Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The China Diaries: Foreigner? Me?

During the day, when all the working-age members of the population are at work, the grandparents tend to their grandchildren. It is one of the aspects of Chinese culture I can unreservedly say I love. It would be one of the things I would list in the "Reasons to settle in China" column. I do realize it's not isolated to China, or even to Asia, but it's the first place where I've been provided with such rampant evidence.

In my apartment block, the grandparents play with their grandchildren in the courtyard. Yesterday, walking to get some breakfast, I passed by a trio of these pairings. One of the children pointed at me and said, as they do, "外国人!" ("Foreigner!") I turned around and walked over.

"我不是外国人。我是中国人。" ("I am not a foreigner. I am Chinese."), I said. The grandmothers thought it was pretty funny, and began laughing. One of them held up their charge, asking him, "Is this man Chinese?" The child I'd spoken to, on the other hand, was confused. You could see on his face that his mind was struggling with this. "He can't be Chinese," it was debating. "But he said he is... and he said it in Chinese."

It's the little joys.


Anonymous said...

aweee that poor kid must still be confused! haha

Anonymous said...

It would be a little difficult for the grandparents to take care of the grandchildren if you settle in China! (Guess who!)

Anonymous said...

You probably scarred that child for life. (Dena)

CC44 said...

You can move. Man up.