A visit to the Chinese doctor and revolutionary milk tea

Howdy people!

I want to tell you about my latest discovery in the culinary world of China – pearl (bubble) milk tea. It is what it sounds like: milky tea with sago (like tapioca) pearls in it. It comes in many varieties and flavours such as red bean, matcha, cookies and cream and so on. It originally comes from Taiwan, but it is extremely popular here. There are lots of little shops selling it all over the place. My favourite is pudding milk tea, which contains something between crème brûlée and custard. It also contains little pieces of jelly sometimes. You are given an oversized straw to suck up all the pearls, jelly and pudding. What a revolution! The bubbles bring lovely gooey chewyness and the pudding just takes it to a whole new level. A drink and pudding all in one. I am in love with it.


Since I am on the topic of food/drink I must tell you about our very first tea pot we bought after a dinner of dumplings today. Here it is. It’s a teapot.

We had some oolong tea. Very very nice.

We had some oolong tea. Very very nice.

Cupping and skin scraping

I wanted to try some traditional Chinese medicine and decided to go for cupping. This is was interesting. We went to a very small place close to our house and arrived as the owner of the place was busy giving a massage to a customer. He soon called for some help and after happily waiting accompanied by a Chinese soap opera, we were lying down on the massage beds.

The name cupping comes from the little glass cups used for this procedure. At first a stick of fire is inserted into the cup for a few seconds and then the cup is placed on your back, wherever you have pain. The suction created by the cups is meant to increase the blood circulation in the area of pain and so make it better. It feels like someone is giving you ten hickeys at the same time. This did not really hurt, but was quite uncomfortable. What did hurt was what happened before the cups were put on my back – scraping. The doctor (he is not really an actual doctor, he is called zhōngyī and knows some traditional Chinese medicine procedures), used a piece of cow horn to scrape skin off my back. This procedure is meant to last about 15 minutes, I could only take it for about a minute, after which little blood blisters had appeared on my back. The aim of this is to get rid of the old skin and let the illness out. Scraping is used a lot for getting rid of a cold. The skin on your throat is scraped off, which will make your skin very hot, which will allow the cold to escape – yīn and yáng.


Crying into my pillow after scraping. There were REAL tears.

And the cups go on. They stayed for about 15 minutes.

And the cups go on. They stayed for about 15 minutes.

My lovely cup marks and billions of blood blisters. They are still there more than a week later.

My lovely cup marks and billions of blood blisters. They are still there more than a week later.

I think the theory behind cupping makes a lot of sense, but scraping is just torture! I am yet to see whether or not my back pain gets better.

In other news

I finished reading 1984 again. It feels very different to read it in China, where a lot of Orwell’s theories can somewhat be applied to real life. 

Chinese kids have started their school holiday, which means we are getting quite busy at EF.

Justin Bieber always goes down well in the classroom.

Justin Bieber always goes down well in the classroom.

We do manage to squeeze in a few trips to KTV every now and then and lots of trips to various restaurants.

KTV - having my hair done.

KTV – having my hair done.

I think he was singing The Circle of Life.

I think he was singing The Circle of Life.

Today I want to introduce you to this wonder – steamed buns with condensed milk. Simple, yet effective and extremely tasty. I would go so far as to say that I prefer this over Nutella.

Wonders of the Universe.

Wonders of the Universe.

I have a day off tomorrow, I am planning to write some letters and learn some Chinese. The weather has been much colder for the last two days – only about 34 degrees (words of a Chinese friend).

David says this: ‘It’s a strange old country we live in.’

They do have phenomenal tea, though.

6 thoughts on “A visit to the Chinese doctor and revolutionary milk tea

  1. Dearest Kati and David, Thank you for your lovely personal letter with so much visually described information, and the beautiful stamps which I will show my grand children. Your wonderful blogs are the same, you really should consider making a book of your adventures. The detail and photos of that amazing climb and views of the mountains made me feel as if I was there! But equally glad that I wasn’t I am not good with heights. Sorry I have been tardy with e mails it is not my most comfortable way to communicate and I only switch my computer on about once a week, choosing to not be a prisoner of technology! Skyping would suit me better so I will get Tommy to help me with that though it may not be till mid August or after my birthday on the 26th. I am away at Jon and Tina’s tomorrow for a fortnight which I am looking forward to. Currantly I am planning the big 70 party, Afternoon tea in my garden, dress code ’Hats will be worn’. I have asked 7 friends to make me a victoria sponge cake as my 7 decades birthday cakes and you would have been asked had you been here boo hoo that you are not. The weather here has been fantastic the last 2 weeks with temperatures in the high 20’s and early 30’s my garden is looking lovely too. The fruit trees are laden and I have honey from my bees. I have just finished making a 3 seater grass sofa and a poufe to put your drinks on, it is great! Now I need to learn how to download my photos on to u tube to show the process. Tina is expecting her third baby in October, a little girl, we are all delighted. Ruby will be 6 on Thursday and Jonah is now 4 and starting school in September. Church is good, Though now moving into the summer break time. I am sad that you have not found any church to go to but I understand the problems. Are there any Christian organisations out there that you could connect with? The Bible Society is very established there and is printing thousands of bibles, would they be some help with connecting you? What are you using as a daily reading plan? Remember you are rooted and grafted into Jesus and he will not let you go even though you feel as if you are in a wilderness now. I am leading a ‘Saints Alive’ course with Jeremy F. it is going really well. Here are some of the readings they have been looking at this week; Psalm 145 v14 to the end, Ephesians 1 v 15 to 23 , Proverbs 3 v 5 to 8 and James 1 v 2 to 8. I hope these will be an encouragement for both of you. Have you tried reading a passage together and praying to have your own ‘small group’? End of mini sermon from Dot!

    Life there feels boisterous and invasive, your descriptions remind me of the film Blade Runner which I recommend as a must see iconic film, see if you can download it. It is sad to hear of the enclosed lives and seeming shallowness in spite of so much history, the people seem to have been so controlled that the individual has been lost. But does our individuality make us any freer? A discussion to be had when you return! You sound homesick in your letter and feeling loss about nourishing relationships, so this time next year! Much as your presence there is a massive reason to visit you I am sorry but we are not planning to come. So much of the life there feels hard to accommodate for me, had I been in my 20’s to 40’s it would have been easier to adapt to but ‘ the elastic doesn’t ping back so easily now!’ Sandy, who sends her love, has just had her knee replacement and is still a long way from full recovery. We are sorry to disappoint you about this but we look forward to your return and a party, I hope you can stay here too. Have any of your families visited yet? Estonia for a visit seems more reachable for me . I miss you too, our saunas, meals, parties and talks, not long till ‘early next year’ !

    Much love and blessings to you both, will try to write more often Dot xxxx



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