Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Look your age!

A picture of 19-year-old me

True story: When I was 19 years old and visiting my family in Oregon for a week or two before going back to school, the hostess at a restaurant gave me the kids' menu.

The age range for the kids' menu was
12 and under.

In her defense, the hostess was rather embarrassed when I told her how old I was, and ended up giving me a huge discount on the meal (perhaps the kids' price??). And I understand that she must have to make frequent, quick judgments about a person's age, on both ends of the spectrum, and it's inevitable that mistakes will be made. But honestly, she thought I was 12?

It's been a curse most of my life that I look so darn young. Just this last August, when we arrived in New York after our flight from Amman, I walked with my little brother (he's 15) to check him in for his continuing flight to Portland. At first, I stood away from the counter, assuming everything would be fine. Eventually, however, it became clear that they were unsure about his being able to fly unaccompanied - at least without paying some kind of extra fee.

At that point, I walked up to the counter. The desk agent took one glance at me and got a familiar expression on her face - an expression that said something like, "I wonder what this little girl thinks she can help with?" She asked, not very politely, who I was. I said I was his sister, and that I was sure his ticket was in order, even though he would be unaccompanied on the flight. Then she flat-out asked, "and how old are you??" When I said 25, she immediately started respecting me.

Does anyone else have this problem? I really wouldn't mind it these days, except for the surly reception it usually earns from people who don't take me for an adult.

Cell murder

It's that time of year