Monday, May 11, 2009

What's Missing

Yes it was nice to be asked if I was Uyghur on my recent trip south. It proves that I am making strides in that direction, but it always proves I have a long way to go.

It is like language learning, you really only complement someones language if it is not that great. If you meet someone with an exceptionally high level of language skill, to the point that talking to them seems almost normal, then you would never think to comment on it. You take the fluidity for granted and enjoy the conversion.

The same is true for our appearance. There were thousands of Uyghur ladies walking down that same street, several who were much prettier than we were, but no one stopped to comment on them. In fact no one even blinked an eye or nodded a head in their direction, they were just there. We still stood out enough to make us a topic of conversation. They could tell we had tried, but obviously the difference was still enough to draw almost every one's attention and make us stick out like a couple of sour thumbs.

So I started a list:
What is missing from me looking totally Uyghur?
1. Makeup - Uyghur girls wear a lot of it. In fact one of my teachers had her eye shadow tattooed on to save time in the morning. I have never really bothered with it. I do however own a lip gloss

2. Loose the glasses - it is not that all Uyghurs have amazing eye sight, or even that they all choose contacts. It is just that most of them have never gone for an eye exam, and have instead learned to live with the impairment. My glasses are the first thing I put on in the morning, even before the light, and I take them off after my head is on the pillow.

3. Increase the sparkle and lace count - What we wear to dress up in NA is what a lot of Uyghur ladies wear on a daily basis, they are all about looking their best and that means glitter. I am at least trying in this regard, buying more of my clothing from the local market, instead of having it sent over from Old Navy

4. High Heels - no matter how impractical and uncomfortable, Uyghur women's shoes must be high and they must be pointy ( this is one I will just never conform to).

5. No Camera - we took our camera all around town last week to capture faces and places that would demonstrate the wonder of the city when posted on this blog. Local people don't all have cameras, much less walk around town take such mundane and daily shots of the bread seller or the fruit cart.

6. The speed at which we walked- I really believe that the high heels do a lot to slow the women down.


DEON said...

You know k the makeup I can understand, but high heels? If I did as much walking as they did and on roads and sidewalks that are not alway even I would choose somthing more practical. But I guess if you want to look good, high heels are a must. I the past photos not all of them, I have seen Uyghur ladies dressing more basic. The clothing the ladies were are still filled with sparkles, but I did not notice so much the the heavy makeup. And the footware was more basic. You Know better that I do k you have got to take care of your feet. so rather than looking fabulous I'm going for senceable footware. Trust me I have been finding that out from playing with the kids. But I digress, You have really impressed me from the time you first started to learning the letters to now when you can actually carry on a conversion. That is amazing to me becouse that is a language far from your Original language. If you were to look back and I'm sure you have, you would be pleased at how far you have come, and you were not alone in this quest.
I do hope that one day that you would just melt into the population, not totally but to able to move among the people there
as if you were a native.
By the way if I do come down there you will be the one to show me around, following certain customs of couse....

Anonymous said...

All they need is a runway and they are all set :)

The tatoo of eyeshadow cracks me up...I guess she only uses one shade.

Andrea said...

Ok, the walking speed comment cracks me up. I get that all the time! People here give me such a hard time about how fast I walk...and I don't even think I'm going fast at all!

Nutty said...

Could you wear contacts in place of glasses? And maybe when you aren't wearing a headscarf you could put your hairs up in a very sparkly clip. Also, if you wear a skirt, wearing panty-hoes underneath will make you look more local. Because high heels are unhealthy, you can wear sparkly shoes instead, or if you live in village someday, wear cloth shoes. Also you can try wearing very sparkly and shiny earrings. And if you reeeeeealy want to look like a local, then get some mascara or fake eyelashes, and some white paste. But the makeup stuff I wouldn't advise:) You could also try walking slowly, maybe you can force yourself to walk slowly by watching other womens feet and movements while they are walking, then follow along as long as you do it in a way that doesn't look like your trying to copy them.