“You look like a foreigner”

C.’s grandma had a little accident at home a few days ago and she fell and broke her hip. She had surgery on Friday and currently stays in the hospital.

I went to visit her on Saturday. In China, you don’t really get a single room in a hospital unless you go to a private one and are ready to part with a good chunk of money. So, Grandma stays in a room with 3 other elderly ladies. When we enter the room, several other relatives are there already. Among them, C.’s cousin and his girlfriend, who is Indonesian.

My arrival caused a small commotion in the room.

“Are you a foreigner? You look like a foreigner”, one of Grandma’s roommates said.

“Of course she’s a foreigner”, someone told her.

“Yes, yes, she must be a foreigner. She looks like a foreigner. But that one (referring to the Indonesian girl) doesn’t look like a foreigner, she looks like Indian”.

So it seems for old Suzhounese ladies, people from India don’t count as foreigners! That is weird, as I thought that traditionally, for Chinese people, there were only two types of people: Chinese, and Foreigners (that speak Foreignish, of course), so an Indian should count as a foreigner… right? (Even though she is not Indian but Indonesian!).

One of the newer hospitals in Suzhou (not the one Grandma stays in, I didn't take pictures of that one).

One of the newer hospitals in Suzhou (not the one Grandma stays in, I didn’t take pictures of that one).


Grandma is a very strong lady and she is recovering just fine, although she is quite bored in the hospital and the other day she even dreamed about playing mahjong!