I swear that I am Chinese trapped in a Swedish-American body.
The food agrees with me, I love Feng Shui, and the ladies are girly like me.
I may have mentioned crying when my mother put jeans on me as a toddler: I insisted on wearing a dress while tent camping….
Whenever travelling now, I always try to dress similarly to what’s around me.
There are now legends told in Mexico City of a young teenage “Norte” girl who thought shorts may have been ok to wear in the city since she was from a snowy town in Idaho and it was Spring Break. “Why does she wear children pants in such the metro place?”
I can still hear Senora Badcrumble chiding my Spanish I class: “if you wear shorts in the city, they will think you a lady of the night.”
Putting THAT horrifying memory back on the shelf…
I first saw ladies in Chengdu a few years ago sporting dresses, heels and
umbrellas in the sun.
Why did I not think of that?
It blocks the sun AND the heat.
Being leathery-tan for ladies here was never in style. Really, in the US, being tan went out with the 80s unless you’re a hiker or from Jersey.
Ads everywhere here do not conduce a “healthy glow”. It’s all about the creamy porcelain fish belly tone.
I fit right in.
Yesterday, I took my umbrella on my vast walk of Chang An Ave.-the Champs Elysees of Beijing. On my way back to the hotel, a young man approached. He wanted to practice his English. “Are you from Europe?”
I thought about my convoluted DNA results from Ancestry.com -Viking, Asian, African with some ABBA and Michelle Yeough mixed in… but kept it to myself.
“No. From Houston”, I said.
“Oh! Do you speak Spanish?”
He had, unknowingly, pressed my Buzz Lightyear Spanish button. I went into autopilot:
“Si. ?Y tu tambien? ?Tambien hables espanol?” I quivered, ready to launch…
“No. I don’t speak Spanish.” he recoiled.
He was surprised by my umbrella:
“You use the umbrella like the Chinese. I never before have seen one like you with an umbrella.”
“It’s a brillant idea!” I responded like Hermoine Granger.
His English was far better than my Mandarin.
Perhaps KFC sent him.
I hope I keep surprising other cultures. It blows their mind when ABBA speaks their languange, likes their food and carries a parasol in 2015.