Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hot Pot and Dumplings

Last weekend was full of accomplishments in the realm of language and community integration.

I have always felt that I would never be able to order hot pot because there are too many choices and too many things you have to order:

1) type of soup
2) type of dipping sauce
3) type of meat
4) type of vegetables.

My vocabulary and ability to read characters is very limited in the food realm; however, on Saturday a pretty nice hot pot meal was ordered with an awesome tomato based soup along with a garlic dipping sauce and vegetables and meat galore. (Well I kind of cheated, by walking around the restaurant having the waitress follow me as I pointed to the vegetables we wanted, but hey you do what you gotta do.) Not only was that cool, but the meal lasted like 2-3 hours which is very Chinese. It was a meal of leisure of eating and socializing, not this eat and go type of attitude that I have had a hard time giving up even after living abroad for four years.

Then on Sunday I had a full day hanging out with friends cooking and making pork and celery dumplings. It was a day of pure Chinese. These friends have stopped translating even just the theme of the conversation where knowing the theme often makes it easier to correctly guess what is going on. Instead I was on my own, but I didn't feel alone as I stood in the kitchen having a conversation with the cook learning about her wedding and how to cook. Learning language by being in the real world instead of sitting in a classroom, my Chinese improves by leaps and bounds.

It was a good weekend.

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