(This post was originally written Dec. 2007)
“It’s all about the kids, man. It’s all about the kids.”-ODB
If someone would have told me ten years ago that I would be married, with two kids, and living in Taipei, Taiwan I would have gazed at that person for a long time wondering if they were ok. Fast forward 10 years later and I am living the aforementioned life and enjoying it.
A few Fridays ago, I found myself in a modest two story building that serves as a school house/orphanage overlooking a park and mountains in Taipei, Taiwan on a Friday night and I didn’t want to be anywhere else. It was Miles’ Christmas pageant at his local Chinese preschool and it was requested that all families attend. This was my first Christmas pageant as a parent and I am well aware that there will be countless others to attend. But, one never forgets the first one and I had been looking forward to it all day. On this evening, Miles’ teachers also wanted to make sure that Evan would be in attendance since he is an unofficial member of the school since he is always there playing when we take Miles to and from school.
The party began in a pretty big upstairs room with a variety of food. I ate prior to the party just in case there was nothing good to eat. Miles seems to get on well with all of his classmates, but he has one classroom sweetheart (That’s my boy) a cute little Taiwanese girl named Jompaylo (sp?) There was a stretch for awhile where Miles would come home from school and just mention Jompaylo and I believe that Jompaylo did the same at her house. Therefore, I was curious to meet Jompaylo and her grandparents who bring her to school and I soon found out that they were curious to meet Miles. The minute Miles enters school in the morning Jompaylo is the first one to greet him. And she looks at either Eleanor or I with a suspicious eye. She seems protective of Miles and it’s cute to watch. I met Jompaylo and her grandparents sometime ago. So, just before dinner, Jompaylo’s grandfather approaches Miles with a big smile and begins speaking to Miles in Chinese, Miles replies and they begin having a conversation. I’m looking at the two of them amazed and not understanding a word either one of them is saying and I said to myself, “This is the reason Miles attends a local school in Chinese instruction.” (Jompaylo is in the pink outfit)
After dinner, one of the teachers who served as the lead MC for the evening, took to the mic and the evening began. It’s strikes me as funny how in Asia, no matter how small the setting, someone seems to be on a microphone. In some regards, Asia is so quiet and serene and in others it just a cacophony of sounds.
The MC made sure everyone participated and made sure the atmosphere was a light and joyous one. Kids and parents engaged in variety of games, made gingerbread houses, and danced. It was a lot of fun and the 2 to 2 and a half hours we were there passed by somewhat quickly. What was neat for me to witness was that this was Miles’ school. This is his domain. Anytime Miles wanted to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, or just get out of the crowded, noisy, party room he quickly and confidently would take my hand, look at me and say, “Daddy, let’s go! I want to show you something.” Then, boom, we were off; descending down a flight of stairs at Milespeed. Miles was in control, knowing in which nook his cup was hung up to get his water. Knowing where to get certain items when called upon and properly returning them without any prompting from dad (Now if he would only do this at home). I enjoyed watching Miles in his element as much as the party. Seeing Miles operate just added to my sense of happiness regarding the whole evening.
Before I knew it, the party was over and all of our neighbors, friends, and Miles’ classmates were heading out to walk to our homes. Eleanor and I took the boys home, left them with their babysitter, and got together with a good friend with whom we cancelled dinner plans, but were still able to get together so that we could enjoy Miles’ school pageant without feeling rushed because on this evening it was truly about the kids.
It is all about the kids and this why I found myself in a school house/orphanage overlooking a park in Taipei, Taiwan on a Friday night and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.