An American Abroad

Children’s Day

In the States we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but in China they celebrate Children’s Day. Shane English Yuxi marked the occasion by cancelling classes last Sunday and having and an offsite party.

The event was held at a hot springs park near Yuxi.

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Considering it was a highly structured event that was put together by an outside firm, I had a surprisingly good time. The games we played were fun and inventive and involved the adults as well as the kids. There was some attempt at moralizing, however, about respecting your parents and keeping yourself “clean.”

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One segment I enjoyed was the sending of wishes into the sky. Each group of a dozen people got a paper hot-air balloon and some traditional Chinese Post-It notes. We wrote our wishes on the Post-Its and stuck them to the balloon. Inside the balloon was a light metal frame, at the base of which was a small square of paraffin. When our wishes were all written, we lit the paraffin on fire. The flame warmed the air inside the balloon. After about five minutes, it was hot enough to fly and we let it go. It rose up into the sky and flew away in the breeze.

There were other people at the hot springs, including a rather ragged troop of what I assume was some kind of JROTC organization. Somehow the plastic guns and the red Converse All-Stars made the junior soldiers look less than fearsome.

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After a shaokao (barbeque) lunch, I excused myself and headed back to town. I had a plane to catch to Kuala Lumpur later that day.

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