About ebrock36

Teaching English in China

My vs. Our

My last trip to Korea I had a friend explain to me why I can’t introduce family as “my mom, my dad, etc.” He said they use “our mom, our brother, etc.” I thought this really interesting and completely in contrast with the US.

I can’t speak Korean, but in learning the few phrases I have, I’ve already noticed a change in the mindset of Korea vs. US. In Korea, and probably most of Asia, the idea within the family is “OUR”, whereas in America, everything is “MY”. In Korea, within the family, everything is shared; house, money, food, child raising, parent caretaking. And it spills over into friendships; paying for meals, bringing back gifts from trips. Even something so simple as grabbing an extra coffee for coworkers in the morning regardless of whether or not you’ve asked. It’s IN THE CULTURE to think of others. I really love this. I find myself saying “my” and “mine” so often, and I see how it’s led me to be stingy with my money and possessions. It’s hard for me to freely give because I’m always looking out for #1. I wonder how our society might benefit from letting go of a possessive attitude to a shared attitude. I mean, it’s things…stuff, for cryin’ out loud.

the battle

I’m writing this without much consideration of writing etiquette…raw, like i like it…would you really expect anything less of me?

Today was a day of reflection, partly due by something my prof said in class yesterday. He said…

“You do all this research and studying to know it all, and then to wake up one day to find you don’t know anything at all.”

And I thought to myself, “I wonder if these guys who’s lives revolve around research and discovering new things, who are so proud of all their work in the field, who’ve had so many papers published, stop and think, ‘What’s it all for?’ only to realize that it is the relationships that counted the most in life.”

Now, I don’t think we should all up and quit what we’re doing and go hug the people in our lives. I’m simply reminded today that I need to watch myself. I need to care for others more than I do myself, that my decisions affect others, and that my actions should reflect more compassion and love.

I’m thankful for days like today. It’s kind of a Debbie Downer, but it’s a reminder that God is still working on me.

Some people make loving others look so easy. That IS NOT the case with me. I’m kind of a jerk.

Accidents Happen…

I can totally see the Chinese boy, who spotted me on bench press today, having his own version of “She touched my leg!”

“Yesterday was one of the greatest days of my life. Emily asked me to spot her. She told me her name, asked for mine. I touched her boob!”

Oops!

They’re already afraid of me to begin with. I hope he’s not too embarrassed to show his face around the gym anymore.

Scrambled Eggs and Overhead Squats

It was pouring outside today so the pansy princess in me said, “Ew, your shoes are going to be sopping wet when you get there…all for a pull-up bar?!? Uh, no.” Because you see, the only thing needed in my WOD today was a pull-up bar.

“BW Fifteen” – found in WODBook I bought at the VA Showdown
35 squats
25 push-ups
15 pull-ups
7RFT

Little did I know how much this would change between then and the time I ACTUALLY did the WOD.

6pm rolled around as I swivelled to and fro about my desk chair.

Me: *Sigh* “Do I need a day off? Should I use the hammy as an excuse?”, groping behind my thigh for a sensitive-to-the-touch feeling that would surely send me over the ledge of self-pity into the well of laziness.

Myself: “Nope, just need to warm-up. Get up. Go.”

Me: “You’re so annoying.”

**Have I mentioned how much I love scrambled eggs and tomatoes? It’s a peasants’ dish here in China, but it’s my favorite! Mmmm! I love it when 阿姨 (“Aunty” in Chinese) makes it.**

I go downstairs to my little workout nook, do my warm-up, stretch out the hammy and decide, “I’m going to sub out pull-ups and do sit-ups.”

Myself: “But your butt is still raw from yesterday and the day before!”

Me: “True, I did just do sit-ups, A LOT of sit-ups 3 days in a row…with no husband to rub Vaseline on my backside after either! I deserve a break, all alone, no one to take care of me…”

Sorry, that’s a different post.

