On this date one year ago I was home from my externship in China. It took a while to slow down again after weeks of taking copious and quick notes and walking quickly everywhere in large crowds while dodging chaotic traffic.
Maybe the most significant thing was readjusting my stomach. Once home my stomach was grateful to be able to cook at home again after living in a hotel.
Here I offer a recipe for a tasty, festive dish with fresh in-season fava beans.
1. Shell the fava beans. Bring at least one quart of water to a boil. Have ready a metal strainer and a large bowl of cold water. When the water boils, put the beans into the pot for 30-60 seconds. Strain and quickly immerse in cold water. After the beans are cool, peel off the skins, putting them one-by-one into a small bowl or cup. Pour olive oil over them.
2. Cut the cheese into small cubes similar in size to the olives.
3. Skewer on each single toothpick: one piece of cheese, one fava bean, one olive. When you’ve finished creating the skewers, drizzle olive oil over the top and serve.
On this date one year ago I was almost finished with my hospital observation time in China. As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I was spending my time in Sichuan province. I was in the province’s main city of Chengdu that is a city of 13 million people. Chengdu is said to be similar to Portland because of the cloudy, wet weather and the laid-back attitude.
I really have no idea how such a giant city can be laid-back except 13 million is really not that big for China. The airport appeared to be not so interested in a tight schedule because on leaving Chengdu the flight to Beijing was delayed.
At the Beijing airport, a number of the other airline passengers who were on my late flight from Chengdu to Beijing were impatient and emotional. They demanded the airline to fly them to the United States the next morning on a different airline.
I was not so decisive because the opportunity for a two-day layover in Beijing was presented to me many times by the travel agent when I was planning my trip. I refused multiple times but here I was with the opportunity at the final part of my trip. In my other international travels, I had not previously been offered this extra travel time. I really chalk it up to things being unimaginably different in China and likewise the Chinese must think things are totally opposite and different in the USA.
Not being able to speak up for myself in Chinese, I was going along with the urgent group until one of the other passengers mentioned to me he would help me communicate so I could stay the extra time in Beijing.
By good fortune this passenger was also interested in seeing some major sites of his country's capitol before going back to his job at Microsoft in Washington state. Additionally, it turned out that he had left his camera with his wife (who was staying for an extended time with their new baby) in Chengdu. The next day the two of us went to the Forbidden City together and I was able to capture his tourist moments with my camera. He also asked me a lot of questions about Chinese medicine.
It can really help have someone speak up and offer something that will turn out to be a positive and enriching experience for both people.
One year after the invitation to see Beijing, I'm offering some tips about how you can enrich your experience with Chinese medicine and your friends, coworkers and family. If you offer something from the list below to someone you know, you could very well be giving them something they've been looking for but hadn't yet been able to do.
All the Portland flowers remind me that one year ago I was in China for six weeks. When I first arrived, the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine organized a day trip to bring us to see spring flowers.
That day we drove an hour to go outside of the city of Chengdu which has a population of 13 million. When we reached our small town destination, we took a walk on paved steps to reach a temple to the Medicine Buddha. The scenery was beautiful, misty, and green.
I don't remember too many flowers from that day, though it may have been jet lag and a totally new place that contributed to my impression. I wasn't alone in having some level of disorientation or adventurous spirit.
I soon found myself with two young women from the University as we tried to descend the hill by town roads. In addition to studying for their Bachelor's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, these women are talented translators and fans of the English language. All three of us wanted to see another side of the hill but we ultimately had to go back up to the top and descend on the paved walkway.
In contrast, here in Portland there is much opportunity to walk on non-paved areas or streets with garden sidewalks. I see many amazing flowers every time I take a walk. Lately when I drive to a different neighborhood or different city I take the time to talk a walk and just marvel at the flowers.
In springtime do you feel renewed and more energetic than in the winter? Are you outdoors more often and feel like moving your body more? To feel more aligned with all this spring motion, some people change their exercise or eating habits temporarily to do detoxification programs.
A temporary change in exercise and diet for spring can make you feel stronger against colds, less allergic, and weigh less on the bathroom scale. Though you may feel immediate benefits by what you choose to do now, you will also notice long-term effects beyond the immediate season, so you can feel well during the whole year.
If you've never done something like this, I invite you download my own green smoothie recipe for breakfast and observe how you feel that day. I also invite you to try movement for the spring. Whether you're in Portland or somewhere else, there is something for you below.
Looking forward to sending you the next newsletters!
I'm a Licensed Acupuncturist who loves to cook and share tips on Chinese medicine. Lately I've been on a road trip. Please subscribe to my newsletter for news on feeling your best!