Home from Beijing-Part One

November 28th, 2011

Nathaniel and I had a fun long weekend in Beijing.  After getting in on Thursday night we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant and then went shopping at Jenny Lou’s, a small supermarket chain that specializes in imported groceries.  I finally got vanilla beans to try making my own vanilla.  A jar of 2 beans from Madagascar cost the same as 2 ounce bottle of imitation vanilla. 

Friday morning we went to the preschool where my friends teach and Nathaniel did pretty well being that it was a new place, with lots of cool things he’s never seen before, and that it was all in English and there are different rules and procedures.  I stayed with him and had to help him focus during the longer lessons, about 20 minutes.  Not sure exactly what things are like at his school, but I am positive that it’s very different.  He ate lunch with the seven other kids, ages 3-6, and then helped them set up their cots for naptime.  We left to play at the park for awhile and then went home.

Dinner that night was at Subway where he had his 5th or 6th taste of turkey.  He didn’t want to eat his half as a sandwich but rather in layers, asking for the meat first.  I gave it to him and said to eat the turkey.  He asked if it really was meat.  YES!  Apparently I haven’t conveyed exactly what a turkey is or is used for.  It was only five pm and the restaurant was empty except for one other table of people drinking tea and using their computers.  At one point I noticed him staring at the counter and turned to see what was so interesting.  There was a foreign guy.  I told Nathaniel that he should keep eating and not stare when he innocently asked me who the guy was.  I said that I don’t know him and told him to eat a layer of vegetables. 

Later it occured to me that he might think that I know anyone who is not Chinese, since whenever we see non-Chinese people at home I know who they are!  Twice over the weekend we saw several people with black skin and very dark skin and I was wondering what he’d say about them since I’m the only non-yellow person he sees on a daily or even regular basis.  He didn’t seem to notice them, so we’ll just have to wait.  I only hope his questions, if spoken in English around the people in question, are said with genuine inquiry and not like the stories I’ve heard about how Chinese kids react to dark skinned, non-Chinese people.


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    About Charlotte

    I'm a wife, mom and freelance writer in small town China. My two kids and I are three of the dozen foreigners that live here, though we've yet to meet them.

    We're near enough to Beijing to visit occasionally, but far enough away to make it a bit of a hassle since we don't have a car.