Sunday, December 17, 2006

China must be the best place in the world to be a Eurasian. Of all the stereotypes fostered in China--Americans are rich, French people are romantic, Russians have big noses, to give a few--none compare to what is nearly universally said about mixed-blooded babies: They are clever AND beautiful. CLEVER and BEAUTIFUL. Any Beijing taxi driver will tell you this is a fact. Even Michael, my similarily mixed-blooded former flatmate, was once told by one of his students, "It is scientifically proven that hun xue'er (Chinese for mixed blood) are smarter than ordinary people!" Of course, both Michael and I knew this all along...

So, today I had to call the States to sort out an issue with my credit card bill. For reasons unknown to me, my call was transferred to a woman who spoke very good English, but with a distinct Chinese accent. We chatted a bit and once my payment situation was resolved, I asked her if she was Chinese. She told me she was. I told her I was in China and that my mother was Chinese and she said, "But you don't sound like a Chinese." I explained that I was born and raised in the States, but now I live in China, and that my father is an American. "I'm a hun xue'er," I declared. "Oh! Hun xue'er!," she exclaimed over the phone, from somewhere in the U.S. to my home office in Beijing, "you must be very beautiful!"

Obviously, my reputation precedes me.

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