As a foreigner in Asia I get a lot of attention, especially on my street where white people are about as rare as a solar eclipse. Sometimes this quasi-celebrity status can wear on me, especially when random people run up and want to take 1…or 10 pictures with them. However, it also has its advantages, and here is one of them.

Last week I went to visit a new jiaozi (dumpling) restaurant on my street that one of my American friends had recommended to me. The tiny restaurant was empty except for the owner and after a difficult ordering process that consisted of a smattering of Asian and wild hand gestures I sat down to wait for my meal. All of a sudden she motioned me to come around back, and before I knew it, she was teaching me how to make the jiaozi. It was so crazy! I didn’t understand most of what she was saying, but it was still so much fun. I wish I could say that my dumplings looked extraordinary, but they really didn’t 😉 I have been back a few times since and hopefully after a while, my culinary skills will improve 🙂

Even though this experience really had nothing to do directly with the work I am doing here it certainly was the highlight of my week. It reaffirmed my love for Asia and the people here and reminded me of WHY I am here doing what I am doing. Although it isn’t always easy, it is certainly always worth it.