Definition of dim sum brought to you by Wiktionary: “a Cantonese-style meal traditionally eaten in the morning or early afternoon, comprising of tea and food, typically placed in small steamer baskets or on small plates and often served from carts that move around from table to table in a restaurant. The food served at a dim sum meal typically include dumplings, seafood, and desserts.”
*If you’d like to read more, Wikipedia does a good job.
The people closest to me know that dim sum was not particularly an all-time favorite of mine growing up. That has changed as of late.
In midst of keeping busy by involving myself in a case competition at school in my graduate program, catching up on graduate coursework, and attending meetups, conferences, and a variety of other networking events, I have been nothing short of busy – a good kind of busy.
It’s also when I’m busiest that I become hyperaware of how fast time is going, how I’m growing up, and how my parents are getting older, too. That is precisely when I need time to sit back, reflect, and blog.
In the past month, I’ve had dim sum four times. Two times with my immediate family- parents and sister, and two times with just mom and dad. I find myself enjoying it.
Maybe saying that I now love dim sum is an overstatement, and what I’m actually trying to convey is that I love it so much more now than I have in the past, because I am thrilled to be able to sit down with my family–all four of us–and actually catch up.
Back then: I’d complain about the loud atmosphere, the oily food, how hot and gross the tea is, and the fact that my parents would just talk amongst each other and exclude my sister and me. “What’s the point of eating together then?!”
Now: I’ve become quite a talker. I actually drove most of the conversation the last time we went to dim sum together. I updated my family on work and school. We never fail to laugh about how young, past me wouldn’t be able to shut my mouth about a movie I adored as a child and would passionately tell everyone and anyone who visited about the plot and characters, often acting out some of my favorite scenes. Back to dim sum, do I enjoy the food? Yes, I do. I also love seeing the excitement on my parents’ faces when they know that my sister and I are available and willing to go “yum cha” (an alternative Cantonese phrase for dim sum literally translating to “drink tea”).
I can barely hide my enthusiasm, either.
The loud atmosphere? Everyone is talking loudly and holding conversations of their own. Even better. Oily food? Not all plates of food are oily. And if so, you’re not having it every single day…you will be okay. Tea? Nasty? Silly Sylvia, tea is the best. Parents excluding us? No such thing. Conversation and communication is a two-way street. Speak up and be heard.
Maybe this is me adulting or me appreciating the time that I do spend with my family because those moments are definitely becoming a bit more rare and are some of my most cherished moments.
And some other things I used to dislike and now find enjoyable? Sure:
- Shopping in person.
I was always a “shop online” type of gal. The convenience of shopping online and the avoidance of messy hangers and people brushing past you on your left or right…nothing could be better. I didn’t have to search forever for the right size for apparel or go through aisles looking for one item. However, I realized that I tend to make better decisions when I shop in person vs. online. It is also better for my wallet because I purchase less and end up more satisfied with the items.
- Public speaking.
Group presentations? Sharing my story? Answering a question? I’d instantly turn into a tomato. My throat would dry up, my hands would start sweating, my voice would tremble, and my heart would start beating 158362 times per minute. This is not to say that this doesn’t happen on a small scale, but I’ve grown to be a lot more comfortable in expressing myself, voicing my opinions and ideas, and getting up to do presentations. Maybe this has to do with my increase in self-confidence or me also growing up because I care less about what others think about or of me, and more about how I view myself.
I would often make comments about how I’d like to bake or cook more, but never allotted myself time in doing so. In putting things more into perspective as to what matters most and how I should spend my time, I saw myself get motivated to make some banana muffins for the first time a few weeks ago. It was pretty good if I do say so myself!
Dim sum is great, and I’m fortunate to have it as an avenue to foster bonding with people I hold near and dear to my heart.