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Nobody Looks Like Me!
July 29, 2000

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Will I fit in if I salute their flag?
It was a warm day in the Southern capital city of Nanjing. Having just arrived, Yang-Yang, our friend Ed, and I made our way to the Nanjing University International Students Dormitory; the place we would call home for the next four days.

The traffic and the pollution was confusing. But the strangest thing was the stares of Chinese locals, amazed to see anyone who failed to fit the usual look of; yellow complexions, brown eyes, and straight black hair. Walking the streets reminded me of my status as a foreigner in this exotic land. I was someone different, experiencing this unique Chinese city.

But then we entered the University, packed with foreign students, "I know this feeling." I smiled to Yang-Yang and Ed. "When a college dorm is this alive with energy and fun there's only one question left to ask. Which way to the party?"

Just then a young Frenchman jumped into the elevator and confirmed our suspicions.

"There is a party indeed and the French are the guests of honor! Please do join us," he shouted as he practically jumped out of the elevator into the arms of his French friends, who all yelled the name of a café, where there was a party to watch the game. It would be a big night, a great soccer match was on televison, France vs. Italy.


status - the position or rank of a person
enthusiastic - eager to join in

The French, who were especially numerous, had flags taped to their doors, and the few Italians seemed to be equally hopeful and enthusiastic. By 6:00pm most everyone in the dorms crowded into any number of small street cafes broadcasting the game. It was a long game, but finally the French won. The crowds went wild and the French danced round and round in circles, hugging as the Italians looked on sort of teary-eyed.

It was amazing to experience two different worlds in one country. Outside was the everyday life of the Chinese, where I was definitely a foriegner. Inside the university, I felt at home with the Americans and Europeans, watching a soccer game. Each was an interesting balance to the other, and a typical day in the life of a trekker.


p.s. - Please e-mail me at

Yang-Yang - The Many Loved and Hated Faces of Mao

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