i miss being busy…and paid

I knew this feeling would come. No, I honestly don’t miss the academy or my bosses or my colleagues or the rotten students I had dealt with. It’s the sense of being preoccupied or rather hard-pressed a huge chunk of the time and, this one is the killer, getting paid for it that I miss. Someone advised me recently to simply return to that old job; I told him how different the situation is at school now compared to what things used to be. I couldn’t endure anymore handling my bosses’ very young kids and the teeners who have no interest learning my favorite language.

I am a complicated person with a simple life.

Charlotte Eriksson

My list of pleasure nowadays: I’m back to my ideal weight because I no longer earn extra cash to be able to eat at that expensive buffet restaurant on the weekends (a habit I developed late last year out of my justification “I had to do sth special before facing another shitty workweek”). I go to bed usually when dawn breaks, wake up at mumble-mumble ‘o clock (embarrassingly late, that’s why) and don’t need to indulge in 3 meals a day ‘coz I already possess superpowers for having had enough sleep. I now eat healthily because I cook – no choice since eating out and convenient foods are pricey. And voila! I currently run three other blogs that I fill up mostly with juvenile Tumbler quotes and images – owright ohright, that’s so inane it doesn’t count.

Revelation: I’m happiest when I’m in the process of publishing a blog post. Which only proves I’m an authentic writer, right? right? Yipee! 


I keep changing my mind as to my travel plans. Well, the truth is I wanna visit all those splendid places in Europe. Not possible, though, so I’m gunning for the best ultimate single tour for myself – one that has the least cathedral, museum, church visits. The travel agent I’m in contact with must have had her eyeballs on repeated roll as I say to her one day “I think this package is great” then tell her the next day “this package is more fantastic and will suit me better.”

Anyhow, 2016 is meant for rest, reading, writing, and dreaming of adventure. No mulling over tomorrows or the future. Whatever apocalypse is destined to pounce, let it befall by the beginning of next year.

happy me, Europe 2014

The Teacher That I Was – 2

Upon my acceptance as an instructor for a certain Asian nation, my interest in the English language both as a teacher and a learner had germinated. It also helped me in gaining fortitude not to mention the discipline to get up early and show up for work regularly, in spite of my being a lifelong night owl.

Although not a remarkable English student in school, I was a heavy short-novel reader in my juvenile and early adult years. But never had I bothered with familiarization of standard grammatical terms. Having no previous training in teaching and purely armed with average English fluency, I started polishing my skills.

Below were my exact sentiments before I began my preparations as an ESL instructor:

Gerund, Infinitives, Participial phrase– What are they?

Present Perfect tense – Excuse me?

Past Perfect – Oh no no.

Future Perfect Progressive – Now I’m gonna go insane.

As I make headway at my profession, my initial question to every new student on the first day of class would be “Do you like reading?” If the answer was yes, I’d presume there would be not much of a problem. If the answer was no, well…

I pushed more for the comprehension of the reading materials and didn’t impose memorization of vocabulary. Homework was something I expected to be done. By that, I gained the reputation inside the academy (among students) of being strict, quite competent 😉 , smart, “kind but hard.”

The small number of industrious and attentive students sparked my diligence as a teacher thereby inspiring me to toil harder for the refinement of their English proficiency. With the right students, my occupation could provide worth and gratification. With the the lazy ones, it was a mere waste of time. In most cases, I had to endure (the torment of) “free talking” especially during man-to-man sessions even though I had little concern for their mundane lives and no enthusiasm to get chummy with them.

Money became secondary motivation what with the minimum pay I received throughout the years with zero job perks to boot.

On the whole, I’ll be honest in saying that I secretly don’t hold those kind of people in good regard. Why? They come from a nation where it’s perfectly normal to eat dogs; they look down on us Filipinos for belonging to a poorer country; and a big majority of the attendees in our academy for so long had been indolent, insolent, bratty, and cold. But I’ll be honest as well here in saying I stayed because I needed the job despite such assertions of disgruntlement.

