Thursday, April 22, 2010

Because I care.

Well..I should be working on my TEFL certification, Unit 12 Modals and Passive voice. But who's to say what I do these days anyway... I'm a graduate! I love the real world :) However, inspiring myself to do homework now... must mean I really like the subject.

What have I been up to lately? A whole lot of nothing at work! Since my main manager is on vacation, I'm pretty bored doing the mundane. Anneken and I have had some amazing conversations this week though. I learned all about the European Union's structure and the German political parties, as well as "reported speech" for Unit 10 of my TEFL... I have gotten really into reading the news daily, even though it depresses me to see the turmoil around the world. When will people see that it doesn't matter how we dress, what we look like, and how we feel? When it comes down to it, we are all skin and flesh and need to cooperate to save this world that we are living in. Ok, that's about as hippie as I get.

Outside of work, I have occupied my free time with a little thing society likes to call "volunteering", and guess what...I love it! Never do I feel like it is something juvenile delinquents do to fulfill their unhappy lives for their probation hours.  It's some time out of the week where I stop thinking about myself and start thinking about those who really need other's help.

I recently joined New York Cares, a volunteer organization that started with a few friends who wanted to help out in a soup kitchen.  These days, the org boasts a few thousand volunteers.  It's flexible, meaning you can fit in volunteering to any day of your schedule, no weekly/monthly commitments necessary. There have been so many volunteers that New York Cares doesn't even have enough projects to supply!

On Saturday, I completed my first project with NYCares with the REACH students from the Bronx.  We met up at the Sony Wonder Tech Lab so that they could explore the wonder of science and technology. Not only were the kids awesome, but the other volunteers are amazing people. I met a woman my age who had participated for a year, and we hit it off from the moment we shook hands.  The team leader even asked us if we were friends beforehand!

Today, I went to my second project on the Lower East Side, at the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) center to help new Chinese immigrants with conversational English.  My language partner was so sweet! Mrs. Wang (王妈妈)and her husband moved to New York to live with her son's family a month ago, and have been looking for conversational English group. Fate had brought us together, but I thought her English was phenomenal! We got along so well that our conversation lasted for 2 hours, non stop! She didn't know that our volunteering was a week to week basis, so when I let her know that I was not able to sign up for next week because the group was already full, she was upset! I had to ask the team leader to sign me up for next week, no matter what, he finally said okay! The funny part was that after our conversations, 王妈妈's husband came up to me and said "My wife was very lucky because you were the only language partner who could speak Chinese". I laughed and replied, "This is an English learning center, I'm not going to make it that easy for you!"

Anyhow, volunteering has opened a whole new world to me, I have actually looked into more volunteering opportunities in NY as well as future opportunities in Shanghai. There are plenty! I have messaged one org about "garbage scuba diving" and as gross as that sounds it is to help clean out the Hudson river in NY or Huangpu river in Shanghai. If you won't do it, who will? Me! What an experience too! If I die from toxins and such, I died trying to save the planet rather than gorging myself with mercury-ridden tuna sashimi! (Read the news, its true).

Even with volunteering, my celebrity hunt has not escaped me. I visited the set of Kate Winslet's new show "Mildred Pierce", and I now know that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise live next to my friends apartment, close by. This should be fun. :) I'm trying to see Naomi Watts speak about her new movie on Sunday, but not sure if she is scheduled to be in Soho.

Anyway. I hope this post is inspiring to you young folk out there to become more active in your communities. Because really...what have you done today? 


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