Playing the child in China
When I was a little girl, I hated dresses, skirts and ribbons. I hated little dolls, kittens and the colour pink. I loved jumping in the mud, climbing trees and playing football with the boys. My dad always used to say his first-born was a son, because I never acted like a girl.
In fact, I thought I was a boy until I turned thirteen years old. Then I started wearing skirts, and dolly shoes and make-up. I even started to brush my hair! At fourteen, I became interested in fashion. But part of me would always be missing, the little girl I never was.
This week, that long-lost little girl came out to play!
Three of my students took me out at the weekend to show me the places that Chinese girls like to go. Chinese girls are so different from English girls. Where English girls like to go for coffee and pretend to be adults, Chinese girls visit the Hello Kitty Café to drink bright pink and green milkshakes and giggle and gossip.
I became a giggling and gossiping Chinese girl for a day, and it all started at the Hello Kitty Café.
To enter the café, you have to walk through a giant Hello Kitty face, complete with a pretty pink bow and whiskers. Once inside, everything is coloured in pink, red, white and blue. It was as if I were a thirteen-year-old girl again; I spent at least ten minutes running around cooing at little sofa gardens with grass walls, surrounded by hedgerows decorated with mushrooms and kittens. I gasped with delight at the Royal Mail post-box at the bottom of the stairs, and again at the British phone box at the top! The little London girl in my heart leapt with joy at the British flags on the cushions and painted on the walls, the teacups and Kitty-covered cutlery.
The girls told me the story of Kitty White while we enjoyed afternoon tea with Hello Kitty, sipping strawberry milkshake, eating mango mousse and giggling like little girls.
No matter how mature or grown-up you think you are, every girl should take a day to reconnect with the long-lost little girl they used to be. Even the toughest tom-boy can find happiness in the simplest of girlish delights, especially if Hello Kitty is involved.