Monday, November 17, 2003

The kids

It’s impossible to thoroughly document my “China” experience in a few random bloggings, so I’ll try approaching the subject by posting a series of blogs addressing different subjects that are relevant to my life here in China.

The easiest subject for now, is my kids.

I say My kids because I take possession of them as they take possession of me.

Every morning, as soon as I’m spotted walking from my apartment to the office, the kids break out in, “Hallo Jeeem! How are you?” Or “Hallo Missa Jeeem!”

Even on my worst days here in China I can’t help but smile at the enthusiasm of the children. They brighten my day and give light to the dark days when I’m suffering from from the harshness brought on by this strange and different culture.

Some of them spew dialog from past classes…”Who’s got the ball?” Or the now-famous, “Bingo!”

“Bingo” is a puppet I created out of pair of socks given to me on Cathay Pacific airlines. I made a little dog out of the sock with some construction materials, glue and some vivid imagination and introduced my invention as “Bingo the talking dog”. Bingo is famous with the kids in the primary school, from grades one through grade five.

I’ve even heard some parents on the Phoenix City bus mention Bingo.

I’ve created two puppets, Bingo (a happy go lucky dog) and Brutus (a mean, nasty, angry dog who hates Bingo).

The kids will wander into my office, gather at my desk, see Brutus hanging off my cubicle wall and literally freak out, saying, “Brutus is ANGRY! I don’t like Brutus!” (Which usually comes out as: “Brutus is ANGRY, I doone like Brutus.” Ah…pronunciation in an Asian atmosphere!

These kids are awesome.

Some days here in China it’s the kids that keep me going. Unlike most American kids, these kids are gracious, polite, full of gratitude, humble, honest (sometimes) and full of smiles and happy remarks. I never hear backtalk, am never confronted with negative behavior nor do I have to deal with derogatory remarks or gestures.

But, these are kids we’re talking about and they are NOT exempt from mischief. They unscrew the drain cap from the sink drains, hide someone’s milk, steal someone’s book bag….but everything is in clean, harmless fun.

Lately I’ve struggled to stay upbeat here in China. Bad news from home, the massive Culture Shock of living in China, and the freaking pollution here….but the kids always manage to cut through my funk and they give me a spark in my step and a reason to stay here in China a little bit longer….



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