Beijing Grand Opening: Days Five and Six
I recently read somewhere that the pollution in Beijing is 16 times worse than it is in New York City and that it is unusual to see deep blue skies here. If that is the case, boy did I get lucky today. The sky was as blue as blue skies can get and it was a warm 84 degrees with absolutely no humidity. It was the perfect spring day in Beijing and I was very fortunate to be here to experience it. While most of you were going to sleep, our day at Romp n’ Roll, Beijing was just beginning. With a van packed with equipment and an army of 14 (both staff and sales people) we hosted an event at a local, very large, upscale community.
The event started at 8:30 am and ended two and half hours later with approximately 120 families being introduced to Romp n’ Roll for the very first time. I am happy to report, but not surprised, that there was not one child without a big smile on his or her face. Miss Jill, Mrs. Clare, Miss Herbie and Miss Nana led the children through a variety of activities like parachute, music circle, airlog, and story time. In another area children were painting, stamping, and coloring self-designed t-shirts. Big Rompy made a special appearance to the delight of everyone (especially the little boy who held on tight to his tail and followed him everywhere he went). In my head, I couldn’t help but singing “and everywhere that Rompy went, Rompy went, Rompy went, everywhere that Rompy went that boy was sure to go” to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb, of course.
We arrived back at Romp n’ Roll around noon to get ready for the preview classes. Since I didn’t write a blog yesterday, let it be known that the preview classes went well. It is an interesting organizational dynamic having a sales force. It was let known to me that they don’t want to bring too many families in until all the instructors move from good to amazing. The conundrum is that instructors will become more amazing with each class they teach so it is a vicious circle that Luyin and I are working through. The Princess class was magical and the gym classes were executed very well.
I learned that Kindergarten starts at age three in Beijing so the mentality of the Chinese people is strict education at an early age. The big challenge for Luyin and his staff is to help the parents understand the power of play. We need to educate the parents that when their children experience our program, they are working on their logical thinking, problem solving skills, imagination, and confidence. All these things are just as important, if not more important than the structured learning they are receiving in the classroom.
On another note, I have enjoyed my ten-minute walks to work everyday. In addition to the many rose gardens well placed throughout the city (yes, I do stop to smell the roses here), I am not able to call anyone so I actually get to enjoy my surroundings and give myself time to complete a thought which in turn brings me a wonderful sense of peace. When I get home I may have to adopt a new no cell phone rule when driving to work in the morning. Ok, who am I kidding?!
The pinnacle of happiness came today as I stumbled across a bakery called Paris Baguette and scored a super yummy, all American Tuna salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a multigrain baguette. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Chinese food but too much of a good thing…
A quick funny story before I end this blog. As I was walking to work yesterday, I passed two young men, who stopped talking once they saw me. They smiled politely and in their best effort and with much enthusiasm, exclaimed “Hola!”. My smile back was even bigger than theirs as I held back my belly laugh. I replied with an emphatic “hello”. They both froze for just a minute with wonderment, followed by the light bulb moment, immediately followed with an “ah, oh…. Hello!” It was a precious moment that kept a smile on my face for the rest of my walk.
Tomorrow, Monday, Romp n’ Roll is closed and I have a chance to do some sight seeing. Hmmmm, what site will I choose? Happy Memorial Day! Please someone, everyone, enjoy a hot dog, hamburger and some potato salad on my behalf.