Loosing Kids When You’re a Teacher

It’s back to school season and, as a teacher, sometimes that means a new class. 

At least for me, a new school year almost always means I will loose some, if not all of my students and get new ones. Well, I get extremely attached to my students and I have anxiety just thinking about leaving them or them leaving me, so I decided to write about this topic and how I cope with it. 

When it’s their last day I try to make it special. I buy them chocolate, I give them an extra hug, take a selfie with them. Sometimes they surprise me too 🙂 Last June, for example I got a card from every single student saying they were going to miss me, saying they liked my classes, and things like that. To be completely honest I was not expecting that at all! 

When I left my previous school there were a lot of tears and hugs. I exchanged Wechats  (Chinese social media app I like to describe as Whatsapp and Facebook had a baby and that’s Wechat!)  with some of the parents and I try to keep in touch as much as I can. It’s not too rare to go for lunch / dinner / coffee with my old students and/ or parents, especially the ones that speak English. That helps a little with the anxiety I feel with leaving my “babies” as I call them. I know they are not really my babies but I love them all so much that I can’t just call them students. They are so much more than that to me. As I am writing this I recall a conversation I had with my mom yesterday. I told her the highlight of my day was when one of my babies told me he wished my classes were longer because he enjoyed them so much. There is no salary that pays these words. This is why it is so rewarding to be a teacher, and I don’t mean financially… because financially we all know that teachers are not payed enough! That’s a rant for another day.  

Please make sure to comment down below what’s the best thing about your job. Don’t forget to follow the blog and my instagram 🙂 

My Packing essentials

It’s summer time and, naturally you start thinking about and planning your vacation. I will be going to Guilin in a couple weeks and I thought it would be nice to talk about my packing essentials. I will be mentioning 10 items I always pack. They are not in any order, just what came to mind.

  1. Passport 
  2. Electronics  ( Phone, phone charger, laptop, laptop charger) 
  3. Adaptors 
  4. Clothes and shoes ( take in consideration the weather and activities planned) 
  5. pajamas 
  6. jewelry and accessories  
  7. Make-up and bathroom toiletries 
  8. Sunglasses 
  9. Books 
  10. Water bottle 

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Please comment down below what are your essentials. Did I forget anything important?

 

Things that make me happy

I have been super inspired to practice gratitude and I created a list of things that make me happy. Just for the days when I feel uninspired and not so positive. I wanted to share that list with you and hopefully inspire everyone to create their own list.  The items are clearly not in order of importance, I wrote them randomly. 

  1. Coffee
  2. Write 
  3. Watch TVthings that make me happy
  4. Listen to music 
  5. Social Media 
  6. Reiki 
  7. Reading 
  8. Public Speaking 
  9. Spending time with kids 
  10. Family 
  11. Organizing 
  12. Learn 
  13. Being in control 
  14. Sleeping 
  15. Blogging 
  16. Getting my nails done 
  17. Getting a massage 
  18. Phone calls with my bestie 
  19. Eating comfort food 
  20. Spinning classes 
  21. Babies 

Tips to learn Chinese

When I tell people I live in Shanghai, there is always a lot of curiosity around the communication. So many people ask me ” Do you speak Chinese ?” “Are you learning Chinese?” ” How do you manage the language barrier?” 

Well I have been here since 2013, a little over 6 years and my level of Chinese isn’t where I would like it to be, partly because in Shanghai a lot of people speak english and it’s easy to get around speaking english, especially if you live downtown like I do. It’s easy to get sucked into the expat bubble and not really mingle with the culture. Also it’s important to mention that in order to learn Chinese you have to invest a lot of effort and time. And if I’m being fully honest with you I haven’t been able to do so. 

I just did my HSK III exam and I want to share how I prepared for the test. 

First it’s important to clarify what HSK is. HSK the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi,, translated as the Chinese Proficiency Test used here in China. It is the standard test for non-native Chinese speakers, like foreign students and overseas Chinese. 

Often people refer to their Chinese ability using their HSK level.

The test can be paper-based or computer- based. I took the computer based.

 

There are four skills that are very important when you are learning a new language 

                  • Listening 
                  • Speaking 
                  • Reading 
                  • Writing

It should come as no surprise that the most difficult skills to master in Chinese are reading and writing so those are the ones I’m spending the most time in.

