1/22/2013: 最喜歡得食物和我今天

1/22/2013: 最喜歡得食物和我今天

E: 10: 33

有一個輕朋友問我一個問題。我先前有跟他講我在學中文。他問我:

你說你來過台灣,很喜歡這裡的食物,請問你印象最深刻的美食是什麼呢?

我回答:

我覺得在台灣什麼食物都好吃。 我喜歡他們的飯加肉。我記得在晚上有人在路上賣吃的。好好吃又便宜。我也喜歡麻婆豆腐。點心我喜歡吃芭樂和荔枝。有一個點心只有台灣有是雪冰。他們拔冰塊打很碎和加味道好像冰淇淋一樣。喔我也喜歡蔥油餅。

他有改我。他說 ”飯加肉” 是 “肉燥飯。”  我好笨呢。

所以今天是我上課得第一天。我的班是 “Introduction to Social Work.”  我吃了很快得早餐然後就馬上走路去上學。沒有,我沒有吃蔥油餅或是肉燥飯哈哈。我就吃我自己做得。有肉,菜,奶,飯,和維他命。

當我來來到教室時候,我發現椅子都在一個圓圈 li。教授有叫每個人分享為什麼我們想當一個社工人。我跟他們講是因為我在兵隊 li 的時候,上帝有幫助我好多。但是那個時候我心情委靡所以我沒有感動得說。我沒有做一個好的 first impression (因為我昨天寫得)。沒關係,下一次我努力一點。

10/14/2010: My story as a teacher

10/14/2010: My story as a teacher

S: 8:13am

E: 8:33am

S: 9:35am

E: 11:08am

To start, writing this is difficult for me. I really wanted to do something else, like playing a little bit of computer games. I’m still struggling, but I am getting closer to freedom. This is a long, and I think happiest, chapter of my life. My spirit is telling me to worship God, to spend more time with Him, while my body is telling me to play games and enjoy myself. I may do both, knowing that I cannot worship both God and games. This discovery, or story, will be reedited and will have many add-ons as I remember my memories. Thus, it will take a while to get this published, or maybe I can just publish it and edit it if I have a newer version. In computers, this is called patching, in journal writing, maybe it’s called revising.

After my failure at nursing school at East LA college, I told my dad that I now wanted to be a teacher. I find that as I grow in God and experience new things, I learn and see more about myself. I grow more confident of my abilities, more aware of myself, and things I previously thought impossible is possible. Before, I thought being a social worker, although it is very appealing to me, as impossible. I can’t speak very well, I stutter, I’m not very conversational, I don’t have social skills, I don’t have friends, I don’t know enough of this world to help people or myself :(, etc. So, I crossed out “social worker” early in my life because I felt diffident about my abilities. Now, as I grow more in God and life, I grow more confident (Phil. 4:13), and decided that being a social worker would be more perfect for me. The more I know about myself and the more I trust in God, the closer I get to my dream job, my career bull’s-eye.

My dad believed it is always important to not only get the education for the career, but also to gain some practical experience, if only to look good when applying for a career-related job. Before I joined the nursing school, I volunteered at a local hospital, the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center. Then, I went to PCC and took the nursing assistant class so I can be certified as a CNA. As I wrote in my last story (my story as a nurse), I didn’t finish the class because I was too afraid. I didn’t have a solid enough relationship with God back then to carry me through life. Now, since I wanted to be a teacher, my parents encouraged me to find a teaching job so I can gain more experience and see if it really is a job for me.

This time, my mom helped me out. My mom noticed an education center just a block away from my house called “SINWA Education Institute.” Wow, my mom is a lot more aware of her surroundings than me. All this time I’ve been living here, I never knew an education center behind Papa John’s. We planned for a day to come in, impromptu and all, and the day came.

I remember my first feelings. I was afraid, nervous, and scared. I’m afraid that whoever the manager is would reject me outright. I’m glad I didn’t go in alone; what I feared might actually happen. One thing that comforted me and gave me courage is that my mom is going with me and I know she’s excellent with people. She calmed me down and told me to just trust in God. “God will take care of everything,” she said. I remember praying with her right before going in. Getting out of the car (my mom suggested walking, but I was too nervous to show myself to the world), ringing the doorbell, and getting inside the classroom is equivalent to the invasion of Normandy for me. The principal, Mrs. Wu, greeted us and my mom exchanged friendly greetings. I said “hello” and smiled. I can be very warm with people, but it takes time and at that time, I was afraid to show myself completely. I never been to an interview, the one at McDonalds doesn’t count because I had 100% confidence I could land the job, anyone can get into that job, right (that was how I thought back then)? Now, in this proper interview, I had no idea how to act, so I acted reserved but friendly. I think I remember being a little more relaxed after the prayer. I felt a new sense of confidence and assurance, but, I was still nervous.

My mom and Mrs. Wu connected almost immediately. They started talking about their lives, experiences, as well as my life and experiences. Then, they started talking in Taiwanese! I had no idea what they were saying. Are they talking bad about me, etc? I remember myself talking to Mrs. Wu, too, and telling her why I wanted this job. I forgot what I said though. I also met Mr. Wu, her husband and the assistant principal. From their first impressions, they were very nice and cordial to me. Mrs. Wu told me I should volunteer first to get some experience. I agreed immediately. I’m just so happy to get experience working with children! She told me she would have to conduct some background checks and other clearances before I can actually start my job as a tutor. I had to go through the same when working as a nurse, so I understood the concept. I think from her first impression, she saw me as a kind, although a bit nervous, trustworthy person. I am to start next Monday, so I have the rest of the week to prepare myself. When my mom and I walked out of the education center, I beamed a smile at her and told her thank you. I was so happy at the success and miracle. It was much better than my best expectations. God is such a wonderful, loving God, the God who gives me second chances.

