Monday, January 09, 2006

Flannel-esque tongue and school musings

I'm sick today. A few shots of tequila certainly helped get rid of the aching pain in the back of my throat, however, I can't seem to get rid of the fuzzy gross feel my tongue possesses even with frequent tooth brushing and liters of water. Unfortunately, I'm stuck at work clickety clacking away at items of actual importance. Oh the timing. I'm sure the gods are smiting me for slacking off last week when I was healthy.

On a totally unrelated note, I was thinking about my kindergarten school after filling out one of those useless LJ memes that are meant to pad your journal with trivial questions and quizzes. I suppose it wasn't all that useless because this is somewhat an interesting topic of note. I went to kindergarten in Taipei, Taiwan. That in of itself isn't particularly odd; however the circumstances and the school itself were a little strange.

To back track a little, my grandmother was incredibly ill and my mother had to fly back to take care of her. Due to the lovely harsh relationship with my dad, and the fact that he had gotten into a physical brawl with her recently, this gave my mother the perfect reason to go back to her home country and bring her children along. Somehow she had it in her mind that it would be detrimental if I didn't attend kindergarten that year (I was 5) and that somehow the government wouldn't allow me to attend grade school if I didn't "graduate" from kindergarten. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no one is legally obligated to attend school right?

Anyhow, she figured it be best if I attended school with my "own kind." In her mind, that meant English speaking American Citizens. Unfortunately, the American academies were filled that year, so I was stuck at a British institution--and a Catholic one at that (Grace Christian Academy to be exact). Now, I'm not Catholic and I also had never really heard a British accent before (remember, I was only 5). Furthermore, it seemed like there weren't many openings in Taipei, because it seemed like we had every freaking nationality known to man compressed in that little school house. That's in retrospect. At the time, I kept thinking to myself "Why does everyone sound funny?"

The convenient thing was yes, we could all speak to each other in English. However, we all had our own accents. There were German kids, Dutch kids, kids from France, Japanese children (I think they thought I was Japanese at first because all my stationary has Japanese stickers on it). Remember meeting a gal from South Africa. "Why aren't you black?" I asked her. She was confused. "Why would I need to be?"

Even more amusing was that everyone could speak some degree of mandarin. I had a lovely and tall Indian lady as my morning teacher and I found it incredibly amusing that she could speak Chinese. It just seemed to incongruous to me at the time, but now I just find it sad that most people in the US are not bi or tri lingual like the kids I knew from kindergarten.

All in all, it was a great experience. It cultured me at a young age and exposed me to different types of people. Furthermore, the program was accelerated, so that by the time I came back to the states, I was 2 years ahead in mathematics. Unfortunately, because my reading level was normal, the school I attended in Houston decided it would be better to let my brain rot in math class for a while by keeping me in my normal grade. Go USA. :P

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Blogger sarah said...

i think kindergarten isn't mandatory, but everything after it is.

and now i know why you're so good at math while the rest of us suck. :)

i totally agree that americans should know more than one language and it's sad that most don't. another unfortunate result of living on a big island away from the rest of the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  
Blogger cchang said... one and only eblogger buddy. LOL. Sorry, I just crack up that you're basically my only audience. I have yet to tell anyone about this blog.

The school itself was cool. We had a craft project to decorate paper gingerbread men and then they took us to a cookie factory where we could see and decorate realy gingerbread men! Back in the states, my only plant visit was to a sugar factory. How boring is that?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  
Blogger sarah said...

hehe. that's what happens when you live in a city whose industry is sugar. :)

i got to visit a bluebell factory on a class trip when i lived in clear lake. ice cream for a bunch of first graders was great.
a cookie factory field trip sounds fun, too.

if you tell people about your blog they'll probably read it. as in, if you call them they will come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  
Blogger Monica said...

haha!!! but then sometimes people find you anyway!!!
Then they create new blogs and follow you around!


oh just ADD me. you know you want to.

Friday, January 13, 2006  
Blogger cchang said...

Very funny. It doesn't work that way on blogger. That's the beauty of it. No one is "added" hence the nice CLEAN look.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006  

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