07 January 2011

Things I'm working on

Blah blah, new year, resolve, etc.

I'm trying something different this year to get my act together. I spend far too much time fooling around on facebook, twitter, and other places on the internet and too little working on things I need to do, like revising The Novel. So on multiple friends' recommendation, I'm trying a planner from DIY Planner. I spent most of Tuesday afternoon mucking around with templates and designs, and I'm going to start implementing my daily trackers next week. Maybe having a physical record will keep me honest and accountable.

I also plan to work harder at taiji this year. I'd like to become a teacher, and there's a lot of study required before and during that training. I have no idea if my teacher would allow me into the teaching class, but I'll ask him the next time I see him. I've enjoyed working in small groups in class, with newish students, and I think I'd enjoy teaching a full class. No doubt it would improve my personal practice significantly.

Another aspect of that is keeping notes on forms, postures, and the like. Partly to help me put it back together if I lose any of it, and partly because I've never been a contemplative learner. I learn something, and I accept it, and I move on. (This means, unfortunately, that a career in research academia is completely out of the question. I'm not wired for research in the scientific sense.) I pick up taiji forms very quickly, and I hit a bit of a plateau, I think is the right word. I don't improve, because as far as I'm concerned, I'm doing it right. I can try to incorporate the principles I've learned (breathing, whole body movement, etc), but if I'm practicing the long form Chen style, after the first 5 minutes of a 20-minute routine, the breathing goes out the window.

This serves a larger, longer-term goal as well. I want to move to Berlin. I'm sure this surprises exactly no one. I've looked into what it would require to become a pharmacist in Germany, with my American PharmD, and from what I can tell, I'd need a) a course in medical German, b) 1500 hours of internship (oh joy, I can repeat my fourth year of pharmacy school), c) a course in German health care law etc, and d) to sit the license exams (in German, of course). While (a) could be fun, and (c) is something I'm interested in, (b) and (d) are in no way something I want to go through again.

So what other things can I do? Hey, I love taiji, and I think I'd enjoy teaching it. There are several taiji schools in Berlin, and I figure I could contact them in a few years and become acquainted and eventually ask if I could be an associate instructor at their school. I could offer classes in English for other expats, even. I love my school and its focus on fundamentals and philosophy. The difficult part of this idea is that the various ways I've learned my forms may not be the same as theirs. So it's not going to be extremely easy, but I think I can do it.

I could also become a tour guide. That seems to require having been resident in the city for a period of time and being extremely knowledgeable about the city's history, or an aspect of it. And since Cold War Berlin is one of my favorite topics, I could read books about that all day.

And, naturally, I plan to continue writing.

I need to convince Ben that the extreme complicatedness of the situation is manageable. All these little details, like doctors, dentists, insurance, jobs, furniture... they're all on the internet now. We can look it up! It's not going to be terribly soon, at any rate: I won't be able to teach on my own for quite some time, and we'd need to save up money for moving expenses, among other things. I've wanted to move back to Germany since I finished my junior year of college. I've waited 15 years. What's 10-15 more?

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