Do You See Blue, Carrot Head? – An Expat’s Life in Taiwan is Never Dull

A Picture of Me drawn by one of my students (BTW, it looks nothing like me) πŸ™‚

Like I said in a previous post, I have been living in Taiwan for nearly a decade and a half (!!) and on June 13th, it will be official.

Living in Taiwan has also presented some bright and beautiful moments. A smile plus a great attitude have proven to be the perfect assets in creating some wonderful memories and life-long friendships.

However, since arriving in Taiwan, I sometimes receive unwanted attention. OK! Maybe more than sometimes. People stare in amazement or give peculiar, often confusing looks. They comment about things that define who I am as an individual. They point out things about me that I never think about. Maybe because it is different, maybe because it is not the norm here, or maybe they just can’t believe I do the things that I do!

There are also several incidents which have left me speechless, at a lost for words, and dumbfounded; occasions where I have no idea whether to take it as a compliment or as an unintentional insult.

However, whatever the reason, I take a positive spin on the remarks. I mean, what else can I do? – and some of them still make me giggle at the thought of them.

So enough with the rambling, here is a list of the funniest questions or statements directed my way by the younger generation of Taiwan:

β€œDid she eat too many carrots? Her hair is turning orange.”

OK, for the record, I don’t have a flaming orange head nor do I have hair the color of carrots. However, I do give my husband’s niece brownie points for noticing my new dye job which indeed has a reddish tint. For a 4 year old, she definitely has an amazing eye for detail.

Ah!Β  If life were only that easy – what a perfect world it would be. I would opt for brown hair and it would give me the perfect excuse to indulge on chocolate morning, noon, and night.

β€œAre your teeth your own? Are they real?”

One of my junior high school students posed these two questions not too long ago, adding that if they are, they are the best teeth he has even seen for a person ‘my age.’

First, I want to make it clear that I am not ‘that old’ and according to my sweet grandfather, I look the same as I did 15 years ago. But, I guess telling this class that I am 21 for the past 4 years have made them aware of my quest to stay young.

However, with that being said, thank you very much for noticing my pearly whites. They are in fact real and with good daily habits, I love to show off my dental assets with a big, wide smile. What? Did anyone say ‘cheese’? πŸ™‚

β€œYour eyes are blue. Did you see blue? Is everything blue?”

My five year old students were amazed when they came to the realization that I have blue eyes. It happened one day during play time and the news spread across the classroom like wildfire. Each student came over to examine and one-by-one, they each confirmed the fact that I did indeed have blue eyes (like there was ever any doubt). Then one of the students waved his hand in front of my face and said β€œWhat color is my hand? Do you see blue? Is everything blue?”

No, I don’t see blue, everything is not blue; actually my life is everything but blue, everything is very colorful and bright. My eyes are not one-dimensional, limited to seeing one color. They may be blue but I see life as exciting and eventful, not blue and dreary.

β€œDo you know your arms are dirty?”

As she asked this question, she tried to wipe some of my freckles away. Yes, my student must have thought I had some fun and rolled in the mud before school that day.

No, it is not dirt. Actually, they are freckles and some people often refer to them as ‘beauty spots.’ I am blessed to only have them on my arms and I have to give credit to my Irish blood for these spots. I have been tagged by other westerners as Irish because of my reddish hair and freckles and then I am considered American when I open my mouth but I make them aware that I am a Canuck to the core!

I could go on and on but I will stop here. Interested in what people say when they discover I am left-handed? Then check out this previous post!

What about you? Have people ever pointed out your unique features when traveling?


47 thoughts on “Do You See Blue, Carrot Head? – An Expat’s Life in Taiwan is Never Dull

  1. Hahaha, this post was a hilarious read. I can’t believe people actually think you see blue when you eyes are blue πŸ˜€ I have heard of the freckles question before…it really is a funny sight when they try to brush the freckles off you, come to think of it.

    People always latch onto my slight Singapore-Malaysian accent when I’m traveling. They always assume, “You’re from Malaysia, right?” when they hear me speak. It’s funny to see how people think they know it all and they are always right.

  2. Then Chinese people see in brown? πŸ˜€

    I’ve just had the usual “your eyelashes are so long” and “your nose is so high” comments. In fact, as I have the same hair & eye color as Chinese people I find it amazing when Chinese babies stare at me… how can they feel that I’m different? I’m physically not that different!! haha.

    1. I guess my student never thought about that but I don’t blame her – she was quite young at the time!

      I know how you feel about the nose comment. I usually get ‘your nose is so long, like a witch. And babies tend to stare at me as well and sometimes begin to cry, especially if I try to hold them..

