Hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving break with your families and had crazy stories to share upon returning back to campus! I know that finals are around the corner so I hope that you will all still have time to read and comment on my blog.
To address some of the comments on the last blog, I’d like to say the snake was not scary and it was with a random guy who had a parrot and snake for tourists to take photos with. Eating Camels for Eid al-Adha was also new to me, but apparently if you are a wealthy Jordanian that is the way to go because you feed half of it to your family, the other half is to be distributed to your neighbors. There was more information that I wanted to share with you all that was more directed to the political and social issues facing the people there . I will have another blog soon addressing these issues, I would love if you all engaged in that post with your perspective and understanding of the Arab Israeli conflict.
Now, I am abroad on the biggest holiday in America second to Christmas. All the female students agreed that we would throw our own dinner party for Thanksgiving following a week of exams, papers, and presentations (our midterm week). Fortunately, the ISA program director, Mohammad, was awesome enough to plan a Thanksgiving meal at Jafra, one of the most well known and busiest restaurants in downtown Amman. Not only that, but he secured our reservation for Thursday, their busiest night (technically it is the day their weekend starts). He surprised us with a Thanksgiving feast, but surprises didn’t stop there… We were told we were invited to the kitchen to observe the chefs cooking our Thanksgiving feast and we would be able to partake in cooking the meal as well. We were expecting the meal to be an Arab version of Thanksgiving, instead of turkey we thought chicken and were unsure if mashed potatoes would be available. The day before an email was sent out by the restaurant, we were all excited to see that indeed we would be having an American Thanksgiving with turkey, mashed potatoes, sauteed veggies, cranberry sauce, Caesar salad, and a surprise dessert.
Thanksgiving day rolled around and we arrived at the restaurant, we were greeted by the owner and head chef who were extremely hospitable and excited to show American students how it is thrown down in a Middle Eastern restaurant. Many of us were expecting it to be rowdy, ingredients all over the floor, and fast paced moving. That is often the way restaurant kitchens are depicted in the States as well as through the media. It was quite clean, everyone communicated calmly, and moved at a pace that was if they were cooking in their home kitchen. One thing I did notice here and everywhere else in Jordan was that NO one wears gloves. If you are strict about that sort of health code when eating out then stay out of Jordan. Every time our chef touched a different dish that required him to use his hands instead of utensils he would wash his hands though. He even let us help cook dessert called, loukoumades. It is both a Greek and Middle Eastern dessert; it is golden puffs of fried dough that contain bits of potatoes in them and are dipped in sugar syrup and usually covered in powdered sugar. Basically, it was carnival food for dessert which, we were all okay with. Our feast was ready by 7:30 pm and as a vegan I could not eat turkey or mashed potatoes, but the restaurant served me three bowls of vegetable soup, bread, sauteed veggies, and mashed sweet potatoes that had no butter or milk in them. Yes, that did make me full too. :) We were thankful to have an amazing program director to land us a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday which is the busiest day for all businesses and allow us access to witness how our Thanksgiving dinner was whipped up.
Have any of you spent Thanksgiving abroad? If so, how was it? Were the citizens of that country aware of what Thanksgiving is?
Till next time :)