Cross-Cultural Exchanges

Once upon a time, while I was going to school in a castle in England, I volunteered at the Herstmonceux Village Preschool (in part to fulfill the social outreach component of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, and in part because toddlers are hilarious).

My job was to help with snack time, clean up, and playing. Some days, we sang, and one time–only once, mind you–I was responsible for flash cards.

When we sang songs, I was at a loss much of the time. We were supposed to sing along and go through the motions of each song, but the lyrics were crazy!

Early in the Morning
(to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush”)
This is the way we put on our trousers,
Put on our trousers, put on our trousers.
This is the way we put on our trousers,
Early in the morning.

This is the way we put on our jumper,
Put on our jumper, put on our jumper.
This is the way we put on our jumper,
Early in the morning.

I figured out trousers pretty quickly, but I did not know what gestures to do for jumper. Apparently a jumper is a sweater, so there you go. I was schooled by some toddlers.

On the day I was in charge of flashcards, I was supposed to ask them to identify the symbols on the cards so they could improve their  vocabularies in preparation for kindergarten. I showed them a picture that looked like this:

When I said “What’s this?” they all shouted “That’s a lorry!” in their cute British way.

And, without even thinking about it or missing a beat, I automatically replied: “No, it’s not. It’s a truck.”

I was a belligerent First Year student, they were some confused toddlers, and I was put back on juice duty.

You know what they say – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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4 Responses to Cross-Cultural Exchanges

  1. K. Murphy says:

    This story makes me laugh out loud every time you tell it. It’s one of my favorites. LB has a little British toddler friend at the sandbox… one of these days he’s gonna come home and tell me that we need to get on the “lift” to get up to the second floor and that his stroller is a “buggy” or “pram” or something…

  2. A Yuen says:

    Cute story! My boss still corrects my writing sometimes, especially if addressed to “British audiences.” (E.g. not “fall” but “autumn.” Argh)

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