Myself: “But if you take out sit-ups, that’s just squats and push-ups and you just did bench press and squats yesterday and hella push-ups the day before. Remember, with all the sit-ups?”

Me: “Ok, ok, I got it.”

35 OH squats (metal mopstick)
5 wall-walks
7RFT = 24:23

WOD for snails

I’m not even sure why I brought my timer other than to have one other piece of information to write down in my nerdy WODBook. (I have GOT to add that tape to the nose piece of my glasses. I keep meaning to do that!) I was moving slower than snails making sure my hamstring was ok. Even walking up the wall, I had to be careful.

It’s amazing how much we notice our muscles’ use when they’re really hurt or sore. I’m constantly like, “Wow, who knew you used your hamstrings so much to scoot around in your rolly desk chair because you’re too lazy to actually get up and walk anywhere, or pulling off your shoes without untying them because you’re too lazy to simply bend over, or putting on your swimsuit just to hang out in because you miss the beach.” It’s really quite eye-opening, a learning experience for sure.

So, what’s the take-home message after all this huff and puff about my strained hamstring?

Running is stupid, never do it.

“That’s How I Roll!” – China

Scenario #1:

Time: Saturday, Sept 22 8:52am

Grey’s Anatomy is playing on Hulu while I sip on a cup of coffee…..ok ok ok, I’m cross-stitching too. (I’m going to make an amazing REAL grandma someday, even if I never have children.)

*Phone rings*

Me: “Hello?”

Lady: “Hi, Emily. It’s Vivi. You were supposed to be in class this morning. Did they tell you about the make-up classes for today?”

Me: “Yes, they told us today would be make-up classes for Friday afternoon. I have class at 1:30pm today.”

Lady: “No, you were supposed to make-up Friday afternoon classes this morning.”

THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

Da Scoops: The Chinese National Holiday is coming up in the first week of October, so we were scheduled to make-up classes on Saturday, Sept 29. “Fine, ok. It’s in my planner.” (I’m pretty sure “plan” and “schedule”…just like “weekend” do not exist in the Chinese language.)

Yesterday(!) the government (the GOVERNMENT!!) decides to change that make-up day to THIS Saturday, Sept 22…not even 24 hr notice. They F’ed up the message so bad, no teachers showed up for class today b/c apparently there was a time change that got lost along the way.

And people wonder why I lose my mind here…..”76 more days, Em. 76 more days.”

Dear World,

Don’t be afraid of China.

Emily B.

No, I will NOT take off my clothes!

Today I had the BEST misunderstanding in class.

They both need to get outside for some fresh air!

Look at these 2 pictures in our book. We decided “Anna” on the left looks really hot (temperature, people!!), maybe stressed, possibly needing a drink of water. “Ben”, on the right, is clearly angry. (In fact, he reminds me of myself when our internet goes out and I’m interrupted in the middle of watching Grey’s Anatomy. Have you SEEN that show?! Man, it’s good! If I had no conviction for compassion I’d totally be Dr. Yang. She’s such a heartless witch and it. is. HI.larious.)

This unit was about making requests, offering suggestions, and…..whatever, stuff like that. Before we practice ourselves, the book gives examples and we have to decide which person, “Anna” or “Ben”, would be appropriate to say the phrase too. For example:

“Could I turn on the air conditioning for you?” – that one is clearly for “Anna”

“Would you like me to help you fix it?” – this one’s for “Ben”

Here’s a doozy: “Why don’t you take off some of your clothes?”….Now, this seems relatively reasonable for “Anna”. She’s wiping her forehead. Her face says, “Frick, it’s hot in here!” HOWEVER, she isn’t wearing her jacket/blazer anymore. What else is she supposed to take off exactly?!?! She’s already tried that one. Soooo………this is the 1st funny thing about class, to which my students got a good laugh.

I’m so glad there’s a 2nd misunderstanding, which revolves around this same phrase, to tell you about.