The day as a tutor-intern came. I am to come at 2:45pm. As always, I was scared, shy, and nervous. What will the children think about me? How many will there be? Will I be able to get along and teach them effectively? I walked in the noisy classroom. Mrs. Wu was at the door and greeted me. I looked at the classroom and was surprised to see that there is no tutor. All the students were just doing their homework by themselves. Mrs. Wu’s office desk is at the south-west corner of the room, so there was some control at the noise. I see mostly elementary school level students. Some of them are doing their homework; others are talking with their classmates. When I first walked in, I was expecting an “all eyes on me” type entrance. However, I was relieved when only a few looked up at me. After a brief discourse, Mrs. Wu then announced to the class that I would be their new tutor. “Okay everybody [clap] [clap], here is your new tutor, Steven, and he will help you on your homework. If you have any questions, raise your hand and Steven will come and help you. Steven, would you like to introduce yourself to the class?” I was taken aback at her sudden introduction and wasn’t prepared to be discovered yet. While slowly walking to the front of the class, I smiled, waved my hands at everybody and said, “hello everyone. I’m Steven Yeh and I will be your new tutor. I am 19 years old and I finished high school.” Seriously, I didn’t know what to say and I stuttered a bit at first. I’m not used to having people, even children, stare at me. I became very shy, but nice and polite to everybody. I also, for the first few months, never stopped smiling. After a while, the kids told me why am I always smiling? A girl told me I was scaring her. I told them I am just very happy to be with you guys and help. Being with children always seems to make me very happy. There is something about the innocence and naturalness of children that I’m allured to. Maybe I have it too. I think if the whole world were like them (the good side), the world would be a much better place. The kids convinced me to stop smiling so much because I was scaring them, so I tried to look normal. However, throughout my job as a tutor, I would frequently go to a private place and just smile broadly because I can’t help it! I just feel so happy to be with children and to help them. I am just so happy to be with God’s people, my reference to children (Matt. 18:3, 19:14, 18:10).

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

In the beginning, I just stood watching kids do their homework and waiting for a hand to come up. Then, I would ask the students who were talking to do their homework. They looked at me with fearful eyes and obeyed. Initially, they would be fearful of me, naturally, because I am a stranger to them, but after a week, the children start to warm up to me. They became less afraid. A few took a month, and I remember a girl, in third-grade, who never really trusted me. S (first initial of her name, to protect privacy) would always be silent to her peers and to me, quietly do her homework, and ignore everything else. Even if she made mistakes on her paper, or doesn’t know how to do something, she wouldn’t ask for help. She would just sit there, head down, looking at her paper. I have to make my rounds and observe that she needs help. And, when I explained the concept to her, she wouldn’t ask any questions! She would look at me with her fearful eyes, make a slight nod and get back to her work. I checked her work afterwards and many times, she actually understood what I was telling her. After a while, I wouldn’t go so near her if I wasn’t checking her work because she tenses up every time I was close. Personally, I believe she might be a victim of child abuse. I saw her dad (her parents divorced) and he looked scary, with a full beard, grey-white hair, wrinkled skin, and other complexion. It seems strange, but at that time, I didn’t take any action. I was afraid and what if I was wrong? Every time I talk to S, as with most of my students, I would kneel down to her eye-level, and talk gently and softly to her. She’s afraid of people, so I need to gain her trust first, but, I never did. I remember praying for her and asking Jesus to heal her. I don’t remember if I ever talk to her about Jesus or not. There was a few times when she actually talked to me and asked questions, but that was rare. And, lastly, I never remembered her laughing or even smiling.

After a few days of volunteering as a tutor, my boss, Mrs. Wu, told me I am spending too much time with the wrong students. She took a blank sheet of paper and wrote a list of children’s names starting with those that need the most help. She told me if I were to become a teacher, I need to have a plan. I need to identify who needs help and who doesn’t. She wrote about sixteen names and I used it as a guide. Later on, I used the list as a prayer list and added new names when new students come. My original plan was to use the list to pray for my students every day, but after awhile, I never sticked to the plan. I would start to pray for them and then I became lazy and stopped. I only prayed for my students from time to time, not daily, and it was a mistake I made. Had I prayed for my students daily, many of them would have gone closer to God.

Mrs. Wu told me that once I start teaching summer school (I started volunteering in May), I will get paid. To be honest, I was going to tell her that it’s fine, that I’ll do it for free. Teaching and helping children is so fun that I’m willing to do it for free. In fact, I may even consider paying to do this. I finally found a job where I’m not working, but playing.

I thought at first that teaching the kids would be one-way: they raise their hands, and I give them the knowledge. What I discovered later on was that the kids are teaching me too. In fact, it seems every day when I go to teach, they are teaching me more than what I’m teaching them. I may teach them math, English, science, etc, but they are teaching me life skills: how to get along with people, the experience of being and talking to people. Plus, when teaching them, I also learn some of these basic subjects, too. I remember opening up a student’s algebra book and reading the content and “reviewing” myself before actually teaching him. I just look at the examples and quickly remembered what to do. I don’t want to look dumb in front of my students, so I would just quickly go over the lesson and teach. If I still don’t know, I would tell the truth to him but tell him that I would get back to him on this tomorrow. Sometimes however, the truth is too hard because it makes me look like a dumbass so I would be mean to cover myself. It’s sad, and looking back, I should have just told the truth 100% of the time. I would also take pictures of the algebra book (I still have them!), page-by-page, and then look through it once I get home. That way, for his next math lesson, I would know what to do.

