11:21 a.m. on 1/4/14

Jigsaw puzzle on New Year's Eve

Jigsaw puzzle on New Year’s Eve

As the new year begins, I am doing a lot of reflection and planning for what I want to pursue. But I won’t be making resolutions. I’m not out to resolve things. I am out to live more fully and to embrace my goals and dreams for the future. Part of that involves really discovering what it is I want in life. And I intend to do some explorations in many areas of my life to refine what it is I want. I’ve started making lists, and I’m excited about the possibilities. You’ll be reading about some of them in my blog over the next few weeks, but at 11:21 this morning, I had just revealed one of my fun intensions to a friend, and now I’m going to share it with you.

At 11:21 this morning, I was talking on Skype with my friend Joycelyn of Farther to Go! fame. She and I have been friends for forty years and have been through a lot together. For the last few years, while I’ve been in Taiwan, we try to reserve this time every week to catch up, and to support each other in our respective endeavors. I knew when we started our conversation that the specified moment would arrive sometime during our conversation..

Joycelyn and I were having an interesting discussion about our respective fitness programs and how we were feeling differently because of what we were doing. We realized in the discussion that most people talk about going to the gym as a goal, when that’s not really the goal. It’s the means TO a goal, such as feeling better, getting stronger, getting in shape, or other possibilities. But at this time of year, people set a GOAL of going to the gym as if going to the gym in itself is something we really want. No wonder fitness goals often fall by the wayside. There is no real desire and motivation behind them, except maybe prodding from a doctor or loved one, or guilt, or some other negativity that we’re convinced we can (re)solve if we just have enough will power. Right!

There was much more to the conversation, but we began sharing some of the things we wanted for ourselves in the new year, and at 11:21, I had just finished telling Joycelyn about a challenge I have given myself for the year. Something I’m excited about. Something that will keep me jazzed and move me toward a goal I have had for a while, but was having trouble getting there.

So here’s the background. I live in Taiwan. This is my fifth year here, yet I know very little Chinese. I know enough Chinese to be somewhat entertaining to the natives, but that’s it. To be fair, I’m so busy with teaching, editing, and textbook writing, that I don’t have a lot of time for language study. And I did make a real effort before arriving, but learned the wrong accent, so even my minimal phrases I learned before I came weren’t too helpful. I’ve tried working with a few students who wanted to teach me some Chinese, but that never worked very well.

But one of the students from the new writing group is double majoring in English and in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. She and I are setting up biweekly lessons for me. Just enough to give me a bit of language without it being too overwhelming. (She is one of the puzzle solvers in the picture above. She’s on the right.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK, now here’s another piece about me you may not know. I use to be a music director for a church. I’m a keyboardist, choir director, and vocalist. Though I don’t do a lot of singing anymore, and never did much karaoke in the past, it seems like a fun way to spend a little time with students. The students tell me that most of the English songs at the karaoke places are “old.” They obviously forget who they’re talking to. I can do “old” songs.

But a couple of days ago, I realized that if I had the Romanized Chinese words and a YouTube video, I could learn a song in Chinese! It would give me an extra motivation for my language study, and satisfy the urge I have to sing. I can go with a group of students and do some singing in both languages. I am psyched!

I emailed the young lady in the picture above and told her of my plan, and she’s already sent me a couple of videos and the Romanized Chinese for both of them. Now I just have to talk to my new tutor and tell her of my crazy plan, but I know she’ll be as excited about it as I am.

And at a future moment in time, I will be singing a song in Chinese. And the plan is to record it and share it in a blog post. Stay tuned!  I’ll keep you posted!


A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.



I’m also participating in Just Jot it January *JusJoJan.” You just jot something everyday, even if it doesn’t always result in a blog post. Maybe several days’ jottings end up in one post. Lots of possibilities. Check it out here:


18 comments on “11:21 a.m. on 1/4/14

  1. Okay, I am visualizing you singing a song in Chinese in a karaoke bar. I can’t wait to see the video! Also, wouldn’t it be nice if our capacity for learning a language easily went beyond the age of ten? Thanks for this moment in time; it’s always fun to learn more about you and what you’re up to over there.

    • Thanks, Randee! I’m so glad this idea came to me. It make the whole language learning thing easier. I know what you mean about the language learning thing. If it weren’t for the four tones in Chinese, I might have a fighting chance. But my new tutor is confident she can help me, so I’m looking forward to my lessons. I’m going to try to be up to a little more over here in the next year. I hope to be posting about THAT in a few days. 🙂

    • Hi Avis! 🙂 I’m making specific intentions of what I want to accomplish in my life. As part of my 600 days to 60, I’m really focusing on making the most of time, and for me that just means being intentional. I agree with you about resolutions. 🙂

    • Thanks, Janna! But since I’m going to be working with a tutor anyway, I feel like this will be a reasonable challenge. And at least the singing part is already comfortable. I’m excited about it. 🙂

  2. Brilliant ! Such a fantastic goal and it sounds like you will have lots of fun on that journey. Who knows what paths you will come across on the way. Kareoke used to be something I dreaded, and yet once I did it , I found it liberating. ( and I can’t sing ) I love the idea of leaning a language using song. I am still struggling with learning Portuguese , but sometimes I understand bits of songs and I listen to Portuguese radio hoping to learn via osmosis. But you have me thinking maybe I should make it more formalized ?

  3. I love this idea, Sharon! We could both be working on a similar project and support one another through the learning curve. Let me know if you want to join in. Could be fun! 🙂

  4. I’m with you. I don’t make resolutions, just declarations of what I want for the new year, most of them being along the lines of doing the right thing, living in the moment, being kinder to others etc.

    • Thanks, Giorge. I’m working on developing vision for my life, what I really want, not just what I think others want. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that is fulfilling and leads me to be more present in my life, both to myself and to those around me. I think living fully makes a difference to everyone who comes in contact with us. So that’s my focus for 2014. 🙂 Thanks for following me and for commenting. 🙂

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