July 29th, 2007
I went white river rafting with my host dad Paul on
Sunday, 22nd. As always, I enjoyed outdoor sport very much, except
one thing, Jeremy F. kept on splashing water to my face and the water wasn’t
all that warm that day. In fact, I was shivering from time to time when the sun
was covered by the clouds. Anyway, it was good time.
The cast photo was taken on Monday, quite cool to see
everyone dress up nicely. We were done in less than 30 minutes (that is very
efficient, just a side note). I can’t point my finger at something just yet but
this cast gave me different feeling. I also start to pick up the characters
each member play in the cast.
Mark Gerzon that Monday as well, he was great and I
certainly gain a lot from the talk he had with us. I gain a greater inside of
myself and how I feel about the whole Taiwan-China issue and why things are not
working out between the two. One thing he asked “When was the first time you
notice that it’s an issue?” and he also said, “Behind the major issues, there
usually is some painful story.” He positively assisted the cast members to
start talking about deeper issues and gain some new insights they never seem.
For example, one thing that hits me was a conversation
between two participants.
A: “There are things beyond my expertise, therefore, I
step back and do what I can to help.”
B: “I think that’s exact the problem with what’s going
on, everyone thinks that they can’t do it so they wait for people to do it and
nothing is done in the end. I think if we believe in it, we should take
Here is another conversation:
A: “Sometimes I wonder why we are doing things that
feels so unimportant when we know there are way bigger issue we could help out
B: “Maybe is not so important to us, but who can
really make the judgment. It might be small but for the other might very
helpful. Every little thing counts and it’s all relative how we think of it.”
Well, still a very heavy performance art week because
the show day is getting closer. I got the chance to review the dance “Keep the
Beat” and “Go Daddy Oh”. I just really a partner to practice that swing dance… I
was in the office more often this week to start the more specific area of my
job. I did some inventory of the past merchandise and the new ones also came
in. Must say, must better things to sell this year, much more variety; except
the extremely pink hat, most stuff are great.
The cast went to Boulder
to learn about this part of the Colorado.
It’s my 2nd visit there but still makes it interesting. I was amazed
by how much I remember and I still very much like the place. The cast was split
into smaller group to get to know people better, which I did. It was fun and I
got much closer to more people for that matter.
Bruce came to talk to the cast about “Life in the
Fishbowl.” Basically, the power of media and the art of behaving and speaking
in public. I was then in the office most of the time to pack all the new
merchandise that just came in. I personally don’t find that part of my job very
amusing but it’s what I make of it I guess.
Paul who is in charge of our Philippines operation came and present what’s
the outlook in Manila.
I love and hate his way of giving a knock in the head to the cast by saying
“This experience is what you make of it, how much you learn is all up to you.
You are in charge of learning in your life.” I love it because was a wake up
call to many people and I didn’t like it as much because it was really
straightforward but that’s just because it’s not my style.
Oh, I also went to watch the new Harry Potter movie, I
know its kinda late but it was my only time available. It was great because we
got the best sit and with a giant screen. Though from time to time it was hard
for my eyes to follow everything because the screen is way too big and many
things are happening at the same time but it was really cool. Here is a side
note though, I don’t care about Harry Potter as much, just a dude enjoys
watching movie. I think people are making it too big a deal and forgot about
the fact what’s going on in real world. People needs our help and some of us
are only talking about if Harry will die or not!? I just think we could all
think about what really matters sometimes.
