I walk down the street. A simple, everyday occurrence, right? But no, not when you are a celebrity.
You see, when I walk down the street, people stop and stare. They whip out their camera phones and take pictures. Everyone wants to say hello. They tell me I am beautiful, and that my skin is so white, and my smile so pretty. Teenage boys blush and lose their breath or miss their step if I smile at them.
I paid $675 for instant stardom.
I am in China.
Why haven't more people caught on to this? It costs less than living in Rexburg for a semester. Food is dirt cheap (dinner for my husband and I at a restaurant comes out to about $1.50 in American money; in the touristy areas we might pay $2 each), and is included in the program fee. Staying in a hotel in a touristy area costs about $25/night.
It does have its downsides. Our running water just came back on after being MIA for three days. You can't drink any water without boiling it first. The food is good, but in our area so spicy we often can't eat it. And sure, it gets tiring saying hello every 2-5 seconds, but hey, you give up a few things in exchange for fame, right?
Honestly, I love it here. I'm teaching 15-17 year olds, and they are SO excited to have me here. None of them have ever seen an American in person. They want to learn English, and are thrilled with everything I say. Some students are better than others of course, but even the rowdy ones are thrilled to have me here. I teach 24 classes a week, with around 60 students per class. A bit overwhelming, but I'm getting better at it.
It's fun being able to understand a bit of Chinese. For example, I know when the boys are talking about me under their breath. Having a bunch of 15-17 yr old guys going gaga over me is funny, but my fanboys are nothing compared to my poor husband. He’s teaching the 14-15 yr olds, and the girls are absolutely CRAZY about him. They mob him in packs to get his autograph. They tell their other teachers how handsome he is (the teachers think it's funny, so they tell us). They come up and tell ME how handsome he is (like I need them to tell me…).
Basically what it comes down to is this: China loves us, and we love China. More of our adventures will be chronicled at our new blog, cooleyandshannoncooley.blogspot.com. I love and miss you all, but hey, the world is waiting, and I only paid for a small amount of time on the internet...