Lesson one – if you’re foreigner in China people will want to take photos with you. The paler you are, the greater number of pictures you’ll be asked to take. If you’re blue eyed blond – you’re screwed. Teenage paparazzi won’t let you live.
2. You’ve been asked to have an open lesson at a primary school in a rural area. Something you haven’t done before. Kids are looking at you with visible excitement. They don’t break class discipline however and lesson gets by smoothly. So you thought it’s going to end as yet another nice lesson. But when the bell rang... all those so far cute and obedient kids suddenly turned into uncontrollable mob, behaving like crazy fans that just saw a rock star. They surrounded you wanting to get... an autograph. Seriously! And they weren’t patient with it either. It included forcefully pushing notebooks into your hands, waving sharp pencils just before your eyes and pulling your clothes to get your attention. All together... scary. When it started to look dangerous, your assistant finally pushed herself between you and the crowd, shouting something in Chinese. You don’t know what she said to them but it helped since they all ran away to another classroom. She has probably just saved your life.
Lesson two – the smaller the town you’re in, the more attention you’ll get. In city like Beijing or Shanghai your sight won’t surprise anyone. If you get into a village the all residents will probably come out to look at you and maybe even invite you for a dinner. In the villages however all this attention is really kindhearted and usually nice. Those pople are exceptionaly kind and just want to talk to you. The worst case is in the middle sized cities or small towns where people (aspecially teenagers) try to take a secret photo of you with their smartphones.
3. Downtown. You walk down the street, turn behind a corner and stand face to face with... yourself. That’s kind of an encounter that can make your soul live your body. Apparently your school has decided that making huge poster with your face on it would make a great advertisement. And of course it’s not like they asked for your permission or even simply inform you about the fact. You should be prepared to see your photos on weirdest occasions.
Lesson three – once your photo is taken you loose whatever control over what will happen to it later. Something like right of publicity practically doesn’t exist in here. At least no one really bothers sticking to it. You probably shouldn’t be surprised seeing your face on the bus one day.
Last thought - there is one upside to all that attention that you are given. It's much easier to meet people here than it is in Western countries. Here many people will directly come to you asking to be your friend, so after one week in China contacts file in your phone will probably be full. All can be nice if it's done in moderation.