The first time we went to China was when you were 23 months and by the time you reached 2 years old, you were already in school. Kid Castle was your very first school which taught English to local Chinese kids. I put you there so that you can adjust to a Chinese school environment and yet when you go looking for “Mama” in English, your teachers can attend to you because they understand you. You were only there for the summer and when September 2007 came, Chinese school year opened and you were enrolled in our village’s kindergarten, Jindu Kindergarted. In both schools, you cried very hard each time I left you with your teachers for the first few weeks. I cried too son. It was heart breaking for me to leave you in your teacher’s care, however, it was something that needed to be done. Sometimes I would watch you from afar and pray to God to keep you safe… I’d ask your teachers how you did and they’d say, at the beginning, you didn’t mingle much with your classmates because you didn’t know their language so you always chatted with your teachers because they know a little English. But after a few months, you blended just fine and would even fight with the local kids- in full Chinese language. That made me see how fast you learned Chinese. It wasn’t perfect yet, according to your papa, but you already expressed yourself well. I even made you interpreter at times!
February 2009 came and we had to go back to our hometown, Bacolod City, because I was about to give birth to your sister. You attended The School for Creative Beginners. They still accepted you even if it was almost the end of the school year because when they assessed your skills, you were advanced. I love that school. I taught there for a few months back in 2002 and I learned a lot about Multiple Intelligence so I made sure you enrolled there. You would ask your teachers questions like: “Why are you so fat?” haha! You didn’t know how to speak Ilonggo then so your questions sounded funny and cute because of your accent.
June 2009 came and we decided to enroll you in Trinity Christian School because your papa, along with the many LO’s, graduated in that school. They had Chinese classes but it was in Fookien and not the Chinese that you knew which was Mandarin. At age 4, you were supposed to be in the Nursery class, however, when you were assessed by teachers Greace and Edna, your level was already for the Kinder 1 level and they even told me that if not for the Filipino class, they can put you to join Kinder 2. Throughout the school year your Ama Mary was your ever faithful tutor for Chinese and your lovely mom for English (ehm!). You had several academic awards in both subjects for each quarter and up until the school ended in March 2010. You made us so proud EJ…
Now we’re back in China and you have several languages with you – English, Ilonggo, a little Fookien and trying hard Filipino and Bisaya. But at first I was bothered because you almost totally forgot your Chinese (Mandarin) and you refused to learn when somebody taught you. I didn’t push you to learn it though but what I did, I showed you the advantages of speaking the language. Almost every night before we sleep, we would talk about it. But the bottomline is, you want to be like your papa who can speak English, Chinese and Filipino. I think you understood pretty well so when your tutor, teacher Sunshine, taught you, you responded well. Actually now as I’m writing this, you have your tutorial class with her. I would use the PSP as a reward if you can recite your Chinese words well when your papa comes home. That motivated you to memorize as much words as you can because the more you learn, the more time you have to play!
But of all the schools you’ve been to, your favorite is homeschool with your fantastic teacher – your mom. Is that me? haha… Yes son, I am so happy to tell you that you always say your favorite class is your class with me. Now that you’re 5 years old, I continue to be your teacher… And I will always be your teacher as long as God permits me and as long as you allow me to do so.
I love you EJ and I’m very proud of you!