Showing posts from September, 2008

English Trainer Chronicles: Pantry

Student: "Pantry is underwear?"

He was referring to this sentence from an article on scent I sent him: "So an odor similar to that of your grandmother's pantry might be more quickly associated with your memories of that place than a similar sight, which might be more generalized."

I ended up laughing, and he said, "Stop laughing!" so I explained the mistake for him, and it was his turn to laugh.

Say a little prayer for me

Dear God,

You know who I always pray for, and you know how I always ask you to hold everyone I love and loved in the palm of your hand.

Tonight, hold us a little bit tighter. Me, especially.

I want to move forward without looking back, but it seems like something is always pulling me backwards. I don't want to be mean anymore; I don't want to keep protecting myself.

I want to be obedient. But I don't see what I have to do. Every time I talk to him, it takes me one day to pull myself back together.

Show me what to do.


New favorite student

Me: So, how did you find this lesson?
Him: Perfect.
Me: Oh, good, good.
Him: You're perfect.

He's not very fluent yet, but I'll take my ego boost where I can find it!


Beginning September 16 and up until November 30, I'll be working two extra hours per work day. I signed up for it for two reasons. First, the extra cash would be good for Christmas. Second, I really have nothing better to do past midnight and I can't sleep until around 2 or 3am anyway, so might as well make money.

I'm trying to imagine what my schedule would be like for most of the -ber months in the light of these changes. I still have some side jobs writing and editing, and while I've sort of gotten the groove of balancing those with my current schedule, I think I'm going to have to schedule things a little tighter. Two hours, after all, are two hours.

Before I started teaching English, I'd never thought of time in parcels. In fact, I'd never wanted to. In my first job (six months at a dotcom, handling talk show websites), I only thought of time in terms of when the shows would start. In my second job as a newspaper supplements writer for The Philippine STAR (see how I still *have* to write "star" in all-caps?), I only worried about making deadlines and being on time for interviews.

When I worked in the BPO industry as a marketing writer, I was introduced to the idea of man-hours, but it didn't quite catch on because I left before I could take on a big project. At that time, the idea of knowing how long a writing job would take was bizarre.

Blame it on my creative writing background, where some stories can float around you for years, never to be captured on paper.

Now that, barring no shows or technical problems, I know exactly what I'll be doing for the most part of the work day, and I can plan ahead what to do during my precious breaks, I'm also starting to think in parcels of time. I need 8 hours to sleep to be in top condition; 45 minutes max(times 2) to take shower; 1 hour in the gym, plus 30 minutes for the quick shower; 1 focused hour daily to edit SMS comments; 1.5 hours (on Sundays and Tuesdays) to write my column; 30 minutes to finish a complete meal; and 7 minutes to walk from the jeepney stop to my building.

On the other side of the coin, that now means I don't need any single second of pointless chit-chat--which is *not* the same as exchanging pleasantries or Plurking (!) with friends and colleagues to continue feeling human. I should also stop "half-watching" television shows, especially those late night Law & Order reruns (though, boo to RPN 9 for showing mostly home TV shopping shows now). More importantly, this also means I should stop eating junk because I really don't have time to be sluggish the day after.

The beauty of this all is that I get to splurge on weekends, and while my days are scheduled tightly, I get to go on long breaks, without the baggage of pending career-making/breaking tasks, once in a while.

It's Saturday, and I have a long list of tasks to accomplish, but for today, it still kind of feels like I've got all the time in the world.

Before 10pm, when the supermarket closes, that is.

Fried chicken

The challenge in acquiring a new habit--or, more precisely, stripping away a bad one--is that sometimes making the necessary adjustments takes a lesser priority than making someone happy and comfortable. I spent the weekend with Keona, a.k.a. The Baby My Sister Had For Me.

On Saturday, we went to see C3PO and the Storm Troopers in Southmall (I was Auntie mode all the way). Before that, we had lunch with Tita Emily. Now, Southmall doesn't have a lot of kid-friendly restaurants (read: a restaurant a kid could roam around in that's not so traumatic for the Auntie), so we ended up in Shakey's, as usual.

And because we were in Shakey's, of course I ate fried chicken, thereby breaking my barely a week-old resolution. At least I didn't give in to the pepperoni pizza; I ordered my own Friday's Special.

