Oberlin Blogs

Cleveland, or And then I ate food

September 29, 2009

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

CSA is in the midst of planning for our Mid-Autumn Moon Festival celebration, and since we had a three day weekend, we went to Cleveland. Of course I volunteered to go. Let's just say I like the culture shock of going to the big Chinese grocery stores that Cleveland offers. And I like dim sum. A lot.

We left Oberlin around 9:30 in the morning and had an uneventful drive to Cleveland, mainly because of a recently acquired asset: a freshman who lives close by, and thus knows Cleveland well. She was a much better guide than the GPS we used last year.

At the Chinese grocery store, we split up the list to maximize efficiency. I was in charge of buying snacks, which meant that I had my partner in crime pick the snacks while I supervised, because I secretly know nothing about Chinese snacks and he not-so-secretly knows quite a bit. We got that done pretty fast, and then started in on his personal shopping list, which included things like roast duck (it was delicious, by the way) and bok choy. He dealt with the meat, since that necessitated the use of Cantonese, and I went to get the bok choy.

Did you know there's more than one type of bok choy? There's Taiwanese bok choy and baby bok choy and all these other leafy green vegetables that look like bok choy but aren't called bok choy. And there was nothing that was simply labeled bok choy. There were always qualifiers. I ended up having to enlist the help of one of the co-chairs, who was busy looking for spring roll wrappers.

"Make him get his own bok choy!" she said.

I agreed with the sentiment, but managed to get her to help me anyway. And you know what? The correct leafy green vegetable wasn't even called bok choy. How typical.

Then we had to figure out how we were going to pay for ten boxes of moon cakes. Moon cakes can get pretty pricey, and being college students just stepping into the world of financial independence, our credit limits are not very big. Checking out took longer than it should have, but we managed to attract enough attention, possibly because of all the moon cakes, that someone from the store actually helped carry our bags to the car and helped pack them inside. I was grateful.

And then, finally, it was time for dim sum. I'd forgotten why I eat food. But then I remembered. Siu mai! Char siew baos! (Especially the char siew baos.) Food is good. I even liked the tea, which is sort of surprising, because I only drink tea when I am left with no other socially acceptable options.

So in my opinion, it was a very successful trip. I'm now left with bags of cups, paints, and Chinese snacks stacked neatly in (read: strewn all over) my room. Now I have to organize the skit we're going to put on. I get to be a whiny kid. It should be pretty awesome. Assuming we have at least one rehearsal beforehand.

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