¿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.

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. 

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.

Building Resilience

I had a rough 2017.  It started off with my husband almost dying from the Influenza A and Sepsis in January.   It didn’t get better when in July, a tenant destroyed my rental house, which costed $15,000 worth of damages and getting new property managers due to this incident.  Around the same time, I had crazy neighbors calling the city on me regarding the weeds on a piece of land I owned.  As a result, the city threatening to fine me over the next two months $700 and $1300 since the weeds could not be over 1 inch. In September, I fell on my face and hit the sidewalk.  I looked terrible, but luckily I didn’t have any major damage and my teeth were intact.  Finally, an old friend who I treated and helped her out like a sister went crazy when I tried to reconnect when we lost touch. I’m not sharing this so you will feel sorry for me. Although it was a crazy year, all these events showed me that I have far more resilience than I thought I had. 

Through these experiences, I’ve learned through tough times is when we grow the most as people.  It’s uncomfortable as we go through the process, but somehow it makes us a better person.   We realize that we are much stronger than we thought. I’m not saying there weren’t times I wanted to cry, lay in the fetal position or not get up. But you have to push forward to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 When I was younger, I thought God was punishing me and that’s why bad things were happening to me.   I used to bargain with God that if he just fixed my situation, I would follow through with my promise. I realized the only one who could fix my situation was me and sometimes I had to go to the eye of the storm to get to the other side.

I know now it’s not because God is punishing me that these things are happening.  Life constantly changes and sometimes we get curveballs.  At times, it pushes us out of our comfort zone.  Most people don’t like change and I see it a lot being in Human Resources.  If you embrace change instead of fighting it, things go much better.

When I went through my year, I didn’t have time to complain or cry about it, I accepted it and moved forward.   That acceptance allowed me to move through the pain much quicker, which allowed me to deal with the other stuff that was coming down the pipeline. Life is sometimes going to knock us down.  Take a deep breath, brush yourself off and get up again, accept and move forward.  

Living with ADD?

As part of my journey, I wanted to address things that I have neglected or failed to address. One issue I’ve always struggled with is organization and losing things. It has affected me in my personal as well as my professional life.

I had always chalked it up to were these weaknesses that I would always struggled with. It was something I could get marginally better, but never be at the level I wanted to be. However, I watched a documentary that made me believe there may be a reason why I struggled in those two areas.  

One day I had watched documentary show,” Our America” with Lisa Ling.   I enjoyed watching this show because it always had interesting topics and there was something always new to learn.  I had watch the episode where Lisa was being evaluated on whether she had ADD.

A lot of things she said in the video, I could relate to.  At times, I couldn’t focus and it impeded me on getting things done.  I would procrastinate on tasks I was not interested in such as cleaning the house or a tedious project at work.   I did some reading on the internet and tried to find more information about women and ADD. In many cases, it is harder to detect ADD in women/girls and often not diagnosed because we masked the disability.   

But if there was a way for me to get better, I thought I should explore the idea.  I went through my husband’s company’s EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and called psychiatrists and psychologists who specialized in ADD. I scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist near my work. 

I know people don’t want to go to doctors because they are afraid of the diagnoses. Sometimes, it’s better to know sooner or later, because it can be detected earlier and treatment can happen. Sometimes waiting too late, you may not be able to fix the issue.

After being evaluated, I found out that I didn’t have Adult ADD. I learned that the reason I was having issues was to due to my long time sleep issues. I’ve had sleep issues since I was a kid. Due to my lack of restful sleep, my brain didn’t have enough time to file all my memories in my brain at night. As a result, my ability to recall was affected.

I’m going to see a sleep specialist and fix my issue. When you have issues, you have to deal with them head on instead of shying away. My issue should have been dealt with a long time ago because I didn’t put me first. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself and put you first, you can’t take care of others.

Losing Weight

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I was always seesawing on losing and gaining weight. Things got worse when I had a high stress corporate job. I would stress eat because of the amount of responsibilities of my job. I didn’t feel good about myself or liked how I looked in the mirror. Over the last 5 years I just felt chunky.

Even though I did cardio/ martial arts, I was gaining the muscle, but never really losing the fat. So basically I had fat on top of muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. My daughter has inspired me to get a nutritionist She had hired a nutritionist and started to lose weight pretty quickly.

I tried all the diets and it never seemed like it worked for me. I would lose some weight and then gain it back again. I hated weight watchers because I didn’t like to count. So I hired a nutritionist off of Thumbtack. My nutritionist, Sarah gave me a plan that I had to follow. She gave me a macro diet where I counted my protein, fat and carbs through Fitness Pal App.

Although, I hated the idea of counting. I didn’t want to be where I was at. If I was truly trying the best being my best me, then I really need to put effort towards this. Plus, I spent money to make this happen. I was determine to make this work.

Day 1

When I started the diet, my stomach hurt so bad. I could literally feel it shrinking. In the diet, I don’t count calories, just the macros. When I was looking at the calories, I was taking fewer calories then the recommended for someone of my age and weight. In the end, I was eating less and exercising more.

Day 2 and on….

It was initially hard to do this diet. I didn’t like tracking my food intake. However, there was a benefit to this. I made better food choices because of the information I knew. My daily food intake should be 90 g of protein, 30 g of fat and 130g of carbs. It made me read food packages and I learned in most cases that I was taking in too much fat. Food that I thought was relatively healthy was really not under the diet she gave me.

I really didn’t realize how much fat is in most of the process food that we eat. It often made me think twice if I really wanted to eat the veggie chips that had 5 grams of fat, which would be 1/6 of my fat intake. Over the next four weeks, I stuck to the process. I started seeing results in my overall body.

When I was younger, I was an hour glass figure. However after my late thirties, I started looking like an apple. During this process, I saw my body go from the apple back to the hourglass, which was super motivating.

Through through the three months, I have been on the diet, I’ve lost a total of 13 pounds. I shrank to one size down. Understand I have included cheat days as well. It’s not a quick fix time of diet, but a lifestyle change. It important to put yourself first in order to take care of others. I heard that phrase many times, but I had always done the opposite. As I take this journey, I’m going to address other parts of my life that I always have put off and make it a priority.