The whole reason for travel is to experience new cultures, food, and places, right? Not searching for the same type of food you’re already eating everyday. Maybe that’s why I am frustrated by my family and maybe a little of the culture I come from.
It constantly feels like they are unwilling to adapt, they meaning my aunts, uncles, cousins, and perhaps my former boss and his family. They must eat every meal in rich varieties, usually contain four or five dishes per meal. They start off a large bowl of soup, then rice and repeat for the next meal.
Three years ago, my aunts, uncles, and cousins spent thousands of dollars to travel to the United States to visit us. Weeks before their arrival, we talked on the phone, mom, being a control freak, planned and approved their itinerary, meal plans, etc.
They told us they wanted to experience the culture first hand and try a bunch of food. So we took their suggestion into consideration. The first night, we presented them with a meat-filled lasagna, we ended up with a lot of leftovers. My aunt claimed it was too filling, whatever that means.
On the third day, I took them to the mall, they browsed around the food-court and stopped at a place that made Americanized Chinese cuisine and looked at the food with disgust. They were hungry and did not want to eat any of the food. At last, they settled with Subway which they called the food “garbage”. So ungrateful, I wanted to say. At least you have something to eat.
That first weekend, we set off to Yellowstone. The morning of departure, my aunt woke up at a quarter to five and made five cups of rice. My mom and I were just the last people to wake up and by the time we got downstairs, everyone had already scattered about the kitchen, shoving rice into their faces with chopsticks.
I asked what they were eating and my aunt informed me that they were having rice with soy-sauce. “For breakfast?” I asked.
“We’re not like you. We need our rice.” She said. “Who knows when we’ll get our next bowl of rice?”
We’re only going away for the weekend, is not having Chinese food or rice going to kill you? I wanted to say but thought it would be impolite.
In the least to say, the trip to Yellowstone was miserable. Everyone was either sleeping and missing all the breath-taking scenery of Yellowstone or they were arguing. I was thankful we made it home. We rested a while before venturing to Las Vegas. By then, not only I had lost my voice but I had to follow mom into the 110-degree heat to get Chinese food.
All because of what? Because everyone refused to just grab something at the dozens of restaurants at the hotel. They refuse to adapt, that’s what. By the time we made it to LA, we even had to buy a rice cooker at Walmart because they refused to drink ice cold water.
Do you see why I have such strong opinion about my culture being a stickler? That people are searching for Chinese food everywhere they go?
The weekend after returning from Chicago, I had a brief conversation with my aunt about my trip. “How was the trip? Was it fun?” She asked.
“Uh huh,” I told her.
“Was there Chinese food?” She asked. I’m not exaggerating. That really was her question.
“Yeah, there’s a Chinatown.” I replied but this was going through my head. Seriously, is that the only she’s concerned about?
Honestly, for me, after twenty-four years of eating Chinese food, I have become kind of tired of rice, vegetable, and meat for every meal. So one of the things I’m glad I got to do on my trip is I got to experience food.
Maybe it’s only my family who act this way. It makes me wonder, do Italians seek Italian food wherever they go? Do Americans seek fast food or American food on their travels? Or do they try new things and experience the food from the culture of the country they’re in?
So many questions.