The year of the rabbit has begun in China, and I am still feeling warm and fuzzy from my trip to Beijing less than two weeks ago. Though the weather was below freezing, the warmth I felt was deep.
What truly amazed me was how lack of language (I speak no more than two sentences of Mandarin, and they speak no English or Hebrew) made for almost two weeks of communication of a different kind. When you don't have a language in common, it allows an opportunity to communicate in more creative ways.
Take eating for example. If my hosts didn't take me to eat somewhere, I would eat in my hotel. How can you order a meal, when the menu is written in Chinese? I couldn't even ask what was on the menu. No one understood a word. So, I started flapping my arms like I was flying and vocalized "bawk bawk bawk" to the waitress to ask for chicken. This brought loads of laughter to us all. It brought some interesting dishes, and once it brought me an egg dish :-)... I had a good laugh over that one.
The other amazing thing to me is that there was no tea in the restaurant. Tea came as boiling water in a pot. If you want tea in Beijing, it's an expensive affair.
The owner of the music spa who brought me to tour in China presented me with an amazingly beautiful gift box on my last day in Beijing. It looked like gold was inside. Well actually it was filled with gold.... tea, that is.
She made it a point to tell the interpreter that this is gold tea, the most expensive kind, that she and her husband hand chose it. I guard this box with my life. It feels like such a stash. The flavor of the tea is soft, sweet and nothing like the type of tea served in North American Chinese restaurants. In Beijing I saw a tea store - it looked like a diamond store, filled with expensive jewels.
Anyway, the tea reminds me of the warmth I experienced in cold Beijing. I will write more about my experiences with the music on another post.