Something new for me is the use of ‘indoor shoes’ these are shoes that don’t get to see the outside and are used in the classroom. It was presented to me as a way to keep germs from coming into the classroom, but it was later admitted that it is more a cultural issue than a medical one. I made a mistake today and walked home in my indoor shoes, they are comfortable and I just forgot that I wasn’t in my walking shoes until I was standing in my bedroom and I looked down at my feet and surprise! My indoor shoes had followed me home. At least I have another pair of outside shoes to wear back since I just cleaned my inside shoes and they are ready to go on once I get into the school. Another difference is the naming of schools, in the states a kindergarten would be the first part of elementary school for 5 & 6 year olds. China calls daycare and pre-school kindergarten, this caused some issues for me when I first started working here. I was told that I would be working in a kindergarten and I was fine with that but actually this is a pre-school as I have 2-3 year old children in my classroom.
I spoke with a parent this morning; he is from Austria and speaks English. With the swirl of Chinese that is heard in the mornings it was nice to be able to talk to someone in my native tongue. He has a son who is in the oldest class of our school and they have been living in this area for little more than a month. His wife is Chinese which explains why his son has Asian features with blond hair. Living here is very different from our respective homes but I don’t think either of us would change a thing.