About Me

My photo
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.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The End of a Beginning Chapter

Z at her graduation performance
The night before our 2 week holiday began, and Z and I would leave for Malaysia, it was her kindergarten graduation. This is always a seriously big deal for our school and any respectable private kindergarten in Taiwan.  As a teacher at this school I have had 2 graduating classes myself which means when they leave me they are fluent in English and can write complete sentences and are pretty much cognitively prepared for their suffering career as elementary school students in the rigid, competitive, soulless Taiwanese educational system. (As for their souls that's an entirely different matter, but I try to be as holistic a teacher as possible).

It was a bit of a different experience as a parent--and worker. For example, during her flawless performance when she was the feline reporter Kitty Mitty in her class' play, I was "backstage" behind a curtain. My sole job was ushering the kids from the stage to the back door and hallway. An hour of that (speeches+ 3 class performances) I was then the parent and watched her receive her "diploma" from  the school's founder.

Z's official grad photo

I  always thought the Taiwanese even having a graduation ceremony for kindergartners was a perverse superficial sentimentalism, or a cheesy demand of parents who fork over a substantial amount of their salaries to schools who at the end of the ride have to prove their worth.  And it is that.  But there is also this deep human need for ceremony for marking within the bond of community different phases of our life's growth, stages, transformations.  I happily was denied kindergarten. I stayed at home or rather I ran around wild most of the day in the rattlesnake infested fields of  the outskirts of a blossoming Phoenix Arizona, taking rides with the neighborhood teenagers on the back of their dirt bikes, playing with my best friend Brandy where development met the desert. My mom taught me how to read and I didn't go to school til I was  in 1st grade in Aurora, Colorado.

A few months after we moved to Tainan

 But that  wasn't Z's reality. We moved to Tainan when she was 2 1/2 and she went to nursery school until  present. She is still going to my school (my place of work) in their summer program. I hope she will be weaned from here once she starts elementary school so I can start saving what I pay in her tuition.

I admit that on that graduation night I was overwhelmed by thoughts that kept well under the surface had made their way to the forefront of my mind's eye. Namely, I asked myself if this would be my only child, my first and  last baby. At age 6 she is still so baby like, her chubby cheeks and pot belly. She is going to real school soon, growing up and I might loose this "babyiness" forever. I asked myself things like if I would ever nurse a child again. If her father and I had worked out, what other beautiful children we might have had. Crazy things like figuring out how many child bearing years I have left (that would be 5, my cut off age is 42, but that might change).  I didn't have so much time to process these thoughts, the next day I was taking us both on an early am bus to Taipei to catch a flight to Malaysia and our return to Borneo. That's ok, I'm gentle with myself and nonjudgmental. As I have learned in my young life so far, a whole lot can happen in a year.  I hope I am savoring her childhood more.

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