Did I expect this? Yes. I don't think it's remotely malicious, just that they're curious about a person who looks very different from them. I mean, people stare at me in Trinidad (inexplicably).
Is it annoying? ABSOLUTELY. Because I've been trained to believe that whether you're curious or not, staring is RUDE. Whether it's the two girls whispering in the subway as they steal glances at me or the people who turn their heads and stare in the street it's extremely irritating. And they all think they're really slick but I'm a pretty observant person so I always notice when they stare at me and my roommate Jenni, who at a height of 182 cm (for those of us who deal in feet an inches, she REAL TALL) is also very 'other' to the Chinese people. So I might see them staring behind me in the reflection in car doors or in shop windows an start to get really defensive in my head e.g. "YES I'm black and you ain't slick!"
So I've started to stare back. Lol. Equally as rude I know, but I kind of want them to learn that it is NOT okay to just stare at people.
But some days you get a reality check to teach you that maybe you should relax a little bit in your understanding or appreciation of different cultural cues. That day was today. I was getting my nails done (lol my blog posts must make it seem like I LIVE at the nail tech's) and while I was getting my pedicure two ladies who were getting manicures started staring at me.
Me in my head: "REALLY? I'm RIGHT HERE though. You not even trying to be discreet! What? YES mih foot big!" (this because I figured the only thing worth staring at is how much space on the pedicurist's lap my foot took up lol).
She realized I noticed her and started nervously smiling...but didn't stop staring. Me in my head: "Okay this is really weird." Then she said something in Chinese which clearly I didn't understand and immediately registered that on my face as I looked from her to the pedicurist, confused.
Then the lady said, in English, "You're beautiful!"
Tee Hee. (Awkward laughter.) Thank You. Xie xie ni!
Felt like a compound ass. And definitely gonna approach the staring thing a little differently from now on.
Lol btw the pic is from Tyra Banks' Instagram. She recently launched a Smize Yourself photo application which creates teaches you how to smize and creates pics such as the above (it actually just makes you look like an alien). I wanted to buy it and do it butttt it cost $1.99. Sorry Tyra, maybe another day...