Kenyon College


Kate Druschel, ’99
Beijing, 1997-98


Almost everywhere I went I was a foreigner, always an outsider because of the color of my skin and hair. My ability to speak Chinese shocked many people, and the times that I caught someone on the bus exclaiming to a friend about my strange looks and blonde hair are innumerable. But the first time I met my Chinese mother, she threw her arms around me and exclaimed, "I've always wanted a daughter!" To my family, I was never strange, and their home was always a comfort zone, filled with great food and laughter. My mother taught me how to make jiaozi, traditional chinese dumplings, and we joked about opening a restaurant together. My father untiringly told me stories of Chinese culture and history, and he was always willing to go to a museum with me to explain the treasures we saw there. My brother, who is only several months older than I am, shared popular culture with me, taking me to movies and to meet his friends, where I was always introduced as his American sister. From the very start, despite the fact that my blonde hair and blue eyes set me apart physically, I was a part of this family, a relationship that was never questioned. The gifts of their time and love are the most significant things I brought back with me, and I am eagerly awaiting my chance to return home.



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Comments to: Rita S. Kipp
Last Edited: 11/23/98

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