Das Ist Interessant!

Interessant– this is German for interesting.

It’s amazing how time flies and looking back at the year that is 2014, one of the new things I have embarked on is to learn two foreign languages: Thai and German. Thai, because I have some Thai heritage biologically, and German, because I work quite a lot with German bosses and colleagues, it makes sense to start learning this language. And also, the very first classical piano piece I learnt was written by a German composer, Minuet in G by Mozart. I remember being told that he wrote that at the age of five. A genius, indeed.

So, ich lerne gerne Deutsch. I enjoy learning German. But this is one tricky language to master, with so many grammatical rules, different types of sentences, the intricate spelling, the nuances. Phew! And I had the audacity to slot in a few German sentences (ok, I think three to be exact) when hosting the technical forum at my company.

Ich bin Alexis. (I am Alexis.)
Guten Tag (Good day)
Wilkommen im Penang (Welcome to Penang.)
Das ist sehr gut! (This is very good!)
Einen schonen Tag noch! (Have a nice day!)
Aber man gewohnt sich daran.. (But you get used to it…)

Looks like my repertoire begs to be improved. Learning German at my own pace using Babbel has been fun and quite effective in helping me to get some basics, but I think it’s time to up the ante…get some grammar books maybe since it’s the structure I struggle a lot with.

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-2214/

The Eight Investments We Can Make in Ourselves

I write this as I feel the soreness on my hips and back and realized I have not gone for any massage this month. Yet.

And this gets me thinking of how some people I know seem to deliberately choose to invest in themselves–spending on things that would make them better physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. Suddenly this makes a lot of sense to me because taking care of and continuously developing ourselves is vital if we want to be effective in the long run, not only in pursuing the things important to us but also in our service to society and our loved ones. So in my opinion, here are the some of the best things we can invest in ourselves:

1. Massages
Okay, this may not appeal to everyone but I just have to put it on this list because I have a traditional Chinese masseuse who loosens my joints, eases my sore muscles and gets my blood circulation going to the extent that my cheeks glow! I happily spend on massages because they are great to loosen up physically and mentally, but it is important to get a skillful therapist.

2. Exercise
I am lucky to have access to a swimming pool and gym where I stay. But if there’s a need to get proper guidance on our workouts and also a proper gym, it can be worthwhile to invest in our health and fitness by paying for gym memberships and personal training sessions, like what my brother just did.

3. Holidays and getaways
I love these too because getting away from routine and familiarity broadens my perspectives and the resulting mental clarity pays off in many ways. It could lead to the next groundbreaking idea that causes a career quantum leap!

4. Laser corrective eye surgery
The people I know who had gone through this procedure and thus parted ways with contact lenses tell me it’s one of the best investments they’ve ever made. I finally had mine middle this year and while I can’t say it changed my life (though apparently it did change some others’!) I definitely do not regret waking up with a clear vision every morning and not having to worry if I have forgotten my contact lenses and cleaning solutions everytime I travel. I miss looking cool and nerdy with spectacles, though, but that’s a small problem.

5. Books (and other reading material)
Books! Of course! Book lovers would know why, and non readers won’t be reading my blog in the first place, so I won’t elaborate.

6. Language learning
It’s a globalized world, and learning a new language keeps my mind sharp and inspired. And with nifty interactive apps like Babbel, learning German at my own pace has proved to be a good way to unwind after a long day at work. Ich lerne gerne Deutsch! Ich mag Babbel sehr!

7. Psychotherapy
Yes, I enshrine this on my list at the risk of raising conservative eyebrows on wrinkled Asian foreheads. But virtually all of us have certain negative patterns we are caught in– and to invest in professional help that can help us uncover and overcome the root cause once and for all, why not? I realized I had a fear of rejection that made it hard for me to ask for things at work–and after just one session with my therapist the root cause was identified, and from a place of wholeness, boldness came naturally. I could have gradually overcome that fear on my own, with effort and growing maturity, but it might have taken much longer without therapy. I highly recommend this to anyone who struggle from things that we commonly dismiss as just ‘first world problems’ — endless debts, shopping addiction, stress at work, people pleasing tendencies, and so on.

8. Good clothing and personal care
I almost did not want to buy a pretty floral dress I saw online until I remembered that a good wardrobe is not frivolity but a necessity. (Note that I say ‘good’, not ‘lavish’ or ‘excessive’). I believe in looking neat and decent without having to break the bank on haute couture fashion and expensive skin and hair care.

And oh, how can I forget this — a good laptop/smartphone and connectivity! It’s the digital age after all…and I am blogging this using an ancient iPhone4 that I never thought I would buy.

Do you have anything to add to the list?