One Month of School: We Survived!
Given our opening day experience, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that we'd make it to the one-month mark. We knew that moving from an idyllic Palo Alto school to an all-Chinese school in Beijing would be a big adjustment, but there's a difference between knowing that, and actually living it!
Luckily, the girls have been remarkably resilient and generally up-beat. Yes, we have our hard days, when getting up and venturing back into a strange school seems impossible. But those days are very much the exception -- the girls have figured out where the bathrooms are, and how the daily schedule works. They've started to make friends, and figure out their homework.
Best of all, they are already speaking a great deal of Chinese, and understanding even more. In 30 days! As an example, my favorite comment from the first week: "and then there was art class, or maybe it was science class. I couldn't really tell." Less than 30 days later, Sami jumped into a cab and gave directions, in Chinese, to the driver; later that evening, Miranda corrected my pronounciation of something. :)
But rather than read what I think about their experiences, we thought it would be more fun to let the girls tell you themselves. We experimented with a cool new digital tape recorder, and taped the girls' answers to five simple questions about their first month at the Fang Cao Di school:
The audio clips (each is about 4-5 minutes) should play on your computer automatically by simply clicking for Miranda's answers or Sami's answers. (For the geeks, the files are compressed with MPEG-3 in WAV format and are about 2MB each.)
If you have trouble making this work, please let me know by sending me an email with what kind of computer you're using, what operating system it uses, and what music player your computer tried to use. Click here to send me an email.