So there is one thing that I can't quite seem to get used to no matter how many times I travel abroad. Well, I'm used to it in the sense that it doesn't shock me when it happens, but I'm not used to it in the fact that I still find it severely irritating even after all these years. This thing I'm talking about is the lack of politeness around pointing out people's flaws. It happened to me in China all the time...people would run up to me (and another girl in my group who was taller, but slightly thinner than me) and go "OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO FAT! Can I take a picture with you?" usually followed by a pose with their arms stretched out to show how fat I was in comparison to them. Yes, thanks for that, I wasn't quite aware. Well, it happens here as well.
The two biggest things that have been commented on during this stay are two unusual moles/birthmarks that I have. The first one is this reddish raised mole/birthmark that I have near my hairline. It's really noticeable here because I always wear my hair pulled back since it is hot and humid and that equals pouffy hair for me if I keep it down. Oh and the fact that I'm blinding white and it is dark-ish red.
I swear, the first 2 weeks I was here no less than 3 people per day pointed it out. "Aunty Lindsay! What is that on your head???" or "Aunty Lindsay! Your head is bleeding!!!" And then we'd have a 5 minute discussion about what the heck a mole and/or birthmark is (not common on darker skin) and about a thousand reassurances that it was not bleeding, a bug bite, or something that would go away we'd be done. Until the next person noticed it. I have become so self conscious over the dumb thing that I am seriously considering going to a dermatologist when I get home to have it removed. It's never bothered me before but I'm seriously at the point where I want to shriek at the next person who points it out. Get over it already!!!
Now that I'm more chummy with people I get arms thrown around my neck more often. Either in a chummy "hey, how's it going?" way or in the form of a hug. Unluckily for me, I have a big gross mole on the back of my neck that protrudes out a bit and as one of the dear kids pointed out "wiggles when you touch it."
It's times like this that I think...ya know, living in a stuffy, overly polite society is kind of nice. At home the only people who can rip on me like that are my sisters. And at least I know it's done lovingly. Here it's just kind of out there, and is usually done in a way to tell you there is something wrong with you and maybe you should think about being less weird or doing something to improve yourself.
This is not to say that it only happens to me. It happens to everyone. Just today one of the kids told one of the housegirls that she should stop eating so much rice because her belly was looking fat like she was pregnant. Ah, how charming.