Hello-hello, and welcome back to the BigAppleSchool podcast, where the goal was to help you learn English through listening. My name is Benjamin. I'm from London and I'll be the host of the show today. And today's topic is how to find yourself or how to find your professional career path. And we have three very delightful guests today. Our first guest is:
Ken from the Philippines.
Excellent second guest is:
Gary from the United States.
Excellent. And last but not least, we have:
Hello, I'm Varia from the United States as well.
Excellent. So you guys be sure to comment and also to follow all social media platforms, including VK.com, Telegram, YouTube and do add your thoughts, give us feedback and let us know if you have any future ideas about this podcast or if there's any particular topic that you would like us to talk about. So, guys, let's have a look at the subject of how to find yourself. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask you what your general work history is, essentially, and we will talk about that in detail. So I think maybe we should start with Ken because I'm looking at Ken right now. So Ken, obviously we're all English teachers here at the BigAppleSchool now. How did you.. Well, just tell me about your career path. When did you.. What did you do out of school and how did you end up being a teacher?
You know.. OK, first, I want to say modesty aside, because, well, when I was at school, I really, you know, performed well as a student. And at that time I was asked by my high school, you know, teachers like, what career would you like to have in the future? And I said, Well, I'd like to become a teacher. And then they were surprised because a teacher?!? Is like, you know, in effect, they're telling me, you're too good for that. Well, in their words, OK, not mine. So just to be clear, and in a way, they were discouraging me because of the, well, let's be honest, you know, the pay is not very good, especially in the Philippines. And they say that there's a lot of work involved, especially if you're a regular school, you know, regular school teacher. And yeah, I heard many things about that, but it didn't, you know, it discouraged me because I really could see myself then as a teacher. And so, yeah, that's what I pursued when I went through university. I took a Bachelor of Secondary Education, majored in English, minored in history.
All right, so you have a really solid background in teaching as well. So, OK, so straight out of school and you just went straight to Yeah..
Well.. Absolutely. Of course, there were also thoughts of me like, Are you really sure you want to take this up? Because, you know, because of what I've heard from my teachers. But then again, I followed my heart and my heart is into teaching, so I believe I'm in the right path.
And what age did you finish your education?
Oh, age.. Huh! I must have been in my, well, obviously early 20s. Yeah, maybe twenty two. Yeah, you see, it's been a long time.
Did you go straight? Did you go straight out of.. Did you go straight out of, I guess, teaching school and straight into..
You know, what's funny was when I was at university, I was also working part time as a remedial teacher, basically those who, let's say, didn't do so well in English. I had to come in for them and, you know, basically help them with, you know, English topics. And I was working for one school then. And.. Yeah, from from then on, I felt — oh, this is really the right path for me! Because I enjoyed my first real teaching experience, even though it's just, you know, part time. But I had a lot of fun.
Oh, cool. Well, in the Philippines, generally there's a higher level of English. Would you would you say, or maybe I'm wrong.. I mean, do people have.. Can you go to the Philippines and only speak English and not speak Tagalog? Or what is it called? Tagalo.. Tagalog?
Tagalog. OK, that's our other language. Well, for those of you, our listeners who are not familiar with the Philippines, we do have two official languages. One is Tagalog, which is about 40 percent Spanish. You know, borrowed words from Spanish. And then we have English because of the American, you know, colonization, because we were an American dependency. And in the Philippines, of course, we do speak English, although for the most part we do code switching, which means that we could speak Tagalog. And then we switched to English and then switched back to Tagalog and then so on and so forth. But in the world of work, um, English is the language. In the same way that, for instance, if you go to the bank and you have to fill in or fill out some forms, all documents are in English.
Cool, interesting. Alright, will come back to Ken, don't worry, we will, but so, Gary, I think you come from an English speaking country.
I'm worried about Ken worried that we're not going to come back to him. I can see it in his eyes.. Need to say more words of comfort to Ken. I'm sorry, go ahead, yes.. I'm joking!
All right. So from kind of an English speaking country called America. Yeah..
There's.. there's a variety of English.. variants of English.
And you've lived here in Russia for quite some time. But when did you first move? Which.. which year was it that you first moved in?
I came to Russia in 1995.
Yes. And what's was your.. what's your general career history? What was your work history? What..
Well, I.. I graduated.. I went to a liberal arts college, which is what we would call.. what you would call here: «гуманитарное образование», which means that you're.. you have no special anything.
OK, so it's just a general.. a general degree. And what.. what typically do, you do in that degree, is it reading?
No, you go and do something else. You go into business, which is what I did because my.. my family, my parents had a business and it was a retail business selling pianos and organs, big musical instruments. And... So I was kind of at a loss. We say when you don't know what you should do. And... So I went and worked for my dad. In his business, which it's a family business.
