La chinita bonita

Trip Start Jun 14, 2004
Trip End Jul 30, 2006

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Flag of Belize  ,
Monday, February 6, 2006

Its me already again! This is another article I wrote for the toucan times about being asian in Belize. its not serious or anything, just silly.
And i posted some pictures on the christmas story posting that go with the christmas story.
Much love.

La Chin-eeee-ta Bon-eeee-ta
By: Keely Monroe

I'll say, its not so easy being a chinita. People have expectations of you and I rarely fulfill them. For example, being able to speak Chinese, and/or being able to perform karate tricks or being related to Bruce Lee. I can't even make rice.
Or that time the guard from the shop below the Royal Orchid asked me if I was Chinese.
"Actually No. No, Im Korean," sorry that I was disappointing him.
"So does that make your parents Chinese?" he asks.
Yeah, he actually said this. "Yes, yes it does." I reply, unable to disappoint him yet again.

Yet, I appreciate my chinita-ness because it allows others to distinguish me easily from others. Men can yell out to me with a simple "chinita!" or "chinay gyal!" My favorite is when a man is walking past me and says casually, "chinita," as if he was saying, "there is a dog in the road."

It also separates me easily from my neighbors. One day I hear a distinct "China! China!" [pronounced Ch-ee-na] coming from outside my house. Clearly this hail must be for me because no one else on the hill is chinita. Ah, yes. The gas men have come to fill my tank and are shouting from my gate for me to let them in. Why waste time with such phrases as "afternoon," or "hello," when "china" is so much more effective?

The simple fact that I am chinita can spur cultural awareness. While on a bus in Guatemala with Katy Redd I noticed a small girl sitting across the aisle staring at me. I turned to Katy, sitting next to me, and informed her that a little person was kind of creeping me out. Someone steps on my foot, and as I turned around to see who it was, I do a sudden head jerk back because the little girl is now leaning across the aisle, in my personal space, staring at me. I turn around and again feel a stomp on my foot. Uhhh, I think a pattern is forming . . . the girl, so enthralled with my chinita-ness, thought that stepping on my foot repeatedly was a great way to get a look at me. I am at the disposal of others to stare at me for as long as they like.

Being chinita is a great way to interact with children. One hot day, Dom and I decided to swim at Sandy Bay, and jump from the cliffs into the water. We arrived and saw many kids there playing in the river, but didn't pay much attention to them as we swam across the river and climbed onto the cliffs. After getting to the ledge, I stopped to catch my breath. I hear beneath me a chant, "abajo chinita! Abajo chinita!" [abajo means down or come down] Ahh, they are cheering me on as I perform my death defying feat of jumping into the water. I jump off and as I re-surface from the water I begin to hear, "Arriba chinita! Arriba chinita!" [arriba means up or go up]

In conclusion, being chinita is great!
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