Thursday, December 21, 2006

Things you learn at school

In England, instead of having a tree at Christmas, they hang a large bunch of mistletoe on the ceiling.

That's what I learned last night at Bogi's class Christmas "show" (them singing songs and reading out facts like the one above).

Still, we got mulled wine when it was done, which is something that we never got when she was at kindergarten - school is obviously much more serious.

The kids also all got large presents, which consisted of boxes full of various toys, soap, and stationery all of which came from places like Sainsburys, Asda, and Superdrug (British shops, basically). When I investigated the source of these parcels it turned out that one of the kids' parents is Baptist and the parcels had come from some kind of international baptist church charity project. I have this image of well-meaning and caring people in the UK somewhere, shopping madly to try and put together a box of treats for children in poor isolated desperate Romania (that soon-to-be EU member). Still, the kids were delighted with them.


Neil said...

Hi Andy

just saw your post - interesting to hear of perceptions of people in UK! - We DO have Christmas Trees! The Boxes of presents sound like the ones that millions of people in this country (of many faiths) help put together - over 7 million were sent to needy children around the world this year. Its good to hear that the children appreciate them.
With Very Best Wishes from the UK.


Irina said...

Hi Andy,

Ha-ha-ha (that was me, laughing my rear end off); and what did they send? Tins of baked beans from ASDA? Sorry if I'm sarcastic - I know there are many children in need, but I think that's something our civil society has to take care of. And even if things are far from perfect, no help from the outside will ever solve the issues. I also know that the good people buying and sending the presents feel they are being good Christians (as in they behave in a morally correct way), but it this particular case it seems just a condescending gesture showing how little they know about Romania.
I've got a question for you: how much did you know about this country before you came here? I'm asking because I was absolutely puzzled to see that for the above than average Englishman/woman two years ago Romania was just a white spot on the map...

Merry Christmas and we'll talk next week.

Andy H said...

Hi Neil

I am aware of the trees in the UK (I'm English too). I was commenting on it because of it's lack of basis in reality.

Irina: Not a huge amount. I knew about the Ceausescus, Ilie Nastase, Nadia Comaneci, Gheorghe Hagi, orphanages, and of course Dracula. Basically sport and a little politics. I could probably have located it on a map. But aside from that and the names of some cities and the principle mountain range, not really a great deal. And, scarily I reckon I'm probably quite well informed for my country.

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