I was determined to make it my finishing role as an employee. Procuring employment after the age of 35 is nearly impossible in our state, except for high-level positions. My teaching job stretched to a decade, and the end was due to incremental changes in the academy and the numerous inconveniences they brought. It was ten long years of my precious life, nevertheless.

Job Years Plus The Teacher That I Was – 1

Becoming a teacher was my first choice to study in college. But my parents objected because they knew teachers receive low pay; the female ones especially undergo too much stress from students — ending up as spinsters to boot. My father decided I’d take up BS in Accounting instead which I proceeded to labor on for four years. Wrong choice — considering my appreciable strengths lie in Language and the Arts. It was, however, too late for me to turn back.

After graduation, I took a job in the Circulation and Accounting departments of a local newspaper while at the same time reviewing at night for my professional licensure examination. Seven months later, I tried my luck taking the national test for Certified Public Accountants — I failed. It didn’t surprise me; my family was. They knew I wasn’t brainless. But you see, although the study of Financial Accounting had been fairly tolerable; it was the higher Accounting branches of Cost, Managerial, and Taxation that bored me to tears I spent most of my time daydreaming in front of our professors during class periods.

The second time I took the CPA exam, I surprisingly passed (with barely favourable outcome). My parents were delirious. I wasn’t. Because I was already alert to the reality I wouldn’t be successful in the field. I just don’t have passion for that kind of work.

Fast forward over several years of mostly job hopping as bookkeeper, Receivables Analyst, Auditor, Administrative Assistant in various companies throughout my singlehood. Then I got married and had a baby. Within three weeks after my son was born, my husband went home to his mother and kept on disappearing, I scrambled to find a job and managed to find one, thankfully. My husband turned up on and off in our lives for 10 years — even jeopardizing my occupational security when he demanded that I quit the job I was holding at one time — out of his, once again, irrational jealousy. Shortly thereafter, my marriage irrevocably crumbled and I earned incontestably the status of a single parent. I went back to work part-time generating financial statements and auditing inventories.

Through my sister’s connections, my husband (before he finally left) had started the tiny business of distributing government-sponsored tickets which he turned over to me as soon as we separated. Alas, earnings from that selling booth proved insufficient for my son’s pre-highschool education so when I saw one day in the newspaper an opening for English instructors, I went and got the job.

Talking About My Job Which Has Become The Biggest Part Of My Life

This blog is a running record of my life, my thoughts, my emotions. Therefore, I am entitled to express anything I wish regardless of who I might offend. K?

Taken a week ago by my student using my Polaroid tablet. Polaroid stuff are supposed to take very good quality pictures, right? Nice view from glass window behind me is surprisingly non-existent. But  I look 8 years younger, at least. :-)
Taken a week ago by my student using my Polaroid tablet. Polaroid stuff are supposed to take good quality pictures, right? But the nice view from the glass window behind me is surprisingly non-existent. Well, this shot made me look 8 years younger, at least. 🙂

As a teacher, I am well aware of my abilities. I love what I do. Give me a student who is willing to study, who’s willing to be taught, and I’m good.

A group class is more challenging for me, which is abundant during peak season, a period each occuring at the middle and end of the year. Handling a group class provides the same benefits of a performance; I like being in charge in front of an audience who, in this case, are my students.

There were a few students who became dear to me – something that could only be engendered by the enthusiasm they had shown me in studying the language. Without that, there is really nothing much to connect me to any of them. In case you’d be intrigued to know, throughout the annals of my teaching profession, I can count with two hands the mere number of trainees who had shown interest in assimilating my favorite dialect.

There is another confession to be made here why I am not crazy about these kind of people: They are among the highly self-absorbed inhabitants of this planet, IMO. The superiority complex has been attributed to their rapid financial progress since the 1990s. You may get surprised how the new generation is spawning bratty kids who have no genuine desire for gaining knowledge; who may end up economically dependent on their parents their whole lives. You’d also be surprised to know most of them dislike the English language – and the American people.

