I know I am “that foreigner.” You know, the one that people talk about as I walk or drive past. I know I look different in the way I walk, hold myself, make eye contact or don’t make eye contact with people. And I especially know it when I go somewhere with Jadyn.
We are starred at everywhere we go. And I do mean everywhere. Heads turn as we pass by. People say “Look at the Chinese baby with the white mommy.” Not in an unkind way, but an intensely curious way.
Tonight, when I went to church, my friend De stopped me briefly and told me that a neighbor in her area asked about me. This is a little funny because I live pretty far from where she does but I drive down her road 2 days a week to take Jadyn to preschool. The neighbor asked De if she knew “that foreign woman” who smiles all the time. Have I told you that Albanians do NOT smile until you smile at them or greet them? You would think they were the most unfriendly people! This is not at all true but NO ONE smiles until you smile at them or greet them.
But the best part was that she said to De, “She has a beautiful daughter but her eyes are slanted and she doesn’t look like her mother.”
De smiled and replied, “Well they have adopted her from China.”
Her neighbor replied, “Well, that is so nice that China would give her to them.”
It is not quite that simple, I know, but I agree.