I've always felt a bit like a local celebrity here: people frequently turn and stare as I walk down the street, surprised by this blond white giant in their midst, and the teachers at my school always know what I've been doing in my spare time, based solely on the local gossip. ("Hey, my aunt's friend's maid said she saw you in the grocery store yesterday, buying shampoo. Why were you buying shampoo?")
Now, though, that status is somewhat deserved: I was on TV!
I'll give you a second to digest this new info before I admit that it really wasn't cool enough to warrant that exclamation point. There's a channel here, run by one of the local universities, that has a weekly program highlighting a local high school. Last Friday was my high school's turn, so of course they brought me along, mostly to show off: they have a native speaker of English(!), and one from America at that(!) And look! She's tall! And blond! And obviously foreign!
(If I'm not careful here, I'll get a swelled head. What can I say? I'm a hot commodity.)
This was an hour-long program, in which we mostly sat and advertised the school to the announcer, a very perky Indonesian Kelly Ripa. I managed, in that awkward yet charming way of mine, to get half my face into the background shot while some tenth grade girls played the violin and sang at the opening of the program; I then managed, even more awkwardly, to look at the wrong camera at these moments, so that only the whites of my eyes showed. I'm sure the viewers at home were confused and repulsed, as I must have looked like some sort of Creature from the White Lagoon.
I also managed to wear the same color as the announcer, so that by sitting next to each other we seemed to blend into one giant mass of pink. (This fact is not as surprising as it sounds, since roughly half the clothes, bags, and shoes sold in any stores here are that particular color. Coral: it's so hot right now!) What's more, I look even whiter than normal, since the glare of the cameras washed me out. Everyone else got to wear makeup to counteract this effect, but they didn't have any makeup that was white enough to even approximate my natural color. (This, too, is not surprising, as my skin tone is known in the business as "extra ivory." I'm serious.)
Mostly, though, the program was dull. I answered a few questions about the school and my role within it, but since both the questions and responses were in English, I suspect I could have said nearly anything I wanted without much ado. The announcer clearly didn't understand what I was saying; as I talked, very slowly and clearly, she got that glazed "it's all Greek to me" look in her eyes, and several times, as I talked, she attempted to cut me off in the middle of a sentence. (One would think that intonation would be enough. Or perhaps, say, pausing? Not for Ms. Perky Smile, though.)
So that's my grand debut. I think the other teachers at my school were much more excited about the whole thing than I was; on Monday after the program, I was mobbed in the teacher's lounge, and beset with comments like, "My friend's sister's boyfriend saw you on TV! Why were you on TV?" I guess I'd better just get used to fame.
(PS: Five points to the first person who can, without using Google, name the song referened in the title.)