But the more disturbing reality for me is their general lack of concern for animals. The majority of them even hates cats. The most repulsive fact of them all? They eat dogs – something that’s deemed legal in their state; Heart-crushing for an animal lover like me. Well, I live in a country where dogs get eaten, too (I know I know, how horrible), especially on drinking sprees during festivities. I find it abominable to my very core. It’s considered against the law, nevertheless, and we do not have legitimate restaurants for dog-meat consumers.

Why then am I working for them? I was past 35 years of age when I got this job. One hardly gets hired where I live once you start approaching your 40s. Besides, this line of work was decidedly ideal for me because I love English. I didn’t want to go back to accounting and administrative work – the line I had been trained for in college. A wonderful opportunity as well to read the good books that are available in the academy for my self-development beckoned. And I needed the income.

It has been eight years now. There has been countless of times when I’ve had misgivings on the worthiness of it all. Heaven knows what I gave up for this job within those years.

This is how I’ve honestly felt in spite of my fondness for English and my vocation. A bit of hard sentiments from me I guess, but I’ve come to augment my standards on the ones I interact with.

And perhaps you now get a better understanding as to why I just have to frequent the blogosphere and seek my few favorite writers who give me back my sanity at the end of a full day’s work. 🙂

Double Posts: Give Me That Half A Billion Pesos! – Plus My Lamentation As An Online Lottery Merchant

marilyn monroeMy needs and wants are not many. I’ve always thought I have not really been financially ambitious. Ok, that may not be an absolute certainty. But I irrefutably wouldn’t choose to do dealings business-wise relating to any form of gambling. I even rarely bet on a game of chance myself. Then how did I get to become a middleman for the Philippine Charity Lottery Office? A more critical question: Why am I still holding a franchise to operate this type of retail after all those tough years? How could I have let it box me in for too long?

Long story from a long time ago.

The first, original stall for its operation was originally set-up by my ex-husband – through the assistance of my elder sister who had connections inside the government agency. He decided to go for it despite the fact any connection to gambling matters is forbidden by his religion. He badly wanted to invest the money he had saved from working as an Overseas Contract Worker on a sure business that would give him a return on his capital. So he, or rather we, ended up as among the pioneers of online lottery-ticket generators of this nation some 13 years ago. Then something happened along the way. We were held up helplessly at gun point just barely outside our booth during a closing time one night. We lost the entire day’s sales which had to be remitted to PCSO (government agency). The misfortune discouraged him severely. As a consequence, he came to the conclusion I might do a better job of managing everything – due to my commerce background and more structured conceptions – thereby passing on to me his minuscule business; with all the responsibilities holding such a franchise entails. It turned out, as time went on, I could manage things more effectively than him. Until resentments ensued and ramifications of changes that occurred started playing a part in the dissolution of our relationship and – in the end – our marriage. The earnings coming from the business had proved insufficient, too, to support the three of us – him, my son, and me. He finally proceeded in converting all the franchise documents to my name so he’d completely be free from all legal commitments to the main office. A few months later, he left us and never came back.

The course of maintaining and operating such a franchise are far from uncomplicated. I am seriously thinking of giving it up – now that my son has already completed college. The red tape, daily remittance, prompt submission of reports which take too much work weigh heavily against the minimal income the franchise is currently generating. The low return has been compounded by the numerous other outlets the Main Office had approved to sprout within the vicinity of my lottery booth. I often ruminate these days on how operating it isn’t worth the troubles anymore. The feeling of being stuck with the system, with all those accompanying demands, has added to my growing indifference, too. For now, I’m in the dark as to how all this will end.

Funny how lottery mimics some major parts of our lives. Anything can happen. There are no guarantees. Life can be a game of chance.


In this country, winning that much amount of a jackpot prize means you have been stamped “DEAD” on your forehead or scheduled for extinction very very soon.

