On August 22, 2016 I entered a huge country that not only makes up over 1/5 of the total world population but has a culture so rich in history that no other country in the world can match. I remember walking through the airport and looking up at signs written in Mandarin but also in English as well. I knew at this point that this magical experience was real and the stares that I got from the Chinese citizens made my trek that much more visible.
Whenever my wife and I walk into a hotel, mall, restaraunt, etc., we are met with curious but interesting eyes. I'm a 6'5 African-American male who at one time played collegiate basketball years ago but I've sinced aged and now to play recreational ball from time to time. So, I believe the first glance I get is one of is he in the NBA? After that they wonder is my beautiful wife an actress or a movie star. We both sometimes look at each and wonder what did or should we do with this newfound popularity that at times makes us feel uncomfortable.
What we've chosen to do is smile and embrace this beautiful, rich, and historical culture. We don't walk the streets and see any people that remotely resemble us except for at the markets we occasionally go. Guangzhou has the largest African community in China so this is the only time that we see others that look similar to us. However, when we speak then that's where the wonderful people of China know that we are indeed from the US.
Each person we encounter has been positive towards my wife and I. We receive great service at restaraunts and always are greeted with a smile whenever we walk into a store. We chuckle sometimes at ourselves when we try and speak Mandarin to the Chinese citizens because we realize how tough a language it is to learn but getting easier to understand. When I ride the subway I've taken pictures with teenagers, father and sons, but the coolest is when young children come up to me and want a high five. I always respond pleasantly and always with a smile. I love this country and we will embrace this amazing
Tags:Lifestyle Expat Tales Expat Rants & Advice
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