Back in that lonely time of my life, I had no friends. No friends in college (PCC), no friends in church (I mean no close friends), just, no close friends in my life. So, when I began working, and throughout my short career, they became my friends. I would joke with them, make them laugh, talk about my life when I was a child, etc, and they would tell me their stories, and their “secrets.” One girl, C, in first-grade, would always raise her hand just so she can talk to me. For the longest time, I though she really needed help, but then Mrs. Wu told me, “Can’t you see, she’s using you. She knows how to do her homework. You help someone else,” and she came up to C and scolded her about wasting my precious time. In truth, although she may pretend to not know how to do something (she seems she really doesn’t know), I still enjoyed teaching and talking to her. Often, she would gesture with her hands for me to come forward and then, making a cup with her hands and holding it to her mouth, she would whisper in my ear a “secret.” I would listen attentively and tell her I won’t tell anyone. I never did, and, now, I forgot all of her “secrets.”

As I continue teaching and tutoring, I began to grow afraid because I am becoming like them. I’m not sure if other elementary or middle-school teachers have this problem, but I feel myself reverting to a child again. If I were to go back in time, to fifth-grade, but with the same brain, I would more likely than not act like I was in fifth grade. If I took the pill Detective Conan took, I may actually act like a child. It would be hard for me to go against the flow and resist.

I feel, looking back, that me being with children and teaching them is a wonderful gift from God. My childhood has been altered and messed with due to my ADHD Ritalin pill. I don’t remember most of my childhood life. Now, at 19 and working at a tutoring center, I feel God is healing my childhood by giving me experiences with children that I never had. Their memories and experiences became part of my memories and experiences. For that, I am very grateful for the wonderful gift God has given me. It reminds me that He is faithful and does all things well.

————————————–

11/18/2010

S: 1:27am

E:

You know, from now on, I’m going to share my stories not chronologically, but individually, through each student. Every one of my students has a story to share.

Right now, I am on guard duty with Sgt. Rivera. Normally, I would feel tired, but I feel the Lord giving me some additional strength lately. Praise the Lord. Sgt. Rivera is currently taking child psychology and writing her final essay. Curiously, I decided to skim through her textbook. The book is filled with theories and viewpoints. Inside me, I already know a lot about children because the Bible teaches me about people. I feel the best theory, no, the truth, comes from the knowledge of God through His Word. With my Bible, I understand almost everything. I skimmed and saw one topic that interested me: “Morality, Altruism, and Aggression.” I looked through the chapter and especially Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. In it, I found that conscience comes from God, and those who learn God’s ways tend to be in the later stages. I immediately remembered my method of teaching children about morality during my tutoring years. It was then when I wanted to tell my story as a teacher through the stories each of my students gave me.

When I discipline my students (I call them my “children”) or teaching them right from wrong, I tried to invoke their God-given conscience. I believe that every child, deep inside, knows right from wrong. I have a seventh-grader at that time, named Brian, who always gets into trouble by hurting people. He’s very smart; he’s taking algebra at that time; but he also does evil things. He would cuss, make fun of, and insult at fellow students, especially students younger than him. He would throw stuff at them, or do evil pranks that make other students cry. For a time, I asked Mrs. Wu to remove him because he’s being such a troublemaker, however, probably due to money and her mother being involved in transporting students to our center, my boss resisted. This is sad. Every time he gets in trouble, which is, in my memory, everyday, I would always try to appeal to his conscience. I remember despite his evil, I am always still loving, kind, forgiving, but also just to him.

Every time he does evil, I always ask, “Brain, why are you doing this?”

“Because it’s fun,” Brain would reply.

“I know its fun. It’s fun for you, but it’s not fun for them” I said.

Sometimes, then, he would say that I’m wrong; that the other party also has fun when he’s doing things to them. To that, I ask questions. I want him to see that the other side is not having fun.

“How is he having fun?” I asked. “Look, he’s crying” or “See, he’s sad. He doesn’t want you to bother him.”

That usually is enough to stop his self-justification. Then, I would continue.

“Brain, you know hurting others is wrong. You need to do the right thing.”

And then he could complain, even try to dispute that he’s wrong, but I feel deep inside, he knows what’s right and wrong.

I try to teach my children stage 6 of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. I dislike punishing them like giving them time-outs, being mean to them, withholding love, etc, because these methods don’t teach them the real reason to do good. They should do good because it is the right thing to do. And, I call them my “children” because God has entrusted me these kids for a period of time. They are my children from 2:30 to 5pm.

There’s a cartoon from my SOG’s (sergeant of the guard) textbook that I want to share with you:

Principle: [Sitting and angrily pointing his finger at kid] Ira, you will be punished if I ever catch you cheating again!

Kid: Yes, sir.

[Next scene]

Kid: [to teacher] Mr. Grimmis wants me to cheat more carefully.

Ha! Lol. I think it’s funny, but I think it also teaches an important lesson. If we don’t invoke their conscience, the real reason why to do the right thing, these kids will never learn it. They will learn not to do wrong things not because it’s wrong, but so they won’t get into trouble. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a sermon that our society is changing from a conscience-based society to a punish-based one:

“Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, ‘Thou shalt not get caught.’ According to the ethic of midnight the cardinal sin is to be caught and the cardinal virtue is to get by. It is all right to lie, but one must lie with real finesse. It is all right to steal, if one is so dignified that, if caught, the charge becomes embezzlement, not robbery. It is permissible even to hate, if one so dresses his hating in the garments of love that hating appears to be loving. The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens.”

If we don’t teach kids right and wrong, the real reason why to do good and the real reason why not to do evil, then kids will eventually adopt the survival of the “slickest.” They can do evil as long as they don’t’ get caught.

For Brian, I wanted to change him to become a better person. Working hours is not enough time so I played tennis with him and gave him my number so he can call me in case he needs help on his homework. I want to be an example of love and kindness. I want to be a role-model to him.

