Thursday, September 2, 2010

thumbs up, thumbs down

--Transferring subways in the middle of the CBD (central business district): thumbs down
(More people than you've ever seen in your life. No ventilation in the tunnel. Deodorant is not readily available in this country. I look like I just left the gym and this is on the way to work).
--Turning off the headlights as the subway is pulling into the station: thumbs up
--Entering an old subway car (line 1, to my school) with no air conditioning: thumbs down
Welcome to my morning commute :)
--Being able to hold a card up to a reader (no swiping necessary) and see your remaining balance on a brightly lit screen: thumbs up
--Putting your bag through a security scanner (like at the airport) at the subway station: thumbs up
(I think it's funny because there are piles upon piles of bags and one person half-glancing at them while he/she talks to someone else)
--2rmb for the subway and .4 for the bus: thumbs up
(6.75ish rmb = 1 dollar)
--15 minute walk to the subway: thumbs down
--Walking through a garden on the way and seeing an older man teaching a young woman something involving a massive sword: thumbs way up
--Using a Chinese computer at work: thumbs down
--Recognizing universal symbols (copy/paste/internet explorer/microsoft office) to be able to successfully use the computer: thumbs up
--Having 3 to 4 hours in the middle of the day to lesson plan: holy cow. This is amazing.
Also, I have to write about my favorite thing in China so far. Did anyone know that kids here don't wear diapers? I certainly wasn't prepared for that! Little babies (I would say from around 5-6 months) wear these bottoms (shorts or pants) that have cut outs in the front and the back. Not little circles, but from one calf, across the hips, down to the other calf. And these are on both sides of the pants (one big cut-out). So you see people holding their babies (in our neighborhood it's mostly grandmothers) and these little tushies are hanging out! On the subway yesterday, a woman had her son on her lap and he was spread eagle facing me. THANK GOODNESS he didn't decide that was a good time to pee!! A few days ago, Adam and I were walking through one of the gardens and passed a woman squatting while holding a young kid with her legs spread out. The woman was making sounds like "shhh shhh shhhh" and then as we passed, there was a stream coming from below that little girl. On the sidewalk!! Craaaazy. I saw the same thing on Monday afternoon on the stairs that lead to an apartment complex, but the girl was a little bit older and squatted on her own.
So these are my questions:
1. How do the kids know when to go and when not to go? I have not seen kids urinating in stores or on the bus or anything. How does a kid that young know the difference?
2. How do you train a kid to know these things?
3. What about pooping??
4. They must wear diapers when they sleep....right?
5. At what age do you start them in this style, and at what age do you wean them off?

This also surprised me because there is such an emphasis on cleanliness here, at least in the schools and in the home. For example, when entering the school (or many offices and people's homes), you either put little booties over your shoes or put on your pair of "indoor shoes" in the lobby. The kids are constantly washing their hands, faces, etc. and they each have their own cup, hand towel, and face towel, so as not to spread germs.

Also, this would never happen in the U.S. - people are so concerned with privacy and modesty and fearful of inappropriateness that I cannot imagine Americans walking around with their babies' entire bottom halves exposed. Also in the schools, the kids have a 2 hour naptime (hence my long break) where they change clothes into pajamas or just a T-shirt with no bottoms at all. They are so young that the teachers have to help. I'm sure at preschools in the U.S., teachers help with going to the bathroom or whatnot, but I feel like it would be suspicious if a male teacher were in this role and exposed to kids in this way. Though majority of the teachers are female (all are female at my school), there is still a stigma at home that I don't think exists here.
If you can possibly answer any of those questions about the babies and their cutout clothing, please send them my way! I just don't get it!! :)

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