Month: December 2015

the final countdown

It seems like the last two weeks have FLOWN by. While you all have been living your average (or not-so-average) lives in America (and abroad), I have been learning how to make Maqluba (an Arabic dish who’s name literally translates to “upside down”) and Mansef, writing 15 pages of Arabic, and trying to spend as much time with the people who made my semester memorable as possible. Or at least those were some of the more memorable moments. But here’s the scoop:

  • I made a major impression on one of my newer friends at PSUT when I somehow was challenged to a food eating competition and tied with him (we ran out of time and I had to go home). We EACH ate 27 pieces of shawarma, a side of French fries, a double cheeseburger, and a chocolate-smothered crepe. Suffice to say, I’ve had enough shawarma for the next year
  • My host family a few weeks ago agreed that I needed to learn to make some Arab dishes to take home since I have shown interest in cooking and I promised I would teach my host mom how to make Tiramisu (turns out Tiramisu is the key to anyone’s heart). She taught me how to make musakhan – sumac-spiced/fried onions and chicken on top of a fluffy pita-like bread – a week and a half ago and then this week I learned how to make maqluba from her – a rice, eggplant, carrot, potato, and chicken dish which features cinnamon. Dear Mom, do you see what each of these are served on? I need one of these platters. Or several of different sizes…
  • على فكرة…on that note, I learned how to make Jordan’s national dish as well: mansef! And I have not eaten what is reputedly the best mansef in Jordan twice – that of Karak – because I serendipitously know very generous Karakis. One was my fusha professor who invited us into her home to cook with her. We had a blast that day and essentially had a whole day of class (did I mention that we had a last-minute holiday for the Census? Apparently in Jordan the government will announce holidays the day before…), speaking Arabic and meeting her family. The second time was actually yesterday – and I did contribute what I can now call my world-famous Tiramisu – and I learned how to eat mansef the traditional way: rolling it up into balls with your hands and then popping it in your mouth real quick.
  • I may or may not have acquired several pounds of spices to bring home to the states…and my host family may or may not be sending me home with several pounds more. I’m still not sure how suitcases are going to work out
  • I have now written 15 pages of Arabic – it’s still astonishing to me that last fall I had to write a 5 page paper and this fall I wrote one 10 page paper in addition to a 5 page paper. Moments where I pause to examine what I have done are the moments where I realize I really have come far in Arabic (even if I still have an accent)
  • ah, and we visited Souq al-Juma3 which is a giant, outdoor, weekend market for clothes and shoes. I finally obtained some warm clothing, just in time to go home. On the other hand, each sweater was 1JD, so it felt like a solid purchase

THIS IS NOT YET THE END, but it is unfortunately close to it. Inshahallah I will be in Italy safe and sound on Friday at this time of day, but until then I’m going to cherish every moment left.


** pictures to come **