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¿habla español?

One of my goals of building my better me is to learn Spanish and be conversational by the end of the year. I feel that not understanding Spanish has been a hindrance for me in Human Resources and especially being in California.  I’ve worked for companies where there has been a large Spanish speaking only population of employees.  I’ve had employees who have assisted in the Spanish interpretation when dealing with employees.

I’m now in a new role as a consultant and felt the need to finally learn.  It’s not that I haven’t tried in the past, but some of the tools were not the best.  Rosetta Stone gets you up understanding very quickly, but it’s not useful in the working world.  I will never use the words la taza verde (green cup) or le perro blanco (white dog).  I wanted to something that would allow me to speak more conversationally and not solely by the textbook.

I knew I needed something different and I decided to use Craigslist to assist me.  I signed up with a Spanish tutor from Guadalajara with my co-worker, Paul.  Ernesto teaches us on a weekly basis to speak more conversational Spanish that would apply to our jobs.

In the beginning, it was hard.  My pronunciation needed work.  I need to get better at it and my goal is the be somewhat conversational.  What I like about this way of learning is that it’s more one on one time.  We skype each week for an hour.  The information I’m learning is more relevant to what I would be saying.  

I started watching Spanish speaking show, Caso Cerrado, which is spoken in Spanish with English subtitles.  It’s like Judge Judy and Jerry Spring wrapped up into one.    It was super entertaining, but way beyond my comprehension.  Ernesto said it might be better to watch kids shows like Peppa the Pig in Spanish.  

I’m starting to see that my Spanish is improve, which is exciting.  I can read well, but I continue to work on pronunciation and listening skills.  I would recommend anyone to learn a new skill or language.  Learning keeps our brains active and it can be an enjoyable activity. I’m hoping all my hard work pays off and I can speak more fluently by year end.

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Uncluttering Your Life

credit: Wall Street journal

Unfortunately, I’m a pack rat.   I must have inherited it from my Popo (Chinese word for Grandma). My house is not like the houses you see on the show, Hoarders, but it’s cluttered.  My husband complains about the number of boxes I have, but that’s due to my side business.  I was watching Netflix and became fascinated by Marie Kondo, who is a Japanese organizational expert. 

I watched a marathon of her shows on Netflix.  Organizing my home and housework has always been a struggle for me because it doesn’t interest me, which is why it’s cluttered.   It’s an area of improvement that I have wanted to tackle for some time.  Marie has a system of organizing so everything has a place. It’s not about throwing everything away, but you will have to get rid of some things.  It’s more about everything has a place in the home.

The first step in her system is clothes.   I use to have the horrible habit of not letting go of clothes.   I had clothing that was too small and kept it because I was hoping it would give me incentive to lose weight.   As a result, my drawers are overstuffed with clothes that are too tight or too big.  I wanted to see if Marie’s organizational methods would work and that I could keep it clean and maintain it.

Marie’s method of dealing with clothes is to take all your clothes out.  Look at each piece of clothing and see if it sparks joy in you. If it doesn’t you need to get rid of it. At first the process seemed silly to me, looking at each piece of clothing and see if it sparked joy.   Everything is rolled up and neat.

However, when I did this process, it actually made the process easier on what I need to keep and dump. It made me realize that there are a lot of clothes I have held on to and I really didn’t like it.   Although, it took hours to do, it was well worth it. Now my drawers for the most part look cleaner and more organization.  It has been easier to maintain and now will take on other parts of the house in future blogs. 

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Clearing Out the Negativity

Have you ever accepted a situation even though you knew it wasn’t good for you or causing you misery? Sometimes we accept situations because we are afraid of the unknown or can’t see that there is another path.  We are often told that the grass is not greener on the other side.    So, the grass may be blue green or polka dot, but it still could be slightly better than the current situation.

I had reached a point in my life, I was tired of accepting things or situations that were not good for me. Maybe my patience had worn thin and was sick of it.  I have learned to be over accommodating to people in the past.  It’s my nature and I liked to be generous.  The problem was it was often at my expense and people took advantage of it.

For example, I helped an HR Manager and defend her to the corporate office about why she was struggling. The minute she got held accountable, I was thrown under the bus and she made lies on things I said.  I was so disappointed and hurt by the situation.

This was one of many situations where people I helped and who did me wrong. I started cutting people out of my life.  I took inventory of who were really my friends and people who are just acquaintances.  I immediately cut off people who didn’t treat me right or people who didn’t have my best interest.  I need to surround myself with more good people and less of these “users”.

I had situations with my properties that were causing me headaches and decided to sell them off.   It was a huge weight that was lifted off my shoulders.  I was so deep in the weeds with the issues, that I was unable to look at things with a fresh set of eyes. One property was losing money and I was dealing with Homeowner’s Association issues. I was lamenting that I was selling it $20K less what I had purchased it for.   It wasn’t until my realtor gave me a reality check that we just needed to sell the property and make it go away.  He was right.

It’s good to take an inventory from your life from time to time. Sometimes we hold on to people or situations and we really don’t need to.  I have found when you surround yourself with good people, better things happen to you.  Do the friends/families surrounded by you have your best interest?    What’s causing you misery and can you change it?  Clear the negative people and situations out of your life so you can be happier.