Dear Granny Aupair-Team,
once again many greetings from the city of superlatives, from the pearl of the orient, from Shanghai.
Even after one year the city impresses me by the abundance and variety of opportunities. There is really nothing that does not exist here.
This time around I am living with a very nice Chinese family in the elegant "Seasons-Villas-compound" including a gym, pool, various outdoor sports facilities and two shopping centres where one can even purchase rye bread and German donuts. The families living here come from all over the world and are mostly bi-national, German, French, Russian, Turkish, Arabian, Chinese. Surprisingly, there is no communication difficulty among each other, because everyone is multilingual or at least can chat in English.
The parent of "my" family, both of Chinese descent, both studied in Germany and they want to keep the language and culture of this country alive with a Granny from Germany.
Chinese is mostly spoken within the family but also English and German. Daddy is General Manager at Continental and the mother is still at home.
Lukas, 3 years old, a sweet little boy, knows exactly what he wants. He is going to the international Kindergarten "Harrow" since September and is very proud of his new, smart school uniform with the biiiig satchel.
There are no toys like cars, dolls or teddies in his new kindergarten or class room. Instead you find a lot of didactic material on the tables.
On one wall you find the print and joined up writing letters of the English alphabet, another wall is full of geometric figures, labeled with English names, and on the third wall, the numbers up to 100 are featured in writing and pictures.
This looks like a classroom of the first graders in Germany.
Remember, this is the group room of the three-year-olds!
The long hall is filled with comfortable reading sofas with shelves of numerous books sorted by age group and topics. Next door just Next door only separated by a glass passage, is the epynomous school owhere the pupils are taught until graduation.
Kindergarten and school are all-day facilities until 4pm.
I am living in an all-Chinese family for the first time, which also includes a so-called A-i. All housekeepers are called this. She cooks, does the washing and the whole household. She is a pearl. Even though we can only communicate by using "hands and feet" we are on a wavelenght. Her cooking is delicious, I love it.
Every year the "Golden Week" begins on October 1st with the Chinese National Day. It is one of the largest festivals in China, with the New Year. Everything on legs is on the move. The city dwellers escape to their relations in the country or abroad and the country dwellers are drawn to the metropolis, like Beijing or Shanghai.
My family invited me to a boat trip to Japan. Unfortunately I was not able to accept the invitiation, as my three month visa only allowed a one time entry to China. I looked after the house in that time, and visited the Jade-Buddha-Temple, the panda family in the reservation and my former Sophia-family. I am also often on the go with Granny Ruth, who is also with a nice family in Shanghai. How quickly time passes! The half way mark will be reached at the weekend.
When one travels to an Asian country it is important to leave ones own ideas about life at home and to try and understand the "native customs". Which I now do better and better.
In the beginning I often blew my nose in public, I now do this without an "audience". I am allowed to sneeze, burp, eat noisily and spit in public, but do I want to do this? The top priority is to save the other's face. It is impolite to say NO, instead one maintains silence. A child's head is a holy body part in the Buddistic belief, so that one should not stroke a child's head. I have to remember this.
Visiting other families I take off my shoes at the entry, even if I have a hole in my sock. And when eating one leaves a bit on the plate.
At the moment we have lovely "autumn" weather with 26 to 28 degrees celsius. THese hot days in October are called Tiger Autumn. I would prefer rather cooler temperatures, but winter is now slowly coming.
Many greetings from Evelyn once again.