Friday, June 01, 2007

The Celebrity Life

You know, there are some things about being a foreigner that I think have given me a little clue about what some celbrities in the United States go through. As a little background, I will let you know that I am a blonde in a city full of dark brown/black haired people. I stick out like a sore thumb. And the people here are naturally starers... as in they stare at everyone, but at me more.

The number of double takes or triple takes me and my American housemate get when we walk down the street can be downright hysterical. Today I was approached by a guy who was handing out a local English newspaper. One lady we met in an office one day actually stopped to call her husband at work to say that she was in a room with two foreigners. Then she and other ladies proceeded to evaluate every aspect of our persons. Everyone smiles and gives us preferential treatment. I think we park to go to the grocery store in a parking lot reserved for people who are going somewhere else, but the guards just look at us, get flustered and wave us in. I have gotten my picture taken with strangers in the bazaar. So have some of my other American colleagues. Every shop owner practically neglects his other customers to help us find whatever we need. All this is entertaining most of the time, at least when I am right with God. The staring does get on my nerves especially. I am just waiting for the day when I actually cause a car crash.

This isn't to say that I am drop-dead gorgeous. I am fairly normal looking in America. Here it sometimes feels like I should be in a freak show. But this is the life. And I have to admit I like being able to park in a nice place.


Thainamu said...

I'm a redhead, so I know what you mean.

Nick Jesch said...

Oh, this is SO hilarious....yes, I've experienced this phenomenon myself when in other cultures...but your particular comments had me laughing heartily. I will never forget daily walks through a barrio in the Dominican Republic, followed by shouts of "mayreeCANo!!"...some dear friends of mine have lived/served in Ecuador as medical missionaries for about six years now, their youngest daughter was born there a little over two years ago. She is the "dead spit" of her Mum at that age..full, round cheeks, bright sparkling eyes, delightful smile (nearly always), constellations of freckles, and (Mum never had this...) RED hair. She is a magnet for attention, and the sort of fawning and fussing you describe. Her Dad has shared with me that sometimes it is a real challenge..they can walk through a public market and many of the vendors come up and want to give her things (usually food or candy)..and he has to be careful not to offend or seem too proud to accept yet assure his daughter learns she is not the Queen of Ecuador, but a daughter of the King. One major difference, though--Zac has never reported getting preferential parking priviledges on account of his daughter's unusual appearance!! (I expect he'd appreciate, and take full advantage of, such courtesy) It is also interesting, though, that as they go into the very poor and isolated areas with the medical brigades, their two daughters (the older one is five) turn to and serve in any way they can, often drawing in and reassuring the local young children, with whom they make an instant connection (both speak flawless kid spanish) and who never seem to notice the outward differences.

It is not in the least surprising, but the heart that desires to serve will find a way to serve. And one that desires to BE served will gorge upon being the centre of attention. I am glad to know you are there to serve, and so do not allow this attention to hinder you.