Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Generosity in Zhengzhou

Mar 12 2010 7:22pm

Greetings Friends!

I'm in Zhengzhou, China now and just finished my 2nd day in Dr. Zhao's clinic. I love being in China!!! It's so different from the states and yes, there's things I miss (like the clean air and lots of beautiful parks with big, luscious green trees and birds) but as my sister said today (I had a spontaneous 3 way conference call with my sister, Lynn and Mom this morning -- it was soooo neat to be able to all talk together - me being in China just starting my day, Lynn in Indiana just about to hop into bed, and Mom in California just finishing her dinner :))...as Lynn said on our phone call - she's so glad that the world has such a variety of places. Sometimes when I'm in one place for a long time, it's easy for me to think this is just the way life is. Traveling to new countries is so neat to see how different life can be in other places.

For example, walking the streets in my new neighborhood, I see so many people -- older adults, young kids, babies toddling around with their moms (real little toddlers also wear these interesting pants that have a hole cut right in the crotch -- they don't wear diapers -- they just squat and go to the bathroom when they're outside playing), and neighbors out talking in the streets. People are pretty relaxed here and have a lot of time to smile and chat and watch their day go by.

I also feel so privileged being a foreigner here. People are sooooo welcoming and amazingly friendly and generous with me! For example, for my stay here in Zhengzhou, Dr. Zhao found a hotel room for me to stay in that's just a 10 minute walk from his home and clinic (this way, he said I can take hot showers :) - he lives in an older part of town where the homes don't have hot water or showers) - Because Dr. Zhao knows the owner of the hotel, I'm able to stay here for a very good rate and they gave me a most beautiful room - it's like an apartment!! And they feed me breakfast and dinner. (And it's of course so delicious to me b/c it's all Chinese food :))

Yesterday I arrived at dinner late and there was only a little bit left. The servers asked me what I like to eat and in 5 minutes they came out with a platter of sauted greens and the most delicious tofu and a bowl of 'dan hua tang' - egg flower soup :)!!! Wow it was delicious -- and then they asked me what kind of fruit I like....I didn't know why they asked but I told them. Well, today when I arrived for dinner, all the servers were smiling big. After I went through the buffet and sat down to eat like everyone else, a man walked through the room to the kitchen with a big bag of fruit. There was a scurry and I heard one man mention 'American friend' (they were speaking in their local dialect but some words sound similar). In a few minutes, they came out with a most beautiful platter of fruit just for me! I was soooo amazed and touched! I took a picture of it {above top} (the picture shows what was left of it when I brought the rest up to my room after I ate some :) -- they cut the pink apple beautifully, laid out some sliced oranges, peeled and sliced an Asian pear and also laid out a cute little mango and one of those tiny oranges (it's not really an orange but it looks like one - the size of a grape).

That's just one example of the kind of warmth I'm receiving here. Another is from Dr. Zhao and his family. They are sooo wonderful! His wife (I call her 'Ayi' - meaning 'Auntie') is delightful - happy and talkative and is always trying to get me to eat more. She makes such yummy food and has already figured out how much I love black sesame paste and at lunch (I eat lunch with her and Dr. Zhao each day during our mid-day break) she makes me this yummy soup with 'hei zhi ma tang yuan' -these little rice paste balls filled with sweet black sesame paste - each day my soup has more and more of these 'tang yuan' in them as I'm always exclaiming "Mmmmmmm!" while eating them :)

Dr. Zhao's daughter-in-law, Jun Lin works with us in the clinic and she's teaching me how to 'zhua yao' - measure and bag up the herbs for herbal prescriptions. Have you seen those hand scales that Chinese herbalists use when going to buy Chinese herbal medicine? I've seen them and am just now learning how to use them! I'm starting to help fill the herbal prescriptions but I'm much, much slower than Jun Lin and Dr. Zhao's wife! Yesterday when I finally finished measuring out one of about 15 herbs for 1 prescription, I felt awkward and as if I had about 4 thumbs in working the scale, but Dr. Zhao just exclaimed - "Very good!" - He's so kind :)

Also, the night I arrived, Dr. Zhao, his wife and his daughter, Nicole and Nicole's daughter all made a wonderful dinner for me. At the end of dinner, Dr. Zhao went upstairs and came down to read a poem he wrote for me in coming to study with him. He is a wonderful poet (as some of you know - those of you who were at the ZYQ retreat last year). It is so beautiful and I feel so honored and touched by his kindness and depth of feeling. It starts with famous line from Li Bai (a famous Chinese poet) about a guest coming from a far away land, and the next line welcomes me to China. He ends with an allusion to a famous monk who made a pilgrimage all the way to India to study with his teacher and my making so many changes is my life to come all the way across the oceans to come study with him - and his feelings of gratitude for this opportunity as well. Wow. I too am so grateful. And I so enjoy hearing him recite his poem -- the Chinese language is truly a beautiful language. (I put the poem next to my fruit plate in the picture above top:))

Gosh, this is a long update and I still have so much to say! I am already learning a lot just observing and in some cases helping give some treatments with clients. I'm also interviewing some clients about their experience with Chinese medicine. Today I spoke with a young man who has had severe depression for 8 years. He came to Dr. Zhao 6 months ago and is now so much better. He can sleep again, he's been able to stop taking his western meds (after taking them for 8 years, and at times being hospitalized, and trying unsuccessfully in the past to wean off of them), and his spirit is now showing up again behind his eyes and in his body. He came today with his family and they all eagerly shared with me their story. The young man said with western meds he often felt they were just too strong - a sense of pressure of them controlling part of his being/emotions; with Chinese medicine he doesn't feel that pressure - he feels relief and a sense that it's working together, cooperatively and in harmony with his body and spirit.

Many clients also come each day to pick up one of Dr. Zhao's famous heart pill formulas "Zhao Shi Xin Mai Tong Jiao Nang" -- this is for people with heart disease -- several who were quite ill, now are strong and lively and living healthy, active lives. They are quite excited to talk with me and share their experiences :)....And many, many more examples. Below are a few pictures of his clinic and his wife and Jun Lin filling herbal prescriptions :)

This weekend plans changed a bit as Hua Shan (Mt. Hua) is one of the most dangerous hikes and b/c of the cold, most of the trails are closed. Therefore, my friends Patrick and David, will come here to Zhengzhou and Dr. Zhao and another doctor friend of his (who has the same Chinese last name as me! -- mine is one my first Chinese teacher gave me :)) will hike up a mountain by Shaolin and then go to a most special concert in one of the nearby mountain temples - Dr. Zhao is excited to take us and I'm excited to go -- we'll be quite an international group with me from the U.S., Dr. Zhao and his friends from China, Patrick from Hungary, and David from Brazil! :) Any other takers? If you'd like to come, come on ova'! :)

Much, Much love to you all!! And thank you again for your emails!! I love hearing from you and even though I havent' written back to each email, I am so much sending you my LOVE and more LOVE :)!!!

Much Love and Gratitude,

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