Learning and Experience

I am thankful for my nephew who seems to have learned a bit of something from experience. He wasn’t cooperative regarding the limits his mother placed on his technology, so there were numerous consequences designed to help him learn.

As the sysadmin for our little network, that meant a lot of extra doing for me. I hadn’t done much of any of that kind of stuff in over a decade and a lot has evolved since then.

The flip side is that I got my fingers in that technical pie again, just a little bit, and was able to keep (almost) every one happy. I did one specific gig as a travel agent, making certain I gave my nephew a nice little guilt trip because of all the additional work he gave me to play the bad guy and all the frustration he gave his grandmother because the network mods I made to keep him honest caused other network issues that inconvenienced his grandmother (and mother for that matter). He wasn’t impressed by the inconvenience, so I talked at him about relationships and bargaining chips and the fact that his current behavior and choice patterns weren’t earning him any points with the two most important women in his life–the two that had so much control and veto power.

It took a while and I thought I saw a light bulb. Today I learned that he had worked out something with his mother about helping him maintain the boundaries she set–he’s actually been handing his electronics over to her at night! (So glad I was already sitting down…)

Maybe some seed I planted really did take root…



Peace Corps

I am again thankful for options–and unfortunately, this is one I likely will have to pass by. Another of the excellent ideas my contact in China suggested was looking into the Peace Corps. And I spent some time on their website checking them out.

Again, finances & medical were the two concerns that steer me away from this option–that and it’s a two-year commitment. Not that I’m wary of two years, per se, but given that many countries have age limits for teaching (especially where it is the most potentially “lucrative”–gotta get this school based albatross off my neck).

I’ll probably go ahead and make application…maybe one of their recruiters can give me a better idea of the potential benefits for my long-term plans. And maybe this information might influence the choices I make now.

Perhaps in a couple of years when I’ve the freedom to do so…

Nope. Couldn’t resist.

And no. I’m not sorry.


TEFL Options

I am thankful for choices, particularly regarding employment. As I mentioned yesterday, a contact I made suggested Taiwan as a potential location for teaching English, especially since I have some (limited) ability with Mandarin. And as mentioned yesterday, one of my concerns is my health care. Taiwan is a much better option than the PRC in that regard. Probably not as good as Korea, but I’m still just now getting into the research, so I really don’t have much data to make a solid opinion yet.

I just wish I had discovered the TEFL industry earlier in life. What an awesome lifestyle!



I am thankful for “friend of friends”. I just recently made a new contact through an uncle–a friend of his is actually teaching English in China. He responded to my questions with a wealth of personal experience and gave me some information that, for the time being, likely crosses China off my list of potential places for employment: health care is “expensive”–that is, takes up a pretty big chunk of available income. And I have more health concerns.

On the other hand, I hadn’t given Taiwan much thought at all, and that option could potentially open a lot more doors. I may have to do some serious work on my Mandarin, but I’ve already got a foothold (OK, a toehold), but it’s definitely better than my non-existent Korean.

And, while unintended, he helped me determine where my priorities really were, something I really knew, but wasn’t quite willing to put as much emphasis on. I thoroughly enjoy traveling and seeing new places, I like learning languages, and delving into other cultures. I also need to pay off school, so going solely for the fabulous lifestyle just won’t be enough.

For now…

We Are…

sunday’s Spiritual Spin

I am thankful for Penn State Students. I work at a register in one of the dining commons at University Park. It’s a the temp job I’ve mentioned earlier. The main reason I enjoy the job isn’t that I have excellent folks to work with, although that is certainly true, it is that I have excellent folks to work for–the students.

I enjoy interacting with them on many levels. Some, whose names I haven’t yet learned, I recognize and consistently say hi to. Others I can call by name. Still others I have gotten to know a bit better and have been honored with some excellent conversations during slower times of the day.

Some are international students, and I have tried greeting them in their native languages: Chinese, Korean, Arabic, German…all of them were surprised that I could do that, all of them are appreciative, and many have complimented me on pronunciation and such. Several are still surprised when I ask if they want a bag–even though I have asked them that before. (“Americans can speak Mandarin?”) It’s a lot of fun.

But this weekend I was particularly impressed that the vast majority of them are truly focused on their education, spending their time this weekend studying for midterms rather than attending “State Patty’s Day” (an artificial “holiday” invented by students several years ago for the sole  purpose of having an excuse to abuse alcohol. Not that folks at a “party school” have ever really needed an excuse to do stupid…). I had a lot of fun teasing “all the silly students who were wasting their time studying for midterms rather than focusing on REALLY important things, like which movie would take the Oscar for Best Picture” this evening. Maybe a total of 6 (out of the 450 some) that came through the line had a definitive response. Most weren’t aware that the Academy Awards show was tonight or what films were nominated.

Truly satisfying to know that most of these “kids” have their heads on fairly straight.

Side note: today was the Annual “Pink” Game for the Cure with the Women’s Basketball Team. Proceeds are donated to fight breast cancer–over 600 survivors with a grand total of over 3000 years of victory over the disease. Lots of support from the student body and community.

Oh, the ladies also won the National Championship.

A fun, uplifting day, all in all.



I am thankful  for cartoons, especially the old Bugs Bunny–the ones with the classical music backgrounds.




or even

I had a college music appreciation instructor who used these toons for the course. One of the most fun classes I’ve ever had.

The bar set high for me as a teacher.