Walking While Eating Noodles
Walking While Eating Noodles

Yichang Kindergarten

Christmas party 2013

The year before, in 2012, I didn't attend the Xmas event because of the hush-hush nature of the part-time work.

With the new government leadership, a crackdown was put in place on foreigners working for multiple dan wei, or work units. Companies need a special certification to hire foreigners and help them obtain work visas. Previously companies that didn't or couldn't obtain the coveted certification would hire foreigners part-time directly or through partnerships. 

Also, Xmas eve was a Monday, my day off. Xmas day I had a half day at the small kindergarten and an afternoon at the lesser of the two big ones.

On my second year, there was a bigger party. I dressed as Santa and spent the morning at one of the campuses and then I spent the afternoon at the other campus. The school classrooms were set up as different workstations, crafts, food, games.

My job was to walk around to different rooms and greet the children. They all knew me as their once-a-week foreign teacher. I had become very popular and my entrance was met with cheers. 

My assistant dressed as Mrs. Claus. I handed her my Canon 7d DSLR and let her get shots of me with the kids. She was new to the school and only 19 years old. She had not experience with photography except for selfies on her phone. She claimed to have no experience with a DSLR camera but the resulting shots contradicted her claim. The timing and compositions were consistently good. She might have just been a naturally good photographer. Either way, it is typical that I do not have so many good shots with me as the subject.