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Saturday, January 12, 2013

A new year, my new journey as a client caseworker

Happy New Year 2013! 

Goal #1: To pursue all my careers one step at a time, and not allow any roadblocks stand in the way of reaching my dreams. 

[Career 1: ESL teacher] 
Tuesday, January 8, 2013: Chinatown: my second home

I took a walk through Chinatown. I remember how it was when I started teaching ESL back in 2005. How different it was then. It was so crowded with locals and tourists. Restaurants and cafes were plenty on every block, as well as small novelty stores selling jewelry and decorations. I remember the first time I walked through Chinatown alone I was nervous, because I didn't understand Chinese. I didn't know how to request certain types of food from the restaurants, because many of them had signs that weren't in English and the workers didn't speak English either. Despite that, I still enjoyed how different this community was compared to my own. I still admire it to this day. The difference now is I have no problem shopping in Chinatown. I'm more familiar with the restaurants and not afraid to order what I want, even if it's in broken Cantonese. I'm still learning. The walk was relaxing and the mood felt quieter than usual. Many businesses are no more, it's not as crowded as it used to be, Chinatown has changed. I miss it from before. In some way it made me feel like I was in China even though I've never been there. I still love going to Chinatown, it's the place my teaching career began. I've made friends as a result. It's like my second home.

I am an ESL teacher for a senior program with Time Banks NYC/Visiting Nurse Services of New York. I am a volunteer and Time Banks member. I began teaching with them in December. I enjoy talking with the seniors. They are very kind and welcoming. I admire their desire to learn English and practice conversation. There are other programs the seniors are involved in such as arts and crafts, calligraphy, jewelry making, and Mandarin class. Being there, I have a chance to practice my Cantonese. Gnaw ho jung yee gong Guang dong wah (I really like to speak Cantonese)! I think the seniors like it when I can speak to them in Cantonese since it's their primary language. The class is more vocabulary building and conversation based, and has a laid back approach as opposed to a classroom setting. I like it, it's different from what I'm used to and I really enjoy watching the seniors interact with each other.

[Career 2: Social Work]
Thursday, January 10, 2013: Dara, the client caseworker

I'm very proud to announce that I am a local volunteer with the American Red Cross of Greater New York! I am a volunteer client caseworker. I was trained in client casework on December 28, 2012 in disaster preparedness. Thursday was my first day volunteering at ARC. I worked in their call center where I helped refer clients affected by hurricane Sandy with needed resources. I met several volunteers, many of them from out of state and will return home by the end of this month. Seeing them in their Red Cross uniforms, and listening to their stories of being deployed to different states participating in disaster relief was admirable. I hope to have that opportunity as well. I connected with ARC staff and shared my interest in becoming a social worker. Great conversations all around. I feel good about this. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to helping out more. I told one person that he would see me again. He smiled when he realized that was the same thing I told him when I did my training. "I'm a woman of my word aren't I?" I said to the handsome gentleman. He said, "Yes you are and with that smile of yours and positivity you're going to make a difference here." I blushed.

[Career 3: Writer]
Friday, January 11, 2013: One step closer as a professional writer

I recently applied for an opportunity to write for a publication. I submitted an application and some writing samples, even had a phone interview. I received an email from the editor saying they're interested in me writing for them. I have an assignment due next Friday. If she likes it, I will be writing for an organization I truly admire and respect. I pray I get it, it's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Wish me luck!


This year is off to a good start. As for the personal stuff I'm just going with the flow. I saw a good friend of mine, and had a chance to update her on how I've been feeling towards people and things in general. There's one thing she said that hit home, "Don't worry, someday you'll have the circle of friends you want. It may take some time but it will happen, you'll see. You have me." I appreciate her words and friendship. As I told her, I will be patient, especially in the dating/relationship stuff. I will wait for God to bring the man for me to me. Right now that's my best option. In the meantime, I will continue to work hard towards my goals, and make a difference one step at a time. Everything else is secondary.