Time For a Nap睡午觉
Taking a long lunch break including a nap is common in a number of Mediterranean, tropical, and subtropical countries. In the United States, the United Kingdom, and a growing number of other countries, a short sleep has been referred to as a "power nap", a term coined by Cornell University social psychologist James Maas and recognized by popular press.
In my small, rural city in northern China, there are about 40-50 expats swallowed in a sea of half a million souls. When I lived in South Korea, I was a part of a seething tide of foreigners. I seldom walked nd down the street without seeing an unfamiliar foreign face.
It’s impressive that in a place of similar size I can walk around the campus where I work as an English teacher and not see one. When I arrived in Korea I was excited, nervous, and a little disoriented, and took the up the reigns to a promising new career molding the minds of future leaders.
There were adjustments to make but after a few weeks it got easier. After wanting something (for want of a better word) different, I shifted to China, an experience that has been stretching, but the bruises have helped me appreciate the cultural differences between the two nations.
Korean students are busy; they are always doing something. In bigger cities in China I hear it’s not notably different, but my students here in Jilin are ardent in their appreciation for naps. Our school gives somewhere around 2-3 hours for a lunch break, and I quickly learned those hours are intended for a long, mid-day nap.
The students race to the canteen and scurry back to their dorms for a siesta. They complain fiercely when they are prevented from a planned nap. They inquire expectantly about the quality of my own naps.
Both Korea and China have economies built on speed. People are busy and life is stressful. Both nations place their hopes on the education of their children, and both struggle to serve that goal while caring for the students’ overall well being.
My experience has been that while not every student makes it out unscathed, at least students here are being encouraged to rest. In a society roaring into the future, ancient rhythms have yet to be snuffed out. For the students, I hope they never are. As for me, I’ll just enjoy the naps.