Monday, March 26, 2018

A Different Sense

Drinking hot water in China is a cultural norm that is opposite of that in the United States. In the States, its typical to have an ice cold beverage to cool you down. But in China, as I quickly realized during my travels, it is just the opposite.

Even on hot days, people drink hot water. There is boiling water offered in most public facilities; trains, train stations, offices, etc. You also don't actually have the option of boiling or cold, there is only one option.  I quickly learned that I needed to buy a hot water bottle (one insulated with plastic) so I could stay hydrated everywhere.

During my stay at a hostel I ran into a lady who was originally from Germany but there studying Chinese medicine. While we sipped tea, she offered a really interesting observation: the Chinese pay really close attention to the affect of food on their bodies. Later throughout my travels, I noticed how Chinese would describe how they wouldn't eat a particular cold food item because it could cause stomach problems, or how the cold blowing on their leg caused that leg to later feel some soreness.

I think the Chinese have a culture where it is very common to talk how thing affect their bodies, and thus people pay more attention to it. When growing up in the States, I never really payed much attention as long as I didn't get a stomach ache or food poisoning. But now that I've been shown it, I've started to pay much more attention to it. I can feel the difference when I eat certain types of carbs for example, and enjoy the warmness of drinking hot water.

This is just one of the ways that travel and experiencing a different culture first hand has opened my senses, ever so slightly. No I don't only drink boiling hot water now, but now that I've seen examples like this of being really in-tune with my body, I can't avoid paying attention.