Early in our stay we were obligated to get medical examinations. As required of Chinese schoolchildren annually, Jie Jie later had a similar but less involved examination. The examination was interesting. Instead of having an appointment with a doctor, you arrived, filled out the forms and paid the fee, and then traveled to a different building where you went from medical station to station. You walked into one room for your weight and height, went to another for your blood pressure, blood draw, etc. It was a model strikingly different from the one I was used to – being led into an examination room and then visited in turn by the nurses, and doctor. When I brought Mei Mei to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, the experience was similar, the nurse fetched me from the waiting room, brought me to her office to fill out paper work and get vital statistics. Then I went to the doctor in his office. In other words, the patient travels much more than in the U.S.
This morning it dawned on me that meals are served differently in schools here, too, but the difference works in the opposite direction. In the kindergarten, there is no cafeteria. Meals are prepared in a central kitchen. Teachers go to the kitchen and pick up giant covered stainless steel buckets of hot food and a tray of sterilized stainlees steel bowls and spoons. The teacher carries the food back to the room and the children sit in their seats to eat while the teacher serves them. Breakfast and lunch usually consist of rice congee or noodles in broth with a small amount of meat and vegetables. Snack is often the same but can also be a slice of bread, steamed roll, etc. Both meals include fresh fruit. In general children stick to their classroom. If they go to the exercise area or to the music/dance room, they travel together and their teacher leads the activity (with the exception of English class which is taught by an English teacher).