Dr. Lomino in China: February 6
February 6: I Meet The Boss
The apartment is located in Favorview Palace—a gated, upscale community with gardens everywhere and many people. My guess is that the number of apartments is in the thousands. I am on the fourth floor and the balcony looks out on the garden paths below. In the evenings the air is filled with voices—yelling, laughing and talking. It seems like the whole neighborhood is out walking. This is a wonderful thing unless you are trying desperately to get some sleep! Fortunately I brought ear plugs along on the flight, so they have been useful. I had a reasonable sleep last night, but awoke tired. It will take awhile to adjust. Since yesterday I made a list of other items that I need, so another shopping trip will be necessary. The good news is that the airline contacted Jecky and will be bringing my suitcase today.
So the plan for today is to visit the headquarters of Lions Education and then visit the school. We take the bus and the Metro to get to the International Finance Center in Zhejiang New Town where the main office is located. Again, huge is the operative word. The building is enormous. The office is on the thirty-third floor, and is actually a suite of offices with over 70 employees! I had no idea the company was this large. It is good to finally meet Stacey Li, who has been my liaison throughout the application and hiring process. She and I Skyped several times and emailed countless messages. Her friendly smile is so nice to see in person. We spend about an hour talking while enjoying the view of Guangzhou and the Pearl River below, through a wall of large floor to ceiling windows. Right before we leave, Danny, the CEO walks in, so I am able to meet him also in person. I give him a gift — a Cracker Barrel Pecan Roll (I wanted to give something made in TN) and a photo of the Wauhatchie School Forest Kindergarten children and their teachers. He seems very pleased.
After a trip back to Favorview, we take the 10-minute walk from the apartment to the school. The facility is beautiful, modern and fully-equipped. It is still vacation, so children are not here, but many of the teachers are to plan and prepare for school next week. About 50 children are enrolled in the Kindergarten program and they stay all day. Forest Kindergarten takes place once or twice a week, at their private forest site, but the children stay outside the whole day. I will be visiting the FK site next week.
I am impressed by the staff. There are I think 15 teachers and several bodyguards (for security since many of the children are from very wealthy families.) Three teachers are international: an American from Pennsylvania, a Dane and a Brit. I look forward to getting better acquainted with everyone in the days to come.
My suitcase arrived, and now I will be able to settle in. Life is good.
Today’s insight: I saw an ultra-modern city today, with the soaring skyscrapers and the latest technology—this is the face of Guangzhou on the internet and in glossy travel magazines. I am anxious to visit the historic and less advantaged areas of the city, where many of the 13 million inhabitants live and work.