Once we finished all our business, I motioned that I would be walking home. I had no idea where I was, but I had no reason to be on the thing any more. My days of living dangerously are far behind me.
|These men are paid to push the|
crowd in enough to get the doors closed.
Something that I hadn't thought about until I got here was what it would be like to be a minority. A major minority. I just moved here from Indianapolis which is praised for being the most culturally integrated city in the country, so there were other cultures everywhere. Before that, I was from Mt Vernon, IL which is predominantly white, but there are black people, Latinos, Asians and other cultures around. I would never be surprised if I ran into a black man or an old Asian woman. However, here it is quite different.
In Beijing, I can go days without seeing another white face and when I do see one, it is just in passing on the street. I have also learned that just because someone has similar facial features as me does not necessarily mean they want to talk to me. I've been disappointed more than once after approaching someone in a store or on a bus only to find out that my question of "So, how long have you been in Biejing?" cannot be answered because they only speak German or French. Or, even worse, I find out they're from Cleveland and I can't get out of there fast enough. I've approached many black people (I don't say African-American because they probably aren't American) as well hoping to have some English conversation, but find that they usually speak French, Swahili or Arabic.
Hopefully, this doesn't sound like complaining. It just takes some getting used to and is a great motivation for us to start learning the language so we can better fit in and stop relying on other people for so much of what we need to do (bank stuff, online ordering, paying bills, getting directions, etc). It really has been a great adventure and we seem to find a new one every day.