EYELIDS FOR ME, PLEASE!

This week has been full of travels and travelling. I’ve been waking up at 4am to rush off somewhere. And the last week was full of technical drama from my 3 networks going on strike and my laptop being quirky. So I decided to take a break from it all. How bad would the world be if I didn’t show up for one week? It’s not like I was deciding to do a Brexit manoeuvre and abandon my keyboard. But I have to admit: I have missed it and you guys, too!

At Osino, somewhere on the Kumasi-Accra Road, I saw a sign on a Kiosk that read: “God Bless my Enimies Metal Works”. No, that is not a typo. But that is not my point. In today’s world, why would I gleefully name my business by asking God to bless my enemies? I couldn’t help laughing and even though it is scriptural, it still baffled me. But it reminded me of how much and why I love travelling. The stuff you see, hear and experience can be something. And it got me thinking about the interesting stuff that happened in my Korean classes that always took me by surprise. Like this one:

The topic that day in my conversation class was how to describe a person’s physical features in the English Language. So I had pictures of different people with different qualities- hair, complexion, eyes, physique, and etc- and asked my students to describe what they saw based on the vocabulary we had been building. I knew it was going to be an interesting class because young Koreans are very critical about how they look. After all, this is a country where parents gift their children plastic surgeries for graduation, almost every woman is on some type of diet and where men have their own make-up line.

So they began. Kofi Annan had a big nose. They were sure Eva Longoria had had some work done to improve her bust line. The Arab girl’s eyes were too wide.

Oh my goodness! When was the bitching going to end and I would hear something positive?

I brought things to familiar territory and said, “Describe anyone in this class.”

Tommy was picked. Tommy is in the ROTC- Reserved Officers Training Corps- so he is usually in uniform.

“Go ahead,” I said.

“Tommy is muscular and he has eyelids.”  She might have blushed.

Eyelids? Excuse me? Did she mean to say something else? No, she meant eyelids. Couldn’t I see? “Tommy has eyelids.”

I peered closer to look into Tommy’s face. Sure, there were the eyelids. Apparently, he was the only one among them who had eyelids.

And was that a good or bad thing? I wanted to know. For once, they all smiled and said, “A good thing. We all wish we had eyelids.”

Good for you, Tommy. And interesting, I thought.

What I regarded as normal, someone else saw as special. It was a poignant reminder that I can’t please everyone with how I look and whatever my notions of beauty are, they are probably different for someone else. This is me back from a one-week break and saying to you: Be happy with who you are, because someone probably wants your life…or your eyelids. And if you can, take a break and travel. It does wonders for your perspective.

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