So then we practice using different phrases to ask for help and make requests…

Me: Kara, If you were “Anna” and needed to make a request, using “Could you please…”, what would you say?

Kara: Could you please give me a drink of water?

Me: Awesome, that’s a great idea! Ok, um, Vicky, if you were offering to do something for “Ben”, what would you say, using “Would you like me to…?”

Vicky: Would you like me to call IT?

Me: Yeah! Good one!….Mandy, what if “Ben” was making a request. What’s something he might ask for?

Mandy: Could you….Would you please…uh, um *scanning over page frantically, looking for something to say because she hasn’t been paying attention* Would you please take off some of your clothes?

Me: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!! You want me to take off my clothes?! I will NOT! *jokingly pulling my cardigan together*

Class: LAUGHTER ALL AROUND!

Best part was, this all happened in my first class and I had to teach this same lesson 2 more times. Ooohh, it was good fun! I LOVE making my girls laugh!!

Fasting from the Book of Faces

In efforts to have more vision from the Lord, my mentor suggested we all do a 3 day fast. I immediately heard God say, “Yep, do it! You know what I’m talking about.”

Facebook….fast from Facebook.

Now, along with everyone else, I agree. It’s a huge waste of time, filled with a bunch of crap from other people’s lives that I don’t give $.02 (2 cents) about…(that reminds me, whatever happened to the “cents” sign? I remember writing a small “c”…or backwards was it (?), with a vertical line through it in school. Is change really that unimportant now?) Anyways, I don’t care that people are going to bed, and I REALLY don’t care that people are going to the gym. BUT when you’re living in the desert (a.k.a. China…there’s more to it but that’s another story) there’s things you find interesting that wouldn’t normally tug at you…pics of Hawaii, someone’s kid’s tooth fell out, people having the sniffles…I’m already starting not to care. If for nothing else than the pure fact that you have a pseudo-connection with people to keep you sane and make you falsely feel like others care about what YOU’RE doing. That’s me.

Because when I turn off Facebook it’s just me and God…hmmm, a novel idea. No distractions? Why don’t I want more of this? (God usually doesn’t give instant gratification that my generation has been raised to expect, and I, for one, hate that I’m a victim an addict to it just as much as the next person.)

So, at 7pm (Hawaii time, because that’s what my computer’s time is still on) yesterday I “x”ed out of Facebook, not to be turned on until 1pm Sunday (China time). [Oh yeah, and speaking of fasting; aren’t you, like, not supposed to tell anyone?…Well, this preacher’s-kid has never been one for rules and regulations. It just brings out the rebel in me, and I DO NOT need anymore of THAT lady.

So naturally, I immediately log into Twitter. “You specifically said Facebook, God. You didn’t say anything about Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.”

I went on to “tweet” something stupid that no one cares about and will never see…No, wait, that’s wrong too. I attached Twitter to my blog so people will see it now. WHY DO I DO THESE THINGS?! “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, Emily.”

I can remember a time when the only time I checked Facebook was in the computer lab at school because I didn’t even own my own laptop and Tweeting just sounded dirty. (It may have come out the same time as that song with the “skeet skeet skeet”.)

So, this morning, while doing my devos I committed to fasting from ALL social media. I figured, if nothing else, it’ll inspire me to write more and hey, look, here I am! I told God in my devos today “I don’t even know what I’m looking for.” To which he reminded me of Romans 8:26. Then I just simply said, like I do everyday “What would you have for me today, Lord?”

English AND Chinese…double whammy!

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9

That’s it! We fast for discernment, to know what’s best. And isn’t it true that we make better decisions when not distracted?! Thanks God!

I prayed this over my sisters in my Bible study group. For me, yes, I struggle with wanting to know details, but I’m always reminded to keep it simple. Seek HIS will, not my own. Bring glory to HIM, not myself. Build HIS kingdom, not my own. The rest is gravy!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.