Patriotic Music Concert

On October 30th, the school held its annual traditional/patriotic music concert on the playground behind the school. October is “National Month” and this concert is designed to encourage the children to express how they love their country. The concert was held during school hours. The audience was the children, the teachers and administrative staff, and several neighbors who peered through the fence with interest.

Each class sang the national anthem, which they do every morning during the flag-raising ceremony, and one additional song. Some of the performances are quite charming and accompanied by choreographed movement. I really enjoyed the concert and I think the video below will show you why. A patriotic music concert is the kind of event that some westerners might cynically dismiss as an attempt to indoctrinate the children with government party line. But that’s not the feeling I get being here. Rather, I think it was quite special and it reminded me of my own primary school days when we sang “God Bless America” regularly and recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Learning that we are all part of something larger than ourselves is an extremely valuable lesson.

As my adventure nears its end, my growing excitement about returning home is paired with a growing impatience with some of the things that I don’t like about living here. Things like the incessant horn-honking and the widespread cigarette smoking (even in the teachers’ office) are more annoying than they were earlier in my stay. When my adventure ends on December 2nd, I will be ready to come home. But, as I put this video together and I watched the animated, beautiful little faces of the children I’ve come to know and love, I realized that it is going to be difficult to leave. I know I have given these kids a gift by being here to encourage them in their quest to learn English. But they have given me a much greater gift in the love they have shown me in so many ways.

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