Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Yesterday toward the end of class I looked out the window. I do this a lot, but what was strange about this day was the Chinese girl standing about 6” from the window staring in at us. That wasn't too strange of itself, since we are foreigners and get plenty of stares. But ten minutes later when she was still standing staring at us, that was pretty weird. Our teacher saw her staring in the window and looked surprised but she kept on teaching. I kept giving her weird, “Why are you still staring at us?” looks. Usually after a few of these looks people will get embarrassed and move away, but this girl continued to stare with an impassive face.

When class ended the teacher whispered as I walked by, “Why was she staring? That was very strange.” I said we are foreigners so a lot of people want to look at us, but yes, that was strange. As I walked out of the building the girl was loitering by the door. The building manager (man who lives in the building, keeps an eye on things, and keeps it in good shape) was talking to her unhappily, I gather telling her to go away. The building man then came over to talk to one of the teachers nearby,  my past writing teacher Li Laoshi. He something about how this girl kept hanging around and he didn't know why.

When I walked outside to get my bike, the girl stood by the doorway staring at me. Li Laoshi came out and sternly asked her, “Are you looking for someone?” The girl didn't answer, just kept standing there. Getting more stern, Li Laoshi said, “If you aren't looking for someone then you need to leave!” The girl didn't respond, just kept standing there. I like Li Laoshi a lot, but when she gets stern, most people listen.

As I prepared to head off on my bike, the girl turned to me and finally asked, “Where are you from?” I told her America and then biked away. I'm used to staring, and I'm used to people asking where I'm from, but it was all still very strange. I couldn't decide if she was either not quite right in the head or if she was just a very simple country girl with no social graces and a large foreigner curiosity.

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