21 February 2012

Chopstick Reflections

Around the close of last year I wrote a draft post of my Top 11 of 2011, however I never finished off the list and it subsequently fell by the wayside as the New Year progressed. However I have now decided to cannibalise the lengthy post into a series of Reflections to put up here.
Here is the first one, about me and chopsticks.

I know it isn’t much to brag about, but I can now use chopsticks.
This was a more personal thing on my list of last year’s top eleven, as it really just deals with me, and what I am taking as a personal victory.
Using chopsticks is something I am disproportionally happy about. I had for years given up on making those two sticks of wood get food into my mouth, but this year with a little perseverance, along with the amazing learning tool that is the internet, I was able to finally conquer the first new eating utensil added to my arsenal since the inclusion of steak knives back when I was a child.
But perhaps a little background. I am going to China sometime in the future with my family, and am extremely excited at finally crossing that border from one country into another (and possibly over many more). My parents will be paying for a portion of the trip as a sort of ‘spend your inheritance’ deal, where they are lucky enough to experience this journey with us, rather than the traditional option, i.e. post-mortem.
Wanting to make the best of this experience, I decided to do a few things to prepare for my journey to the Middle Kingdom. The top two entries on my list of China preparation tasks are ‘Learn Some Basic Mandarin’ and ‘Learn to use chopsticks’. Naturally I focused on the later first, as the former seems a lot less likely to happen.
I found the above image on an internet site that gave me a nice and simple instruction on how to hold the chopsticks, and from then on it was just a matter of practise. My wife often makes some great little stir-fry’s, so I was not bereft of chances to hone my skills at home. Combine this with my recent discovery of Mr. Rice in Sturt Street, with their fantastic Mongolian beef, and I was well on my way to chopstick proficiency.
Surprisingly, after many failed attempts in my childhood, I was happy to see that I actually caught on quite quickly. Being rather proud of myself, I even forced my mum to furnish one of our meals at her place with chopsticks so that, like the child I secretly still am inside, I could boast of my new skills and receive some maternal praise.
I have no caption or reasoning for this image beyond its awesomeness
I think it was a lot easier learning this time around because I looked up my lesson plan, rather than trying to learn by imitating those around me, as I had as a child. Looking around now, you will be hard pressed to find two people using the same chopstick grip, so I think eliminating this variance made things a whole lot simpler.
Indeed because this was something I truly sucked at as a child, I now find myself doing it as often as I can in public, and looking on in dismay as no one manages to notice my adept hands skilfully wielding their chopsticks.
Evidently my own personal pride at having learnt this feat fails to overcome the fact that eating with chopsticks is not really much of a social accomplishment.
Yes, I am proud of doing what a small child can. Take your pleasures where you find them
But what the hell, I resolved to fill this blog with things that are not only inherently significant and interesting on their own, but which are also personally relevant. And this I think is a perfect example of a more subjective win for me.

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