And could you play the piano? Do you..
My dad was a musician, an actual musician, which is why he ended up in the music business. That was his what he loved, and I was not a musician. I took a lot of lessons. I can play a little bit, you know, but not at the same level. If I could play like him, I probably would have gone into the business, but I'd not close. So in any case, I worked for my dad and what will.. I'm sure I will talk about later. But my life kind of changed. I was I was working for my dad, but I was on kind of a spiritual path. I was interested in spiritual things. And that's a longer story. And... Basically, as those things became more important to me and then I wasn't really a businessman, I wasn't really a musician. And I was going to go into where my heart was again and.. and which proved to be as a what we call a pastor. Which is someone who is it's not a priest. It's it's a different kind of work or how you understand it is different for another time to explain. But basically, a pastor is someone who is has responsibility over a group of Christians. Right... To help them help their faith. Just, you know, to help them to grow and understanding things. And that became what I.. what I would do for the rest of my life. Which is another story, but I did start in just in business and my dad.. It's a family business. So what you do with the family business is you want to get your kids into it. And I was an only child, so it was either me or nothing. And it was nothing. And as far as the business went, and so..
From a bird's eye view, you went from business into a more spiritual..
Yeah. While I was still..
Would you call it a profession? Hmm.. maybe not a profession.. occupation..
Normally if you want to.. if you want to put a word on it, sometimes they call it a calling.
Yeah, I was about to say that. It's more like a calling.
And it is a calling. And I would have to say that, umg.. But it's a calling that you can also practice while you're in business. So I pastored a church. Which means there was a small group of believers that was pretty far from my home city and I commuted there on Wednesday, Sunday. So two days a week I was doing that as well as working full time for my dad. So I did that for four nine years and are now for five years, and then I became full time doing the pastor's work.
Okay. So we'll come back to you, obviously to comfort you.
Yeah, I'm great. I'm even more upset than can is.
I know how it feels now. Yeah, just to be just left. Yes, right.
So Varya. So.. obviously you've used to be a.. I believe, a ballet instructor.
Oh, ballet dancer. And, yeah, I taught for a lot of years. Yeah..
Well, so what happened? You went to university or did you not go to college?
No, actually, my story starts about 50 years earlier than that. Yeah, because I went to college actually when I was 51.
Oh, interesting. All right. Well, the tell us.
So I did that later. But what I wanted to be was a tap dancer. Do you know Shirley Temple?Yeah-yeah... So Shirley Temple was this child star. Cute as a button and adorable little dimple need legs and wore short dresses, and I want to be like that! I wanted to be fawned over by the adults and and just tell me how wonderful I was. So I told my mom I wanted to take tap dancing lessons. And she said, no, it have to be ballet. So she.. I was seven and she took me to a dance studio and I was incredibly shy, painfully shy student or child. And when I saw the other kids and the teacher, I said, No, no, no, I can't do this. So I didn't go in. And it wasn't until a few years later when I was 10, when my best friend Emily Gonzalez said that her.. her across the street neighbor was going to teach us ballet in her house. And that felt very safe. So that's how I started my ballet lessons with with La Brea in her home studio.
And so did she have balls and mirrors?
Yeah, her parents allowed her to strip the room of furniture and paint the walls and put mirrors up.
Yeah, teenager. Yeah. And so we paid her 25 cents, a quarter for each ballet lesson. And I felt very secure because I had my best friend and I knew this teenager from before. Then we moved, and I luckily got another best friend named Susan Ward, and her mother was able to take us to lessons, and so I got to start with her because I was shy. I would not have started if it had not been for my friends.
Cool! And then how did it progress from.. well, from the world of ballet? Well, what did you do, any other little jobs or any size? Do you have any self professions?
Well, when I was 13, I babysat and cleaned houses. Yeah, yeah.. So... And made clothes. Yeah.
So, made clothes! Did you have..
I made my own clothes, I should say. I made my own clothes,
school clothes. School clothes, yeah.
So, I guess you had a sewing machine?
Yes, of course I had a sewing machine. I knew how to sew.
Was it electric or did you pedal it?
No, I'm sure I didn't pedal it.
Barbara, don't be affended. Varya.. excuse me! See, twice.. boom! And Barbara wrong name and is an even giving the idea that..
yeah, so so from then I joined a little company, a regional ballet. We had examinations where the one woman from London would come and examine us. And I danced in a company in Iran. I danced in Las Vegas. There's a ballet company, Nevada Dance Theater. I dance there. And then injuries happened and I went to jazz, did lounge shows. I did a melange show on a cruise ship to Mexico. Lounge shows that went to We Hop the islands of Japan were there. And so I mean, I could go on, but..
