Month: June 2013
By Joshua Dent
I play 3-4 guitar chords on my best day of my most amazing guitar work.
I barely can hold a rhythm.
And, I certainly don’t know many different strumming patterns.
It doesn’t mean I don’t love to play and honor and respect every person who does play.
This kid will blow your mind away.
By Joshua Dent
“Hey Mate, I do this awesome hypnosis called a past-life regression.”
That is what my Australian buddy Daniel said to me at the gym the other day.
Now, I have a hunch that the average person’s eyes aren’t going to light up, and say “Cool, can you hook me up?”
For me, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
Daniel was fortunately not only nice enough to let me give it a try, but he also captured it on video for us.
The hypnosis is very, very, light.
We still made some interesting discoveries to help me work on teaching anxiety. I also attempted a brief little pow-wow with Jerry Garcia.
Take a look at the video.
One Sexy Discovery
“Incredible, Awesome, Amazing…”
This is just a small plethora of the flurry of words that raced through my head when I discovered the newest Chinese learning tool called Sexy Mandarin.
I was ready to do a back flip when my “language exchange partner” at the time mentioned how she stumbled on this website: http://www.sexymandarin.com/.
I instantly thought I struck learning gold.
I immediately logged on my computer and went for a free trial lesson.
My free trial lesson came with a delightful surprise of dealing with such a friendly, professional, and well-organized company in http://www.sexymandarin.com/.
I was extremely impressed by the overall experience.
Teacher Dora’s Physical Appearance
As I said, I was really happy about the entire time I spent with Sexy Mandarin. I’d be lying if I told you pretty girls don’t only make me happy, but motivate me to learn more.
That is why I am going to mention the teacher’s physical appearance.
I did my free trial lesson with a young lady named Dora.
Teacher Dora’s looks can be described in one sentence:
“Drop-dead gorgeous with a smile that will make your day.”
Just being pretty doesn’t always cut it for me. Dora is very clever and intelligent to go along with a delightful personality.
If you are like me and you not only want to learn, but you want it to be fun, Dora has your academic needs covered.
Now that we know we have a great teacher, let’s talk about what the actual “online classroom” experience is like.
Never had an “online tutor” before?
Don’t worry! Neither did I!
And if you have seen my one picture website, taiwaniseasy.blogspot.com.tw, with no extra links or fancy HTML, you will quickly understand I am not exactly your tech-geek either.
The course material is presented to you in a chat room format that is extremely easy to follow.
It is so easy that I would feel confident sending my 65 year old father who only ever uses the computer to play the card game “Hearts,” to the class with no issues.
You ready to learn some Chinese with the sexy girls Pops? 🙂
Now, we know we have a great teacher and easy format to follow. We can take a look at some of the educational components of my experience.
Reading is one of the first things mentioned when you talk about learning Chinese.
Reading Chinese is no joke. It’s hard, tedious, and extremely confusing.
Sexy Mandarin didn’t disappoint us in making reading fun, and useful. Plenty of time and ample instruction was given to reading the new words.
I also like that the Romanized system of Pinyin was implemented throughout the lesson.
Now, let’s move on to the writing.
Writing Chinese is far from my favorite aspect of learning the language.
I did notice there was no writing involved at all in my lesson. I’d be lying if I said this disappointed me. I actually hate learning to write Chinese.
But, I would offer the suggestion of implementing a nifty little tool on http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php.
The website has a Chinese to English dictionary that shows you how to make each character, stroke by stroke.
The girls at Sexy Mandarin, http://www.sexymandarin.com/,
would have to see if they could implement that in their lesson for people wanting to learn to write.
Just a thought..
So, you learned how to read and say a few words in Chinese and you are ready to go say hi to a pretty girl, or maybe even just order a meal.
Sexy Dora gave me plenty of chance to practice my listening skills just by asking me questions in Chinese.
My only issue was my internet connection was a little slow. So, we did have a hard time hearing each other at times.
I got the reading, writing, and listening skills behind me. It is time to talk about the most difficult part of learning Chinese, pronunciation. The 4 different tones can drive the expats insane!
When my “Ni-hao” or hello in Chinese, recently got mistaken for me wanting a pack of cigarettes with that same brand name but different tone, I realized that maybe my pronunciation isn’t so perfect.
This Ni-Hao cigarette debacle was not my only recent embarrassing situation. I also stormed out of a restaurant last month when the waitress brought me spicy beef instead of not spicy chicken due to her being unable to understand my lousy pronunciation.
These two indicators were a giant slap in the face that this is something I need to work on.
Dora did not disappoint one bit in this category. She was all over me when I missed a tone, or pronunciation. Of course, she was still encouraging enough that I didn’t get frustrated.
A boost in confidence in my pronunciation can only lead to what is most important for me about learning Chinese. That is to carry on fun conversations.
Being a professional Chinese translator has ABSOLUTELY no appeal to me.
I am honestly only learning Chinese for survival skills, maybe to be a better English teacher, and because I like showing off for pretty girls in Chinese:)
Dora opened up the flood gate for conversation after she taught me the words for “hot girls” in Chinese.
She was very sly about sliding that word into our lesson. I immediately thought that finally somebody gets that I am learning just for the sake of having fun.
