You know when life throws a shit pie in your face and you could let it go, some people's natural personality is to let it go and other people's personality is to throw one back and still others is to try and make some sense of it and go back point by point and try and find the truth because it all matters too much. Well that was my Friday at SF (my workplace and Z's school). Another issue happened with A my manager at SF, and this time it has to do with Zen my daughter. Now I know why Taiwan does not have girls softball teams or girls soccer over here.
I got called into A's office because Z kicked s kid's shoe (the foot was not inside). A said Zen has a "kicking problem" and "kicking habit" (which is not true) and is a potential danger to other children. Of course I question her motive I told her I felt this was her critical spirit of fault finding and I felt we were under her magnifying glass again. Z's teachers and I have a rapport and they never mentioned anything about a kicking problem. She made some outrageous statement to me that had to be heard to be believed, my owner was there as an "objective" witness, (she was anything but objective) . My natural inclination is to defend my daughter and question A's line of reasoning and motive.
I kid you not, the principal, (my manager) wanted to know what changes in our routine interaction my daughter and I have had lately (as if that is her business). I told her I drop her off at a playmates for my Thurs night yoga class, she has been coming to my Friday night kickboxing class, and that we rough house all the time. She replied that it was maybe inappropriate to bring her to my kickbox class, and that I should not play rough house w/her. I replied that wrestling and rough-housing was a way we bonded and that my Dad and bros did it all the time and we never had any social problems at school. She replied, "well Taiwanese parents dont play that way with their kids" " I am not Taiwanese" . Then she said vehemently, "well you are in Taiwan now so you have to start doing it our way." And then as a bonus she added, "plus Z is a girl and shouldnt be playing that way anyway." I was so livid I could of soiled my pants right then and there. This is coming from a woman who prides herself on her MA in Child Development from an American university- I mean it was blatant sexism and cultural bias (ethno-centrism) in the same breath. Obviously this was not a conversation, but I chose to be difficult and not just shake may head and agree and brush it off.
Z has had a some cultural adjustments to contend with. I think the first year and a half was hard for her, but I think she has made real progress for a toddler/preschooler. First there was the language barrier and then there was the space issue. Everywhere we go strangers come up to us, (to her) and pinch her cheek, touch her hair tell her how cute she is , give her candy, take her picture on their cell phone w/o asking me or her. She hates the extra attention, she doesnt like to be touched by strangers and she has a blood sugar sensitivity. I think some of her behavior has been a reaction to these adjustments. Now she can speak Mandarin, now she is the one who is exploring other people's space at school (she is a very physical, hyper kid, who grabs her friends and gives them big hugs when she seems them, which is NOT what Taiwanese people do.) So she has been learning how to appropriately respect people's space, not hug them or tickle them, etc. For a 4 1/2 year old I think she is absolutely fabulous.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.