Yeah, so.. So you've done a whole lot of jobs!
You know what? I'm sorry to interrupt, but..
No, don't be sorry. Please interrupt. Please go for it!
This is what I'm kind of jealous about with other people because you get to do many different things and you've really explored, you know, your other skills. Because I've just been teaching all my life and sometimes I ask myself what other things I can do, and I just can't imagine doing any other thing. Which, you know, reminds me of what my Korean best friend told me, because we're kind of jealous, you know, with each other, I'm jealous that he can do his like jack of all trades. Basically, he can do, you know, many different things. But then his frustration is he can't find just one area that he's really good at is passionate about that he could invest all of his time. Unlike, in my case. But then again, I also want what he has because he can do many things. It's like, I don't know. It's like as much as I appreciate my job now in the, you know, career path that I've chosen to take. But I wish I could do more. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not giving myself a lot of opportunities to explore what other potential.
No I think it's a personality, because that was the same thing with my daughter. She saw me in passione with ballet, she saw me every day worked so hard for something, for years and years, and she said, I'm not like that. I said, you don't have to be like that. And so it's just a different personality. But if you do a lot of things or even if you do one thing, there's so many chances for failure. So it sounds romantic, but I don't know about you, Gary, but I've failed a lot in life. You know, there's there's so many things that you could just like, fail at if you do all sorts of things. And so that will play, don't you think? Or are you all winners and successful people?
I don't even know what you're talking about, Varya. Varya is assuming something.. Yeah, and I don't even know what she's talking about. Can't relate..
I just want to say, what different cultures have different philosophies of failed and in the American culture it's OK to fail and to keep trying, trying and trying until you..
Oh, I don't know. I think our idea of success is making lots of money that seems to be out in our capitalistic ideology. if you're making good money, you know you are a success..
Well, Varya, then I am a failure. Complete.. I am a complete failure.
But I always told my daughter and I tell people: go with your passion. Because you have to live with yourself. And that passion is just one thing, which was it was like for me then that's how that is. And that's what makes you get up in the morning. It's what.. what I miss the most with ballet is euphoria. I felt euphoric every day, and I don't get that with chocolate.
Well, with chocolate. OK.
What about teaching English, Barb.. Oh, yes, right..
I will have some pleasant.
Very rare for a little rare.
We already kind of hinted at it. Well, you already said you wanted to be a teacher from a young age. Can you remember exactly when you wanted to be a teacher? Was that a like an epiphany moments?
Right, right. You see, the first time I felt that I was in my sixth grade with my, you know, English teacher. She's now working in the U.S.. I don't know how old she is, but she must be really old now. But she was my inspiration because she was like, like everything that's perfect and a teacher. She always came on time. Very well-prepared, explained things very clearly. She was very approachable to students and just her voice and her personality that would really make you want to listen to her. And so I thought I could be that who. I want to be like her. And well, I'm not sure if i reached that.
You know, when you say that that is key, when we're trying to find our profession. Because you have to find someone who will inspire you, that you want to model, after which of course, I had teachers like that where you just you just mimic every movement. And it makes you really good. And then you make it your own, of course. You can't be a carbon copy of someone, but it's perfect finds someone that inspires you.
However, I must say, though, that when we were about to graduate high school, most of my friends actually chose nursing as their, you know, like major for university, because at the time it was popular for Filipinos to work as a nurse in different countries. In fact, right now I do have many friends in the U.S. and the UK, Ireland and several other countries because that was the thing. In fact, my mom even encouraged me like, are you sure you want to be a teacher? Don't you want to become a nurse? You were going to earn more money?
I believe in the Philippines. A lot of people go into the maritime industry.
Yeah, that thing too. But well, I can't imagine myself doing that.
But it's quite interesting industry, though.
You mean to be a merchant marine?
Yeah, I think, it would be realy interesting, i mean..
Yeah, which is true, by the way.
Unloading cargo? Yeah. Ken, I can see you in..
Really?!? I can't even see myself doing that, but..
But anyway, so she was the first person that really inspired me. And then when I went to high school, another teacher who I still remember her name ms. Grace Mercado. She was so good at grammar, she explained it very well. In fact, the way I teach grammar now is partly influenced by her because she really made it not just, you know, the typical lecture thing, but more importantly, how to use like in daily life. So, yeah, she was.. She's my second inspiration. So even though a lot of the people in my, you know in our circle told me, don't be a teacher, but my heart told me, no, this is the right path for you. I mean, of course, I have no regrets. I'm not, you know, I don't earn as much money as my friends who are now working as, you know, nurses. But, who cares? I'm happy. Like, for me, I'd rather live and die happy than earning a lot of money and not be happy with what you're doing.
