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Diarist F56 Day 17



I woke up to good news. I checked email on my phone to see that I’ve been onboarded with Cambly Kids, a new platform for teaching international students, since VIPKid announced that the Ministry of Education in China has shut down all classes with non-Chinese teachers. I was also hired this week by a brand new online tutoring platform called Blue Sky Educational LLC. I’m not sure I want to jump on either ship at this point because I’ve grown accustomed to tutoring adults now on regular Cambly. I’ve tutored people from Korea, Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The pay is lousy, but it’s quite fun. 


Why is the China based VipKid scrambling to restructure its financially successful company? There are several reasons. For starters, the Communist Party is regretting the “family planning” policy they have enforced for so many years. Now their ageing population has fewer and fewer in the workforce to support the elderly. In addition, there is intense pressure on parents to push students to excel at the academic tests that will ensure placement in a good university. So even very young children have rigorous and expensive tutoring schedules after school. It’s common for parents to spend on elementary education what parents in the US spend on university tuition. Therefore, the parents feel the financial strain and decline to have bigger families. So the government says that by lessening the financial burden parents feel, the parents can feel more free to procreate. Thus, all tutoring centers and companies are now nonprofit. 


Along those same lines, the expensive tutoring fees were leaving China for the US. Now ViPKid has to hire Chinese teachers only. Before this, VIPKid contracted with approximately 100,000 teachers. That was a lot of money going to Americans. 


In addition, China wants to lessen the influence of Americans on their children for political and social reasons. Everyone knows China and the US are political opponents. Our stance on such things as Hong Kong’s independence causes sour grapes. In my classroom background, if I hung a world map, I had to cover Hong Kong unless I used a Chinese map showing that Hong Kong belongs to China. 


I’ll miss the Chinese children so much. It’s very common for them to draw hearts on the screen or communicate sweet things to American teachers. Teachers often get to know students’ families, as well. And then there are some students who are proverbial, precocious stinkers, too! I will even miss them.? 




I had my coffee this morning with all of my supplements I take to support good health. I turned 59 this month, so health is on my mind.? 


Scrolling. I’ve seen a few Instagram posts and entertainment articles lately featuring mature women who are stumping for ageing naturally and gracefully (Paulina Porizkova, Suzanne Sommers, etc.)? I think it’s ironic that they insist on posing nude or partially clothed every time they criticize those who judge and reject ageing faces and bodies. Why?? Why rant about judging our physical shapes and then put yourself on display that way? Is it brave to bare all when you still look like a supermodel? I don’t begrudge them their awesome bodies at all. Who wouldn’t love to look like they do? I just don’t think I’d portray myself as brave when I appear to be physically flawless. It’s only brave if you risk rejection. I suppose they could claim that having been known for their bodies makes ageing even riskier, but these women look super humanly awesome. I think it’s braver for them to present themselves without the crutch of sex appeal.? 




Hospital visit. More on that later. 




I have a hair appointment. I’m having inches taken off and lowlights put in. I look ok despite my eczematous eyes flaring today. I will not be posting a semi-nude photo of myself to prove how OK I am with myself, though. I’ll leave that to poor, brave Paulina. 




I’m at the hospital visiting my 95-year-old mom who has been admitted with a bowel obstruction. She has mild to moderate dementia. She lives with us, has for two years. I have very little emotional energy left overall, and this week alone has been super stressful. On almost a daily basis now, she appears to be having a heart attack (I administer nitroglycerin) or a stroke or a bowel blockage, fainting spell, etc. She follows me throughout the house when she’s able, asking me the same questions repeatedly. It is maddening. I cannot place her in a facility yet. She definitely knows where she is and who I am. She would feel so rejected and abandoned if I placed her now. It would be as if I were saying to her, “At this point, you are so challenging and annoying, so unattractive in your frailty that I cannot look at you or interact with you all day long.” I know this is not accurate, but it’s how I think she would feel. I’m under tremendous pressure.? 


I love her very much, but I’m not always patient. In fact, I brought my laptop to the hospital to have something to do as I sit here for hours, answering the same questions over and over like a parrot, while she argues with my answers. She’s not a sweet, loving little grandma type. She’s stubborn, vocal, sharp tongued. But she’s the one that protected me, listened to me and taught me to correct my posture and look presentable at all times. 


I was an accident in our family; my parents were older than most when I was born. She told me when I was 16 that I had not been planned, and that she hoped she would miscarry. But then she went on to say how thrilled she was to finally get a daughter after 3 boys. Now she tells me I was probably born to “help” her in her old age. She thinks she is saying something endearing, but it makes me feel reduced to being a servant.? 


But hold up. In one sense, I was born to be a servant. At least in a spiritual sense. “If you love Me, feed My sheep.” “If I then, the Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” 


For many millennia, people have been born into slavery, class distinction, servanthood. There was no end or relief in sight. Why do I feel above this position, resentful, etc.? It’s because of my selfishness. I don’t want the slightest tweak in my plans for my days. I resent interruptions. I feel entitled to freedom. But I think it matters, no matter your station in life, how you fulfill your role at that season in your life.? 


Relationships are everything; people are everything, even if you don’t feel you were necessarily born a gregarious person, you don’t get to not do people (if you’re of my faith).? 


Balance and breaks are important; I get that. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” etc., etc. Self-care is all the rage, but I think few of us need to be encouraged to look after ourselves. That comes pretty easily.? 


I have to keep re-learning patience, submission, humility, compassion. Like a person with spiritual dementia, I look away momentarily, and I forget to Whom I belong and where I belong in this upside-down kingdom of love and sacrifice. 


Dementia–the cruelest, meanest, most heartless purveyor of pain, on the patients and the caregivers. 


Every morning my husband and I pray together about the day ahead, about conversations we will have, decisions we will make, habits we will strengthen, snares we want to avoid, etc. Every day I pray for patience, forgiveness and for love. Because love covers a multitude of sins, both hers and mine.? 


When I left her room tonight, I told her I love her. I do. I will miss her someday, but tonight, for the privacy in my own home, the peace, the break from responsibility, the chance to be either silent or sing at the top of my lungs, I will be grateful.? 





I am home. I am hungry. My eyes itch. My heart hurts.? 

I will grab something quick to eat and go to bed early. Then I’ll watch my favorite two series on Netflix right now, both requiring subtitles: Heaven’s Garden and Lupin. Heaven’s Garden is my favorite. It’s like a modern-day Little House set in the wintry mountains of a village in South Korea. Sometimes the plot, scenery and acting are ridiculously artificial, and the cultural differences are interesting, but I’m hooked on this series. I’m even picking up some Korean language. With that, I will say, “Annyeonghee gaseyo” — “goodbye” for this submission.