When it comes to different cultural practices, the devil is in the details. The kindergarten instructs parents to include 2 towels in the child’s backpack. Ever the obedient parent, I managed to squeeze two bath towels into Jie-jie’s backpack but there wasn’t much room for anything else. It was easily 2 months before I put it all together and realized that I was sending the wrong towels.
Here in Guangzhou, children wear hand towels under their shirts and down their backs. That way, the thinking goes, when the kids sweat, the towel gets wet instead of their shirt. You remove the soiled towel and, voila, you have a child who is not in danger of catching a chill and a shirt that does not need to be laundered. This is also a less expensive than purchasing separate workout clothing. I have noticed that, even in hotels, many Chinese workout in everyday clothing.
I have no idea what Jie-jie’s teachers did during exercise periods before I caught on and sent the correct towels.
If you look at the kids backs in this picture, you can see the tops of the towels. I thought it was the oddest thing when I first noticed it.