Wednesday, February 25, 2009

feeling refreshed

Same old, same old. Still keeping busy, but figured I'd try to keep you updated as frequently as I can.

Just two weeks ago, "revival" services were given at the church I go to. I don't know - it's something that I'm not entirely familiar with (I had gone to church in Puerto Rico a lot, and never saw revival services), but it’s awesome. The church invites a guest minister, usually from out of state, and for three days we meet at 7pm for service. This year’s Winter Revival services were great – I definitely heard a lot of things I needed to hear. I’m already looking forward to Summer Revival. :-)

It’s sad to say, but I had to give up on Vietnamese lessons this semester. Work has had me traveling a lot, and I was just told last week that I’d be doing some more traveling for the most part of March. As a consequence, I’ve missed a lot of classes and am really behind on material. So instead of playing catch-up and possibly affecting others in the class (my guess is I’ll be asking more questions and stuff), I’ll just call it quits for now, and take it again in the summer. On the positive side, it’s pretty cool though I guess – even though it’s for the same program, I’m now working with a different team on a different project, so I’m learning a lot as I go. At the same time, I’m still supporting my old project, so trips to California are not over yet, I think.

Speaking of Vietnamese, I’m still teaching English at the Vietnamese Community Center. I think things have picked up. I say that because at one point I was in a slump: I thought my class was boring and that my students weren’t learning much. Lately, I’ve kinda figured out a way to keep my students actively participating in class, and at the same time teaching the lessons I would’ve taught anyway. I’ve been mostly teaching practical stuff though – stuff like the different tenses, asking for date/time/location, stuff like that. I even gave them a quiz last Sunday. I haven’t corrected it yet, but from what I saw, they did pretty good, so I’m happy. In two weeks there will be a presentation on ESL teaching which I plan to attend, so hopefully I can pick up a few things that I can incorporate into my teaching.

Finally, last week I attended a presentation at a church in Dallas (not the one I’m a member of), and this really young pastor was talking about evangelism. I was impressed – I guess I’m used to seeing older people being church leaders, but this guy was young. Anyway, it was exciting. His name is James Choung, and he (and his school I guess) came up with a “new” way of presenting the gospel. It’s very exciting. At the end, they gave us a copy of his book (which I’m currently reading) for free. Anyway, here is a summary of what he presented (and what his book talks about):

Saturday, February 14, 2009

english muffins

Lo prometido es deuda.

I was wrong in my previous post. I am scheduled to fly out to California this coming Monday. Good news is that we gave a demo of our product last week, and everything went well. So now I have to fly out to tweak some things, and run an "official" demo. Shouldn't be too bad.


Every time I fly out to California, I stay at a Holiday Inn. It's a pretty nice hotel. If you stay there long enough (and are signed up in their little rewards program), they will give you vouchers for $10 or $20 off for the restaurant, to be used at breakfast time. I like to go there in the morning. The food is good, and I guess I've been there enough times that I know some of the staff (there's a Puerto Rican waiter!), and even get treated to their “fancy” coffee at no extra cost.

My boss likes to meet up in the hotel lobby pretty early in the morning to go to work. On one particular morning, I decided to forgo the entire restaurant deal, and just ordered room service. I ordered what I always order in the actual restaurant: the “Just right egg”, which is simply one egg, a fruit cup, and an English muffin. So far, I've always asked for the English muffin to be replaced with a blueberry muffin. This day was no different.

Some five minutes later, I get a call. They are out of blueberry muffins. I say that it's fine, I'll just get an English muffin like it says on the menu. Some ten-fifteen minutes later, room service shows up. I open up the dishes and whatever, and I notice that instead of an English muffin, I get this:

At this point I'm confused, because this doesn't look like a muffin at all. I call them, and tell them that I didn't get an English muffin. Told them to get me an English muffin. The guy says he did give me an English muffin. I told them I have something that's not sweet, and that I wanted one of those sweet muffins. I then proceeded to eat my breakfast, but fifteen minutes later, room service hasn't arrived with my muffin yet. I call them, and tell them that they still owe me an English muffin. They apologize, and tell me they'll send one over. I take a shower and whatever, and when I peek outside the door, I notice they had left a covered plate. When I open it, there are two of these inside:

Then it hits me. I have no idea what English muffins are supposed to look like. Worse than that, maybe these are English muffins. Embarrassed, I leave the plate in my room, untouched.

