The Trials, Tribulations and Accidental Celebrity of a White Girl Playing Badminton in China

In many ways, my badminton friends have just accepted me as one of their own. The one you have to talk slower to, listen more carefully to, but still one of them.

Then, in many other ways I will never be one of them and will always stick out.

This has it’s good points. I get a lot more free waters when I go to a gym then other people. I’m also easily recognizable and get high level people willing to play with me because it’s “quirky.”

But there are bad points too. I play with a lot of people, and if I play just once or twice, and never see them again, I forget who they are, but they don’t forget me. A few month later I’ll meet someone and say it was nice to meet them and then they say, “We played together a few months ago, don’t you remember?” Errr…sorry.

Or all the times when someone tells me their name and I reply with “I’m Xiao Bing,” and they answer, “I know,” and kinda giggle a little. (Does Johnny Depp introduce himself? I mean, you feel like a dick not doing it, but then feel embarrassed when they say they know.)

But by far the weirdest bit of celebrity happened this week. In preparation for a woman’s tournament later this month I played in a new gym with a group of women my partner introduced me to. They added me into the group, which had only 12 ladies. One of the women sent a picture:

“That’s me!” I said.

“Really? I was on the wrong bus and ran into this foreigner,” she said. In the picture the guy in yellow is someone I had just played with so I remember which night it was.

“Actually, I was on the wrong bus too,” I said.

“Yeah! I saw you get off the bus when you noticed it was wrong. You suddenly realized and almost didn’t have enough time to get off.”

That’s exactly what happened. I was using the bus app to check this specific bus number because I had always thought I could take any bus from my coaches place home. It’s only 2-3 bus stops away. But I had never been on that number bus before so I checked the app and I realized that after the stop we were at, the bus was gonna turn and go another direction, away from my house. So I managed to squeeze out the doors the last second before they closed, and was so rushed I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friend.

So while I’m sometimes glad that I stick out a bit, and people notice me sometimes it’s a bit creepy…


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