So today turned out to be a very good day. First off, my class was required to bring in a dish from our home countries, so for both of my classes we were eating and learning about the cuisine’s/kitchen’s of different countries. Then I did some laundry, which was not really that exciting, and then the best part, I went out to a birthday dinner with five out of eight of my classmates.
The first people to present in my class today were a guy and girl from Hungary. They explained what he brought in, because she wouldn’t have her food until after Easter break. He decided to bring in homemade Hungarian alcohol, which we drank around 8:45, when the class started at 8 am. It is called Palinka (I hope I spelled that correctly, even without the accent mark). It is made with different fruits and consists of 50% alcohol because of the sugars in the fruits have to ferment for a minimum of six months. The kind he brought in were made with plums (he actually brought in three different kinds with three different maturities). It was extremely strong, but other than that it tasted pretty good. He said that he made it with his grandpa and his grandpa drinks it for good health. The food that they described is somewhat similar to Polish food, but with more spices and names that are nearly impossible to pronounce. The girl will bring in some kind of Hungarian dessert.
Next went the guy from Canada/America. He is apparently Jewish, so he brought in some sort of sweet macaroni dish, that tasted pretty good, but rather plain. He said that it can also be made with potatoes for more of a main dish. Before we ate, though, he gave us a little bit of a history lesson on Jewish culture and the rules that they have for what they can and can’t eat and when. It was actually pretty interesting. I learned that Orthodox Jews can’t mix milk products with meat products, even in the fridge, which my teacher later explained to us that we would not learn from any textbook, but only from a practicing Jew. That was the end of the first lesson.
At the beginning of the second class, the girl from Russia presented. She brought in a salad made of cut up vegetables and some sort of mayonnaise dressing called Oliva (again, I hope I spelled that correctly) It was extremely similar to the Polish veggie salad that I am extremely used to eating, except that it had potatoes in it and the Polish version doesn’t. In addition, she didn’t add any apples because she doesn’t like them, and the dressing she used/made had a different, sort of more bland taste than the Polish counterpart. Before we ate though, she explained to us that where she is from, which is really close to Asia, the inhabitants eat a lot of seafood and other plants/animals found in the ocean.
Next I went. I brought in the deviled eggs that I described in yesterday’s post. I explained different starters/ appetizers/hors d’oeuvres found in America. I also briefly explained main dishes and the typical food found in my parent’s house/what we usually eat.
After my turn, came the girl from Japan. She decided to make a rice and fish dish that is similar to sushi, but much easier to make and apparently more popular than sushi. It was called Onigiri. It had a lot of rice, and very little fish. She also brought in Japanese sweets, which are not sweets at all, but salty chip type things. Those were also pretty good. She was so prepared that she brought in the spices and the seaweed she used to show us how they looked. She explained to us what one can typically find in a “lunch” box in Japan, which is a little bit of meat and vegetables, among other things, and mainly rice. She also told us that there are about ten different types of white rice depending on what region a person lives in.
Lastly went the other guy from America. He decided to make homemade banana pudding, which turned out extremely good. He described how he made it and what was required of him to make it and that usually it is served in bowls, but he didn’t have bowls, so he brought it in a jar, which still looked pretty appetizing. He explained to us the different foods found in different regions of the US. For example, the New England region eats a lot of fruits of the sea, among other regions. In addition, we had two girls in their first year of university listening in on our class to learn how to teach the Polish language to foreigners.
After my classes were done, I headed back to my room to relax a bit before I had to start doing laundry at 1 pm. I did laundry until four, and in between the times when I had to put in/take out a load of laundry I worked on my computer and relaxed a bit.
After I was finished with my laundry, I had a little bit more free time until I had to leave to meet up with my group because I invited them to dinner as a gift from my parents for my birthday. They definitely surprised me by two guys showing up with the two girls that I knew were coming and bringing me a large, beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of really good chocolates. We decided to go to an Italian restaurant in the Jewish district of the town after taking about a half hour to decide where to go and having to ask about three people where they would recommend that we eat. We ate pizza and had a few drinks and talked for a good two hours. Of course I paid, as a generous gift from my parents. As we were leaving it was raining a little bit, but I didn’t really mind because the day had turned out better than I thought it would. Even though I won’t be able to spend my birthday at home with my parents this year, I know that I have people who care about me and make me happy and I will have at least two, maybe three birthday dinners, which I will explain more as they pass.
These are the flowers and the box of chocolates that my class got for me as a birthday present! Aren’t they just so nice? I’m one lucky girl to have the people that I do in my life.
Today turned out to be better than I ever expected it to be and I believe that my birthday this year may turn out to be one of the best ones I’ve had so far, if not the best one. This is because when I celebrate my birthday at home, it’s always with my family and we always go to some restaurant together, and sometimes they get me some small gift, but other than that it remains pretty much the same thing every year, which has become a little bit boring. It’s not that I don’t love or appreciate what my parents try to do, but that it’s the same thing every year, and it is nice to have a change of pace or even people with whom I get to spend my birthday with. That’s all for today, sorry it’s long, but talk to you guys again tomorrow!