I Started Taking Chinese More Seriously, I Was Losing A Connection To My Culture

I Started Taking Chinese More Seriously, I Was Losing A Connection To My Culture

Speaking Chinese is an important factor to not only connect with my parents but also with a deeper part of my own identity.

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"Nǐ xǐhuān yao shénme?" (What would you like?)

"Guo je shui." (Fruit water.)

"Ah?"

"Uh, guo je shui?"

"Miss, just say it in English."

"Orange juice…"

"Okay, you need a translator for your Chinese."

That was the awkward conversation I had with the flight attendant on my trip to China. It's been a while since I practiced my Chinese with someone other than my parents. I felt very awkward and self-conscious about it, but I still wanted to practice to improve what I could salvage from what I already knew.

I still didn't know how to write (let alone talk) properly with the right grammar and pronunciation. But every time I talk with someone who's fluent in Chinese, the mention of my poor Chinese skills or lack of Chinese skills gets brought up in the conversation.

Only recently did I want to start studying Chinese seriously because suddenly I felt a sudden desire to embrace the Asian side of me and learn more about the roots of my history and of my culture. I felt angry at myself for how hard I tried suppressing it throughout elementary school and middle school, from yelling at my mom for making me dumplings for lunch to trying to dress up in the "American style."

I would get made fun of by both classmates and teachers by how foul my food smelled or how exotic my face looked and it made me both ashamed and angry at my identity. I realize now that it was also the partial reason why I was so resistant to learning Chinese. Now, it's slowly starting to hit me that speaking Chinese is an important factor to not only connect with my parents but also with a deeper part of my own identity.

So, moral of the story: I'll keep talking loud and proud with my broken Chinese as long as it helps me get closer to improving and connecting to my culture.

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The Negative Effects Of Working As A CNA

You know you are a CNA if you are undermined, understaffed, and emotionally and physically drained.
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I write this not as a way to deter people from wanting to be a CNA or to demean the job, but in order to outline the negatives, since some only outline the positives. With a job comes responsibility, and it is like that in any area or field. We have the good and we also have the bad. I am in a field where not many people like their job and they don't care who knows it. Others enjoy it and make the best of it. It is like that with any career. There are always both sides.

I write this after coming home from a meeting that we have to attend every week for 13 weeks straight. These meetings are preparing us for a new unit in our building, and they offer education so that we have the knowledge to communicate and take care of our residents. I like these meetings because I enjoy learning more in my field, however, others see it as a burden and a waste of their time. There are people who will bring in workplace drama, those that will do the bare minimum, and those that just don't care and will call in when they know their shift is short.

As a Certified Nurse Assistant, you help your residents, and you try to give them the best care that you can provide. That is the number one rule. If anything, that is the golden rule in nursing. When you step in on that floor, you are expected to give your full effort in giving the residents the care they need. Meanwhile, others step in and couldn't give a damn.

What upset me the most after the meeting was that we had to talk about abuse. We had to discuss what abuse was and why we need to treat our patients with dignity, respect, and kindness. As a CNA that is my work. I was saddened that something like this occurred, and that someone would demean a resident in a way that no one should be treated.

I'm furious, upset, and confused. The people that work in this field are there because they care, and they want to help those that cannot help themselves. So, why would they do such a thing?

It made me think of all the other negatives that I encounter in my field. The lack of appreciation from other staff and the constant undermining is tough. Nurses telling you that you are not doing your job right, or management becoming picky when you cannot chart between your residents is difficult. There is always something that you are doing wrong in someone else's eyes, and there is never a thank you when you leave your shift and everyone is clean and taken care of. There is no one to pat your back other than yourself, and you have to be your own cheerleader for a place that only looks at you as the lowest of the totem pole.

There are never enough of you. I say that because there is always a demand for CNAs, and no matter how many you have in a facility, there will never be enough. You will be short one shift or another, and you will have to scramble to reach everyone to make sure they are taken care of properly.

You come home and you have to go right back to bed because you took extra shifts. You are exhausted, and yet you still come in and put all your energy into work because you think of the residents. You consider what it would be like to not have anyone to care for you. You put them before yourself.

No one tells you any negatives as you are getting trained and go through clinicals. They only tell you that you are going into a profession that will help those that cannot help themselves, and that you should be proud of your job. It is not incorrect, but it is not fully true.

You will get called names, cursed at, abused, and you will get over-worked. No one will tell you thank you, and no one will baby you through your shift. You are a CNA. You take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. You are there to help and give care. Yes, there are negatives and you will want to quit like I've wanted to do multiple times. I will admit it. You will get upset and frustrated. This is not an easy job, and it was not intended to be, but you will get through it if you keep your heart open and honest. Do your work diligently, and do what you can to make others' lives better. That is the only reward you need to overcome the negatives.

Cover Image Credit: TravelNursesSource.com

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