28 October 2009

A Dreamlike Night

I attended a party last night with Robert, Geena, Staci, Caitlin, Andreina, Karim, Kathleen, Tim, and Yonathan. As I recounted to Robert, I was very confused throughout the ordeal: I did not know exactly where I was, who was throwing the party, what I was doing, what time it was, why I was there, or how I’d arrived. More than the basics “on a bus,” “in a room,” “with Chinese-speaking people,” I did not quite understand anything going on. All I knew was that Kay had invited all of us a couple of weeks ago on behalf of another group of students; I had obliged and then promptly forgotten, not realizing how much homework I was sure to have on our first day back. To make a long story short, I ended up attending and having fun - we watched various performances, snacked on strange Chinese treats, made dumplings, and chatted it up, but the whole evening was very dreamlike. To tell you the truth, I’m still not quite sure that it occurred; it could have been a wild, sress-induced illusion.

I was reminded last night of the Chinese’s apparent fascination with foreigners, especially those with blonde hair and blue eyes, like Robert and I. I knew of this thanks to my first trip to China and was pretty used to it coming in this year on our first national tour. I guess that being in the international dorm here at SuDa has just caused me to forget and feel normal once more - no dice. Last night, countless college students were ever-so-eager just to talk to me and to even take it a step further: to take a picture with me (or of me - talk about creepers!) I think that they were impressed with my Chinese language skills, minimal as they are. It was flattering, sure, to be reflected in so, so many lenses, but, honestly, it gets annoying and tiring. Why does this fascination exist? If the visa regulations were to be less strict, would that mean that more foreigners would visit, and we would be rendered less interesting? I would be okay with that, for sure. In the meantime, I would be interested to look at some tourism statistics and see just how many Americans and other Westerners do visit each year and to what places they go.

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