When I decided to learn Chinese was when I first got to Shanghai. At that time  I just wanted to be able to communicate with people here and live my day to day without the language barrier being too big.  Currently I have done HSK II and I was at a school when I did it. I studied really hard for that test and I got the full score. Now I am getting ready for HSK III and I’m doing it very differently. I had a teacher that helped me until she left for the UK but recently I’ve been doing it on my own and I have been loving it. Granted I have a little bit of a background and that helps. If I decide to go for HSK IV I may go back to classes but they will have to be group classes because I need to feel like I am being held accountable. As of right now I don’t really know if I am going to do it. To be honest I go back and forth between wanting to do it and never wanting to see a character again in my life. 

For me the most important tip is to be consistent. Come up with a schedule ( If you know me you knew I was going to say this! ) and stick to it. No I am not always perfect at it but I try as much as I can to be consistent. 

As I was saying before it’s easy to not use Chinese when you live in a city like Shanghai because so many people speak english but it is important to get yourself out there and use the language as much as you can … EVEN if you’re not getting it 100% correct. I say the same to my students that are learning english. I rather have you say an incorrect sentence than no sentence at all. So I try to apply my own rules into my learning. Not always succeeding. Definitely making a lot of mistakes. 

Comment down bellow what are the languages you speak and the ones you want to learn. 

 

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I met the President

Last Tuesday I got the opportunity to meet the Portuguese President. I can’t let this be something I don’t share with you. 

 It all started when I received an email from the Consulate with an invitation. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. This just seemed something so out of my league that I never dreamed of.  

I decided to plan what I was wearing, and to be honest that might have been the most difficult part of the whole thing. 

I ended up asking my mom and my sister for help. They sent me some pictures with some options from H&M. I chose the one I liked the most and it was a black ankle length fluid dress. I paired it up with a black cardigan and a hot pink light scarf. I was very comfortable in the outfit and for me that is very important. The night before the event I had my nails done. I chose a Ferrari red for my fingers and toes.

The morning of the event I got dressed and I did my make up. I was not nervous anymore and I just felt a lot better with the outfit. Let’s just say that the day before I was questioning how I looked and I felt very overwhelmed with all of the thinking about how I looked, but seeing everything put together, make up done made me feel more confident. I proceeded with my day and after I taught my last class I retouched my make up and got in a DiDi ( the Chinese UBER) to the location. The reception was at a very nice hotel by The Bund. We had to go to the 16th floor and I quickly saw some familiar faces and that was also a reason for my anxiety the night before because I thought I was going to feel totally out of place and lonely. That didn’t happen and I was happy about it. There was a lot of people there and when I got there very promptly a waiter came to me asking if I wanted a drink . I had two orange juices and there were a lot of different options but most of them were alcoholic and I wasn’t drinking that night. The waiters also were walking around with finger food that was typical from Portugal, such as egg tarts, fried meatballs, …

At 6:30 sharp the President walked in the room. He did his speech and he talked bout being Portuguese and our willingness to be explorers that is in our DNA. The moment of his speech that stuck with me was the story he told about a Chinese girl he met that afternoon when he visited the university. This girl is studying Portuguese and the president asked the students what did they think Portugal was and this particular girl answered that Portugal could be described in two words “azul” and “carinho”. “Azul” means blue and she explained that she had been in Portugal and everything seemed so blue, the sky, the ocean,… “Carinho” means affection and she said that she felt like Portuguese people were very affectionate. For me that was a very sweet and real moment. 

After he finished his speech everyone started walking towards him to take a selfie with him. He is known for his selfies. Of course I had to take one too. 

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I don’t like the way I look in this picture but I didn’t have the courage to ask him for another one. There were so many people around him that I kinda felt sorry for him. 

After that I stuck around for a little while longer, went to the rooftop to enjoy the view and soak in the moment. 

It is still very unreal that I got to met the President but I am definitely super humbled  

Spring Bucket list

spring

Spring just started and I decided to create a Spring bucket list.  More often than not I get stuck hustling, and for me it’s important to keep in mind the things that I want to do. So here is my bucket list : 

  • Plant flowers 
  • Have a picnic at the park 
  • Go to the zoo 
  • Eat banana bread 
  • Bake cupcakes 
  • Visit a museum 
  • Play mini-golf 
  • Make pizza from scratch

Share your bucket list in the comment section or PM it to me 🙂 

My morning and evening routine

JUST AFTER I DID MY WORKSHOP ABOUT TIME MANAGEMENT WITH MOTIVATE SHANGHAI I REALIZED HOW IMPORTANT MY MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE ARE IN MY DAYLY LIFE. 

