Umbrellas for sun!


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 -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.



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