I should probably specify that I’m 100% Korean. And also a girl. But while I was in Korea in 2013, something strange happened.
Everybody thought I was a Chinese schoolboy. [????]
Now, I’ve dealt with people in America thinking I was a Chinese boy, because non-Asians are notoriously terrible at telling us apart. [The kid I’ve been tutoring all year apparently thought I was Japanese until March.]
And the boy part kind of makes sense: my hair was short and I didn’t wear makeup, or physically express any of the things typically associated with femininity.
But before I opened my mouth, people, especially shopkeepers, would greet me in Chinese. It was incredibly disconcerting, and probably had more to do with me being out and about while most native Korean kids my age were still in school, but still.
I suppose I still exuded some of that ‘foreign-ness.’ Perhaps there’s just something that you can never shake when you’re a foreigner abroad, whether it’s an accent or the way you walk or a less than adequate grasp on local customs.
On the other hand, of course, most of the white people I met at the temple would praise me for my ‘perfect English,’ so there’s also that.
Happy Sunday and lots of Love,