I GOT A FEW REQUESTS ON WRITING A BLOG POST ABOUT THIS. SO HERE IT IS .

LET”S START WITH THE EVENING ROUTINE, JUST BECAUSE I THINK IT’S  THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE.

WHEN I GET HOME, AFTER WORK/GYM/ ANY APPOINTMENTS I HAVE SCHEDULED THE FIRST THING I DO IS TO DO A VERY QUICK TIDY UP OF MY APARTMENT, THEN I MOVE ON TO SHOWER ( IF I COME FROM THE GYM I SHOWER BEFORE I TIDY UP, JUST BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL GREAT IF I DON’T DO IT). AFTER I SHOWER IT’S TIME TO PREPARE DINNER. THIS CAN REQUIRE COOKING ( OR ORDERING … DEPENDS ON THE NIGHT. LET’S BE COMPLETELY HONEST! ) AFTER I HAVE DINNER I DO MY DISHES AND WIPE THE KITCHEN COUNTERS, PREPARE SNACKS FOR NEXT DAY ( I HAVE LUNCH AT WORK SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT TOO MUCH.) AFTER I AM DONE WITH THE KITCHEN I MOVE TO THE BATHROOM, WASH MY FACE, BRUSH MY TEETH , DO MY NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE. THE NEXT STEP IS TO PREPARE MY CLOTHES FOR THE NEXT DAY, THIS USUALLY INVOLVES CHECKING MY WEATHER APP TO SEE HOW THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE AND MY SCHEDULE TO SEE IF I HAVE ANY APPOINTMENT THAT REQUIRES A CERTAIN DRESS CODE, I TAKE WHATEVER I FEEL LIKE WEARING ACCORDING TO MY SCHEDULE AND WEATHER. AFTER I FINISH PREPARING MY NEXT DAY I FEED MY TURTLES AND TAKE SOME TIME TO MEDITATE. THE LAST STEP IS TO CATCH UP ON SOME SHOWS IN BED. IF I DON’T HAVE ANY SHOW TO CATCH ON I READ A BOOK. AT SOME POINT DURING THIS ROUTINE I FACETIME MY MOM AND DAD TO CATCH UP WITH THEIR DAY. MOST DAYS I DO THIS RIGHT BEFORE I PUT ON A SHOW TO GO TO SLEEP.

I TRY TO GO TO BED BETWEEN 10-10:30 SO I CAN GET ENOUGH SLEEP. 

MY MORNING ROUTINE STARTS AT 6AM. THE ALARM GOES ON AND THE FIRST THING I DO IS TO WALK OVER TO THE KITCHEN, GET MY ESPRESSO AND SAY MY MORNING AFFIRMATIONS ( IF YOU KNOW ME PERSONALLY YOU KNOW I DON’T SKIP MY MORNIG COFFEE.) AFTER I DRINK MY COFFE I GO TO THE BATHROOM, WASH MY FACE, PUT ON MY CONTACTS, BRUSH MY TEETH, DO MY MAKE UP, BRUSH MY HAIR AND GET DRESSED. I ALWAYS HAVE A YOUTUBE VIDEO IN THE BACKGROUND WHILE I AM GETTING READY. THE LAST THING I DO BEFORE I AM OUT OF THE DOOR IS TO GET BREAKFAST. ( I HAVE BEEN ADDICTED TO YOGHURT BOWLS OR CHIA SEED PUDDINGS). AFTER BREAKFAST I GRAB MY BACKPACK AND WALK TO THE METRO. MY MORNING ROUTINE TAKES ME ABOUT 1 HOUR.

OBVIOUSLY WHAT I JUST DESCRIBED ARE THE IDEAL  ROUTINES, OBVIOUSLY I DON’T GET TO DO EVERYTHING EVERY DAY. THIS IS WHAT I STRIVE FOR BUT I DON’T ALLOW MYSELF TO BE STRESSED ABOUT IT.  I DO WHAT I CAN EVERYDAY, IT’S NICE TO HAVE A GUIDELINE THOUGH. 

