Through the Eyes of a Young Girl

Throughout this trip, my friends and I have had great fun trying to spot the cutest Chinese babies we could find.  Whether they be on the subway, the bus, or just walking down the street, we enjoy pointing them out to each other.  I don’t know what it is about cute babies that makes you just want to smile.  They seem to make everything else melt away as you pass by, and if you happen to catch one laughing, it’s the highlight of your day.

This past Friday, Fuji took us to Lu Xun Park, the one we were supposed to go to earlier to take pictures of the older people in the morning.  When we got there the park was filled with couples and families visiting the park and enjoying the sights of the 2012 International Lantern Festival.  The families were all out enjoying the beautiful light show and festivities.  In particular, the kids seemed to be having a great time running around and basking in the glow of thousands of LED lights.

While gazing up into the lights the kids seemed to exude happiness.  You could feel the joy flow out of them as they ran from one light display to the next, or ran in circles with their new light-up swords and wands.  The parents were happy that their kids were thrilled and the whole family seemed to be enjoying the adventure.  The light-hearted spirit of the mid-autumn festival hung pleasantly in the air.  With camera in-hand and Fuji’s ever-present encouragement to capture the world around us, I set off to try and bottle the essence of the kids’ joy in a photograph.

As I began to take pictures of the kids, unexpectedly the parents encouraged me.  They would walk over and point at me so the kids would look and the little ones really seemed to enjoy it.  One little boy with a light up sword began to have a mock fight in front of me, providing wonderful colorful photos.  When I knelt down to get closer to the kids’ level, one mother pointed her barely walking daughter in my direction.  As I snapped pictures of her daughter ambling toward me, the mother laughed and encouraged her daughter to look at the camera.  When I showed them the pictures the girl just giggled and kept saying “wo, wo.”  The joy in her bright young eyes lit up the night.

The juxtaposition of my mild unsettled feeling when being photographed by locals to the evident desire of the Chinese families to have me take their kids photos is pretty funny.  Where I am slightly put off by the idea of showing up in their family photo album of their trip to Shanghai, the mothers wanted their baby to be the one in my slideshow.  This contrast is something I have yet to fully grasp but I hope to keep exploring throughout my time in Shanghai.  Until then, my friends and I will continue to search for the cutest babies in Shanghai in order to try and capture the joy they exude so that we too may view life though the eyes of young exuberant Chinese kids.