Yesterday I wrote about Mr Li, the English teacher stuttering he was so excited to meet a foreigner.
But this is China. Passerby, seeing me, will loudly announce, “foreigner!” Strangers stare and point, kids sometimes cry out in horror. Once, on seeing me, a migrant worker dropped everything he was carrying. Wide eyes (his, I mean — mine always are), gaping mouth, a look of pure shock on his face.
And so, pretty often, I’m asked to pose for pictures. “Can you stand with my parents?” “…with my girlfriend?” “…hold my baby for this one?” I mean, I know I’m pretty, but this is just weird.
“Thank god you’re here,” my pal Blake said, the other day. “I’ve posed for like a dozen pictures already.”
I rarely think to pull out my camera and record the fun… But every so often I do!
Where do these pictures end up? On their mantelpieces? Albums? Sina blogs? Am I touted as their new best friend, or forgotten and shoved in a drawer somewhere? Are stories told about me? Or was this all just a chance to stand beside a foreigner?
The lovely Ember Swift has a song about the phenomenon. “我不只是一个老外，我不是那么奇怪，只是一个人！” (I’m not just a foreigner. I’m not that strange. I’m just a person!) Come see her at her Sept 2nd album release show, at Dos Kolegas, and hear it in person… she’s great.
Ironically, right before this went live, I read the _exact_ same post on Sticky Pikelet. Now that’s embarrassing!