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS BLOG POST. PLEASE CONSIDER LIKING THIS POST AND SUBSCRIBING SO YOU CAN BE INFORMED WHEN I POST SOMETHING NEW HERE 🙂

20 things I learned before 32

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  1. You are stronger than you think.
  2. Let go of the fear and jump into greatness.
  3. Take time to plan. “Failing to plan is planning to fail”
  4. Don’t ask for permission to be who you are.
  5. You are enough. Pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough …
  6. As Lisa Nichols would say ” No is a complete sentence.”
  7. Be present in the moment but always remember lessons from the past. 
  8. Take control of your own path. 
  9. When in doubt just GO! 
  10. You are a combination of all your decisions.
  11. Be the example of how you want to be treated. 
  12. Relationships determine the quality of your life. 
  13. Don’t be the smartest person in the room. 
  14. Plan one fun activity every week.
  15. Open up your heart to new paths.
  16. Allow yourself to feel ALL the emotions.
  17. Be consistent following your goals. 
  18. Find an accountability buddy that will help you when you feel discouraged. 
  19. Take time off social media.
  20. You can have more than one passion, and they don’t have to be related. 

Best Moments of 2018

 

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It’s the first day of the year and I always take this day to reflect on the year that ended and set up the year to come. This time I went month by month and here are my highlights of 2018. 

In January I attended my last Disney English Spring Party. I got to say goodbye to some people from other centers and go on stage to receive an award for our video. 

In February I started my new job that I am loving so much. This was definitely a defining moment for  me as my life changed so drastically. 

In March I facilitated a workshop for LadyFest Shanghai and that was massive for my public speaking “career”. I also went to HongKong by myself and had a blast. Last time at a Disney Park with my employee complimentary passes. 

In April I joined the Lean IN China Board and a lot of really exciting things coming in 2019. I also volunteered at a TEDx event in China and met some really cool people. My sister graduated from Med School. I went to Macau by myself and pampered myself with a really nice hotel and some delicious Portuguese food. What an amazing month !

In May I organized and facilitated a workshop in Mandarin Inn (my chinese school). That was the first time I totally organized an event from start to finish. 

In June I delivered a workshop for LifeSkills 4 me. This was one of the best workshops ever! A lot of people came and the energy in the room was incredible! 

In July we had our Fabulous Four (#nowfabulousfive #soontobefabuloussix) before Rohan was born. 

In August I went to see Cirque Du Solei and it was one of the best shows. I also treated myself to two pool days this month. 

In September I launched the meditation challenge here on the blog and it was the most successful challenge. It was also time to say see you soon to two of my favorite people and we sent them off with a magical Disney day. 

In October I joined the Motivate Shanghai Team and we have been working really hard to deliver high quality workshops and to motivate people to be the best version of themselves. 

In November I celebrated my birthday and it was I ever wanted it to be. I hosted a few of my closest friends and we watched Hocus Pocus.  Magical ! 

In December I finished my Reiki II course with the amazing Josephine at Shantih Shala. What a magnificent experience. I spent Christmas in Portugal with my family, it was too short but much needed recharge. 

2018 was a VERYYYYYY goood year! 

2019 I am ready to see what challenges you have for me! 

How I plan my week

A lot of people ask me how I manage to be involved in so many projects and how I achieve as much as I do. 

I decided to write this blog  post explaining the process I go through when planning my week. 

I usually do it on Sunday and it all starts with me reviewing the previous week. I look into my calendar, notice if there was anything I didn’t get done or something that needs follow up. If something didn’t get done I evaluate how much of a priority that is.

After that I get a piece of paper and write EVERYTHING I want to do that week, this can be work related stuff or personal things I want to achieve. At this point I try to just write what comes to my mind and I don’t really worry if it is realistic or not. We will get to it later in the process.

When I feel like I wrote everything I open my iCalendar (love this tool because it syncs with my phone). I have different calendars set up on my iCalendar ( each one has its color and relates to one of my “hats”. This is going to be important later on, to make sure my week is balanced). Ok! The next step will be to get the items on my paper and allocate them to a time slot that I have available. I try, as much as I can to batch tasks together, so for example if I’m working on the blog I try to do as much as I can blog related that day. That helps me focus and being on the right mindset. It would be very frustrating to be working on a blog post and then go and work on lesson planning and then go back to work on the blog, for example. 

After I have all the tasks allocated to a time slot I look at the weekly view and go day by day and make sure the days will flow. Very often I have to readjust my routines and workouts, just because besides my working schedule my week is never the same. That’s why the colors are so important to me. I can quickly check if my workouts and my meditation are there as much I want it to be. I can see how much time I am spending on each section of my life. 

Obviously not all goes as smooth as I would love it to go. So it is important to keep an open mind if you need to swap things around. 

At the end of the day you don’t to be a robot and if you have to swap things around because of an emergency or just something you were not expecting make sure to do so and don’t beat yourself over it. Just allow for change to happen. Always keep your priorities and the bigger picture in mind. IMG_8782