Being a picky eater sucks. It was the main reason which prevented me from travelling abroad. Then, I met my Chinese husband. He would eat anything, not wasting a single bone. He could not understand my struggle. To add to the fear of travelling outside my comfort zone, I noticed my surroundings: rice, raw fish, seaweed, shrimp, outside markets and hard beds were part of people’s lives everywhere. But just like me, these people never travelled. They did not know the wonders they were missing outside of home.
Holding my husband’s hand, I dived head down into the most fabulous experience of my life. I stumbled upon two of my greatest loves in China— noodle soups and Taobao. The latter is a selling platform like ‘Amazon’, ‘Wish’ and ‘Alibaba’, and has an endless list of items with great prices. Think of it as being able to find anything between a sand pebble and an airplane. Dreamy, right?
Taobao helped me cozy up my home in China (which I deeply miss during this pandemic), and noodle soups kept me fed. Hey, I am even considered fat in China! No starving for this picky eater, that’s for sure. My secret? Order safe and risky.
When I first arrived in China, my in-laws served me food that they knew I had never tried. They did this to please both their son and let me try something new. Like a child, I refused the new food and hid to munch on crackers in the bedroom. My husband decided to offer choices instead. When we would go out for fried shrimp dumplings, he would also stopped to order won ton or chicken noodle soup to go. This way, I could try new dishes and still choose my food cushion. I did not fear family dinners anymore.
I learned that no matter where we are, we can always find things we like or a version of what we usually like to eat. Whether it is by ordering the ingredients from the nationwide online sellers or going to a fast food chain from home, there is always a way to conquer the fear of being sick or starving during travel.
I realized once I was back to my native country that China and its dishes had become a part of me. Even if I am still working on my culinary skills (my husband does the Chinese food cooking), I found my country’s dishes a bit repetitive and found myself missing Chinese dishes. I used to love eating the same things over and over again, but Chinese food offered so many variants of the food that I like that my baloney sandwich with mayo or my spaghetti became a lot less appealing after I journeyed to the East.
China was now my ‘home abroad’. I felt the need to go back like it was calling me over and over again. The transition between the fear of leaving the nest and finding comfort abroad had occurred naturally. Being a picky eater and the fear of leaving the nest were no longer excuses to stop myself from exploring the world. There is always something great to be found beyond the borders of your mind.
Tell me, what is stopping you from travelling?
- Our International Journey Through a Pandemic - August 26, 2021
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- My Easy Recipe for Feeling at Home Abroad as a Picky Eater - April 29, 2021