Category Archives: volunteering

Japanese cultural immersion

The past few days I’ve been immersed in Japanese culture without leaving home. On Friday, Mexican and Spanish friends and I made sushi for a birthday celebration. (Birthday girl is absent, busy taking the photo.)  We couldn’t rise to the … Continue reading

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Leaving our comfort zones

“Whatever scares you, do it. Now.” That advice comes from Ken Budd, author of the article, “New Adventures, New Risks, New You,” and of a memoir with an exceedingly long title that begins with The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale… Budd has had … Continue reading

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The art of saying no

Last week I had three chances to say no and I didn’t take any of them. Most of the requests for my time have to do with writing articles or doing publicity. The first one came from a women’s group at … Continue reading

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Sharing adult ideas with a preschool vocabulary

I don’t believe that people residing in a monolingual world appreciate how difficult it is to learn a new language, especially as an adult.  “Stress” was one of today’s topics for my monthly English conversation class.  Not surprisingly, carrying on … Continue reading

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A game to help adults learn English. Or not

Today we held Talk Time, a once-a-month group for adults from other countries who want to practice their English, which three of us lead at a local elementary school.  Apropos of the launching of the winter eating season, we opened with … Continue reading

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What do I say after “Hello”?

Today, a friend and I began leading an informal English conversation group for parents at a local elementary school.   Most participants spoke Japanese as their first language and most had a similar level of fluency, that is, they could … Continue reading

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A weapon of Muse destruction

Non-profit boards, agencies, churches and school systems all have their hooks baited to reel in the newly retired as volunteers.  Who can blame them?  Often we have time, money, a social conscience, and are used to…well, working.  Right now I … Continue reading

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Cross-cultural exchange is a gift

How do Asian students feel about receiving a hug when the occasion demands it (in our view)?  Is it offensive to open up a gift in front of the giver?  Are students uncomfortable about being called on in class?  Should … Continue reading

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Cookies, chaos and connections

The ringing of a doorbell.  The sound of a beater creaming butter and sugar.  Orders shouted every few seconds muffling the cracking of the eggs.  “I need a spatula.” “Give me two more mixing bowls.”  “These have to be very, very … Continue reading

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Christmas cookie smackdown!

Look at these beauties, which represent the work of four of us who have been friends since the beginning of time, or at least for the last 30 – 40 years: Marilyn, Roberta, Sylvia and I. Only Barb couldn’t join … Continue reading

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