Hey Xanga friends! I here are some of the emails that I sent out to the people on my list, the remote posting feature isn’t working.
October 21st, 2006
And the other people that read this! You do too!
I didn’t really know who was all getting these awesomely awesome emails that I have been writing (still don’t), but my audience is a little larger than I expected. So I guess I am going to have to check my spelling a little better and explain more of my inside jokes and my off-the-wall humor.
So I was writing an email to my good friend, and I thought it was getting too long. She can’t have all my creative juices, and I used a lot on her. Since I am trying to “trim the fat” out of my budget at home, I have become a little more thrifty. Which has spread to other parts of my life, and Miriam will soon attest, emails included.
Chinese Chinese food. Mexican Mexican food. The Chinese at home is different than here. The restaurants are just so different, there are different eating customs.
So a place setting consists of a small plate (the small plates that you might be served a piece of cake on) a tea cup, a small bowl, chopsticks and spoon and one of those really cool holders for them. Well the plate is actually for garbage. That is where you place the bones or shells that you don’t eat. You eat out of the bowl. To put food in the bowl you use the chopsticks, you just grab what you want and place it in the bowl. Then you eat, and use the same chopsticks to grab more food. You just kind of push that thought out of your mind… You normally don’t get rice or noodles. I haven’t had any chow mien here, and I am kind of sad.
And serving is different here, once the food is on the table (family style, if you didn’t catch that before) the oldest or the most honored takes food first. So if I was out with my family, my dad would be first. He isn’t the oldest in the family, but he is the head of the house. Now if my dad wasn’t there, Cindi would be the one to take food first. Now if I wanted to show my dad how I thought he was a really good dad, I would put food into his bowl. It would be kind of expected for him to say that I am a really great son by putting food in my bowl.
In restaurants, you can get a table or a room. The rooms are great, cause you avoid the stares as you try to eat shrimp in the shell using chopsticks. (Tip: They are split in the back, you kind of eat all the flesh you can reach with your teeth and throw away the rest of it. Something rather hard for a mountain boy who loves seafood to do. Such waste). When you have your own room you usually have your own server girl, waitress person. They will come and take off all the pretty folded napkins off the plates and the covers off the chopsticks. Oh, yeah, some places charge you for napkins. Rather strange, but this is halfway around the world. So the girl pours the drink that you bought (you buy a big bottle for the table and share it, there is no “I’ll have this, and she will have this” thing going on). They get embarrassed if you pour your own drink. I really wonder how much of this is due to not knowing what they heck anyone is saying. There is much more, but I don’t really want to talk about it now…
Chinese is a hard language to learn. It is so tonal. I am pretty good at repeating things I hear, when people try to teach me, but I can’t remember any of it. And understanding writing is even harder. I have learned something like 8 characters, thought I was doing pretty well. Then someone mentioned that there are over 3000… Yeah, I was saddened.
Well, good night all you people!
PS. Remember to stay away from any Vegemite, and slap the Aussie that says it is good. So gross…