May 4, 2010


All’s quiet on the western front.

Yes, this was a rather quiet, non-eventful day. Classes, a break, a nap, another class, and dinner with a friend. Ho-hum.

I wish sometimes that I had many of these kinds of days. I don’t seem to get them very often. But you know, they’re not what they’re cracked up to be!

Classes were classes. Nothing exciting. Just looked over some homework that I had assigned the kids. As usual, the second of the two morning classes, was a riot. Aside from one student who doesn’t really ‘fit’ this class, the rest of them are lively, active, awake, fun, and are really getting better in their English abilities.

The kindergarteners in my third class, are always fun. It would be nice if these kids would carry on their ‘joy’ of learning English on into their next few years. I’m trying to teach them a VERY long poem for their ‘graduation’ on June 25. It is a poem that uses the alphabet, and has a couple of sentences for each letter. I’m slowly introducing the actions to go along with the poem, to make it easier for them to remember. However, even though they’ve only seen this poem twice, they already have about 1/3 of it memorized! Amazing kids.

My few hours in the afternoon was honestly, a bit boring. I was wanting to get my blog written, but found that sitting in front of the computer was making me tired. Either that, or I just need more sleep. So, off to bed for an afternoon siesta. The evening class was okay – only 2 kids showed up for class. The 3rd, has tests next week, so didn’t come in. It’s okay, because it gave me a chance to work closely with the two younger ones.

After that, dinner with my friend Cliff. Cliff is a bit nervous these days. He was recently promoted to supervisor. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a high level position, but it is better than entry-level. He was reluctant to accept the position, but eventually did. It seems things have been fine, however, as with any management level, he is feeling the pressure of HIS supervisors/managers.

Also, and this is what’s getting him a bit nervous, is his upcoming training in China. He will be gone for a month to China, for a course in something – sorry, Cliff, not sure what the course is. Also, no offense, but it’s not really that important what the course is to the readers of this blog.

Now, whenever I had the opportunity to go on training courses, I cherished the opportunity. It meant that YOUR managers felt that you were worthy of learning new skills to assist in the business. It meant that you could make new contacts. It meant a period of time away from the drudgery of day-to-day work.

In all the training sessions I have ever taken, the training was in the same city, maybe a few blocks away. Often times, it was in the same building, just a different room or floor. Here, Cliff gets to go to CHINA!! WOW! I’m jealous, actually.

As far as distance is concerned, it would be like living in Vancouver, and going to, I don’t know, Regina? As for reality, it’s like living in Canada, and going to the States. Not just another city. Another COUNTRY! There’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along to everyone, every day!

I can sort of understand his apprehension. He will be out of his comfort zone, for probably the first time in his life. He won’t be around his friends or family. He will be in a somewhat small area of China. Not in one of the major cities. Yes, it is a month of training, but during that time, he will meet other people from other cities and countries. He will make new contacts, that can only benefit his career. Being so far away from everything and everyone he knows, may seem a bit daunting. Believe me Cliff, I understand! I am half-way around the world!!

He has his computer, so internet will be available. He has SKYPE, so phone calls will be free. Okay, not SEEING everyone every day will be strange at first, but he will get used to it. And, since he is supposed to be in a training session, I’m sure that the hardest part of his day will be when day finishes. However, again, Cliff, you will meet new people. Take advantage of this unique opportunity. Try to bear in mind, that opportunities like this DON’T come along every day, and definitely, not for everyone.

I was hoping that I could take advantage of this as well. Of all the places in China to visit, the only places I have even an iota of desire to visit, is Shang-hai and Bei-jing. Apparently, both of these cities are too far from where he will be to be able to visit for a weekend. So, my China trip will have to wait for another time. As well, I haven’t checked yet, but how long a VISA takes, and buying a ticket, booking hotel rooms… just not enough time from my end.

Enjoy this time. Relax. Don’t worry about it. It is only a month. Considering yesterday was New Year’s Day, the month will fly by before you know it! You’ll be back before you know it. And, you’ll have one more stamp in your passport!

Your managers have faith in you. They believe you are worth the risk. They wouldn’t have offered this opportunity to you if they felt you couldn’t do it, or were worth it!

Take a deep breath, calm down, and relax. Take in everything they will be teaching you. Build up your networking circle. Enjoy the opportunity. Relish the fact that you are ‘noticed’ in the company.

Above all, remember to bring me back a T-shirt!

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