I woke up this morning with India Arie’s Hour of Love on my mind.
I walked around the apartment – bright white walls, white marble floors, white doors, white drawers, white couch with dark brown trimming, white kitchen/living room table tops, white kitchen counter, white desk, white iron heater, white headboard with dark brown wooden border and white & dark brown bedroom closet doors with 4 silver handles. The bed sheets are sea blue background covered with green leaves, red-pink flowers and hot pink flamingos. Also, the 4 chairs around the kitchen table are grey.
White white white grey
White white white blue-hot pink
White white white dark brown
White white white white white…
I am particular about the space I live in. I like space. Less furniture offers a clutter-free environment. My preferences: Colorful handmade pillows; hard wood floor; mobile carpets that can possibly take flight if necessary; a wall of books or built in bookshelves; artwork on the wall; definitely fresh flowers (whatever is in season); a ceramic bowl of snacks; and candles for thunderstorm effect or creating a mood (whatever the occasion calls for). I am not opposed to a walk-in closet (although I don’t have many wearables for such a space), a deep-seated tub to climb into and an area for instruments. Music is important in the space. I sing. Not quite like my girl, La Shaun Phoenix who offers raw nature to the space when she opens her mouth every single time. I sing personal lullabies. I make them up. They are offerings to the space. I sing to very few people. Very few. And that’s because they create what India describes as a Sacred Space for note-reaching moments. They allow music to be meditation, prayer and healing. Or actually, they just allow me to nina.simone my way through vulnerable times.
Today’s adventure – Central Street, Campus Exploring, Foreign Exuberance. So today I was taking photos of everything – fried grasshoppers and centipedes, signs of McDonalds, lots of stacked sausages, human size Garfield dolls in a mall that has all the stores I see in the U.S. - H&M was the first I noticed. A long walkway of canopied trees, greenery…lots of greenery. Stoned walkways and puddles of water everywhere (rainy day). Amaaazing. Or as my friend would say, “AmazeBall!”
While we were touring Central Street and photographing our surroundings, someone took a photo of the other English Immersion Program teacher…because she is “foreign.” The word foreign is common here.
“You are foreign teacher right?”
“You are foreign here?”
“You are foreign, from where?”
Yes, we are foreign [from the U.S.] and additionally we look nothing alike. She’s taller, thicker, long dark hair, white skin tone, Hawaiian facial features. She is ready for the photographic world because she enjoys taking photos of herself in this environment and sharing them with family. Simple enough. Apparently, some of the Chinese people here co-sign some of her photographic sentiments. Hours later, in the campus store she was going about her business picking up basic household items. To clarify, I only got stares and whispers on Central Street, and I recall a little boy pointing at me, but no one approached me. In the campus store though, she was approached. And then I was approached. And then…
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
The cell phone camera came out and I was asked or told or asked or [I don’t know] to be in the picture. I thought the person (a female economic student from Harbin) wanted me to take the photo, so I explained I would do that. No no no. I misunderstood. She was so excited about our foreignness. She asked questions, smiled a lot and wanted this Kodak moment really baaaaddd. For those who know me [or not], would you like to guess how I responded? I should just end the blog here and let you ponder. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll come back another time and tell you what happened.