  3. haha, what a fun post! Kids are always so cute and have the most honest questions. In some parts of Thailand and Indonesia, we felt almost like celebrities – people stopping to take our picture and say hello to us. The kids were so energetic and excited!!

  4. Kids say the funniest things! I’ve been stopped all over the world for my blue eyes. Mostly shop keepers and the odd person in a restaurant. It’s lovely to get the compliment but there have a been a few moments where the language barrier has made these encounters awkward.

    1. Yes! Sometimes language barrier make for extremely awkward moments – however, I really do believe that a smile and a positive attitude can go a long way. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading more of your future posts!!

  5. Only my nose gets pointed out in china but I guess it’s like that for every foreigner. I think nothing else occurred yet but there is always a new chance whenever we go to china πŸ™‚

  6. Bahahhahaha.. No,people have never pointed out how different I was, rather how similar I was! When I was going through South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.), I was always mistaken for a local. People would come up to me and talk to me in the local language! It was hilarious!

  7. WEll, we only have your word for it that the drawing doesn’t look at all like you at all. πŸ˜† When I was teaching music here in South Africa, the black African kids would want to stroke my straight blonde hair. They were also mesmerised by my blue eyes. When i was in China, in the more rural areas, I also felt that people were fascinated to see this rather tall, and very blonde woman. When I bought clothes there, I had to buy XL instead of my usual small size. πŸ™‚

  8. I love this post! I love particularly the “Do you see blue because your eyes are blue”, too cute and funny too πŸ™‚

  9. Haha, this is a funny post! I’ve never had this experience before… the most I’ve experienced are little kids just pointing and staring (non-maliciously) at me when I was in Africa, but that’s about it. Gotta love kiddies imagination!! πŸ™‚

  10. Awwwww. Aren’t kids fab? My favorite class in Jpn the first year was my Saturday morning silly billies, the 6 year olds! I missed them the most when I moved.
    The big comments in Japan are my “high nose” and “beautiful skin”. I don’t use foundation and minimal makeup otherwise so maybe that’s why. In Thailand, I sometimes got poked in the stomach and told I was fat. It didn’t bother me because it was true! I gained a lot of weight there. And it was a common greeting. It’s not polite in the Cdn context and I could say that it’s enforcing a standard for women that’s unfΓ ir but that’s using a filter that may not fit the context. I wasn’t crazy about physically being poked though. πŸ˜€

    1. I love how you refer to your class as the ‘silly billies.’ I find that younger kids are more interactive and not scared to make a mistake and that makes for a more enjoyable class.

      I get the high nose too and some students call it a ‘witch’s nose.’ Kids rarely comment on my skin but I have had older woman touch my face and comment on how smooth and white my skin is. I have very fair skin (the type that never tans and easy to burn) so in Canada, everyone says I’m too white and in Taiwan every says my skin is so white and perfect. I guess that is one advantage about living here. For example, my sister recommended I do tanning sessions so I have some color for my wedding day – of course, I didn’t listen. In Taiwan, I had to tell the wedding photo studio not to make me whiter on my pictures (they usually use photoshop to make people whiter than they actually are).

      1. Of course! πŸ˜€ Kidlets are all silly billies at some point. And yes, making mistakes and the fear of them is definitely learned. It’s a pity because it takes so long to reverse this as an adult.

        Witch’s nose! πŸ˜€ And it sounds like you and I can share sunscreen stories. Me, too! For our wedding, I got “natural” makeup instead of the standard white that is used in Shinto weddings. Well, that white is paper white but I didn’t want it. I still felt like I had a ton of stuff to wipe off but the makeup artist did a beautiful job. That’s something I didn’t understand until very recently that makeup is so important for photography and movies. And I also didn’t know that sunscreen reflects. Oh! *That’s* why I look shiny and sweaty in most of my summer photos! πŸ˜€

        Unrelated but this makes me laugh now (not so much at the time). I worked at a summer camp all through uni and of course, wore no makeup. Occasionally, I was a counsellor for the 6-year old boys cabin. I knelt down to chat with one of the boys and he point-blank asked me, “What are all those spots on your face?” How *do* you explain acne to a 6-year old boy??

  11. What a great read! It was funny, and I can’t help but wonder how/why kids would think things like you can only see blue in the 21st-century! No one said anything remotely like that when I was growing up, mind you I grew up in Canada.

    People always assume I’m American too, and they forget that I’m Canadian. People are shocked when I tell them that I can usually tell if someone is Canadian or American just by talking to them for a minute or less…lol.

    Thanks for sharing this great post for #ExpatTuesday! πŸ˜€

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