Everywhere we went, people stared at us. And it wasn't a polite-staring-out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye-and-then-look-away kind of stare. Oh no, it was STARING. But as much as people stared at Ann and I, they stared at the kids far more often. But for some staring wasn't enough, they wanted pictures, too. A few examples:
We were in the domestic terminal of a Chinese airport, sitting in an area by ourselves while waiting for our flight, when a young Chinese girl came up to Ann and began to play charades. We realized that she wanted Ann to take her picture with Jacen and Emmy. Yeah, she wanted her picture taken with complete strangers, simply because the strangers were American kids. Brown hair, blue eyes, speak English. This was a foretaste of things to come.
We were walking in a department store one afternoon when a Chinese family spied our kids. They pulled our kids over next to their own kids and began taking pictures. No, they didn't ask permission; they just did. Soon their extended family was involved in taking pictures in the make-up section of the store.
One of the breaks during our bide ride in the dark was at an outdoor aquarium store. Emmy and I were standing there looking at the strange fish when suddenly one of the bikers came over, picked Emmy up, hoisted her onto his shoulder and walked off. Scared Emmy; scared me. Until I saw the cameras. A crowd instantly gathered around them, and several people started taking pictures.
Our kids found all this to be a bit intimidating, as you might imagine, but all things considered they handled it gracefully. They learned to smile, wave, and say hello, even when they just wanted to be left alone. I suppose now they have a small sense of what it's like to be famous, and I think they are glad to be back home, where they are safely anonymous and few people stare.