Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where am I from? (I think I have forgotten)

Recently, I was sitting in the plaza enjoying the day and eating some ice cream. My friend Jesus, also another volunteer, was in the plaza as well. Because tall fair complexioned people with coarse hair are not a common sight here in Paraguay, our presence always turns a lot of heads. Well recently, I had a lady approach me and begin to discuss (even argue with me) about where I was from. She asked me where I was from and I asked her to guess. She ran down the list of places where I “had” do be from. This list included Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba and the Dominican Republic and finally Africa (yes, the country of Africa). When she got tired I told her I was from the U.S. and she responded, “No puede ser” (that can’t be true). I asked her why and she responded that they don’t look like me. I asked her when was the last time she went to the U.S. to see what they are “supposed” to look like. She said never, but ‘’you know, they all have blue eyes, with blond hair”. So I had to explain to her where I was from and the diversity that exists in the U.S. The lady didn’t believe me, so I just talked to her in English. Finally she just walked off. This was an unusual event in that the lady didn’t believe me, but it is very common (at least 2 or 3 times a day) that people ask me where I’m from or yell something at me. So far, it has not bothered me too much, but when they want to tell me what the people look like in the U.S, that does kind of bother me. In fact I think it’s funny. I’ll have more later.


Tamara said...

This is funny because when my cousin from the States went to Brazil she couldn't believe that all the fair skinned, blonde, blue-eyed people were brazilian. I guess everyone needs to travel more and read books or watch some tv. Their perception of the rest of the world is crazy. Just another perspective.

Melissa said...

I love it - the "country of Africa". What a great story and experience. You'll be so glad you have this blog to look back on these specific memories that might fade if they aren't written down. So proud of you!

Renee said...

Being a 4th generation Chinese-American, I can relate. Iain is not yet a citizen, but I'm the one who gets pegged as the immigrant by ignorant Americans! Glad everything is going well down there!