I got some stories to tell. There are times when I talked to him on the phone for more than an hour helping him on his essay. I joked with him and talked nicely to him. I want to be a friend as well as his mentor. I remember going to my computer, helping him find information, going to my family’s encyclopedia collection, to alternating in the kitchen talking to him. After the conversation, my dad would often ask who called me. I told him I was helping one of my students. My dad, however, would rebuke me for wasting my time on others. I disagree, however. I want to spend my time to help others because it’s the right thing to do. My purpose in life is to help people.

And then there are the tennis games. Sometimes we would play at Washington School, other times at Garvy Park (by Hellman Ave.). Although I played better than him, I still suck too. I remember seeing his disappointment when I kept hitting the net when serving or taking my first or second shot. I remember waiting for a long time, with my bicycle and tennis racket waiting for him to show up. Once, he never did, but that didn’t stop me from trying to connect with him.

Brian’s mom, as I said before, helped to transport some of my students to the center. I told her many times about her son’s bad behavior but, in the end, she told me she tried to do everything to help him but failed. She asked me to help her by helping him. I realized their family is divorced. Brian doesn’t have a father and I was told that might be a cause of his aggression. Well, then, I will be a male role-model for him. Slowly, towards the end of my tutoring tenure, I sensed Brian is becoming a better person.

Unfortunately, I joined the Army before I can fully change him. The last, or second to last day in LA, I invited Brian to play tennis. He brought some of his friends along. It was there when I told him I’m joining the Army and I said good-bye. I tried to contact him once during my Christmas leave, but he didn’t answer. I hope he becomes a better person and I hope he becomes closer to God.

Work in progress….

9/12/2010: My story as a nurse

9/12/2010: My story as a nurse

S: 6:00pm

E: 8:02pm

A lot of things have happened today, thanks because I had night roaming guard duty. I have many things to write about. I write only things that I feel have spiritual importance.

Today is not a good day for me. I slept most of the day (due to guard) and woke up to play Counter-Strike because I really wanted to play it. I try not to be addicted to it and I feel I am only partially successful. I don’t play CS or any other games for countless hours now but for only about an hour. I just play it just to satisfy my need for potential and then I’m done.

Of the many things I want to write about today, there is one thing I want to write first and it’s not about what happened when I was on guard. I tried to think about starting it, but the temptation of games got me.

My dad sent me an e-mail and I decided to quickly open it. He would typically send me e-mails but I would seldom write back, preferring the phone call. I quickly skimmed it but at the very end of the e-mail I remember reading, “You almost succeed as a nurse. Would you like to try again?” I didn’t know what to say or respond to that. For me, now that I am closer to God, what I really want to do is to give Him glory. I heard from my church that it doesn’t matter what I chose to become, as long as I give God glory. I need to serve God in what I do. I told people before that my first major was Christian Ministries, thanks to Mid-America and then my second major would be what I want to do with my life. God helped me so much, the least I can do is to put Him first.

See, I’m kind of confused. Does serving God completely mean serving God full-time with a godly profession? Jesus’ disciples were fisherman. They had a worldly job that supports them. Saul (before he became Paul), also had a job. David had a job as a shepherd. Is it pleasing to God for me to chose a worldly career and also serve God at the same time? I know I can also serve God in my job, but would I have done better if I chose a spiritual-related occupation? Can I spend my entire working life just working for God? I can tell others about God’s law on the streets, spreading and teaching God’s Word. I’ll just have to spend, initially, nine parts of time in prayer and only one in evangelism. Later, the ratio would be better. But how would I make a living? Can I just save the money I have in the three (plus one due to training) and just live in my dad’s house? My dad would disagree with me and I might be kicked out. A 100% Christian life is a hard life. It is a life of Paul.

I just came back from dinner and it really gave me some time to think about what I’m writing. When I was a LVN student, I was a very slacking student. I was addicted (enslaved would be a better word) to computer games. I would hardly read the course material and only listen attentively in class. I could pass the written examinations with no problem (to me, it’s just common sense), while others do. What I failed in, was the practical, the hands-on part. Since I didn’t really study or read my expensive nursing book, and I have very little experience with my hands, I struggled. I had trouble doing basic nursing skills such as giving the patient (a mannequin) a bath, emptying their bowels, etc. I would just blank out and not know what to do. I would watch my peers do it and I tried to memorize the steps, but when it came to my turn, I mess up. My nurse instructor had to give me hints and tell me what to do. And then, I would do it again and barely pass. She tells me that she’s nervous about me and that I need to be more confident. Problem is, I felt I was as confident as I can. If I lie about my skills and abilities and pretend to be confident, I may make mistakes and hurt people. When it came time to memorize the different classes of medications, my lack of studying finally caught up with me. I quit the nursing class. Out of 400 applicants, only 30 were accepted. I was so happy to know that I made it, and I felt so bad to disappoint them. The main reason why I failed, I felt, was because I did not give God full control of my life. I sang, I prayed, but I also spent every free minute under a computer screen. Many times, I knew what I was doing is wrong, but I couldn’t help myself. I would force myself to kneel on my bed and pray and ask God to help me. I know what to do. I know how to get healed. The Bible tells me so, but, I just stood no chance resisting my urge to play. Had I gave God 100% and suffered the agony of not playing games; I would have passed my nursing class.

