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They’re Everywhere!

August 30, 2007

Yesterday one of my students told me that her mom sees me at the gym everyday. I’ve never met her mom, but it was a reminder of how often I’m being observed without my knowledge.

Over and over I discover that people I see all the time are my students’ parents. I’ve never had a parent tell me themselves. They don’t speak English or aren’t confident about English or just don’t want to talk to foreigners, or something. But gradually, from students or third parties, I learn: The beef noodle vendor is Lucy’s mom, the owners of the pasta place are Alice’s parents, one of my older students (still not sure which one) is my neighbor’s friend’s son. I must have around 200 students, all of whom live right in this area. That’s a lot of parents. They are everywhere, and they are watching. I’ve never met most of them but you can bet they know who I am. The really tall white girl, I doubt further description is needed. In general, people here are overly curious about everything I do, and to some extent I always feel like I’m under the microscope, but it’s just that much more disconcerting when I think they might be parents.

I had a discussion with a coworker about this yesterday and she pointed out how often parents see us at our worst and we don’t even know it. Make a stupid language mistake at the 7/11…a parent is watching, nearly crash the scooter… a parent is watching, walk home drunk at 4 AM… a parent is watching, get impatient and glare at the person who is giggling and pointing at the foreigner… well that person probably IS a parent. As if I wasn’t paranoid enough what with the staring and pointing and talking about me in Chinese while I’m standing right there, I also have to worry about parents! They are everywhere…. watching us…

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One comment

  1. interesting blog.



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