Monday, October 26, 2009

Turning Leaves

More than just the leaves are turning in New Jersey. Jia and I have changed a bit--or rather our perceptions have.

In China I always seemed to be taking pointless photos and staring at the mundane, which were sometimes fascinating to me as an outsider. Now, it's Jia's turn.

It never occurred to me how beautiful autumn in the northeastern U.S. could be for someone who never experienced it. Sure, her hometown in Xinjiang had the changes in seasons, but the leaves didn't change to such colors (apparently, the leaves just change to brown and fall). For the last couple weeks, she has been in awe of the fall colors around Jersey City, which doesn't really have a lot of fall foliage. Today, I took her back to my parents' house, and she took almost a hundred photos from around the lake.

But it's more than just the changing colors of the season. We had dinner with some of her new friends (also Chinese immigrants). The dinner conversation came to an interesting point when they were discussing waiguoren. One of them commented that it took a while to realize that she couldn't call people waiguoren anymore because they were the residents and she is now the foreigner. So, she now has to refer to the non-Chinese she encounters at Meiguoren (Americans).

There were many other interesting conversations about living in the U.S., but I couldn't catch all of it in Chinese--though I did realize that my listening skills are pretty good, and I understood quite a bit of the conversations.


Magnus said...

Great post. I also am in America with my Chinese wife. I have noticed in the past that the trees up here in NewEngland are beautiful and I longed to see them while in China. I remember in Shanghai the most colorful tree I found was outside my apartment... it was a dirty yellow.

I also completely understand the concept that my wife and her friends still talk about "foreigners" even though THEY are the foreigners in America. HA HA !
Great post.

Ty said...

A fun post. Chinese aliens living in US refer Americans Laowai. We do this all the time. I've heard some Chinese Americans call this too.