Well, I guess in this way, you said you wished that you had tried many different jobs, but I think it's great that you had.. You had something that you wanted to do and you just went for it and you didn't have to..
Yeah. Well, I understand that, although sometimes it's just, you know, it's just a thought, sometimes thing. Like, what if I did this or what if I did that? I don't know. Or maybe i just..
But with you're teaching... You are traveling with your teaching. So look at you. I mean, you were in Kazakhstan for five years. You've been in in Russia forever. So, you know, that's.. that's.. that plays.. that, that adds to wanting to do other things because you're traveling.
Ken, that didn't sound 100 percent there. Let's try that again with feeling. More feeling. We're gonna work on the feeling! That's better. That's better.
We all have regrets though, don't we, Gary? We all have regrets in our lives. No one. We never think we're doing enough. I think.. I think we never think that's just human nature. I want more. I want to be able to do this right. But then sometimes I say to myself: Varya.. Varya, I say..
Yes, Varya, you are doing a really good job!
And Varya says to Varya — yes you are.
And you're the cutest Shirley Temple I've ever seen.
And that's what I really have.
That's right. And you've arrived. You've got it.
Well, Gary, did you have any burning desires as a little kid, did you?
No, I did not. I was a little space cadet. I mean, really, I was just completely a kid, you know, and my parents were busy doing the business thing. And as they, you know, should I guess, what should they be doing helicopter parenting me.. It was.. It wasn't even a thing then, and..
Oh yeah, we had the term.. Well, actually, that's quite an interesting topic. Helicopter parenting. Do you think that.. it's a good idea for parents to be more involved in their children's upbringing? And do you think that will help people..
I.. well, I've got the microphone here before.. before Ben leaves me..
Well, we're talking about career development, how to find yourself..
How.. What kind of a role do parents play in this?
I think, let kids be kids. That's what I think. Let kids be kids, you know? I mean, this whole thing of, you know, whatever the.. whatever the purposes are of what's called helicopter parenting, where the parent hovers over, you know, is over the child's shoulder and pushing them into everything, you know, let the.. tet the kid do the experiment if they want to or encourage them and things. But don't, you know, I mean, just let them be kids.
Yeah, I think I was a different parent. I don't know about that when.. Yes, kids should be kids. But my..
Unless they're doing drugs.
Yeah, yeah. That.. Yeah, luckily, it's not..
Then you begin helicopter immediately.
But even with that.. even with that, if someone wants to do drugs, it's very hard to get them not to do drugs. And so.. With that.. But with my.. with my daughter.. she grew up in a ballet studio because I had my own ballet studio. And so she would see me teach and make costumes and perform. And then she started class herself, so she got to see that. And I always pushed discipline and being very productive. I really pushed that just by example. I don't think I really actually said these things, and I do.. I think I might have said, I don't know how hard your life is going to be, but you better work hard. And that was my message. I wish I had another message. I think maybe that wasn't the perfect message. Maybe that was too harsh, but that was my reality. I think if I were going to repair it, I'd be all lovey dovey. Oh, stay home until you're 35. I don't think I would have been tough. I would have been different. But anyway, I was tough. I still am tough. I can't change.
But Ben, by the way, let's hear from you!
So I've done so many different little side jobs. When I was a kid, I've really, really, really wanted to become an airline pilot, and unfortunately, I had a little medical issue and I couldn't.. I couldn't do that. But. It's OK. I love teaching right now, it's a really fun, it's a really fun job. I've tried so many different professions on the.. So, I went to university, did languages, I was always into languages, I was fascinated by languages. I studied Italian and Russian and I graduated... I didn't speak perfect Italian. Obviously, my Russian was not perfect when I left university, but I had a good enough basic knowledge and I really wanted to do something.. to do languages. And I tried my hand in translation as a freelance translator. But in order to get employed at these translation.. these translation work houses or just translation offices, you have to do a masters degree over that after that. And I didn't want to stay in university for the rest of my life, so I just did a couple of freelance jobs here and there in the translation industry. Oh my god, I've done so many jobs, it's insane. But.. All right, let me let me just give you a brief overview. So I left university. I tried to set up a little business with some friends selling bicycle parts, that didn't go as planned, but it was a fun experiment. I also worked in the hotel industry, which was actually a really fun industry, stressful but fun industry. I worked at the front desk at a nice hotel in central London and I worked in Las Vegas at a huge hotel. What I liked about that job was I got to practice my languages, especially in Las Vegas, actualy in London too. I got to practice languages on a daily basis. And.. The only thing is I felt like I wasn't using my languages in a intellectual way. And this is kind of let me to teaching English where I get to like, intellectually stimulate myself here and I get to, yeah, here I get to be in Russia and practice Russian. So yeah, that's the general story of Benjamin today.
