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Pushing myself out of my comfort zone

It rained late this afternoon, but the rain stopped suddenly and the sun came out. The weather was so nice this evening that I wanted to go out and explore the city. I walked around for a while, then got hungry.

I have a bad habit when I am out by myself. I tend not to want to eat out. This is especially true in Chinese contexts, because Chinese food is mainly a communal activity. I think part of this habit comes from the introverted part of my personality. But I think that I miss out on experiences by not engaging with the world, so I am trying to be more outgoing.

Usually when I am out by myself, I look for something simple, buy something and take it home to eat. But I have decided that beginning with this tour, I should take more chances and try new things.

Everyone knows that the restaurants with the best food are not on the main streets, but in the small side streets. In search of something to eat, I turned into a small alley and found a little place that looked clean.

A simple beef rice dish and a side vegetable cost RMB24, about US$4.

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The food was good, and I had some nice interaction with the restaurant staff who seemed delighted (and relieved) that I spoke Chinese.

So this was a small improvement in my social habits, I got a nice meal out of it, and conducted some unofficial public diplomacy with the local people.

I guess that’s personal growth.

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