Weekend again, one last week in Denver, I decide to take a break in the house
today because I am quite tired from many things. I just need to sit back,
relax, and recharge.
is crazy when you always have something to do… Before I know, another week of
life just slipped away. The question is what happened last week? What was
Well, on the weekend of 14th and 15th, the staff for both
casts went separately to so-called the “Staff Retreat”; basically, it’s a time
for the staff to have more time to bond in another setting. Of course, it
sounds like it’s all about fun but in fact; we had several team building
activities happened during the time. Cast B staff went to our assistance cast
manager Scott’s parents’ house up in Evergreen, north of Denver. It’s a beautiful place located in the
had some interesting activities; I was one of the people that leaded one of the
tasks. It was really interesting because many things came up by surprise and I
was reminded many different things that I used to know but has forgotten. For
example, how little things matters though they might seem extremely unimportant
but they might just be the thing that holds everything together.
discuss about the hot topic “Legalize Drug” and some strong insight about
things that I didn’t know. One thing I really took with me was that how we got
so comfortable with the things we had and we didn’t become conscious that it’s
actually a privilege that was given to us and to appreciate for fortunate we
were up until 2 am from playing “Psychiatrist.” I was personally really amazed
by how comfortable we as a staff team were with each other just with time less
than 2 weeks. We had lots of fun and ridiculous moments. It was absolutely
big event of splitting the cast happened on Monday, July 16th. It
was about 40% of each cast being swapped. Must say, that was intense… Many
tears were dropped and many adaptations had to be made. It was not easy but we
all made the best out of it.
rest of the week was really heavy on Performance Art. I was happy to have the
chance to learn “Power With” (Hip-Hop Style) dance. It’s one of my goals to
learn even more dancing. I also spent quite some time in helping out the vocal
because we are really short on guys. However, we got a chance to play a game called "Barnga." Basically, it’s a game that people are divided into different groups and given different sets of rules in each group, exchange of the group member will happen at the end of each round and people aren’t allowed to communicate with words. Fascinating, I must say. I started out at the table number 1 which is the highest rank table to get to, and it was interesting to see that most people at the higher table tend to remain high and same the other way around. Just like in reality, people who are rich tend to remain at the same status and poor stay poor. Also, the fact that each table has different rules, one must adapt to it be to able to win and how some people got mad because not realizing the difference in the rules and misunderstood each other. Great activity, one that I must remember
had my very first DST (Department Staff Training) this week as well. It gave me
a good idea what the expectations are from the organization and also help me to
understand how to take on my responsibilities. Certainly gave me more comfort
by knowing what to do and how to do them.
The first CI project also took place this week. Cast B went to three different clinic to do varies tasks. Stuff like gardening, painting, filing, and cleaning. I was happy to see most people had a great time doing it and really enjoy helping out. I also got to know how some of the cast member’s mind set better than before. It was great for me to be proven wrong about my own assumptions.
first staff meeting also happened… we talked about the “Good to Great” concept
and several essential elements of archiving that. For example, to have the
right people, how the people are self-motivated, and of course, the hedge dog
Meeting… the very simple yet powerful “Cross the Line” activities. I felt that
the cast is coming together and really respect each other on varies level. I
think it’s great, we are heading onto a journey with a good start.
Workshop this Week:
- Team Building/ Communication
- Barnga – Cultural Difference/ Communication/ Adaptation
- Accounting/ Budgeting
- Situational Management
July 14th, 2007
Another week has passed, more memories have been created. The Opening Session was a success. Samantha (USA), Jessica (USA), and I met with our home team the very first time, though it’s very possible this team will change, but it was great to see how the newcomers getting themselves together and how excited they are. Though it wasn’t easy to get the group keep the conversations going but we can feel that slowly we are starting to get to know each other.
Well, as always, the participants had their Alumni Panel the next day, just so they have a chance to hear what alumni’s has to say to them. Then the modules so the Performance Art people could balance the two groups (not cast yet, just Red and Green).
One of the most interesting workshops “Stereotype” also took place that same day. The participants seem to really taken something with them by the end of the workshop. One of the Chinese participants question the education staff, Scott (USA), why there is a separate sheet of paper for Taiwan, she firmly believe that Taiwan is part of China. Oh, well… this will be a fascinating discussion topic later on. I am more than happy to talk about it and to hear their reason on why Taiwan is part of China.