And speaking of, you know, teaching English, what does it feel like to be a teacher of a language?
It's great because I've been in so many professions, be it working at the front desk of a hotel where you are at the beck and call of of the customers was being a teacher. You're more in a position of authority. Not that I'm power hungry, you know? I get a kick out of telling people what to do, but it's it's nice that people come to you and they ask for advice or they ask for.. They ask for your knowledge, and it's a really nice position to be in. It's refreshing.
And are you happy with being a teacher?
Absolutely. I I it's really funny because I never had thoughts about becoming a teacher as a kid. Maybe I even had negative stereotypes of teachers, and now here I am, and I actually really enjoy this. Like, I can't really picture myself doing anything different.
Wow! So welcome to the club.
Yeah. Well, anyway, so Gary, you didn't know exactly what you wanted to do as a kid, but right?
Yeah, that your question was what? Yeah, I had no idea. Yeah. And I even after I graduated from college, I had no idea, which is why I went.. I just..
Yeah, you went straight into the family business.
Yeah, I was not a goal directed person. Yeah, such not ambitious. You know, just.. floating..
Did you have like a moment.. Was there one particular moment that.. That pushed you into going into a more spiritual?
I was a long... Long pass.
Yeah. So there was no one..
No, there was no one. No, no, no epiphany. But it was a long but kind of one directional path. If you look back, you know, and.. But it started when I was in college and or even had started when I was a child, you know, I did believe in God. And I'm not sure where that came from because my parents were not religious at all..
Oh, that's very interesting! They were a secular, were they atheists..
They were just non-religious, typical secular people, but they're not atheist at all. And.. So when I finally did find my way, and even though that took me out of the business, which I'm sure was a disappointment to my dad, but they were glad that I was doing what I wanted to do. They were very supportive. Yeah, yeah... And I'm glad of that because it would be harder, right? You know, as I was fighting my parents or they were fighting me. But anyhow, so it was a long.. It started when I was a child and then when I was in college and which was in the in the early 70s, there was.. I was still interested in God. I assumed, I don't know why that.. That the truth about God was not in Christianity. Just because it seemed sort of shallow or simple or something ordinary. I don't know what. And I was a little pride in it and involved there. Maybe a lot. And so I was looking.. I became very involved in eastern religion. And oh..
Oh, you mean Eastern Eastern Orthodox? Buddhism?
No, Hindu.. Hindu.. Hindu.
Oh, interesting! I didn't even know.
Yeah, yeah.. Well, in an Americanized kind of way, there I.. I began to meditate. I became a meditator.
Fascinating! Yeah, I meditate. I've meditated every day for, I think, 11 years now. So when.. So that's really interesting, I didn't realize that! What kind of meditation did you..
I did transcendental meditation.
That's exactly what i do!
OK. Yeah, well, and I became.. I went into it. Head headlong, yeah, full.. Full strength. Because I was actually looking for God, know, I wasn't looking for some relaxation or to be better at my work or, you know, whatever they lower my heart rate or whatever the things that they were packaging T.M. like we call it.. It's called T.M. For.. I wasn't interested in any of that. I was interested in the God part. And.. Of course it has.. They don't put that out front, but that is what is at the basis of of trance of transcendental meditation and probably all meditation.
So, Varya, have you tried meditation?
No. Ballet is meditation is definitely where you focus in on.. On the task at hand, and you could feel energy through your body. You could feel your breath. It's just.. It's like that.
It brings you into the present moment..
What about Ken? Any experience with meditation?
Well, I've heard that a lot from my friends and students. That's something that I would like to try some day. Who knows? It might make me realize something about my life.. And figure out maybe I might have some other interests that I still haven't realized yet.
Sometimes you know in what you're saying, and I guess what Gary was saying too, you know, we're on a path and we don't really realize where we are when we're on the path. But after decades, you look back and go, Oh, you know, like, I did a good job that I was going this direction. I should have given myself more credit. And that's what I really want to say to people is give yourself much more credit than you're then you're allowing yourself because we can really build up ourselves. And I think a good self beating is good because it makes you keep going. I think you you have to do that, but give yourself more credit, I think.
Mm-Hmm. Well, what does it mean to find yourself? What is the.. Is there a definition we can agree on?
Finding yourself? I think it's.. Well if we have different interpretations of it. But the way I see it, finding yourself is realizing your potential, understanding yourself on a deeper level more than everybody else, you know, do. Um.. And also, I think it has something to do with what you do in life, like finding your purpose. I don't know if I'm getting way too deep than i shoud go..
No-no! Go deep. Would you say it's the same thing finding yourself, finding a..
Yeah, like purpose in life, because otherwise, you know, if you don't understand what.. what your purpose is, then what are you living for?