If you think keenly about it – given the circumstance of our cash-strapped society – who can you trust aside from your immediate family while in possession of that much amount of dough?

Scary, isn’t it? Yet I bet nobody can stop you from falling in long line to grab even the slimmest chance of winning the sum above.

You should know: The chance of getting struck by lightning thrice (yep, that’s 3X, baby) is higher than getting all the numbers right in any of the 6/45, 6/49, or 6/55 lotto game. It is that hard to hit a fortune through lottery. But my countrymen are incessantly fond of indulging in inexpensive games of chance. Proof of which are the millions of filipinos who visit lottery stores to purchase those tiny tickets everyday of their lives, hoping to get lucky and strike it rich. We most often feel it’s our only hope – in spite of the fact we’re simply buying the dream; allowing us a (rather quixotic?) differential mode of optimism. For the longest time, frolicking in Wishland where life is easier and cash-abundant has long been a national pastime in our country.  It’s free to dream anyway (except when procuring a lottery ticket), isn’t it?

When the pot prize gets to rise to half a billion pesos, there’s no doubt I’ll fall in line, as well, no matter how long it is – joining my fellow citizens here – in buying the dream.

Who knows?   

But first, I’d better make sure lightning doesn’t strike me first.


A few days ago, a younger blogger pal mentioned he was listening to songs of the Eagles and I went, “Why, I adore the Eagles!” Yes, the band remains to be my all-time favourite so I got busy looking for two of my most favourites from them: “One of These Nights” and “New Kid in Town” from You Tube. Lovely lyrics; rich and exquisite melodies. And I thought Don Henley and Glen Frey have the coolest voices ever.

Lady from Manila is a bona fide fan of the Eagles for infinity.

The full moon is calling

The fever is high and the wicked wind whispers and moans

You got your demons, you got desires

Well I got a few of my own.

Someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light

Loneliness will find you in between the wrong and the right.

I’ve been searching for the daughter of the devil himself

I’ve been searching for an angel in white

I’ve been waiting for a woman who’s a little of both

And I can feel her but she’s nowhere in sight.


You look in her eyes the music begins to play…

My Vocation As An ESL Teacher

How time has flown. I’m running on my seventh year in my current job yet it seems like only yesterday when I walked along the hallways of a newly-built academy for an interview, anticipating my acceptance in a field that I barely had substantial experience at and no essential qualifications for.

I had liked my brief stint when I taught bookkeeping to a class of young female adults studying in a finishing school – for administrative assistant hopefuls – in the past. So when I decided to quit the accounting profession (as it’s not my true destiny) at the age of 36, the teaching field had already become an appealing option.  On our side of the hemisphere, once you get past the age of 35, you automatically stand an awfully frail chance of undertaking a career makeover or even procuring a level-entry job.

Our Teacher's Party late last year. That's me in the middle, wearing a purple dress.
Our Teacher’s Party late last year. That’s me in the middle, wearing a purple dress.

The longest-running occupation I had before this one was my 3 ½ years Accounting and Auditing positions at a leading news publishing firm (before my era of improvident job-hopping). So dissatisfied and insignificant I felt about my work there that I once or twice punched my time card in the morning and went out the whole day to do something else – instead of proceeding into the office. I know, I know, what a horrific thing to do. I was 20 years-old then (It’s the best excuse I could come up with, sorry). At least, I am capable of remorse now. 🙂

academyfoto1My current job has been one of the darlings of my existence largely brought about by my passion for everything English. But things hadn’t been all quite rosy for me. Office politics, you say? Ah yes, I experienced that in the most contemptible fashion hundreds of moonlights ago. I almost got kicked out by my co-pioneers who wanted the non-conformists out of the academy (in which half a dozen of our colleagues fell). What they failed to realize was I am harmlessly and silently invincible. I hanged on. Just like in the many arenas of my life. Besides, my bosses made me stay. Most of the people who schemed for my ouster are gone now. The few that remained I was able to get along by way of civility up to this day. I’ve gotten comfortable with the fact that there’ll always be people who’ll commend my strength and people who’ll be put off by the placid gutsy interiors of mine.

