Black in Asia

Black girl in China Part II: The “cutesy girl” Ashley

Good afternoon VTA (Voyage to Asia if it wasn’t obvious) first I hope everyone’s having a decent Thursday, I know I am, and that’s because, I finally got a new guest article from a friend. Well, she’s more like a little sister, or a comrade (it’s great to have another person who, you can sometimes fall back on Ebonics with in China lol.

This person, Ashley, it took quite awhile to get her to write something for the blog, be it a mixture of shyness, being busy, and stubborn! But overall, she is such a cutesy person that just makes you “gawk(???)” at her cuteness, and her article will reflect that. (I made “gawk” up, it’s a sound that I don’t know how to express in writing, but you get my point right? Right? Good) Let’s go:

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Hello all!

I’m Ashley Brown. I’m 20 years old, a college student, cultural activist, and traveling enthusiast. A little about my background: I come from a biracial family, so growing up I learned to adjust to many different cultures. My dad is African American and my mom is Spanish. I speak English and (little) Spanish, and now learning Chinese (*^_^*)

About a year ago I was blessed to live in China for my study abroad program. My experience in China has changed my life forever.        o(`ω´ )o

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(No, no, it wasn’t because if the clubbing XD)

When I first arrived in China, I was in shock! Before I left: I researched the culture, studied the language for a little bit, and watched lots of documentaries about China – I thought I was prepared for my adventures, but come to find out I was in for a pleasant surprise. Y(^_^)Y

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(Leslie my roomie!!!!!!!)

My first month in China was a huge learning experience. My Chinese was getting better, my vocabulary was growing, and I started making wonderful friendships. One of the biggest shocker was the stares I would get from the Chinese people. (☆_☆)

Anywhere I would go, people would talk about my hair, my height, my eyes, and my skin. I remember walking to the metro and feeling like all the eyes were on me. Now, this might seem scary to most people, but honestly I loved it. (*^◯^*)

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I loved it because the Chinese people were so sweet! After a few weeks, and after I got comfortable, I would start to say “你好 (hello)” or “早安,下午好,or 晚上好 (good morning, good afternoon, good evening)” to the people that were staring. This basic gesture would shock people, they didn’t think I could speak Chinese, but I was trying. Every person I said “Hi” to, would follow-up (in English or Chinese) with “you’re so beautiful”, “where are you from, you’re so pretty, or that I’m exotic”. These questions and compliments made me feel so wonderful and many times it was beautiful girls who would tell me. *\(^o^)/*

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As time continued, it became “normal” for the questions and compliments, but what was another shocker was how people would want pictures with me. Every place I went (that was touristy) I had my picture taken with complete strangers, it was awesome! I was at the Forbidden City in Beijing and I remember having to wait for 20 minutes because there was a line to take pictures with the “外国人 (foreigner),” It was just so amazing to think that people actually thought I was exotic or exciting that I would take pictures with them. But this too became a “norm”. =(^.^)=

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I think the biggest shocker that I experienced in China was the comments on my hair. Having my biracial background, I was blessed with a beautiful set of curly hair. One day, Stephen (one of my best friend from China) and I went to dinner. After dinner we were talking about America and my background. He asked me what ethnicity I was and where my parents were from. I told him that I was biracial, and that my ancestors came from Africa and Spain. After explaining my whole life story to him, he told me, “Ashley, I have never met anyone like you before, I’ve never seen anyone with your type of hair (I had to tell him that it was called curly hair and that yes, it was real.)” but what he said next really touched my heart, he said, “I have only seen people like you in books, and never thought people that looked like you existed, and now I’m very happy to say that you’re my friend.” This was probably the most touching thing anyone has ever said to me. (^ν^)

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After the experiences I had, I learned that no matter where you are from or what you look like, there will always be a place for you in the world. Being different and standing out in China was the best adventure for me. I loved my journey into a new culture and the memories I had will last me forever. My advice for young people of color is don’t be afraid to experience something new, the best adventures come from the least expected places. ( ^_^)/~~~

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爱(love), Ashley

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My Koreans!!!! Lin and Brian!!!!!

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