Shawn gave us a training session on “Working Style,” and introduces us to different type of type of person. One of the things that stick with me is “Don’t only reflect on your mistake and learn but also reflect on your success.” How true! We often think about what we have done wrong and how we can make it better but forgot to think about what we have done right and how we can carry it out again.
Conflict resolution was also covered in this workshop; we had some interesting exercises and approach to reach our goals. We often only see position but not the interests (reasons) underneath. I really felt the importance of asking those “why” question and dig deeper to find a win-win solution.
There was also a session on “Leadership” by Terry, he told us that one thing he had learned is to learn from mistake and doing that, we must first accept the responsibility and ask for help. Don’t over analyze the error and laugh about it after. He gave us tips on varies concerns. It gave me some idea how to deal with it if things happen.
I went to the Social Security office today to apply for a Social Security Card (and SSN “Social Security Number.” Surprisingly, things went relatively well, except for the fact that I had my Swiss pocket knife in my bag that I must store it else where before entry but it went quite fast.
The afternoon was amazing; the individual staff crew had the Team Building workshop. I learned a great idea about myself and also some insight about the others. For example, I realized how distributed I was when people started to blame the others though everyone is on the same boat. How much I dislike to be interrupted and I also do it myself, which is one thing I need to improve myself on. How things could only be done sometimes by letting it go instead of pushing it. Carol did a great job helping us to reflect and think about us as individual and as a group. Finally, Friday and it’s weekend, I get to sleep in a bit that’s why I got this time to actually write this entry.
Workshop This Week:
- Working Style
- Conflict Resolution
- Team Building
Time to bed, night and have a sweet dream
July 8th, 2007
Tight schedule and hardworking, would be the two words I use to describe my last two weeks. So after I got back from Rostock, I went to visit a friend in Tillburg, Netherland and drop off some stuff. Got back on Saturday and have everything ready… fly out the next day on July 1st.
It was a long journey but things went well, not big trouble, just nothing much to do. Arrived at 23:15, only got to my host family around 00:30 then had to get up to work for next day at 7:00.Though only having very little sleep and severe jet lag, the show must go on.
The next day was quite fun, because we had UwP world wide staff meeting (July 2nd). Many familiar faces and friends =) It really reminded me why I was sitting in that room and the reasons why I got to sit in that room but not others.
Lots of speaker, workshop, and training were held in the next days of the week. From time management, mentoring, facilitation, to expectations on the road, I had gain lots of new knowledge that I need to spend time to review, reflect, and absorb. Even though we had to also work on 4th of July (Independence Day of USA) and we spent most of the day sitting, listening, and learning. For me, it was worth it.
I particularly enjoy the mentoring and facilitating workshop because I gain lots of new insight about these subjects and I think I gained from them. Though it would not be easy to apply them but I will start doing/saying things differently. For example, how people develop a skill, a hobby, a new neuron path; and how much time and effort it will take to do so.
UwP also arranged CPR and First Aid training for us, I was really happy about it because my license is expired and I would definitely like to refresh the memory and to have the skill to deal with emergency.
The participants finally arrived, though I supposed to have the day free but I was only informed 6pm the day before so my host parents really can’t plan anything fast. In the end, I volunteered to help out so I could also start learning names and getting to know them. Luckily, I was able to catch a ride to go to Cherry Creek Art Festival to watch UwP BTS performance. It was great because I got to know some of the CRC (aka ERC, short for Community Relation Coordinator). Of course, I finally got to meet up with Sarah Frey, long after arriving Denver. Mia, Sarah, and I spent some time together in the best art festival in the US. It was interesting for me to see different style of art.
Not a surprise that we staff have to work on Sunday, rehearsal for the opening session. It was good to get moving again. It’s been a while since I really do any sport, especially, dance. Fortunately, I still remember most of the moves.
Workshop This Week:
- Time Management
- Email Management
- Admission Training
- CPR and First Aid
- Counseling and Conflict Resolution
- Multicultural Group
Of course, there are lots more stories to come but I really just don’t have that much time to write them all down. I will do my best, just keep on reading