Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Eating Crow

I have a lot of opinions. Thanks to this blog and other social media, I have non-confrontational outlets so that I can express my opinions without causing too much of a stir. However, when I air my judgmental thoughts so publicly, I also have to admit to you when I find myself in a situation identical to those I so haughtily looked down upon. This past week I had to grin as I ate my words and put myself in a situation worthy of judgment.

Just a few weeks ago, I posted a blog all about how strange it is that Koreans like to stop and take pictures of my children. I scoffed at them and deemed them odd for this phenomenon. Mind you, this blog was a year in the making. It was not a one-time event that had me scratching my head but 15 months of our BOGOs’ lives where I passed judgment on our hosts for documenting the lives of children they had never met. I remarked in wonder why they would want those shots and how I wasn’t sure how one would present those photos to family and friends. And then, in a not-so-bizarre turn of events, I became guilty of the same peculiar attraction to strangers’ children.

Last week, the high school took a week break before finals to celebrate their annual “Discovery Week”. This is a week where student groups are sent to every corner of the globe to “discover” their world. Trips range from seeing theater in London, to scuba diving in Malaysia, to building schools in the Philippines. I was lucky enough to help lead a trip to Nepal that had us trekking through mountain villages (actually, they were just the “foothill villages” as anything below 15,000 feet  in the Himalayas doesn’t count as a mountain). Chris did awesome as he sponsored a local basketball camp and played Mr. Mom with the girls at home all week. 

Nepal was amazing. The landscape was breath-taking and the people were unbelievably hospitable. And, guess what? The Nepali children are cute. Really cute. Makes me want to take random photos of other people’s children cute. So, here I am trekking along when up comes a small child in tattered clothes and big, dark eyes. The first thing I wanted to do was whip out my camera and take a picture. But, the irony of this whole situation was not lost on me. I had just spent a year lamenting to anyone who would listen about the strangeness of other people photographing my kids and here I am wanting to do the same thing. At first, I tried to resist. I won’t be that tourist who comes back with stacks of pictures of random children whom I will never see again. My resolve didn’t last long, however. Barely 48 hours in Nepal and I was snapping away. You may be happy to hear that I did always ask permission first. I always appreciate when people ask.

So, I have come to you to ask forgiveness in my judgment of the Korean people. They aren’t strange. Or maybe, it is just that I am as strange as they are. I wondered how one would present pictures of foreign children to their friends and family and so, here I go. 

Do you want to see pictures of cute Nepali children? Yes? Okay, here are a few…

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