About Me

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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, September 1, 2012

Zen's First Day of School

Can you recall? Do you remember your first day of school? The world felt so big and wide or perhaps stifling.  I was anxious the night before her big day, wondering if we could make it on time, wondering if every morning is going to be some mad scramble to get her to school by 730. Getting to kindergarten by 840 was always a mad dash for me to clock in for work.

Z was all smiles at home getting ready, putting on her uniform. I was happy for her and a little sad myself. So many unknowns. I didn't know what would happen to her in the afternoon and last minute found an anchingban. 

In Taiwan, first graders go to school a half day except for Tuesdays, that's a full day. They also wear uniforms. Since most parents work, the children have to go to an anchingban after school. This is a kind of cram school where a Chinese teacher makes sure the kids do their homework and teach them if they have any problems with the material. For me this is a necessity on 2 fronts. 1.) I work until 5pm  and 2.) I wouldn't be able to help her with her homework. I found a good place, they pick Z up at her school and walk right around the corner.She naps there and they provide snacks from the bakery of one of the kid's Dad (he studied baking in Germany so it has to be good.) It costs me 4000 NT a month.

Her elementary school is called Yitzai and its a beautiful campus across from the pretty Eternal Golden Castle Park  億載金城, (Yìzǎi Jīnchéng).where her school gets its name from.There are 11 first grade classes this year. Her class has 26 students. She is the only foreign kid. The school is huge by American standards--looks more like a very large high school or small community college. There are 5 floors, a track, tennis court and lots of kids.

Reality is setting in
The first day of school started last Thursday so she has only had 2 days and so  far so good. She saw friends from her kindergarten on the playground so she is not totally alone. I  tried to take pictures of her but she wouldn't have it. In fact she was kind of mean to me, telling me to leave and not wanting to hug or kiss (so unlike her.) I understood she was freaking out a little and felt safe enough to let it out on poor old mom. I'm counting on her feeling better about school  on Monday, at least enough for a hug and smile goodbye.

This day was a rite of passage for the both of us. "All things must pass", the Early Takes was playing in the back of my head the whole time. I'm still processing this.

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