I agree with that, but I also think that life gets in the way. So you can be finding your purpose all you want, and maybe you found a little.. little tip of it. And then.. life will cut it off like you could have a pandemic, you know, something like that. I mean, that's kind of unimaginable. Or there could be other things that happen, and.. It kind of slaps in the face and kind of slaps you down and then you kind of have to start over and regroup. And that, my friends, is life. It is so messy. We think we're going from point A to point B and then we'll be happy. But it just doesn't work that way.
What advice would you give to someone who is, let's say, in their 20s or.. yeah, someone who is in a earlier stage of their life who says, I don't know what my purpose is? How do I find my purpose?
I say, you don't need a purpose for.. for one thing. And just get up and do what you want to do. Or find some kind of reason why you're doing something and your purpose is going to change.
Mm hmm. So your purpose is not a.. do you think.. could you.. Ken could you see your purpose changing? Could you.. would you.. would you see yourself always being a teacher?
Well, at least for now, I'm still relatively young. So for now, this is what I feel, and this is what I'm doing at the moment. Although who knows something might come up because life is one of the, you know.. you know, it's one of the characteristics where sometimes something comes up and you never know it because life is full of, you know, surprises. You never know what you're going to get. It's like a box of, you know, chocolate. So but at least for now, I'm happy with where I am, although it would be interesting where my life will lead to. Yeah, because, well, I'd like to believe I still have a long journey to go and we'll see what's out there. And that's for me to find out. But I hope it will be something interesting. And you know..
it has to because you've chosen.. you already are on your path to doing something that you love to do anyway.
And do we have any role models? Any person who we look up to and we think this person had a purpose.
There's an interesting question who like to answer first?
It's quite.. i've quite..
Wel.. I last got past Shirley Temple. She's no longer. But I still, of course, my the inner fibers of my being are woven together with the great teachers that I've had. And so I still carry them with me. So I still think of what would they do, what would they say? What would they look like, you know, or I, I just carry them with me, so I still have them. But at this moment, when I look out into the world, I don't think I see a really a role model. I might meet someone and say, Oh, I like some.. some qualities they have might.
Mm-Hmm.. Mm-Hmm. Well, Gary, as someone who used to be a pastor.. Has anyone come to you and asked you specifically for advice and with regards to purpose, life purpose?
Well, yeah, that's part of.. what.. I mean to the question of. Finding purpose, In my case, and I would highly recommend for anyone the case I'll just speak from for myself on this, though, but that.. without God, I would not have found my purpose. And I probably would have been.. I don't know, I guess, trying different things.. or.. I think I would have been struggling. Because I was struggling and.. But because God was actually the main kind of purpose.. for the the journey, sort of speak.. And there is an end to the journey. It's not just an endless getting somewhere or going down a road, there actually is a way that you do come to a place of finding what you're looking for or being found, right. That is by God. And that is what changed my life. And.. and then the rest of my life is just becomes, well, what does.. What do I believe God wants me to do. Now that is involves who I am and what I like to do, or what I can do, or what, you know, I have, whatever abilities I might have. You know, is to use those in along those lines because God's will.. will include those things, right? You won't have you doing something you're not capable of doing or that's the wrong thing for you. You'll be doing something that is according to who you are. So.. Without that, without God, I mean, I remember, I remember, I vividly remember because I lived in it for years, just not really having any answers to anything. It was all, a guess it was just all a guess.. I was just guessing. You know, I mean, there was nothing solid..
And what.. what would you guys say to someone who wants to go into a profession that is particularly, I wouldn't say, risky, but it is difficult to succeed, for instance, acting or being a musician? What advice.. Because I mean, Varya you've been to Los Angeles, obviously, you know, the whole city.. there's so many actors who unfortunately do not make it to stardom. What would you say to someone who's young and aspiring?
Yeah, I still think that you should follow your heart, do what you want to do. And at the time that you get to a point where you can't do it anymore, you go, OK, I think I need to change direction, then stop. And then that's it. And then you do something else.
And then how do you know.. Because some people say never give up, and other people would say.. Some people say, yeah, keep it..
It's a.. It's a matter of knowing yourself and making good decisions, and there can be a various amount of decisions to make and one could lead you this way and another can lead you that way. And not to get hung up on if this or if that, just make a decision and go with it. I mean, that's what life is. And pretty soon you're just dead in the ground, and that's it for me.
And I think.. You need to be realistic to a certain degree. You cannot just be.. Of course, you know, when you're young, you tend to be idealistic. Like, I can achieve this. I can do whatever I can. But you know, as I grow older, I don't want to sound.. not pessimistic, but just being realistic. Because when I was younger too, I also had a dream, like I want to do this and that, and achieve this and that. And then as I grow older, I realize that, I don't want to sound very negative, but it's like not all dreams are meant to happen, but you have to be mature enough to understand that. But then again, you know, you'll need time to grow up, to understand things.
