Sunday, December 16, 2012

First impression of America

After cleaning up from that long flight, we went to the famous Woodfield Mall. On the drive, Ma Lei's face was glued to the window like one of those old Garfield stuffed dolls with suction cups on its feet.

She was amazed at the traffic, at how orderly it was and how few cars there were for such beautiful roads. (Don't worry, she'll see plenty of horrible traffic and horrible roads soon enough.)

She was dazzled by the Christmas lights everywhere, and how much prettier they are than the Christmas decorations we have in China. She kept saying "Santa Claus! Santa Claus!" like an excited little girl.

She was intrigued by the houses in this middle-class area. Little old brick houses, sturdy but in no way impressive, amazed her. China doesn't have many nice little single-family homes like that, with a yard and a garage for everyone. "I thought those were only in fairy tales," she said.

She loved seeing the places that China does have (such as McDonald's) and the many that China doesn't. The giant stores (Dick's Sporting Goods, Von Maur department store) impressed her, but she's just as curious to see what KFC is like in America.

She was even amazed at the car we were in (which would be too expensive for a middle-class person in China), and at the mere fact of being driven around an American city by an American woman. "I've only seen that before in movies," she said, "and now here I am."

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