A Treasure Overlooked
Before I left for China, I was given a disclaimer of sorts "you will be treated like a celebrity."
I was in total disbelief until our first adventure of the trip to the Summer Palace. At first, no one approached me. I did not even notice if anyone was looking my way for too long. The uphill journey in the blistering heat had divided our large group into smaller groups.
It was when we were headed towards the exit that it happened. The African American male in our group was asked to take a photo by a group of Chinese tourists. I slowly walked away when the lady with the camera pulled me towards the people who were now posing for her phone's camera.
The first photo unleashed a floodgate of excited Chinese people who wanted to take photos with us. But guess what? That was not the only ambush of eager admirers who wanted to take pictures with us. With me.
It was awkward being the center of attention in admiration and for someone to make an effort to be near me in China when my race has caused people to distance themselves from "people like me" back home.
With each request to be in a picture, I was reminded of how I felt unloved before this trip. Even so, this would not be my only experience of receiving positive attention and draw while in China, but part of me hopes this isn't my last.