October 15, 2004

Dress Code

I have started taking Wolof lessons with a highly qualified teacher. He's nice but he's really hung up on the black/white thing. I feel I'm teaching him more than he is me: white people are normal, we are not all evil colonialists and we have greetings compassion and hand shakes in our culture too.

He is forever commenting on my clothes, more specifically my skirts (which are long enough to cover my knees). He tells me that this is too french and that I have to dress more like a Senegalese. He then proceeds to point out some appropriate outfits in magazines. I got a little annoyed last night and told him to relax, that I'm here because I want to help (why else would I leave my a/c, TV and cable, my IKEA couch, my good good friends and my natural food store at home?), and that yes, I do dress like a white person but in case he didn't notice, I was in fact white. Sheesh! Get over it.

This is one of the things that makes it tiring to live here. I am and will always be a white person. Like in Japan, I am Westerner. And in France, I am an American. And in the States, I am a Frenchie. Grrr!

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