academyfoto2Teaching the English language is easy and pleasurable. I even get a kick out of pronouncing the words and courageously manage a modicum of the British accent every now and then. The straining part is effectively allying with these students who come from one of the most affluent countries in Asia. These people have got fairer skin than most Filipinos, which could only aid in jacking up their superiority complex. They’ve been spoiled by their nation’s wealth and technology the teachers here, almost always, are obliged to dole out concern for their personal well-being. Well, there had been students I couldn’t care less – by reason of misbehavior or ill manners, and there had been students I developed compassion for. My students generally range from 20 years old and above – male and female. Some can be sweet and pleasant and likable you end up doing your very best for them. A perk of this vocation: Once in a while, you cross paths with a student who’d be willing to get molded in his or her English fluency and at the same time be led to a more linear direction to become a better individual. That’s when I feel my most productive while doing my work. You also end up sanguine for these young souls who might find genuine happiness in their tomorrows – despite a culture dictating to them that a plenitude of material possessions is the principal reason for existence.

How do you motivate a class of inhabitants who hardly appreciate the English language? Whose main purpose for learning it is to compete with the rest of their fellow citizens in clinching a high-paying job? That’s the never-ending challenge for ESL instructors like me here. Invariably, the students prefer “free-talking” than learn the rudiments of grammar or render some effort to expand their vocabulary. FYI: they’re better at Science and Mathematics, admittedly. The majority aren’t even into reading any genre of world literature. Funny thing is, they’d request we teach them Tagalog words instead – and as soon as we give in, our deed gets so well-received their faces would gleam in glee. Puzzling.

From middle of last year: That’s me on the left wearing green. I really don’t drink, you know.

A popular personal question that’s been asked of me by my close friends: Do I go out with any of my students? Yes, we teachers do that – e.g., going to the mall, go karaoke singing, club-hopping, drinking and conversation – nonchalantly for reasons of goodwill and diversion. But what about in more than friendly terms, you ask? Uh…it happens. Sometimes. Teacher and student (of the same age) engender romantic feelings for each other – even fall in love (“pol in lab” as we filipinos endearingly termed it here) – and start dating. It’s not tolerated in most academies. Yet it happened to me (and to many other other teachers, too) I confess. A learning experience I don’t intend to go through again. Never. Mark my word :-). Why? I’ve had misgivings if it had been worth it (Translation: the sex wasn’t phenomenal. joke-joke-joke)…although we could only normally think this way from a backward glance.

I know not what the future holds for me, as anything can happen, although I ponder that perhaps this is the last full-time job I’d be holding. It doesn’t pay much, mind you, but the Monday – Friday, 8:00 – 5:00 schedule has been ideal and the job isn’t too demanding. I also get to do other things during off-peak seasons when there aren’t many students. Like reading and writing blogs. He he…


Since I’ve been frequenting You Tube more often, I get to find the songs I liked when I was a child. The Philippine English song below not only hit our charts but Malaysia’s, as well. Yeah, it’s mawkish. But I’m sentimental – you already know that. And I was only 10 years old then. Surprisingly, the song is about a father who misses his young daughter after they got geographically separated. I didn’t know it then. Again, I was only 10 years old at the time :-). Two versions of the song down here: The first one is the piano version (by a Filipino talent), the second; the original one.


All I want is

Only to hear you say

That you love me, love me with all your heart, and to say

That you need me, like you’ve never needed anyone before

Except for God and your little dolls and your story books

Just me…

–      Missing You by Rafael Centenera

June Babe Musings

The verdict has been out. Our current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court just got impeached for his major offense of failing to declare his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth honestly. The drama that dragged on for months on end here like a tiresome soap opera has finally concluded. I’m relieved it’s over, hoping the dust will settle soon, paving the way for a new paradigm of governance in our country.

