Are you wondering what’s it like living in and traveling in Asia with black toddlers?
I am a tall, melanin-rich woman of color who has lived in East Asia for more than four years. I have two daughters who are third culture kids and my husband is Nigerian. One thing that’s for sure is that my family and I never go unnoticed in Korea.
Whether we’re out shopping, taking a stroll, or playing at the park, we always have people to come up to meet our children. I also found this to be the case in my travels to Japan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.
Here’s a summary of what happens most often when people meet my melanin-rich, brown kids and what you can expect traveling in Asia with black children, especially babies.
4 THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN TRAVELING WITH BLACK TODDLERS IN ASIA
People will take pictures of and with your baby. This has become such a common experience in Korea that most times, I don’t think much about. We can be going up or down the escalators and people will switch their camera phones on to snap pictures of the girls while saying, “cute” or “pretty” in Korean. When traveling, people asked to take pictures with them, especially in Vietnam. They were so fascinated by my daughter’s skin, hair and her eyes.
People will give your children candy, bread, and food. We can be strolling along and someone stops and gives the girls candy, gum, or fruit. Here in Korea, when the girls are playing at the park, local parents often have their own children come over and share snacks with mine. In Vietnam, parents wanted their children to break bread with my daughter. There, she met new friends over milk, cookies, and bread right on the streets of Hanoi.
People will pick-up and want to hold your children. In America, it is a “no-no” to pick up children without asking. But overseas, people have picked my girls as if they were their own to show love and to be helpful. For example, I’ve had people in restaurants take them to let me enjoy eating a meal and of course, to go and show my girls to their co-workers, friends, and family.
People will want their own children to meet your children. I love seeing the reactions of local children and my children interacting with each other for the first time. It is such a beautiful experience and it gives me an opportunity to chat with locals. I like to think of my girls as the youngest ambassadors for my country.
In sum, living and traveling in Asia, I have found people to be very welcoming to my children, helpful, considerate, and accommodating to me as a mom of two, including as a guest in their country when I have traveled while pregnant.
What has been your experience (or concerns) traveling overseas as a family who stands out from locals?