That is the way learning should be in my opinion.
She also was nice enough to do a mock conversation where I say you are a hot girl, I like you, what’s your phone number?
She even leaned closer and smiled when I said what’s your phone number?
I am smart enough to realize that Sexy Mandarin is a business, and she has to smile, and be playful
But, good natured flirting with zero expectations is always fun. I think it just lifts the spirits of all parties involved.
After my 60 minutes of smiling, practicing, and really having fun learning Chinese was over, I got one more pleasant surprise from my tutor for the day, Sexy Dora.
This included a detailed and easy to follow review of the day’s lessons.
Maybe, she saw the 7 bottles of milk tea on my desk, and papers everywhere and thought she needed to do this for me especially. It was still a really nice, and professional gesture.
Like I said, it was truly an awesome experience for me. That is why I feel obligated to make sure everyone knows that they are a legit organization.
So, if you are a weirdo that thinks you can manipulate these girls into doing unethical things, just throw that idea right out.
The girls will have fun with you while they teach. By “fun,” I really mean just laughing, and smiling.
But, it will go NO further than that.
They had one instance a while ago of a student being verbally abusive with a teacher. They eliminated that dude quickly!!
It was also to see the entire Sexy Mandarin community be so supportive of the teacher abused. This included the student body.
Overall, these girls are smart, fun, beautiful, and professional. I strongly encourage anyone to give them a try.
Are you wondering what is in store for the future of Sexy Mandarin?
You can like them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SexyMandarin?fref=ts, and see for yourself.
Here is a picture to get you in the mood to study from their facebook page.
Why I Travel
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
Nine months ago, I lived on a beautiful 4 bedroom ranch with 2 acres of land in Phoenix, AZ.
I gave that all up without hesitation for the name of travel and adventure.
“Smile, Smile, Smile”
Tonight, I am typing once again on the tiny foot stool-sized chair, and miniature desk in my very small Jhongli, Taiwan apartment.
The only noise I can hear is the rattle of my ancient air conditioner that barely keeps the temperature tolerable.
I am still feeling EXTREMELY fortunate
I was given a gift yesterday about how precious life really is.
I missed my 9:30 bus to a “river-tracing” destination of Wulai, and suddenly felt like the world was going to end.
My face mimicked the face of when I was a 13 year old boy and my mom told me I had to turn off “Tecmo Bowl” to work on homework. I was pissed!
It all worked out ok though. I joined up with an older Taiwanese man and his daughter to go halves on an extremely cheap cab ride to our destination.
It did not take long for me to realize that this older man in his mid 60’s with 4 straggling white hairs across his upper lip was one of the happiest people I ever met.
He and I laughed, joked, and bonded like no other on the ride out to Wulai.
The laughing and joking all took a dramatic turn about halfway into the trip. That was when he informed me he was going to die any day now. Of course, he said this with a smile and a laugh.
The doctors had notified him that his cancer was spreading too rapidly in his stomach for medicine or treatment to even be worth it.
I just couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know how it was even possible since he was SO happy.
I immediately changed from glowing and smiling ear to ear, to a little bit of that shaky feeling you get when those watery things fill up the bottom of your eye lids. (aka-tear drops) When I was 8, I use to tell my Mom and Dad “My eyes are sweating.”
With the threat of “sweaty-eyes” looming largely for myself, I realized it was a situation that I could not have prepared for.
This dude seemed like one of the most legit people I met since being here in Taiwan, and he could be taken away at any moment.
It was so confusing to me.
However, his actions and his demeanor helped me realize he must have made some sort of turning point.
He came to his comfort zone.
He realized one of the most important lessons I hope we all learn. This message has been played many times in the Grateful Dead song, “He’s Gone,”
The most important words any of us could ever choose to live by are: “There’s nothing left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.”
That was the choice he made. He made the choice to just SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.
Man, I give him incredible props for that. I have been told and read hundreds of times that death is the biggest motivator.
I personally can never really conceptualize comments like that until I live out a similar experience.
I now have a 110 percent grasp of how true the motivation of death actually is. This was 4 days ago now.
This man’s picture, and the sound of his laugh are still like I have never left that moment. My wish is that they carry on with me every day for the rest of my life.
I am so thankful I met this guy. It was such a helpful reminder that there really is nothing left to do but, SMILE, SMILE, SMILE. .
I gave the waitress what I felt like a pretty was a very well-spoken statement in Chinese of “I would like the chicken please, and not very spicy.”
This 70 year old bag/waitress proceeded to act like I was speaking fucking Swahili after I gave my order.
After my 4th attempt to repeat myself, I decided to go to the hand gestures.
I gave what I thought were two very easy to understand signals, one for chicken, and one for not spicy.
I even bocked like a chicken when I put my hands under my arms and pretended to flap my imaginary wings.
So, what did the old bag do?
She promptly returned to my table with a plate FULL of some of the SPICIEST, and shittiest BEEF (not chicken) I ever had.
Hats off, Old Lady!
You got me on that one! ha!
Sometimes, it is harder than others to have a sense of humor here. But, you really need it to stay out of trouble sometimes.
This is one of the most inspiring web sites I have ever seen. A globe and a credit card could be very dangerous after reading this one.