I’m going to watch you watch me watch you watch me….

There are many ways the Chinese respond to seeing a foreigner like myself. You’ll most likely find yourself in a staring contest, to which I’ve become very good at, and intimidating as well. You have your ever-so-innocent laughing and pointing children yelling “Laowai, Mama, Laowaii!!” (“Laowai” means foreigner) It is for some as though an alien life force has landed among them and their jaw seems to hit the floor. (Can you blame them??? haha nah nah jk jk jk!!!) They might even walk a little closer to you to get a better look as though trying to see your pore size, unable to function any other part of their body amidst mind-boggling flabbergastion. (I think I just made that word up.) Most fumble for their phone in efforts to snap a pic to capture this moment as proof that people like me really do exist “and they’re here among us. Look!” I get random sentences in English like “How are you? I’m fine! hahaha” or “I’m going to the zoo today. hahahaha” The unfortunate part for them is that their accent jacks-up the sentence so badly it usually doesn’t register with me until they’re 10 meters behind me already. The funniest ones have been while I’m running or walking and the man (or woman) on the moped is staring so hard that as his eyes fixate on me and his path continues, he’s staring in the completely opposite direction he’s traveling, starts to veer into the oncoming traffic and almost dies. (or man walks into pole) This might be flattering anywhere else, but here, I’m no superstar or hot girl, just a phenomenon they’ve only seen on TV. Today, however, I had a little girl of about 10 yrs old, who was sitting in front of me at the coffee shop, turn to me and ask what time it was. How endearing! That takes guts!!! She was cute and I politely replied with a smile, “It’s 1:50.” I hope her mom was proud of her.

Today was my fasting-from-computer-and-apartment day. I woke up (30 min after alarm went off but still enough time to drink a cup of coffee and do my devos), worked out (clear day and not too chilly, perfect!), left the apartment (feeling like Amelia Earhart in my new black leather jacket with red scarf), went to church (to meet with churchmates AFTER their service for a small kine Bible study and encouragement), walked the entire city (with blisters to prove it), ate too much (I found a coffee shop AND a Subway! What??!!!), met another foreigner from London (who seems to hate it here), came home (and almost witnessed a death when the entire bus flew to the front b/c the driver slammed on his breaks for a pedestrian…one of these days I’m gong to video a ride to the store so you can have an idea of the madness that ensues on the roads here), read a book, and ate more sweets (that stupid chocolate cake is still lyin’ around here!)

Not a lot of deep thoughts, just a great day of people watching and watching people watch me.

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16 thoughts on “I’m going to watch you watch me watch you watch me….

  1. Green Tea Toothpaste?! Whoah, I love green tea, but i dont know about that! btw, all my girls would correct me when I’d say I was “exercising.” They’d say, “Oh! You were training yesterday! We do training every morning from 6-8 and then after school from 4-8.” Our school club was “Training Club” so I think “Exercise Club” is perfect!

  2. Great stuff. Its nice to see that we are not the only foreigners in China. Although, I haven’t seen another pale skinned giant in over a month now. Do the mannequins seem odd to you as well? Look forward to your next posts.

    • Well, don’t know about mannequins, but the models on advertisements are all Caucasian. I don’t get it. Asian is gorgeous. I guess it’s all about what’s not normal.

  3. OMG, Iwish you were in Hangzhou! We’d be best buddies! I just laughed my way through your post. So true about, well, ALL OF IT! Looking forward to following your blog… Sandi

  4. I had to giggle at this: “one of these days I’m gong to video a ride to the store so you can have an idea of the madness that ensues on the roads here),” because I experienced the same when I worked in China last summer. I tried to snap a few pictures but never captured the right feel. This summer, when I return, I am determined to get an image or video that conveys the true chaos on the streets.

      • I truly do not understand the drivers in China. It appears that traffic lights and signs are merely suggestions. An intersection can be cluttered with buses, taxis, cars, bikes, motorcycles, motorbikes, 3-wheeled-human-powered vehicles carrying mountains of cargo, and pedestrians. Each driver is laying on his horn. In 5 1/2 weeks, however, I never saw an accident.

      • I’ve heard so many people say, “It’s chaos, but it seems to work.” Uh, I’ve seen an accident almost every time I’ve been out. It doesn’t work. It’s ridiculous.

  5. All of the times I’ve wanted to video a good bus ride, it’s been physically impossible for me to let go of the hand rail to reach into my bag to get my camera. I’m still working on that as well. Good for you for being bold enough to watch the people watch you! I’ve been here for five and a half months, and all the staring still makes me feel shy. My husband is more friendly and bold about saying “Hello!” to people who are obnoxiously staring, but I tend to look at the sidewalk when I go down the street. Which is a shame, because sometimes someone I actually know says hello to me when they pass by, and I don’t realize it’s them until it’s too late. Look forward to reading more from you!

    • I figure, I’m already a weirdo, I’m just gonna go for it and try. haha They can’t possibly stare more than they already are. Give them something to watch whilst.

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