Little China Girl

In my daily grind, I have one major dilemma: language barrier. I cannot understand a single Pinyin and I can only speak two words in Mandarin: Ni Hao and Xie Xie. Aside from that, nada.

I like learning new languages but I often struggle with the daily usage. I've had six units of Spanish in college (where otra ves often resonates in my head) and recently beginner's French. While the advantages are obvious (I can already read some words and understand their meaning), I think I'll be better if I talk to someone. Or perhaps, do more intense studies if and when I have the time.

What brought this frustration about? Unplanned/Urgent requests do that to me. My work requires me to support three countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The challenge, although apparent, was never really a big deal -- I'm used to time zone differences -- except when I'm asked to search for local options. As China is one of my client countries, I often deal with Pinyin-written webpages and Mandarin-speaking operators. While I do appreciate that quality, it makes my work harder. Then, all of a sudden, you're reminded about your professional development activities. Now, should I think about learning Mandarin than doing another course that I want so badly to take and would benefit me and my team in the long-term? Facing an urgency vs. importance dilemma is not an easy thing. How does one justify and prioritize one need over another especially when the resources are scarce?

Maybe it's good that these thoughts fell on a weekend. I have at least 48 hours before I face the music again. Time to think things through.


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