Category Archives: volunteering

When to say “yes” and when to say “no”

The subheading for an article in this week’s New Yorker is, “What if self-improvement is making you worse?” This is related to a dilemma I’m experiencing now. Writer Alexandra Schwartz says that approaches to self-help change with the times and … Continue reading

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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

Posted in current events/themes, volunteering | 1 Comment

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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