Our children will take their own tracks and end up in places we never would have predicted. I never imagined my son Dominik would go to China and jump into the culture, start his professional career there and marry a Chinese woman.
I have searched my memory for clues in his childhood that might have predicted this, but did not come up with something. He liked Chinese food, but he also liked Japanese, Mexican and Italian.
He decided to study Asian economy and thought it would be useful learning Mandarin. He chose it because the university was different, the study was different and the city was different.
Shanghai has more than 20 million people. The Chinese in Shanghai spoke Mandarin and almost no one spoke English. I worried he would be lonely.
Instead, he had the time of his life, he had chosen well, he had become quickly more than familiar and lived like a rock star and fell in Love … with a Chinese girl … with the Chinese language … with Chinese food.
Color, smell and taste are the three traditional aspects to describe Chinese food, as well as the meaning, appearance and nutrition of the food. Not only is food seen as giving vital force (Qi), energy, but food is also about maintaining yin and yang.
The philosophy behind it is rooted in the ‘I Ching’ and the Chinese traditional medicine: food is judged for color, aroma, taste, and texture and a good meal is expected to balance the Four Natures (hot, warm, cool, and cold) and the Five Tastes (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty).