end of May, around 2 months since graduation and yet I’m still a bum. There’s so much to prepare for after I return home since I have to finish the applications to China. Term starts in September so I have to finish everything by early June. I’m praying that everything will go smoothly.

For now, I’ll try to my enjoy my not-really-a-vacation vacation with my family. Will make the most out of being there, and I’ll hopefully get some exercise done since I’m in dire need of fresh air and space to be able to exercise. Bumming is not helping my figure at all. Hope I can blog and take LOTS OF PICTURES while I’m there.

Decisions, decisions.

Despite not having any real work at all, I find no time to allow myself the chance to blog. Funny really, how most of the instances where I blog are instances when I’m busy doing something like writing or studying. Now that I’ve graduated and am unemployed, I don’t find myself blogging. How funny really.

Anyways, since my last entry, the elections have been done here and it’s been pretty peaceful considering all the hulla-buloo about the candidates and the elections and whatnot. For that job thing that I’ve been preparing for, I’ve done the initial exam and tests and interview and will, on Thursday, be taking another exam (hopefully the last). My friend had offered me a (temporary) editing job where he’s working now, but I had to decline since the deadline was for this month and I was planning on going home to the province to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday around the last week.

A lot of my friends have been asking me about my plans for China, and whether or not they’ll be cancelled, most especially my friends whom I have plans of rooming with in China. The thought of taking another course in university right after I’ve graduated is a little annoying, honestly. Homeworks, assignments, everything again?! I really want to study again, but maybe not this soon. If ever it happens, hopefully it’ll happen when I’m better at the language so I can take the course in Mandarin. By then, I’ll be a lot better at Mandarin.

Sigh. Last night, I went out and had dinner with my dad and his friends, and they were speaking in Hokkien. It would have been okay since I understand, but replying was much more difficult, so we switched to Mandarin. Realization, my understanding of Mandarin is a lot better But my replies are still more or less basic. I definitely need more practice.

Dad is really set on me being in China sometime this year, though I find that mom is the opposite, and my doing job interviews seems to encourage my staying here. I don’t know if she’s really set on me staying here and can’t imagine me being anywhere else. Well, we’ll have to see. Sometime late this week/early next week, I’ll be home in the province and I’ll have to face my relatives about my graduating and my plans for China, most especially my grandparents. Hopefully, it’ll all turn out right.

Ugh, there’s just so many things to have to deal with.

Oh, something that’s been irking me recently is the new Animax having Korean dramas. First of all, Animax is an ANIME channel, not a channel with dramas. Before, I could deal with the games and music because the music was usually anime-related, and well, for me, anime goes with gaming. Most anime fans are gamers. But dramas? Not to mention, we’re talking about KOREAN dramas. Had they been Japanese, it would have kept up with the Japanese theme…but no. To top it all off, the dramas are usually in Tagalog and with English subs. It’s annoying enough having to deal with dubs, but dubbing it in Tagalog?  Why not take out the subs if they’re bent on dubbing it? I don’t get it at all. Korean drama, in Tagalog, but with English subs. Are they trying to please everyone? 😦 They should just decide on one thing. Most of my friends have given up on Animax though, especially when they began dubbing the anime in English. Animax has really sunk.

Apparently, I have a life.

One more week till elections. I found my name on the “find your precinct” online thing by COMELEC (Commission on Elections) so at least I’m assured that I’m a registered voter.

In other news, though the writing work for mom has fluctuated a little, I’ve recently rediscovered my fanfiction account and am giddy about catching up on updates. Most of my fanfics haven’t been updated since 2006/2007, which is really sad since it’s a good avenue to practice ‘novel’ writing, as compared to the ‘advertising’ writing I’ve been doing for the past month/s. It’s good practice, especially when I compared works I did before and around 2006, to my edited versions in 2007/2008. I did a revamp of many of the chapters I did, especially grammar and story-telling wise. They’re a lot better now, at least, hopefully they are.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take an exam for a job, for a company that I’ve always wanted to try out for since I was little. It’s not a publishing company per se, but it has to do with writing, hopefully, or well…that’s the position I’m applying for. Hopefully it will go well. This doesn’t mean that my plans for China are going to be forgotten though, since that is still my priority and it’s the plan that I really want to see happen. But while nothing yet is concrete, this back-up plan will be my most concrete thing as of now. 😀

Check clock, 11:10pm. Got to go get what I’m wearing tomorrow, ready. Since it’s just an exam, I don’t need to wear something too interview-ish, but still, something decent. Monthly visitor will make deciding even harder.

Life of the almost jobless

I thought that being finished with classes meant I could blog more, but I guess not. In some way, it probably shows that I blog usually for the sake of stress release. Interesting, very interesting.

Either way, I’ve not been as “free” as most people since classes ended for seniors. Last week, my grandaunt passed away at the age of 99, so it was a week full of wakes for me. It was probably a good thing that I didn’t go out-of-town or out-of-the-country with friends because I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill my responsibility with my family members. Last week, though it was a sad event, was also bonding time with me and my cousins, so it turned out okay.

I also had to take care of my second interview for a job that I was applying for (teaching position) so it was somewhat hectic. Earlier this week, I had just finished doing the teaching demo, which was nerve-wrecking. I hope I did well teaching the faculty-pretending-to-be-students students because I was really out of sorts at times when I was directing the lesson. It was also fun in some way though, so I didn’t mind. My “students” were very interesting and gave good points towards the lesson. It was a great experience.

My dreams/prospects of going to China have been a little “down” lately. There are plans and ideas going about, but they aren’t as I guess you could say ‘aggressive’ as I previously described them to be. Part of me says, if it happens, it happens. No need to rush things, though I’m a little iffy about not working for long periods of time. I bum a little at home nowadays, or well, when I don’t have anything to do at least. Planning things to do is something I’m gunning for because I don’t want to turn into someone who gets chubbier after college. OH NO. BIG N-O. Hahaha. I’ve got to do something to keep myself from just staying home, eating, then sleeping.

Next week will be a pretty busy week since there’ll be preparations for graduation then. Distribution of togas for the mass and ceremony itself, the invitations to parents, the yearbook distribution (which I’m happy is over since it was a grueling 2 semesters of work for around 2000 students), and the seniors party. To top it all off, the week next week ends with my graduation on Saturday. My brother is graduating on Thursday (from HS) so we have a double celebration ahead.

How time flies by~