Begin to recognize your limitations. And that's when you stop and you do something else and just be happy with what you did accomplish with..
It's tricky because you have some celebrities who you were basically bums for most of their lives. And then they.. And then they.. then they reached stardom by chance. Sheer luck. It's really tricky because we would not have, I don't know, let's say, Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash.. I mean.. I'd.. Maybe you know the story of Johnny Cash better than I do, but he basically just traveled around, bummed around for most of his life.
He ended up in prison, too, right? Yeah, he robbed the liquor store or something.
Yeah. Or we have so many other examples, like do you.. Any of you familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat? Do you know, some famous New York artists who draws a very primitive style.. You kind of have to be familiar with him. Let me think of some.. Well, can you think of any other examples of celebrities who had a really rough.. lead up to their stardom?
I'm not really that impressed with celebrities anyways, and I don't really follow them. I have no idea who's who.. I'm.. As we know I'm locked into the 80s. You asked me about Harvey Milk, and i can tell you all about Motley Crue, Van Halen..
So, I don't know why you're looking at you when you say that. All right.
So, maybe not modern classics. What about.. Some modern celebrities? What about classics, for instance? I don't know.
It's so strange! I just about to say that! So strange, because he.. He was an alcoholic. He had crazy episodes..
But he loved his family. He had a yeah, he loved his children. They would slip little notes under his door. Yeah, because they're not allowed to disturb him. Yeah. But he was.. he was actually Christian. His.. his things were centered around God. Yeah!
Do you have other interesting celebrities or classic?
I'm sorry. But when you said celebrity earlier and then, yeah, you know who happened to become one by chance.. The first person that came to my mind was Kim Kardashian.
Oh, I'm so proud of myself for not knowing who she was. It was in.. it was in.. It was like in 2012. And I was the only one not knowing who she is. Don't tell me who she is. I don't want to know. But then I think I learned who she was like in 2017.
So would you say Kim Kardashian has found herself or she is just..
Ben, we are going a little too deep here.. Yeah.
But that's the thing! Thats the thing about..
Let's serf us for a minute.
Destination, you just don't find yourself. I mean, you're.. you're going to find yourself temporarily, then you're going to lose yourself, and then you have to refind yourself, reinvented in some other form. It's just not solid. It's what you're..
It's like walking on a tightrope.
I think so.. Or jello or something
Squishing through your toes.
Just.. Just in a nutshell, what do you know Kim Kardashian lifestyle?
Yeah, I mean.. I don't think I need to explain..
We know where you got those fan magazines.. That you brought with you from Kazakhstan.
I learned about her because of my students, because, you know, she has this cosmetic line clothes line, that you know, and she's very popular on Instagram. So she's, you know, millions of followers. But, the only reason I thought about her because you mentioned about, you know, celebrities who became famous by chance.
Well, her father was famous. So I don't know..
Yeah, but it's not like she capitalized on that. But she did something else, which I'm not sure I'm allowed to say it here.
Did she do something on video?
Oh.... well, lets.. No, we don't want to do that..
I think I realize that's why she's.. Oh, okay!
But good for her.. OK, so I'm not bashing her. OK? Just to be clear. Good for her that she made something, uh, you know for herself. I guess she got past that.
She's an artist. Let's just say..
Well, we're all artists of our own lives!
Oh... OK, I'm sorry. I did not mean to do that!
Are you still stuck on the video or what?
No, it's all right. Yeah, it's fine. Go ahead! Ben, you've got other questions, I'm sure.
I'm just transfixed by Kim Kardashian.
I'm so sorry for bringing that out.
But again.. Well, I guess here's the thing. Sometimes, as I've said earlier, something comes up in life. Sometimes it may be unexpected and it and then you realize, Oh, OK, this can.. I can turn this into a career and you could be successful in that. I mean, sorry for the very shallow reference of, you know, Kim Kardashian. She has managed to, you know, achieve some success. So good for her. But my point here is that I don't think she really, you know, aspire to be where she are or maybe, you know, she had in the past. But in my case, life is a journey. I think it's a process of.. Well, at least in my case, I'm still in the process of finding more about myself. What other potentials.. Well, hidden potentials I have. And as I've said earlier, whatever it is out there that is about to unfold in this beautiful journey called life, I hope it will be something that is, you know, great and that, well, more than, you know, satisfying my own needs. I hope I can contribute something.. I don't want to sound like, you know, like cliche, but..
Yes, that's important to contribute to your community, society or the world in some way.. Definitely!