Even though I lacked hands-on skill, I found what I did excel in was in loving people. Yes, loving people. I was shy and introverted, but the times when I’m with patients, I wasn’t afraid to love. At a nursing home (this was when I took nursing assistant at PCC), there was a difficult elderly woman named Geraldine. She had Alzheimer’s and would be very easily forgetful. She was also very cranky maybe due to her condition. All the nursing staff told us that she is one of the most difficult resident in this facility. At times, she would throw things, bite, spit, and do crazy things at you, especially during meal times (there are obviously more stuff she could use against you). Because of what the staff said, nobody wanted her. However, I was naïve back then, and praise God for that, I just felt that if I love her with the love that comes from God, she wouldn’t be difficult. I first few days were the hardest. I find a few things that I couldn’t explain that the nurses were doing. Sometimes, they treat their patients without love, as if they were a burden. When the elderly misbehave (and I think because they know they are mistreated) and do something, the nurses, and at one time, a doctor would laugh at him/her and walk away. All in front of the resident who was fully aware what was happening. It’s really sad. I can feel their pain. My nursing instructor at PCC told us many times, they would be angry, upset, mean, etc, because they are depressed at their condition. These are people who used to lead productive lives, but due to a condition, and aging, they couldn’t do it anymore, but they still know at one point in time, how they were strong. So I can see, feel, and understand their pain and frustration. I told the staff if you were more loving and nice, they probably won’t be so mean, but they said it’s the same, and I think they said the stress makes it hard to love. Anyways, as I said, the first few days with her were the hardest. I chose her because I felt sorry for her condition and how the caregivers just take care of her body but not her heart. I wanted to love her.

I would always talk to her and comfort her. She always says to me, looking at me with big eyes, “are you going to kill me?” I would always kneel down at her, shake my head gently, and say softly, “no, I am not going to kill you, I want to help you.” I would touch her to reassure her. The first step in caring for somebody is to win their trust. I would always try to talk to her. She would say from time to time, “Hello alligator.” The staff told me she used to, before her Alzheimer’s got really bad, be a very funny and sociable person. Everyone loved to be around Geraldine. But, as time passes, she became bitter and more uncontrollable. Sometimes, the nurses have to use restraints on her. I don’t want to use restraints on her. It stops her body but it doesn’t stop the inside. If she punches me, I’ll let her do it and I’ll tell her how much it hurts. Maybe that would develop empathy. I might even hug her. I moved her slowly, so she can see and have time to think about what’s happening to her. I kept telling her that we are going to eat and other friendly questions. Due to her Alzheimer’s, at this late stage, I would tell her I’ll be right back because I needed to get something, and a half-minute later, she would forget who I am. I have to reintroduce myself and I tried to say something that can help her remember. As days go by, she started to remember me. I would kneel down to eye level, look into her eyes with my eyes open, smile, and introduce myself, and she would remember me! I’m so happy when that happens. During meal times, I when I hand feed her (other residents could feed themselves if they can, but she can’t). The staff told me to be careful. She could spit and throw up at me at anytime. So, I was careful. I always asked nicely what she would like to eat. I would tell her the food, maybe let her feel the touch, and then tell her what I’m doing. “Let me open this applesauce up.. there, it’s opened now. Would you like some? Okay. How much do you want in a spoon? Just half-full? Okay, just half-full.” She was very selective about the food and how it’s been given to her. If you’re not careful, she would reject eating it and if you continue to pressure her to eat, she would scream. That’s probably why she spits and throws up food at caregivers, because they aren’t sensitive enough. After feeding her for a while, she would say that’s it, I’m not eating anymore. I looked at the tray and there’s still so much food left. I would try to lovingly talk to her, to persuade her to eat. “You only ate a little bit… see? There’s still so many food that haven’t been eaten yet. Would you like some? I would like you to eat more because it’s good for your health. Your body needs food; it needs energy. How about just a little bit of this? It’s really good.” And then she would agree and eat a little bit more. I just talk to her with love and she gave me no trouble at her. In fact, I really enjoy being with her. Just knowing that she trusts me and can understand me and how I always keep her informed about everything puts her at ease. Love never fails. A few days later, we went to another nursing home and after a week, came back to the old one. I looked for Geraldine, but couldn’t find her. I asked the staff and she told me she passed away yesterday. I felt so sad for her, but at least I take comfort that I gave her some love before she leaves this world. It’s a wonderful feeling to help people. A few days later, thanks to my gaming habit, I was just so unconfident and behind on my hands-on skill that I stopped going to class. It’s painful to just stop going to that nursing assistant class cold turkey. I received calls from my nursing instructor asking me what happened (she had a sad, resigned tone of voice). I would always check to see if our house fax machine has a message. I can’t let my dad find out that I secretly dropped the class. To me, back then, it’s just so scary to give other people a bath or assist them in using the bathroom. I didn’t really have enough life experience or faith in God to continue my class.

Shortly after that, I was accepted to the LVN class at East LA college. I thought to myself, this time, I’m going to study, study, study, and not let games get in the way of my life. I never really faced my gaming problem, so, the gaming problem followed me into nursing school.

But, one thing I did do good at is loving people. In the nursing homes, I was too afraid, nervous, and not good enough, etc, to actually do the nursing tasks. I would just watch my peers do it and hope one day I can do it too. But, the later I wait, the more tasks I have to do and the less time I have to do it. As always, I would be assigned to a resident, and I would talk to him/her. There was once when I decided to ask her if she would like to sing. I started singing “Amazing Grace” and she followed along. It’s great to sing with a resident because of the bonding experience. And then I sang “What a friend we have in Jesus” and she followed along. Then, I decided to test her and sang “His eye is on the Sparrow” and she just looked at me. I asked if she knew the song or the tune, but she told me no. When we sang, I would try to clap hands with her (good exercise). It was awesome. I would also try to visit every room to see how they are doing. When I was thinking about becoming a nurse (back then), one thing I would do is to go into each room and pray for that person. That way, it won’t be just medicine healing the patient, but God. I also wanted to go into each room and see if they want to pray. But, I was afraid to ask that because I was told not everyone is Christian, so I just silently prayed from room to room (I would look at their name plates). After a while, I became self-conscious. The staff may look at me and wonder what I’m doing. They may think I’m secretly trying to kill patients, etc (I think crazy thoughts), and bar me from seeing them. So, I would look around and, if it’s safe, I would go in and pray. A lot of residents also likes to be touched. I think why is because they are always so lonely all the time. The only time they see people is during meal times, medicine rounds, or group activities. I would hold their hand or their shoulder and say good bye. One nursing student at ELAC told my nursing instructor (she is very worried about me) that I did good today. I sang with patients, talked to them, etc, but the instructor just ignored me. I think that’s because she also knows my weaknesses. I tried to tell myself that if I really love them, I would spend the time to study how to take care of them better, but it didn’t work. I still played games exclusively. I only loved them when I was close to them.

