Ask anybody. I'm ridiculous. Walking down the street, I will blubber over a dozen different chubby faces. I really don't realize I'm doing it, until whoever I'm walking with makes some sort of annoyed grunt when I point out a child and demand that he/she take yet another gander at an example of God's perfection.
On countless bus and train rides I've become buddies with a child who is barely taller than my knee. Parent's love this. A waiguoren that pays attention to their daughter or son is taken as a compliment (luckily for me, since I can't help myself.) Oft times I've been handed babies after simply complimenting the child and exclaiming "how lovely!" in Chinese. The youngest are usually completely shocked by my foreign features. I once made
a baby cry at the mere sight of me....But I don't like to talk about this.
Slightly older children think I'm a mystery to be solved, and will gape openly at me, and smile in delight, at the strange language that escapes from my lips.
Children that don't look big enough to talk, point at me when I pass by and shout, "Waiguoren!" or "foreigner." This to me, is a huge difference in culture. No one in the States typically can tell who might be foreign judging on looks alone. Yet, it almost seems like "Waiguoren" is one of the first words Chinese children learn.
When I need a pick-me-up in my day I often go out to the playground in front of my apartment and play with dozens of kids who are always eager to get me going in another game of tag. Many of them, along with their parents, already know me. Several of the children will excitedly approach me without their parents even needing to prod them. And it's in those moments, I feel
most at home.
So, here's a tribute to the out-of-this-world cuteness that I've admired in China for so long~ it's Children.