When first impressions fall short

I am guilty of rocking little ManIMG_5966 to sleep at nap time.  (Let’s not mention this indulgence to Hubby.  Ok?!  He still wonders why I am the preferred parent when it is time to head to the crib.)  Today as we snuggled, Little Man was patting my face and gazing in my eyes.  Those perfect almond shaped eyes that make him look so very Chinese.   We were humming Itsy Bitsy Spider covered up with a Cars blankie and he was sporting a smudge of strawberry jam leftover from his PB&J lunch.  Not so very Chinese of him.

His almond eyes and dark spiky hair may fool a stranger into labeling him different, but he is quickly becoming very white on the inside.  I mean we try.  We eat Chinese noodles for lunch as often as peanut butter.   We speak Mandarin from time to time and even celebrate Chinese New Year.  But that all doesn’t make you see the world through Chinese eyes.

At times I feel like I look at the world through almond shaped eyes.  Making Asia my home for several years changed who I am.  Tofu and dumplings are on my list of comfort foods.  I don’t like ice in my drinks and hot water is the perfect drink to relax to at the end of a day.  I really do believe that everyone should understand my unspoken message between the words I say — and I am constantly  reading between the lines when hanging out with others.   More than once my understanding husband has said, “They probably mean what they say….remember Americans are more blunt.”

Just a few ways that living cross-culturally forever changes you.  At times I feel more Asian, but you sure wouldn’t call my big white self Chinese either.

I realize that my son with his almond eyes will actually view the world as if his eyes were blue like mine….and I might surprise a friend or two by thinking much more Asian than my white face reflects.  Kinda funny how that might work out.  Both of us being different than a first impression would indicate.  We are the same – seeing the world in ways that are not expected of us at first glance.

Gotta love a trip to a small town lakefront while on vacation.  The teens openly stare.  For a brief moment I wonder if my bathing suit is somehow not covering everything that it should.  Maybe Roo is making silly faces at strangers again.  Is soccer dude making music in his pits?  Oh wait.  Three of us are white two are brown and one is missing a leg.

Roo noticed the teens too, “Mom, why are those girls all wearing those same little bikini suits?”

It isn’t so bad to not fit in.  Why not proudly draw a few stares at the beach?  I remember the crazy teen years of wanting to be just like everyone else.  It really is highly overrated.

Tofu is yummy.  Gotta love peanut butter.  Why not add to the joy of life with both.

I am not always good at being comfortable in my own skin.  (Remember I did wonder about my bathing suit for a second!)  Just saying – I am trying to love life with a foot in two worlds not really fitting in either, but thankful for the journey God has placed me on that has made me uniquely me.  Now that is something to pass on to my children.

Wanting to teach my four to stare back at those teens who were all wearing the same style bikni.   Isn’t it weird that they are all the same?!  How sad.  Let’s take joy in our uniqueness.

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