I don’t know if I want to be a nurse again. I enjoy helping people and loving them, but I’m not sure if it’s my calling. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I’m still thinking. After my nursing stint, I told my dad nursing is not for me, but I felt teaching is. I became a tutor at SINWA and I found teaching kids more fun than nursing because I interact with them more and, plus, I can also teach them about their eternal future.

I have no idea what I want to be after the Army, but I will continue to seek and worship God. I think it doesn’t really matter what I chose to be, as long as I serve God.

*For the Record:

Even through Jesus’ disciples were fisherman and tax collectors, when Jesus called them to be disciples, he instructed them to lay everything aside and just follow Jesus (Matthew 19:27). When David was called by God, he left behind his earthly job, and set his heart on God (1 Samuel 18:2).

And also, another reason why I failed my nursing is because of my pride. When I found that I can pass my written examinations with little or no studying and I got better grades than my peers who did studied, I thought to myself that I already know all these basic stuff. I thought I was smarter than them. I don’t <i>need</i> to study. But, I was wrong. I should have humbled myself before God and men and not be deceived by deceiving results.

10/2/2009: My Story as a Soldier / The Weakest Link

10/2/2009

The Weakest Link

I injured my left thumb last week during basketball PT so I shouldn’t be typing. Now, a week later, my thumb is still swollen with bruises. I went to the TMC (troop medical center) and got my hand X-rayed. The doctor told me I had no broken bones and that my thumb should heal within a few weeks. Praise God, because God delivers the righteous, not one of my bones will be broken (Ps).

As I sat in the van, I thanked my relay sergeant for giving me a ride to the aid station. Once there, I will get my thumb double-checked. He told me no problem, because I am one of the best soldiers in the platoon. He told me I always volunteer for details and always help out. I got a brigade coin a few months ago because my whole battery nominated me. That was scary. And today, the sergeant major of the battalion talked to me and told me I must be saving lots of money, since I hardly go out. I also shook hands with him. That was also scary. Normally, when you do talk to him, it is because you are in trouble. Everyone in the battalion fears him. This whole “best soldier” thing is scaring me. I’m never the best; I’m always the weakest, not because I want to be, but because I am.

During basic training, I was so physically weak that I almost got kicked out. The six hours of sleep allotted is enough for everyone but me. I was tired all the time that I cannot think. I was forced and bent under peer pressure to say and do things I don’t want to do. Any spare time I have is divided between reading the Bible, singing songs, and trying to close my eyes. I had trouble listening and remembering what my drill sergeants are saying, and thus, I had to have a “babysitter” to be with me at all times. Praise God, because he was very helpful and kind. Having no experience in mechanical things (my dad even fixes my bike tires for me), I was slow to learn almost everything in the Army. There is hardly any book learning, everything is hands-on. I had difficulty communicating, thanks to a combination of shuddering, nervousness, and fatigue, learning, and performing Army standards. I almost always fall out of platoon runs, first to tire on upper-body exercises, and I usually forget even how to do exercises. I got constipated, fever, and injured my feet. The only thing I wanted during BCT was rest, but I hardly got any. I had to resort to something similar to psychological warfare. I had to pretend I’m as stupid as I’m weak so I could be treated better. I had to endure verbal taunting daily and I only have one or two soldiers I can call friends. It sucks. I see other soldiers, other people, and they are all so strong and blessed. 4 hours of sleep doesn’t faze them; they still laugh and joke all day long (see Ps. 73). However, despite all this, I refuse to quit, because doing so would be so shameful, and I also refuse to let this torture training harden by life. I managed to pass my PT test during basic, barely, but to me, that was a big praise God and I graduated with an award as the most improved soldier. I hardly feel improved, I just relied on God. If I were to go through BCT again, I would probably be the same. Everyone in basic knew I was the weakest link, second only to the battalion.

