Saturday, March 6, 2010

I wear my sunglasses at night

So being the esposa koreana of a well-connected Colombian boy obviously has its perks.

Being una koreana in Colombian in general, however, can be a wee disconcerting.

Bogota was pretty funny. On the TransMilenio, or walking around the less developed neighborhoods, I was on the receiving end of a good amount of curiosity. It was the harmless kind of staring that we get as a couple anywhere outside the U.S. -- we're both so tall, so mixed race, so obviously American. I got a lot of questions about whether or not I spoke Chinese, and where Korea is in the world. There's fascination and joy at my Spanish comprehension, my pretty skin, conversations about Jackie Chan movies, and a lot of recommendations that we try the local Chinese or Japanese restaurants. Sometimes, while out in town, I got the full-on stare, like they-might-walk-into-traffic-and-hurt-themselves-because-they-are-staring-at-me-so-hard kind of stare, but it was infrequent and unthreatening.

In Neiva, however, it's been tougher being on the butt end of endless staring. The town is smaller and less sophisticated, and while there are a fair amount of extranjeros here due to the international petrol business, an Asian in town is a verrrrrrrrrrry strange sight. In a place where military and guerrilla presence is still pretty strongly felt, it doesn't thrill me to be the center of attention all the time. So my solution whenever I start feeling really uncomfortable, or it starts getting darker and wee more peligroso?

To wear my sunglasses. It was one of those stunning discoveries that makes me sad, makes me giggle, and makes me feel safe all at once:


*Insert racial hilarity here*

*Insert Gabe's laughter here*

*Insert more racial hilarity here*

Aaaaand, scene.