Early weeks of May also has seen torrential rains that are quite uncommon within the period that is still considered to be the peak of summer season. I have not gone to any of our beaches yet. So I guess that spells the end for my prospect to become this year’s undisputed beach babe. 🙂

I actually envy those with motherlands having four wondrous seasons. Winter.. Autumn.. Spring.. (I left Summer out coz I ain’t a fan of the sun’s oppressive rays and heat) I’ve seen these splendid seasons on movies and photos and had people who have regularly experienced them described their splendor to me. And I go, “ Wow..” or “Oh, oh wow..” Everytime..

My side of the globe has got only two seasons. Summer and Rainy. Just like Black and White. Nothing paramount in between. What a drab.. I wonder if my life is like having four seasons instead of two.  I find myself contemplating on that..

What would my favorite season be? I think I might adore Winter because of the snow. Snow falling everywhere can be the most magnificent sight in this world. Besides, I love the color white in everything, like I’m forever basking in its heavenly glow. Autumn will come in second for the mild, lovely somber mood it can bring. Legends of the Fall is one title I’ve kept to heart for my whimsical love-of-words why and wherefore even though I’ve never watched the movie. Same for the faint melancholy I fancy in the phrase The Autumn of One’s Life.   

a rare ladies’ night out for me during the weekend. That’s me on the left wearing a green shirt

“Marj, you work too much.” A seemingly nonchalant soft remark from the last guy I had been seeing while we were having dinner several months back. That was after he learned I had been working on Sundays closing down a few minor business transactions.

“You think so?” was all I could manage in response. We broke up soon after. Thinking about it, I guess I simply fell naturally in a sort of routine then. I never consider myself a workaholic, because I really am not one. But at that time, there seemed to be no better way to spend my time productively.

Gone is my penchant to casually hang out with colleagues or pals just for the sake of spending time away. For some inexplicable reason (getting older perhaps?), they cease to be my cup of tea. And these days I only go to the mall for the sake of getting my main form of exercise which is, walking. A year ago when I discovered the joy of reading and writing blogs, I was in seventh heaven with my new-found avocation as I find myself spending my time rewardingly indulging in my favorite language. I admit to have never tried Skype yet. (Yes, you must be thinking from what hollow cave did I rush from) Webcam I had done only twice some time ago with a cousin who migrated to Canada.

only 1 bottle of Red Horse and I was done. Ok, perhaps 1 & 1/2, I swear 🙂

I told one of my colleagues the other day I wish I could just spend most of my time reading blogs, honing my “blogging” skills by simply writing. But the thing is, I’ve got a full-time job. An 8-5 Monday to Friday act. When I get home, I’m already a bit worn-out, what with holding a full-class schedule at school.

There’s a confession I’ve got to make when it comes to my reading and following blogs. I confess to following only three or four blogs currently using RSS Feed. These are the ones that have smacked me compellingly enough to become their religious follower way back. I’ll be totally honest in admitting I can’t get myself to click Follow easily even after some bloggers did acknowledge my post by Liking it. The sole reason is that I hardly have the time to follow more than a few blogs. The last thing I want to do is follow a blog ostensibly as it isn’t fair to the blogger who’s been keeping the “Followed” blog. So I sincerely apologize for that..

Before winding up my musings here, let me mention two of my most favorites for now that freezes me right on my track. There’s this intelligent lady blogger who can dish out loads of wisdom in exceptional, no frills, smooth-flowing writing style, whether she does it with her sagacious comments to other blogs, or putting out twenty-four-carat post pieces in her own site. It’s like I’m getting life lessons from a much wiser sister. I do feel fortunate to be one of her followers.

Then there’s this young talented, bright blogger who keeps an adorable blog writing his way into women’s hearts with beautiful, at times metaphorical prose of unsent romantic letters that mention of unicorns, and flowers blooming in secret gardens.. creating worlds beyond time and distance..
Somehow he makes me want to believe again in faithful hearts and pure, undying love. Exquisite..

