Dr. Lomino in China: February 23
FEBRUARY 23: The Wind and I
Thursdays are school field trips, called Community Days. The objective is to take children weekly into the daily life and sites of their city. Our destination is a public park at the foot of a fairly high hill. The temperature will only get to the low 50’s with wind today, so I wear what I think will keep me warm—a sweat shirt, cotton pants, my rain jacket and wool scarf. Boy was I wrong! Being cold has been my nemesis since I arrived in China. I had been watching the weather for Guangzhou at least a month before my trip, spent time on the internet researching seasonal weather for South China, and it looked like the winter temperature averaged in the upper sixties and lower seventies for the highs and fifties for the lows.
Well, evidently there is a cold snap going on here, because the lows have been in the forties and many days it never gets warmer than 55 or so. Added to the lower than normal temperatures, my weight loss has also taken away a layer of insulation—so I have been struggling with cold hands and feet, almost continually. It takes me several minutes to warm up when I go to bed at night even though I’m wearing long pajamas and socks. Anyway, this day is a challenge. The children stay warm of course, with their little hummingbird metabolisms, running and playing. I have my coat hood tightened up and wool scarf over my nose and mouth, but my hands are numb with cold. This is a beautiful park at the foot of a mountain, and I wish I could enjoy it more. The wind provides perfect conditions for kite flying and I enjoy the sight of children and teachers running to get their crafts aloft. Many succeed. At lunchtime Jecky sees my obvious discomfort and suggests we leave—and he gets no objection from me.
He takes me to a noodle cafe for a bowl of steaming soup and hot tea before we head back to Favorview. My hands warm up instantly and I am revived. I will be doing my first teacher training session after school this afternoon, so this extra time for preparation is a good thing.
At 5:00 the teachers meet in one of the classrooms at the kindergarten. I compiled the list of skills the teachers wanted to improve during the one-on-one interviews when I first arrived and created a schedule for teacher training the next four months based on those requests. Our topic for today is helping children be more creative and independent learners. We have a great time working together in small groups recreating our earliest nature experience using a variety of art materials. I am already so impressed with the imaginative and clever ways the teachers have chosen to illustrate their stories. Working with a translator cuts my teaching time in half, but I feel satisfied that we have covered the basics of our topic. We will continue this discussion next week.
Today’s Insight: I already love these teachers, even though we’ve just become acquainted. I feel like I’ve known them much longer and look forward to every day’s opportunities to know them better. They inspire me!