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A Few Thoughts from the Bottom of the Culture Shock U

Chris was in Kunming last night and I pulled off a seriously lazy evening.

To wit: I ate a toasted mantou peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner.

I’m pretty sure mantou is even more  nutritiously-defunct than WonderBread but it does make for a surprisingly tasty toasted sandwich.  And when you can get 3 buns for 1 kuai-well you are talking a cheaper than cheap dinner.

I’ve been feeling a little down on China the last few days.  I know it’s only natural, we are supposedly at the bottom of the “culture shock U” (or is it a W? I can’t remember).  Unfortunately enlightenment, while pleasant, is not exactly a cure-all.

I generally like China a lot.  I like living here, I like the people, I like the food. (Are you reading this firewall people?  I’m telling you I do like China!)

Just once in awhile, the pollution gets me down.

Like when I’m walking down the street and I realize that I am physically unable to take a deep breath.  It’s like my lungs just stop expanding in some sort of self-preserving mechanism.  I’m beginning to understand what people with asthma must feel like all the time. It’s a horrible feeling.

But temporary lung issues are nothing that a few sunny days outside Chengdu can’t fix, right?

The food safety issues here get me down sometimes too.  I love the food, it’s delicious.  I just wish I didn’t know everything I know about the weird stuff that ends up in much of it.  Same goes for stuff like toothpaste.

That’s ok too, though.  That’s what Amazon.com is for.  That’s why we are signing up for a CSA-style organic co-op run by a non-profit just outside of Chengdu.

I’m really excited for this co-op thing.  I really think organic agriculture is going to be big in China in the coming 1-2 decades.

This is a country full of a billion people who really love food, who really respect quality ingredients.  I think the more organic farming gets around, and the more the alternative has a negative impact on peoples’ health, the more people will demand organic products and the more you will have entrepreneurs figuring out how to give it to them.

Which is all to say that I’m happy to spend some of our hard-earned money supporting the movement in it’s infancy.  Plus, hopefully having fresh, organic produce delivered once a week will motivate us to cook at home more.

And speaking of home, today we  got a few of our pictures up on the walls and I’m starting to see things come together.  Want to see our living room?

The Living Room

Check out that Chinese wall decoration, pretty fancy no?  We are luckily ours is so…subdued…

Next week, Chris’ family arrives for a few weeks of visiting and sight-seeing.  Next weekend is also our 1st wedding anniversary AND the 4th of July.  All of which means you can expect a bunch of recipes up here over the course of the next week or so as I bake like crazy for the family and the big cookout we are planning for the 4th.  Stay tuned and happy weekend!

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