In Yangon, this t-shirt might read, "...see my nanny for details."
Anyone moving to Yangon will benefit from getting to know the nannies of kids, as they often know the playdate circuit and can help get your child involved. Of course, talking to the parents will help, too. Just the nanny aspect was new to me, and I've learned getting to know them really helps, too, especially as I don't have a nanny for our child.
There's not a huge variety of nightlife or things to do in the evening. Not lots and lots of museums to visit or well maintained playgrounds in public parks for kids.
The quiet aspect of this place, I think, forces families to be a little more creative; the good thing about this is that there are an abundance of playdates available.
In fact, before we even arrived in Yangon, my five year old had playdate invites. How amazing is that? I had heard that the expat community here was small and very welcoming, but I didn't expect my daughter to have a social life already lined up before we boarded the plane.
We arrived at the end of the school year. Most expats seemed to pack-up for the summer (after all, it's the Monsoon season) and head off to different lands for holidays: the expat community dwindled to a very small size.
Still, my daughter was lucky that some of her classmates stuck around for the rains, giving us the opportunity to spend lots of time with other five year olds. Lots of playdates. And lots of opportunity to get to know other kids who are in the same boat.
Today, I hosted a playdate. There were nine five - six year olds at my house, two nannies, an Auntie, and me. Four of the children had never been to our house before and it was fun. I loved hearing all the pitter-pattering, screams, and squeals from these energetic girls. The house seemed to come alive as the girls roamed around.
The other thing I love about playdates is that it's like a mini-United Nations assembly in the house. Kids from nearly every continent were represented at my house today. Actually, the only exceptions were South America and Antarctica! That's beautiful.
Really, it's a special and a unique benefit - probably the greatest benefit - of living overseas. This was not lost on me today. Each time there's a playdate, I'm very much aware of this gift. And it alone will shape and change my daughter. All of us.
It's fun/interesting watching and listening to others interact from different cultures, even the adults. One Asian woman placed her arm next to an African woman's arm, comparing skin color. She said to the African woman, "If you eat a lot of fruit, you'll become light like me." I shook my head and told my African friend she better not eat any fruit since she's beautiful exactly the way she is. Later, when she was getting some pineapple from the table, I teasingly warned her not to eat any. Everyone laughed.
I didn't host as many playdates back in our home country as I have here, and certainly with not as many kids. I can't put my finger on it, but something about having playdates here is easy. I'm not sure if it's the house we have (more space to run around), or just the fact that this is *the* way to get kids to together and socialize. Or the fun, multicultural aspect.
OK. I admit that having a housekeeper to help prepare all the snacks and wash the dishes afterwards makes it a million times easier! I could've hugged D for doing as much as she did. Um. Well, I did hug her!
And, like I said: it's a privilege to host a mini-UN convention at my house every once in awhile. These kids are the future, aren't they?
Extra note for those of you planning to move to Yangon: please check out the google group, Yangon Expat Connection. It's the biggest source of info in town. You can join by emailing this address: firstname.lastname@example.org