Before I came to China, one of the things I was certain would be different in China was the food. I sort of looked at it as a matter of fact thing, something that couldn’t be changed, and something I would just learn to deal with and get used to because I would have to. While I anticipated the food would be an adjustment, I guess I completely underestimated how hard it would be.
To me, among various cultural differences, getting used to Chinese food has been one of the hardest things for me this summer in Beijing. This is surprising to me, as I never considered myself an emotional eater, or a “foodie” by any means. It isn’t even that I hate the food here, I just get completely sick of it far too soon. It is sometimes embarrassing how excited I get about having “western” food here. Eating familiar food to me while I have been here (such as pizza, hamburgers, etc) is usually the only times I truly feel satisfied after a meal. I would also like to point out that I have probably consumed more McDonalds in the two months that I have been here than I have in my entire life in the US.
So, every once in a while (actually pretty frequently now) I treat myself to a nice meal in wudaokou that is more familiar to my taste buds. I have become one of those people that take pictures of their food. Not sure what significance that has, but literally, every single time I have a meal that is more western, I immediately whip out my phone and take a picture of it as if I’ll never see a meal like that again. I guess I truly underestimated the comfort food can bring, and it’s pretty pathetic how amazing something as stupid as a cold bowl of cereal sounds right about now.
As I write this blog post, I am looking up at the bag of gold fish, the kit kat bar, and the cliff bar, that I brought from home for the plane ride over had I got hungry. After my first meal in wudaokou the day I arrived in Beijing, it became obvious to me that these food items may become some of the more valuable things I had in my room (yes, dramatic, I know). I wanted to save these snacks for a time I got so sick of Chinese food that I would absolutely need something American. Every once in a while, I look up at those goldfish, and want them so bad, but convince myself that there will be a time I’ll want them more. Anyways, months have passed, and I still am able to look up at that food. I am not sure whether or not this is an indication of will power, or fear that I’ll need it more another time, or maybe that I have actually adjusted to the weird food here.
Time to eat that goldfish!