The good news is that I had to run around Southmall, chasing after Keona, or carry her while shopping, so I had plenty of exercise.

The bad news is, for dinner, my sister asked for KFC takeout. She did lend me Keona and Nana Tin for the whole afternoon, so I gladly consented.

I did think of buying my own fish dinner, but I was too tired (read: lazy, too) to go to another restaurant, I just went ahead and bought a six-piece bucket of KFC.

The next day, my sister, her husband and my baby came over. There was nothing else to cook, except ready-to-cook spicy fried chicken. So guess what we had for dinner?

And because it was spicy fried chicken, it wasn't as popular in the household as regular fried chicken, so we had a couple of pieces left over. Which I ate the next day, of course.

So, this is exactly why I want to give up red meat and fried chicken. If not, I would be eating it everyday.

English Trainer Chronicles: Ring and then some

I haven't posted any of these lately. It's not like I haven't been getting any funny, cute, memorable moments; I just got addicted to Plurking, so I sort of neglected blogging for a while.

But I had some funny exchanges today, courtesy of my most quotable learner.

Act 1: Saved by the bell

I'd been having trouble with the phone, and I wasn't sure my call was getting through.

Me: Did the you hear the phone ring?
Learner: Yes, it belled for only one second.
Me: Belled? Do you say "belled" for a phone?
Learner: Yes. No. Yes... (He'd figured out the correct answer by now.)
Me: Yes?
Learner: In France, we have giant bells on our phones ...
Me: Sure, maybe in the sixties?
Learner: You are calling the sixties ...

Act 2: Take that!

Me: So, using discourse markers for "logical consequence," tell me how you got into IT.
Learner: I was so passionate about computers, so I really wanted to take in IT.
Me: Um, that's a little bit too passionate. When you "take in" something, you sort of put it inside you.
Learner: Yes! I eat my keyboard!

September habits: no red meat, no fried chicken

Beginning this year, I said I would start one habit a month. I tried, sometimes succeeded, and mostly failed. All in all, though, I'm still pretty much ahead because compared to the other years I made a gazillion resolutions and kept none, I've got three habits that feel like second nature now, and I'm seriously working on a fourth and a fifth.

And it's a new month again, so it's time I start a new habit. I purposely skipped August because I knew I was going to Cebu and I'll be damned if I don't have my share of lechon.

I've got pictures of my lovely vacation here and here and here. I'm pretty proud of myself, because it's my second long vacation this year. :) I did say this year's theme was love.

So I've gone and come back, and what do I have to show for it?

Happy, happy memories. A new love for snorkeling. A glowing tan that ceased to glow after three days (apparently, my natural skin color is really a little bit on the fair side). A couple of pounds gained. A renewed desire to be fit (for snorkeling). A someday plan for swimming lessons.

And a couple of health concerns.

In Bohol, my mom took a look at my feet and said they were showing signs of water retention, and, to cut the long story short, I took one of her tiny arthritis pills. It solved the water retention problem, alright, but it also left me with an upset stomach and dyspepsia for at least a week.

I don't think I've written so many big "health-related" words before, but I am 30, and while I'm thankful for my good health, I do know I haven't been taking care of my body.

I have sedentary and oftentimes stressful jobs, I don't have enough regular exercise (that's changing now, as I've committed to stay with Fitness First for one more year), and I wasn't really eating healthy.

Thus, my two new habits: refraining from red meat and fried chicken (because whenever I stay away from red meat, I end up chowing on friend chicken!).

Thanks to Jimple, I think I'm also inching my way towards vegetarianism.

Okay, habit updates:

So far, I've been staying away from burgers (186 days, as of writing); chips, except for nachos, since I'm giving this up forever anyway (94 days, as of writing). The February juice fast was a failure, but that's not a habit, so it doesn't count.

March to June was about walking away from someone very important, and it wasn't easy, so I'm excused. The July habit was a failure, and I have no excuse for it. :(

Savings, okay; accounting for food consumed and expenses, not okay. I now have my mom's newer old PDA, though, so it should get easier. But I'm taking it easy on myself, because, in all honesty, I'm doing better than I've ever done in 30 years.