Weekly Hustle [Life in GZ, Ed. 19]

GDTV World's "Face Time" interview with Mauro Castellan
GDTV World's "Face Time" interview with Mauro Castellan
The heat was real.

It has been a whirlwind of a couple weeks, and while I welcome this new chapter of my time in China, I find myself passing out at 9 p.m. on a Friday night from this new routine that includes:

  • Personal training twice a week,
  • A couple gym classes per week,
  • Two-hour Chinese classes at least three times a week, and
  • Reading as much as possible of my book of the month.

Don’t get me wrong—I feel much better than a few months ago, when I had nothing figured out, i.e., nothing to do. Sure, I now have less time to keep overthinking things, but having things “figured out” also means enduring longer days and shorter nights.

1 — Work
Following my turn at hosting China Sports Weekly, I interviewed an Italian shoemaker in Guangzhou this week. With so much going on in my personal life these past two months, my last “Face Time” interview was way back in the first week of March, so while I felt excited to finally feel more productive, it all adds up.

Doing an episode of “Face Time” means more than just prepping for a 20-minute interview. Since I also direct and produce the shows now, I have to do so much more prep than just coming up with the interview questions—and even that is harder than expected.

Similar to an outline for an academic paper, I have to envision as much of the final product as possible. Need I remind you that I have pretty much no experience in producing shows, let alone interviewing guests on camera. While I am slowly improving and gaining a better understanding of what it takes to not only host, but also produce an entire show, a girl can only do so much!

I’m proud of my progress, especially regarding my Final Cut editing skills. I have actually reached the point where I dislike using it because it’s too basic. I would compare it to using Instagram’s built-in filters to edit photos, or even using iMovie to edit YouTube videos, circa 2010 (you know the ones). You just know which software they used, which filters and effects they used, and all in all, how basic it all becomes. Needless to say, I like to avoid basic. Instead, I find myself yearning to learn editing using Adobe Premiere and After Effects, but not feeling invested enough to, well, invest $$. Before I really get started applying to grad schools and scholarships, I hope to take up learning it this summer.

2 — Outings
The first weekend of May was a national three-day holiday. Of course, as part of the English news department, I still had to work. Yet, I managed to enjoy quite a fun-filled weekend with some friends, including yummy Korean hot pot, rock climbing at South China Normal University, KTV with coworkers, and a chill Sunday painting class.

Of course, this weekend is looking much less eventful, as I’m recovering from a tiring week and must work on producing the show and studying Chinese…

3 — Chinese
I have been using the official Hanban HSK 5 course book and officially registered to take the electronic exam on June 12! Eeeeek. Chinese is freaking hard, as these lessons are reminding me. Given the vocabulary list online, I figured I can just cram the vocab. But grammar. And these classes are really making me realize how much I still need to review. And do practice tests. At least my colleagues are noticing my improving comprehension :p I like to think that daily practice with locals here helps, but I still seriously need to set daily vocab goals, so today I downloaded an app called Written Chinese Dictionary that has HSK flashcards. The thing is, I need to know upwards of 2,500 words and grammar patterns, so I don’t even want to calculate how many I would need to memorize per day. #NOTIME


In other news, I’m slowly making progress on Peter Hessler’s Country Driving. Given its length and my outlook for these next few weeks, I’ve been quite worried about finishing this book on time, given all these other priorities. Sure, it’s only a week into May, but instead of reading a bit daily, I might have to cram as much as possible on weekends. Even as I type that, I know it’s not a good idea, but again, too much to do for this month—including another last-minute visa run to Hong Kong this week. #nearlyforgot

And gosh, I forgot how much time I spend whenever I set out to blog. Took me a better part of this night to do so when I should have been studying Chinese (lol). It’s not that I want to drag out the process of blogging, but whenever you write, words tend not to just start flowing, right? For me, I tend to just sit for a bit, look at/reread my previous posts, scroll through recent photos, stare out the window, reflect. It doesn’t look very productive at all.