I just watched the debut episode of Ni Hao Kai Lan. For those not tuned into the kid's TV world, it's an animated kid's show much anticipated by the China adoption community.
No! Kai Lan!
The first thing I noticed were her eyeballs. Those oblong oval eyeballs. It's a popular style in the Japanimae world, but just doesn't say Chinese to me. I had a hard time getting past that HUGE space between Kai Lan's eyes. Especially on our big screen TV. That space could be for rent. Sell some ads. Corporate sponsorships.
The second thing I noticed was the voice over. Of course I noticed the voice over! Kai Lan has a Midwestern accent! And sure enough, the little girl who plays her is from Wisconsin. I have a link to an article about her that I'm sure my China moms out there would find interesting, complete with a picture of the little voice over talent, who was adopted from China. Love that! Read her fascinating story.
It's very much like Dora, except with Mandarin instead of Spanish. I was hoping for a departure from the Dora formula, and hope the show grows into its own in time.
Best of all, no yelling! I know Dora is outside for most of the episodes but just wish she'd use her inside voice.
Today I went to Boo's school to teach the kids about Chinese New Year. Yeah, like I'm the expert? Adopt a kid from China and suddenly I'm Miz Culture. You know what? It's the Midwest and they're four. Barney could be in front of them talking about Chinese New Year for all they care about experts.
Boo and I wore our Chinese dresses, which is a very American thing to do. Especially Boo's dress. It's frilly and poofy like a tutu on the bottom and traditional Chinese in pattern on the top. And it's PINK! That style dress can be seen at the shops that cater to the China adoption crowd in Guangzhou. Get further into the city and you can't find them anywhere. So yeah, totally for the Americans and way too cute to pass up. I should have bought them in every color!
When Boo arrived at school and took off her coat, the girls oohed and ahhed and said, "You're a princess!" She got permission to wear the dress all day instead of her uniform, which I thought was really nice of her teachers. I arrived in the afternoon with a bowl full of oranges for snack. I found out the kids made dragon masks in art earlier in the day. Together we made kites. Then the teacher got the idea we should have a parade. The principal agreed, so we lined up the kids and told them to wave their masks and kites and to be loud like dragons and rooooooar!
The kids lined up perfectly and quietly entered the first kindergarten class with their eyes to the floor, silent as little mice. I stopped them and said, "Come on! Let's ROAR like dragons and stomp our feet!" The kids gave me a doubtful look. I assured them it was ok, we could go crazy! THat's when they let loose. We stomped our feet through the hallways and yelled and roared and Ni Hao'ed our way through the entire school.
I hope I get to be Chinese New Year room mother every year!