Showing posts from September, 2009

English Trainer Chronicles: Lost in pronunciation


Him: Do you prefer to work in open space or in your own office?
Me: I prefer to work in cubicles, because I can still see people. If I had my own office, I might not leave it at all. Imagine, I teach people from another continent and I don't see my officemates--
Him: That would make you a dick!
Me: That would make me a what?!
(Pause, laughter)
Him: ... And I was so proud of my word too.*


We were talking about some A(H1N1) prevention tips.

Him: We were told to (makes coughing sound) on our sleeves. Do you understand?
Me: Yes. The word is cough.
Him: What?
Me: (Makes coughing sound) That's coughing. The verb is cough.
Him: So, it's better to cough on your sleeve. I coughed on the end of my skirt.
Me: A skirt is something women wear for the bottom part of their bodies.
Him: Oh.
Me: (CCQ** mode) Do you wear a skirt?
Him: (Pause) Oops. Now you know my secret. I didn't want to share it with you.

* For the record, this was the Urban Dictionary meaning that registered: "An adjective to describe a guy who is a jerk or does mean and stupid things." To be fair, it does make sense. ;-)
 ** Comprehension check question

I don't know how to explain you

Today, a learner said, "I don't know how to explain you."

Normally, I'd correct it and say, "It's better to say: I don't know how to explain it to you."

But today is more of a "It's okay, I don't know how to explain me either" day.


I have a lot of things to catch up on. Working on my writing has been difficult since some idiot named Althea spilled milk on my keyboard. I'm so busy, busy, busy.

But I'm planning my escape.


Three years ago, I went on a juice fast and I said I'd do it annually to rid my body of toxins. I haven't succeeded in doing it again. I'd like to try this year, before my birthday. I'm thinking of starting it on Sept. 29, a full month before I turn 32. Wish me luck!

I will

Colors of the week

This week, in words and images.

I broke out in angry red rashes in the middle of the week. From stress, maybe, or from something in my cubicle. I swear, some days I feel like some little thing's biting me or crawling all over my skin. Sometimes, I'd like to know exactly what; sometimes, I'd like to just keep on wondering. (What if I've suddenly developed allergies to working? Such a delicious, disturbing thought!)


Patrick Swayze died this week. Dirty Dancing was big among my childhood friends, and it became big with me through osmosis. We tried to perform the (not so dirty, IMO) Dirty Dancing dance for one of the neighborhood Christmas parties, working overtime to get the climactic lift right.

It was at that time that I discovered, beyond reasonable doubt, that I was not really a dancer, no matter the number of programs I'd "volunteered" to join as a child. I'd danced Silent Night in a Hawaiian costume. I'd pranced around in a little red skirt and red-and-white striped socks, carrying a big polystyrene candy cane, dancing to Winter Wonderland. I'd dressed as an angel, throwing bougainvillea flowers in my path to the tune of another Christmas song. But it was Dirty Dancing that showed me all those had come to naught.

Still, I can probably sing the words to The Time of My Life. Off-key, of course. But that's another story.


Mary Travers died this week. I liked the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. It was by osmosis too, as when I was a child, my parents had a record player the size of a typical chest freezer, and one of their records was Puff the Magic Dragon. If I learned to love The Beatles later on, it was because I loved Peter, Paul and Mary first.

I watched the Puff the Magic Dragon movie some time after that. It's about Jackie, a boy paralyzed by fear.

I looked up some quotes from Puff:
Jackie, the first step in not being afraid is to see things as they really are.
Jackie, believe in yourself! Have the courage to try! That's the second step to not being afraid.
Like all small-spirited and stupid beings, they believe that they can deny beauty by hiding it.
I want a copy of this film! I think I need to see it again. :-)


Little surprises:

Today, I found a baby dragonfly in our tiny lobby. I plucked it from the paper it was clinging on to and gently carried it outside. It flew away. It was the first baby dragonfly I've ever seen in my entire life.

Tonight, I came home with five balloons in different colors.

You can't plan these things.

Promises to keep

When I read about other people's adventures, and I feel a twinge of jealousy, that's me, hearing a bell tolling for me in the distance: It's almost time, it's almost time.

And each day the ringing becomes louder, and the day will come when I will not be able to ignore it anymore for the very simple reason that it is drowning out everything else that used to matter.

This has happened before.

I've always navigated by the heartstrings, ever since I was a child. For someone who is often hard put to express her truest feelings without bursting into an ocean of words or a mass of contrasting emotions, I'm also the owner of one of the world's most succint heart. No. Yes. Go. Run. Stop. Leave.


Maybe it's the deaths of young writers, the young shapers of my world. I count three now, in a space of one month.

I am sad to admit that at 31, I haven't started saying what I know only I can say.


I'm off to Bohol again.

Thank you for the gift of travel.