AIT (advanced individual training) was a easier on the physical side, but it’s still almost the same environment. Although we do get a little more sleep, I still feel tired. I couldn’t pay attention in class (we are learning patriot stuff) and I struggled to stay awake. The one time I chose to sleep, I woke up with a sergeant (add a drill before it too) up my face. I never slept since. But praise God, I still managed to pass my tests. I hardly volunteer in BCT or AIT simply because I am so weak and tired. I want to, but I can’t. I ran on “low-power” mode the whole time. There are times when I wished I could just die, yes, die. There are times when I just wanted to fall out of formation and just lie down and cry. Pray and cry. Everyone would probably surround and scream at me, but I will just ignore them. I would just pray and pray. Then they would probably punch me and hit my pressure points, but I will still ignore them and pray. Towards the end of AIT, my class went to the field. Some fun in the sun, right? Nope. Although I almost finished my training, I felt I hardly learned a thing. If I was told to emplace or operate any equipment (except computers, even patriot computers, simply because I love computers), I would have no clue. My whole time in the field was a struggle. Even when it’s time to rest, there are always surprise attacks which forces us to grab our rifles, and wearing combat gear (I always sleep in them), rush outside to the nearest sandbag. There was a time when we got smoked (punished) doing this because we aren’t “motivated” enough. I still don’t understand this motivation concept. I would prefer to tell the truth and trust in God. I hate to pretend to be all sappy and gung-ho just so others can see, while I feel the opposite inside. For our smoking, we had to run from our tent to the sandbags over and over again. For some reason, I was again the weakest link. I was trying to do my best, but everyone, even the fatter ones (sorry), run faster than me. I don’t understand this. It seems like everyone is better and stronger than me. They learn faster, and are quicker than me. I feel so stupid, dull, and weak. Completely useless. Again, I had to pretend I’m about to fall out, so they could let me drink water, while everyone else is still getting smoked. Justice is simply not fair in AIT. You could get blown up for just a little thing. My squad leader told our class to mop and wax our rooms. To me, it isn’t easy. Even getting the equipment to wax the floors is hard. I tried, I did the best I could, but due to my fatigue, and my roommate is getting chaptered out, so he can’t help me, I didn’t make the deadline. Then there was a time when I was playing my guitar singing Christian songs right before weapons draw. I just had to pray, I had to sing praises to God, I have to have some devotion time with him before I continue my job. I thought I was on time, but because I didn’t come early like everyone else (they were all looking for me), I got hammered. At first, I thought I might receive some mercy from the sergeant doing the weapons draw, since he was a deacon so I thought he would understand my needs and grant me mercy. Instead, he was merciless and made me write a thousand word essay. That wasn’t too bad, since in basic, I had to do a three-thousand one, but add that to my squad leader’s demands to wax the floors, and I’m done. Then, the one day I forgot to bring my ID card (forgot due to shower), our battery had a urinalysis. Everyone is required to bring one, so I got in trouble again. These three strikes led my squad leader to give me an Article 15 (the mother of all punishments), on top of all the punishments I am getting. Oh, and by the way, my weekends suck too. Since I wasn’t strong enough (it’s sad that the military looks at the legs of a horse rather than at the heart), I was only given an Amber 1800 pass, which means I only have a few hours of free time rather than a whole days worth. Wow, so article 15 for three incidents. I was scared and depressed. I missed her last deadline to wax the floors because I was having diarrhea, but I can’t really use that as a reason. Everything I say will be taken as an “excuse.” Shortly after that, I had a fever. I am condemned, because all these charges on paper are true. But you know what? I still managed to graduate with my class, and I heard later that my article 15 was canceled. I was just about to do something desperate if that wasn’t taken off. Having an article 15 means either having extra duty, which means even more work and less sleep, or they take away my pay, or both. I would rather have them take away my pay; money means nothing to me at that stage. Praise God, that I called to him, and he answered me. He is surely my mediator.

It was not until when I got to my unit that I finally learned to be longsuffering, to endure, to be patient. Before I learned this, I tend to respond much more rashly and without much wisdom. Now, I finally learned to endure pain, suffering, and shame. Of course my capacity is still limited, but God always finds a way for me. It seems when I was just about to do something desperate, things change. Even the times when I get angry at life and God, when I choose to sin, he still loves me and still protects me. Of course, I am still weak. Weak physically and mentally (I’m a slow learner), but with God, I can survive.

I apologize for any English mistakes in my writing, since I wrote all this in about an hour. And I wrote this at night, since I am best at night. I wrote many notes on facebook that I deleted, and some talked about my experiences during BCT and the Army. I’m still thinking about re-posting it, or re-deleting it, since it’s so embarrassing. But I’m writing this so others can know more about me, if they want to know, that is, and also because the truth will set me free.

I also know that there are people who will embarrass or reject me. That is the reason why Facebook was so discouraging to me, then again, I don’t feel like talking to my old friends, so why should they? Be prepared, I am not going on facebook for another few weeks due to this note.

I also talked to my education counselor recently. I hope I can get in Mid-America Christian University with a major in Christian Ministries and also one in math. I was so happy to find a university that offers both Bible studies and math and a university that is part of the military agreement. I failed college once, but now, I am getting another chance. This time, I am not under law (admission requirements, GPA, etc), but under grace (simply being in the Army).

PS: I wrote this a long time ago and I feel it’s missing a few parts. When I have the time, I will go back and revise it. God bless you!

3/19/2008

{written}  S: 8:34am  E: 8:43am  3/19/2008   Discovery

How am I feeling now?  I am feeling very depressed and unhappy.  Why?  Because I just had an argument with my dad.  I tried to understand his point of view and explain to him why I am not eating the food he prepared.  I want to be more independent, self-reliant, but my dad won’t let me.  He feels sad, and thus, angry that I am not taking his food.  I tried to use the Bible as a guide and it helped me.  Not beyond all doubt, but it helped me.  I guess there is always faith needed.

So now, here I am, sitting in the library.
Praise God that I can drive to school safely.
Praise God that I can find a parking space.
Praise God for telling me what is wrong with my parking.
Praise God that I can come to this library to rest and write this.
Everything really comes from God.
Thank you Jesus for everything.