Girl bonding in Eastwood Centre

My Transition from Accounting to Teaching My Favorite Language

One fateful afternoon, my father asked me point-blank, “What would you like to take up in college?”

I sat there pondering his question without any reply. At the tender age of 15, I still didn’t have a clear sense of who I was and what I wanted to be. I managed to come up with an answer though. “I can be a teacher perhaps?”

“NO!” my mother responded with alarm. “Do you want to end up a spinster hag who doesn’t even have time to shine her leather pumps because of all the stress she gets from teaching her students? Besides, teachers get very low pay. You know that.”

Father agreed with Mom.                                                             

“Ok then, I’m going to be a rockstar.” Hell no, I didn’t say that and I was glad I didn’t. No way would I dare tell them about that crazy teen-age dream of mine. Both my folks would have laughed themselves to tears.

“How about becoming a…secretary?” I suggested instead.

“No, no. Secretaries usually end up sitting on their bosses’ lap and become mistresses.” (Hey listen, that was my Mom’s perspective. Not mine. So please don’t hate me)

My Dad finally declared, “You are going to take up Accounting and that’s it. At least, you’ll be assured of a job as an accountant. They’re always in demand anyway.”

That had been the trajectory of my working life ever since, until I gave up the business field for good some eleven years ago. In hindsight, how I wish I could turn back the hands of time and had a different conversation with my parents that fateful afternoon.

my fist job in a leading newspaper publishing firm 20 years ago

I majored in BS Accounting in college but was never happy and did not prosper at all in that field. My scholastic grades were fine but I’m not brilliant with numbers and it was not among my passions. Anything that isn’t natural for me tends to drift away on its own. The debit and credit of a business transaction was easy to grasp but secretly I had wanted more to analyze the debits and credits of specific human conditions. I believe I could have become a good psychologist.

My parents didn’t finish college. Both non-academic and non-readers, they didn’t put much emphasis on the value of real learning. Sure they expected their three children to get good grades, even excel in school. But the true essence of education was never imprinted in our young minds and not considerably felt in our home. There was more weight given on exterior matters like money, looks, possessions and other people’s approval. Reading materials were also non-existent except for a few ho-hum magazines and comics in our domestic language. There was no role model for me to emulate. No inspiration. I wish there was someone who had properly evaluated my real strengths and weaknesses and subsequently led me to more meaningful career lanes.

as an ESL instructor today (photo taken a few days ago)

I’ve got a different day job now (as if I had a night job in the first place :-)). A pioneer teacher in an English academy that commenced some six years ago, I got taken on at an age that was way past the hiring age in our country – which is 35 years old. Right timing I guess. Being an ESL teacher, I get to teach students from other Asian countries who need a crash course in English out of their country’s dire need for some measure of fluency in that language.

Here’s the good part. Whenever I’d be given students who have more than rudimentary English skills, I get to teach TOEFL, Intermediate -> Advanced Grammar, Advanced Vocabulary, English Collocations etc. That’s the time when rousing myself up in the morning gets to be a breeze as I look forward to the day that will have me teaching and learning at the same time. I confess it’s Advanced Grammar that has been the most challenging of all because I myself am still a work in progress in this area. As you might have noticed, I slip in grammar here with uh, discomforting regularity.

More often, I am assigned in speaking classes because these neighboring Asians like the way I speak. Imitating native speakers’ enunciation has been painless for me as I’ve watched western movies, TV news/series all my life. The more effort I exert to accentuate my speech in American style the more impressed they become. The happier we all get as well. You see, I love English so much whether I get to read it, speak it, write it or simply hang around with it.    

So I guess things still worked out fine in the end. My job as an ESL instructor is more pleasurable than the ones I held in the field of business. It’s not that financially augmenting likewise but I get to work with words and for once in my life, I am surrounded by books (Yipee!) and could only wish for ample time and stamina to peruse them all.

My work now also facilitates a more sedate existence as I live by the axiom the simpler my life gets, the happier I become. Simplicity has always been good for my psyche I believe.