Lesson learned. In my defense - in Puerto Rico, as far as I know, we don't really have muffins for breakfast (if at all). It just wasn't part of my vocabulary. Ignorance led to embarrassment on this one, but now I know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

hi there

I know it's been a while since my last post, and I realize I lied about “elaborating” on some of the happenings I mentioned in it. However, I've been pretty busy lately, and the free time I get, I try to spend with friends, or just catching up on my Bible reading, or any other book I happen to be reading at the moment.

As I type this, I am on a flight to California due to work. I am hoping this will be the last trip I make in a minute, since I've been flying out pretty much every week this year, and for the most part of late last year. Don't get me wrong – I really like California, but I think I'm about ready to call it a day, and stay in Dallas. All this travel has had me miss out on church during the week, and I'm very much behind in my Vietnamese class, which I think I may end up taking in the summer if this keeps up.

On the positive side, I'm usually back in Dallas in time for my salsa class with the kids on Fridays, and I'm also able to go to church, and to teach English on Sundays. AND I get to hang out with friends, if only for a couple hours. Another positive, which I thank God for, is that I still have a job.

The bad part about not posting in a long while is that I have much to tell, so posts end up being really long. For that I apologize.


I spent the Christmas holidays with my family in Atlanta. It was good to see my family - especially my mom - again. It was also pretty awesome to eat Puerto Rican food again, especially without having to cook it myself, or pay for it. I failed to go to church while I was in Atlanta, but I was glad that my family prepared a little Christmas program on “Noche Buena” (December 24th). We sang some Puerto Rican Christmas carols, had prayer and even some Bible reading. It was great. I don't think I'd had such an experience with my family since I became Christian.

More recently, I attended dragon dance performances for the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebrations. They were pretty cool, although I don't understand the symbolism/story behind it. The one that threw me off was one where there were firecrackers exploding, and it seemed like the dragons were kinda following the firecrackers as they went. I also don't understand the boy with the monkey face with the staff, or the little dude with the fan. I guess I should look it up. -_-

Anyway, if you remember from my last post, I participated in a fashion show late last year for the Vietnamese community. Well, they had another one, but this time it was for their Lunar New Year celebrations. It went great. There were more people participating this time around (five guys as opposed to three, and what seemed like a lot more girls too). The father of a now friend of mine was taking pictures, and happened to take a pretty good one of me (in my opinion anyway). Check it out:

In addition to the fashion show, I was asked to put together a salsa performance for that day. I was to teach two girls and a guy how to dance. With two weeks notice. Needless to say, it was hard, but we pulled through. I taught them some basic steps/moves, and we simply repeated some of them at the same time (so it looked like we were doing the same thing). Had this been in Puerto Rico, I would have really freaked out, since even though not everyone knows how to salsa dance, we have all been exposed to it at least at some point. On this one, I really banked on the thought that the Vietnamese people in attendance had not been exposed to it at all, and so they wouldn't know if we did good or not. ;-) However, I later learned that I was wrong, and some people there did know how to salsa dance. Oh well. Anyway, my friends were there to cheer us on (you guys are awesome), and they managed to record the performance on camera. It's up on YouTube somewhere now, haha.

I mentioned that I am typing this on an airplane on my way to California, which means that I now have a laptop (netbook, to be exact). I got the Asus EEE PC 1000H. It's pretty sweet. It's red, and has little flower drawings on it. You might be making fun of me as you read this, but the first reaction I got out of a girl as I showed it to her was “oh, that's cute!”, which was totally awesome. I figure it might make for a good conversation starter at Starbucks or wherever. ;-) Before getting this laptop though, I tried Sylvania's gOS netbook, which I found online for $240. It's pretty light, with decent battery life and whatnot. However, I could not get the video drivers properly installed/configured on any of the operating systems I tried, and YouTube was really choppy. Also, the wireless NIC had very bad reception, at least in my room. I read the computer is decent if you install Windows XP on it, but that kind of defeats the purpose of buying such a cheap computer (might as well pay extra for a better computer with XP already on it). To make a long story short: I returned it and got the Asus.

Even though I teach it, I find that I'm still learning English with every passing day. That said, I have a story that I think you will find interesting, regarding English muffins. Stay tuned. I promise my next post won't be eleven months from now.