I've got.. I've got another question, actually. Do you think that by being in a foreign country that helps you to learn more about yourself? I would definitely say yes. I'd say being in Russia is a great experience, and it's definitely improved me more as a person, would you say? Well, Gary, you've been here for a while. Would you say that coming here is helps you..
Oh, sure. Yeah, it's it's a tremendous expansion of.. your horizons, you know, I mean, you have to.. you'r.. even just having, you know, two languages in your head, you know, to the degree that you have them, that's kind of an amazing thing and.. and the two cultures and.. It's enriching, you know, there's no question.
It's also, you know, an eye opening experience for sure for, you know, for most of us, if not all of us, because personally, when I was in the Philippines, I had a very limited, you know, perspective in life. I thought that life only worked in a certain way. The Filipino way, I know it's vague for you to understand that. But the moment I started, you know, working abroad, not just, you know, for tourism purposes where I just travel and stay there for a couple of weeks, but to actually live and stay for a year or so. It opened many different things for me. I realized, Oh, OK, so well.. I will sound very critical of my own culture right now, but in the Philippines, we have a certain way of, let's say, we like children and we.. we more about the here and now, which on the one hand, it's actually good because you get to enjoy the present. Yeah, without thinking much about the future. But then again, I was introduced to a different perspective when here in Russia, people care about what's going to happen in the future. So what I'm trying to say here is that, for instance, in the Philippines, you know, families, they just make as many children as they want without thinking about the consequences that you have to pay for their education, buy them food, clothes, whatever. But here, for instance, in Russia, of course, you have to think of that. And that's why, you know, people here tend to have not a lot of children, unlike in the Philippines, could be five, six or even more because, you know, the more the merrier. But coming here and also in Kazakhstan, I realize, Oh, OK, so that's good that, you know, we also have to consider the future. I mean, be practical, too. You see, my point here is that by moving to another country, it opens new ideas in your minds that you know you wouldn't have probably thought if you had stayed, you know, just in your own country. So that's why I'm thankful that I've given this chance to myself to see more of the world and understand different cultures. And in a way, it is a lesson for me and it's for my own personal growth. I discover more things about me at the same time learn more about the world, the bigger world.
And do you think there are some countries that are better for personal growth or not? I mean, you've been to Iran and Russia, obviously..
Well, they say the United States is the place for personal growth. But I think..
I can say that, Varya! Yeah, if you want a.. If you want a real personal growth, you just go to Ohio, for example, personal growth country. Right! Corn, Corn, more corn and personal growth.
Wherever you go, you're going to grow personally, no matter where you go. So I don't think there is one destination for that.
But I will say Russia's an interesting place to go. Would we agree?
Oh, I love this place. I don't want to go home. I mean, obviously, homes, great love England, great place, but Russia's.. Would you say Russia's the place for you?
Well, I'm certainly very happy that I'm here. And if you were to ask me, would you like to go back to your home country, at least for now, I can say that no, I'm quite happy here.
Yeah, it's a fun place. I love this country this for...
Yes! Yes, Bens living in.. In Ben's little world, it's.. It's.. It's an amazingly cheerful, optimistic, unchanging.. Some would say nothing's changing ever!
What why Russia's kind of like the new Wild West like this? There's a lot of opportunities here. Sure, things are not perfect, but it's a great place with a lot..
Yes, Ben wins the understatement of the week aword, perhaps of the year or decade, yes.
But of course, we're not limiting ourselves to just Russia, where, you know, basically, just like Varya said, you could be anywhere in the world and there's still some, you know, and in self-growth, you don't have to be just in one place. Every place you go to throughout your life, there's always something that you can learn from and can contribute to your general personal growth.
All right, guys, let's wrap it up there. It was a pleasure speaking to you all today. And please comment on this podcast. We want to hear from you and if you have any other ideas about what we can do in the future.
Especially If you're in Columbus, Ohio, I would love to know who.. who is watching.. listening to this podcast?
I believe did have a listener, didn't we? From.. Did you say..
Not just a listener. The fourth largest audience is in Columbus, Ohio, for this podcast. I mean, we discovered this together and we were confused. I was very confused.. together, so..
Guys, share your thoughts. Ask any questions. We want you to participate. And, well today we talked about how to find yourself so which we agreed that we found a solution as to how to find ourselves. I would say it's like Varya said is not a single point A to B solution.
There is no solution that's the secret. There's no solution.
So that's.. that's basically it. So all right, guys, find us on our website www.BigAppleSchool.com. There on the website, you can find other interesting podcasts like this one, and you can also find interesting articles which are there to help you improve your English. And of course, you can find more information about the courses that we offer here at the BigAppleSchool. So we'll leave it there for today, guys. Thank you very much and we'll see you guys next time.