19w

5-12-05

{written}

My Discovery

5-12-05  12:10am

I know, I should be going to sleep right now but I’m not.  The reason why is because I have something very important to share with you.  I know I’m so messed up, I love many different girls: Lydia, Anna, Rebeca, Namoi, Ashley, Julai, Jessica, Jennifer (yes, both) and much more.  This is one of the main reasons why I try to not get involved with a serious relationship.  I will think of another girl and commit adultary.  I hope the first girl I date will be my wife.  Looks like that is a fairy tale.  Everything is a fairy tale to me.  I’m tired of trying to be better because I’m not making any improvements.  I’m writing my discovery because no one else will listen to me.  I have no girl friend to talk too, and I have no friends (too personal + would like to share it with a girl) to talk too.  All the girls I like are all too smart for me.  Anna for example, has a much better future than me based on our grades.  People thinks that me taking two AP classes, I must be smart, well, there’re wrong.  It’s quality not quanity.  However If I’m not going to love anyone, how will I get rid of this junk passon?  Check porn?  No that’s sinning and commiting adultary.  Try one-night stands?  No, thats even worse, you are destroying your body.  Then what can I do?  I’m trapped.  My wish right now is to buy Anna a birthday gift (pencil box :) ) and to invite her to prom.  That will be my last and only love I will ever have in my life.  I want to experense the intense passion, love and joy of being bonded with Eve.  There’s no chance.  I always mess up.  Better die than be born blind.

6-10-04

{written diary}

6-10-04  12:55pm-1:00pm

Okay, okay, okay….  I’m so afraid.  So scared.  What can I do?  Everything is falling on me.  I hate myself.  Why do I have to dance DDR in the yearbook for?  When I thought it was cool in the past, I never knew the cost.  I hate attension.  I hate to be popular.  I’m not made for that.  I’m made for the opposite.  I’m made to be a nobody.  A person who is not popular.  Well, maybe not a nobody but someone who does not show up.  I hate myself in the yearbook.  Everything I do is fucked up.  I look ugly and all but I do know that it is whats inside that counts.  I got to go or be killed.

5-14-04

{written diary}

5-14-04  (Mrs. Bonfils’ class)

S: 1:10

Today, I have many things to talk (or write about)  Today is also the triple point of my life [biorhythm].  I don’t know what is really wrong with me.  Why am I like this?  I don’t want to get another chance if I cannot change myself.  Why?  Because no matter how many chances I get, It will be wasted if I can not change myself.  I’m writing my diary in class right now, and for fear that someone might eardrop or eyedrop me, I will not discuss too personal details.  First… during lunch, I went to the AP Biology meeting.  I wanted to be in AP Biology next year.  In fact, my first choice is AP Biology.  My second would be AP Physics, and my third, AP Chemistry.  The problem is that there is a 99.9% I am going to be rejected.  First, Dr. Jang mentioned during the meeting that if you don’t do the science fair project, he might not choose you.  AND I think he was looking at me when he said that!  Everything that is negative, that he/ or she will drop he said that looking at me.  Ahh, its wonderful to write my stupid thoughts on paper.  I mean if someone reads this… he/she might be reading this right now!  They might think this is so boring.  Well, that’s why it is called MY Diary!  What must I do to change myself?  How much will it take?  Can I even make one minor change???  This sucks!  Heh, I remember Gary [last name omitted] in my Honors chemistry class.  He saw my Agenda that reads “Honors Chemistry!”  He sort of joked to me about it.  Heh, well that’s very pretty funny.  I’ll write about Jennifer at home.  He is too much for me.  I love to have some quiet time for myself now.  Emode.com is great.  You should try it.  They have wonderful tests about personality, love, relationships, health, and so much more!  I took a lot of them.  I think the tests are very accrate too?  Victor [last name omitted] just walked to Steven [last name omitted], in fact, he ran to him.  Maybe he just wanted to get away from me.  Strange ppl everyday, or maybe I am the one that’s strange.  The time is now 1:25pm.  I still have some time left.  Fuck, why do I keep farting?  Is there any way to fart less.  I know farting is healthy, but it is socially unhealthy if I fart too much.  My hand is never tired writing my diaries.  Why?  Because I like writing it.  I think its time for me to observe some people in this room.  I want to be a (maybe) a physciologst when I grow up, so I better understand people.  The trouble is that, I never understand people.  The only way I can understand ppl is it they understand me first!  Then he/she will open up and understand me.  Now the obversation.  Who should I concentrate on?  If I concreatiate too much on them, they might get suspious on me.  Well, anything goes.  I wish I am wearing sunglasses, that way ppl won’t suspect me of looking at them.  Well Llian is just sitting there reading a book.  I dislike her now.  I would have written “hate” but I know what hate can do to ppl, do you?  Boy, time sure freezes on me!  Only 5 minutes has passed.  Yan is just laying down sleeping I guess.  He isn’t moving his pen.  People these days (esp. teens) need more sleep, his pen would have been moving.  I just discovered that he is wearing all blue, a school boy color.  It seems okay for him to wear it.  I give too much damn of what people think of me.  I’m glad Yan did not snore.  If he did, I will feel so sad for him.  Also before I forget, I need to go to Mrs. Solid’s room to sign up for the JMS carnival.  中.  Now Yan woke up from midsummers morning.  He seemed tired.  Oh, now he went to nap again on a different position.  So sad and funny at the same time.  Teddy, has a feather (while) on top of his T-shirt, but Kitie [last name omitted] said “You got a feather on your butt.”  Oh my God.  Oppos!  I am not allowed to say “God” or write it down, so I’ll change that to “Oh my gosh!”  It seems that all Bagal does is shuffle cards.  He seems to be enjoying it.  Well, if I’m going to talk to him, I’ll make sure I brought a pack of cards so he won’t get bored of me.  If someone asks me “What are you doing?” I could just say “I’m introspecting.”  I really am.  Damn, I got some Catcher in the Rye influence on me.  Bannana is a good fruit but now ppl make it a bad omen.  It is not funny to me anymore.  If people (esp. teenagers say “bannana” it might not be the fruit, but about the penis.  Nasty.

*All spelling mistakes and other errors are made intentionally, to maintain the accuracy of the text.