Being a foreigner gets me a lot of shouts and hollers from people on the street, from people I know or who recognize me as well as from passers-by who might hear me speaking English to a friend or on the phone.
Students of the school I work at, other kids and even grown men like to shout out the few English words they know when they see me. “Shit! Muzzer Focker!” they often say. A long, drug out “Heeelllooo” is another common one. I’ve even heard someone yell just “pizza!”
Every once in a while I receive rather unwelcoming calls, such as the one a friend of mine and I were on the receiving end of in Kiev last week. “Fuck you, Yankee! Go to America!” The guy shouting it actually had fairly good pronunciation as well as a strong delivery. I thanked him and continued on down the street.
I get a whole hell of a lot of “I love you” calls, too. It’s usually young women throwing those out, and only after they’ve walked far enough past me that they can’t be recognized.
This is all part of living in a foreign land. I accept that. And, actually, I might even miss those shouts someday, being recognized. With my Close of Service conference beginning tomorrow, the clock is running out on my Peace Corps days. But I won’t be heading home afterward; I’ll be joining my girlfriend in Shanghai, China. There, I imagine the cat calls will continue. I wonder what they’ll sound like.