There is one thing I was rather apprehensive about before coming to China to live in a city where a foreigner is still an anomaly: the staring. When I was in India last year the amount of people staring at me drove me crazy, so I was worried it’d be the same here in China (I could obviously never be a celebrity!).
People in Yantai have seen foreigners before, but it’s not like this is Beijing or Shanghai, where foreigners have become more or less part of daily life (or so I’ve heard). I suppose here in Yantai it’s still kind of special to see a foreigner on the streets, so people do stare a bit sometimes. I don’t find it as annoying as I was expecting though, so that’s a relief! People don’t really do anything but staring. Some of them might do a double take as I walk by, and some might yell “hello!”, but that happens maybe once every two weeks. Not *all* the time, like they did in India, and they don’t want to constantly take pictures of me either or try to sell me stuff, so it’s not a problem at all.
Mind you, the staring is actually a lot worse when I’m out and about with my fellow teacher Simone, who has dark skin and dreadlocks. She’s much more of an event than I am, I’m just a boring white person, which suits me fine. :D
Having said that, being a boring white person is one thing, a running white person is apparently a lot more exciting. Yesterday morning I went for a short run along the beach and some cars would actually slow down beside me to have a good look at the running foreigner, which I thought was rather funny. I was too out of breath to really care anyway! A word of warning to my former colleagues in Tilburg though: I was wearing my Tilburg University hoody, so you will have to mentally prepare yourselves for a big inflow of students from the general Yantai area next year!