Anytime I step into a room, or get on the bus I feel like a movie star since every head turns and all eyes are focused on me. Since white western foreigners are still some what rare in this part of the world, I tend to draw a lot of attention.
I mentioned in my last post a group of women my classmate and I met when we were Hati lopping. When I entered the room these women all stared at me. One of them touched my hair, amazed with how "yellow" it was. Two of them sat across from me commenting to each other. "look at her nose, it's so big" and "look at her skin she is so white and pale". I don't think they realized at the time that I could understand every word.
When I first started understanding local languages, it was a real struggle to over hear people talk like this about me. It took me a while to realise they meant it as a compliment. In the west we don't see being repeatedly called a big nosed pale white person as a compliment, instead it is a sign to get a nose job and go to the tanning parlour. I was really self conscious about my appearance and how often and openly the people around me were discussing my flaws. But the truth is everyone here has slightly darker skin, and they believe the whiter you are the more beautiful you are. So every cream in the store has a whiting ingredient in it. They also think people with tall noses are beautiful and lucky (if you have looked closely at my nose in profile you would know just how lucky I am).
These same woman who asked my friend if she had had plastic surgery, sat across from me for over an hour saying I was so beautiful, that they wanted a nose like mine. They asked if I rubbed milk on my skin each night to keep it this white. By the end of our visit my classmate way very afraid I would have gotten a big head from hearing for an hour straight how gorgeous I was. Thankfully in Uyghur when you tell someone they have a big head it is also a compliment meaning they are very diligent and organized. Who knew I was an organized beauty.