Love Language: Vietnamese
February 19. 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
I’m working the Sunday shift from 830-5pm and I’m at peace. I did a three way trade so that I could make an HMO Wellness and San Diego Audubon event in two weekends. That is for the earth and work, but I do that on my own time. Of course even though I am increasing our visibility in the community, and indirect advertising and membership growth and general goodwill – I am not paid for it. I created this opportunity for the earth, our HMO and myself through my own networking and creativity. It’s difficult because I don’t think the HMO upper leadership really gets me. Most people who work within the system – actually don’t. They are creatures of being told what to do, what do think, and have their times micromanaged down to the millisecond. After breaking away from true middle management, there is so much room for creativity. But I still work in the system I work in, and I do believe for now it’s the best system out there – so I will show up to work happy today. But I did a triple way shift trade in order for a friend to make a skiing trip, and myself to make the HMO Physician Wellness and San Diego Audubon event – and it all seemed to work out. This event is really the first of it’s kind. So I’m able to make that event and fulfill my obligations at work, which I used to find annoying because who likes to work on the weekend?
But I’m not annoyed this morning having to go to work even though my children have the day off. There is someone special there working also. This someone is someone who I haven’t seen in a long time. I want to give her a hug because we have a close friend in common that died. We all miss her acutely in different ways. I talked to another friend about her, and we used to talk and meet constantly during the years I was Assistant Boss. It’s hard. The sadness comes back once in a while when issues come up, where she would have had a fierce and just and insightful opinion. That passionate voice and that beautiful person is gone now. But those of us who knew her, were made better by her.
I’m not as annoyed to go into work because my children are doing well in life. That’s the honest fact. Physicians are stressed due to extra work duties, not because they want to go party. Come on! We were all studious premedical students. Most of us are annoyed to go into work on the weekends because we are worried about our families and want to spend time with our children. My own children are doing well for various reasons, but some of the reason is that after I decided to do climate work – I became happier. And a happier and more present parent, is a more effective parent.
And the beautiful toddler in the picture is now 14 going on 15, and I am so incredibly lucky. I am incredibly luck to be so loved by my daughter. She tells me often, and I tell her often the same. I still don’t know what I did to deserve such a living being in my life. She has so much love in her to give. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are not parents to overestimate our child’s abilities, but she is also incredibly intelligent. That is saying a lot when both parents are Crimson trained to the 8th power! Her spanish is progressing very well, and she is the honors track. She will get to the AP Spanish Literature level and will always have that skillset. Spanish is relatively easy to maintain since it’s so incredibly useful and an important international language. She also speaks Korean very well. She’s been in Korean language studies since she was four, at a Korean language school and now with a language professor who teaches her weekly. She does duolingo every day for both Spanish and Korean, and speaks with her grandparents every day. Most importantly, every day she takes linguistic risks and moves her language skills further and she enjoys languages. She’s been asking me to start Vietnamese language studies for the last few years. We’ve had fitful starts and she has learned some from me. Her intonation is perfect in Vietnamese and I’ve never been concerned since she’s heard the language her whole life. Now we have met with an excellent college Vietnamese language professor who is local, and speaks the more proper and easier to learn Northern dialect. So we start tomorrow with her official studies, and I’m confident that she will at least be conversational. Four languages isn’t bad! It’s the same four languages I speak, but other than the Vietnamese – I an honestly say her English, Spanish and Korean are better than mine!
That our children are better than us, and we try to leave the world better for them – is a central tenet in my life. But today I’m amazed that my daughter wants to learn my mother tongue, Vietnamese, mostly because she loves me and she hears me speak it often. After I had a prolonged conversation with our new Vietnamese language professor and she overhear, she turned to me and said “Mommy you are really awesome.” So that’s the happy mommy that doesn’t mind working the Sunday extra two shifts today.