Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you were ‘different’? We’re a typical family of four Canadian caucasians who also happen to be tourists in China. Sounds pretty straight forward and simple, right? But it’s not what we expected. We feel ‘different’ here.
Since we’ve arrived, we’ve noticed that people talk about us, stare at us, point at us and even photograph us. Many, if not most, try to be discreet and steal a quick picture using their cell phones when they think you’re not looking. Others come forward and openly ask for a picture. We started to feel a bit like celebrities!
I knew that we would have to deal with some of that when we arrived, but the quantity was a bit unnerving. Strangers were snapping random pictures of Emma and Jacob. Worse yet, we’ve had people casually run their hands through Jacob’s hair or stroke Emma’s cheek. There was one fellow who examined Jacob’s hand with intense curiosity. Hello!!! Momma bear here is thinking ‘no touchy’.
The kids felt intimidated. Although they were merely curious, they had stepped into our personal comfort circle. Now we were uncomfortable….Yikes!
We decided to made a game of it. When they whip out their cameras, we whip out our camera and take a picture as well. They seem to love it, it diffuses the awkwardness for us, and it gives the kids a fun way to deal with the situation.
The kids are more comfortable now. They’re even using their iPads and Google translate to communicate with the locals. It is pretty amazing what technology allows you to do nowadays.
This group totally cracked me up. Check it out….
It started with just one girl (photo missing). When her friend appears, she wants to be in the picture as well. So they take another shot.
And then a few more appear….
Let’s not forget the other friends! GEEZ! Eventually, we had to bow out and move one.
And let’s not forget the cook at the restaurant who apparently loves children and has to show his wife that he served some kids from Canada today.
It’s all good, if not a bit of an ego boost when the man across the street blows kisses your way. Or the elderly gentleman smiles and tells you he loves you. There was also the boyfriend who swapped me in and his girlfriend out for a quick picture. Luckily, she took it well…phew!
Apparently, we’re quite the novelty. Perhaps it’s because we stand out from the usual crowd here. Our faces are smaller, our facial features are different and our bones are bigger, or so I’ve been told. Maybe it’s because we been blessed with two children in a one-child society. I’ve also been told that we are lucky and have good fortune by having one of each, a daughter and a son. I’m not totally sure.
Thankfully, we’re not famous back home! I don’t know how real celebrities cope with it. We’ve received a fraction of the attention a celebrity would receive and that’s probably all we could handle. This would become exhausting really quickly!