Today was the first day back to work after the Chinese New Year holiday. I had most of my kids and thankfully, they were all well behaved today! My morning started with a parent who gave me a red envelope. Now, this is nothing close to getting a pink slip. It is Chinese tradition to give money in red envelopes as a gift during the new year holiday. Single people are supposed to get them and if you give to someone married, you are supposed to give to them in the name of their child(ren). I had not been given any gifts from my local parents prior to departing to break, and I was not expecting any, especially upon returning. But, there it was today - a red envelope for me.
The day progressed well (as I mentioned, kids were being good!), and about lunch time, I had a chance to look at my gift. I was shocked. The amount was way more than I would have ever guessed. Now, it wasn't out of the ordinary for that amount to be given to me by my brother for birthdays, but we are here, and this person is not family. I was in utter disbelief. At the end of the day, another parent gave me an envelope. This time, the amount was something what I thought would seem average. I was still very grateful. I thanked both parents graciously (of course, separately). I am forever in awe when I am welcomed into a cultural exchange and shown appreciation for what I do. I am grateful that I have the relationships with parents that I do.
Now, the icing on the cake will be if the kids are good the rest of the week. Heck, I'll even take two days in a row. I need some time to get back into the "I said don't do that!" state of mind. :)