Friday 10 December 2010

Joy of Giving and Receiving

Do you have a list of favourite places that you would want to visit in your lifetime?

My cyberfriend, VB once told me there are two places that she must visit in her lifetime. It is not so much of the 'place' but the 'scenery' she wants to view. One of which is to be able to see maple leaves turning red in autumn. The timing has to be right and the weather has to be good too. I am glad she was able to catch the red maple leaves in 'full bloom' on her recent trip to Korea. I was very happy for her when she sent me a photo of her standing under an astonishing sea of golden yellow maple leaves. Me being so ignorant, didn't even know that maple leaves could turn yellow too (^^')

I got to know VB when she left her first comment on this blog 3 years ago. Even though we have never met each other, this kind lady has been sending me gifts 'on a regular-basis', so much so that I think she has even made it a point to mail me a 'goodies parcel' each time after her holiday trip :)

I grew up in a family where everyone got to learn to be independent. As much as we can, we try not to rely on others for help. We prefer to give than to take. I used to have this mindset that whatever kind gestures I received from others, I have to return it back one day, and, as soon as possible. As such, I prefer to give, as I find receiving any gifts in any form from others, could become an invisible burden. I will only have peace in my mind after I have duly returned the kind gestures.

I understand the joy of giving, and it is a tremendous pleasure knowing that the receiver loves and appreciates what you have given. But, it was only in recent years that I appreciate the joy of receiving, minus the self-imposed obligation. I am now able to view the whole situation in a different perspective. By receiving, you are actually giving the chance for the giver to enjoy the pleasure of giving and sharing. I hope I am right to say so.

It is with these thoughts that I enjoyed this cup of icy cold omija tea VB sent me...along with many other goodies :)

I am sure most of you would be quite familiar with Korean Yuja tea or commonly known as citron or yuzu tea (柚子茶). This is the first time I have heard of omija tea.

I googled and learned that omija tea, a traditional Korean tea, is made from dried fruits of Schisandra chinensis. Also known as 五味子 in Chinese or "five flavor berry" as it has a mixture of sour, sweet, salty, spicy, and bitter taste. 五味子 is also commonly known as 山花椒 (wild peppers?). No wonder, I thought I could smell pepper from a cup of steaming hot omjia tea!

This lovely pinkish tea has a slight tang to it and it tastes really refreshing when served cold. The tea is neither bitter or salty. It reminds me very much of drinks made with Roselle (洛神果) and it has a similar sourish sweet taste like hawthorn (山楂). The tea comes with tiny bits of nuts, I believe they are either pine nuts, almond bits, or sunflower seeds. When served hot, this lovely sweet and tangy tea is a great way to end a meal, especially if it is a heavy one ;) If you happen to go to a Korean restaurant, do check whether it serves this beverage, I am sure you will enjoy this drink, be it cold or hot.

As the season of giving draws nearer, here's wishing all my readers Happy Shopping for your gifts and presents for your friends and loved ones! And, in case you ask, my favourite places to visit in my lifetime: flower fields at Furano and tulips in Holland, what about yours?