Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Travels: Origins

I was also frequently greeted with "kunichiwa". Eventually I wasn't bothered so much by being misidentified as Japanese because they are definitely the most common Asian tourists in Istanbul. There were some Koreans and very few Chinese. Statistically they'd have a higher chance of guessing the correct nationality, I suppose. It didn't change the fact that I got unwanted attention, regardless of the language.

One evening a Turkish friend and I went to a restaurant where the maitre d'expressed surprise that I was from America. At least that's what I think he meant. I heard my Turkish friend tell him "Amerika", probably saying where I was from. But then he looked at me and waved his hand over his face, drawing attention to my face as if to double check that I really was from America. 

During my whole time away from the US, I've noticed just the racial diversity in the US is an anomaly compared to many other countries. In Denmark, for example, the earliest immigrants only arrived in the 1960s. The country is still struggling to include non ethnic Danes in the country. But in the US we know that there are many Americans who aren't white. However, it seems that abroad, people don't realize this reality so much. To people I've met abroad, I hope that our friendship has shown you what America is like apart from the movies and TV.

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