Although I have been back on campus for a week now, I didn’t really feel that I was back until today, until most people have come back. The people really are what make this place so beautiful and so magical. We have a proverb in arabic that translates to “Paradise without people is uninviting”, something along those lines, you know what i mean. I am such a believer in this proverb, it is so true, or is to me. Proverbs are such a huge part of my culture, especially for grandmas, oh boy, for every situation that happens, you’ll be shocked by how ridiculous yet true the proverb they through at you is. Maybe I will spend another post talking about arabic proverbs and how ridiculous they are, but for this post, let’s just focus on today’s wonderful events.
As an HA (Hall Adviser), I had a day long “training”. We were there from 12:30 until 8. What a long day, might you think. Long, yes, in hours’ perspective, but while there, time flew by, and went barely noticeable. The first part of the training was spent on self-evaluation and reflection, which wasn’t my favorite, but, it is part of the job, so had to do it. The second and the part that took most of the day was spent playing “Iron Chef”. Although I had my hopes that we wouldn’t do that, I was at first disappointed of hearing that we will in fact be doing Iron Chef. Each team had a budget of $100 to spend on groceries. And all three groups had an hour and half to plan and shop, and two hours to cook, clean and prepare a presentation. If you know me, you would have known that I wasn’t too thrilled about doing Iron Chef, since I have zero skills in improvised cooking, my only skill really is to taste, judge, observe and eat. Did I mention eat? yes, I love food, and I think I got that from my father. So, being put in a group that I never really worked with before, and on top of that we had to cook vegetarian, Muna was not a happy camper. However, as an optimist, I thought I would try and make the best out of it, try to help out as much as I can, and enjoy it much as I can.
To my surprise, or not so much, things started to get better instantly, and I embraced and enjoyed every moment of the pre-planning, the cramped ride to Lia’s apartment and the time we took to prep things, and, of course try an exotic taste of French Press Coffee by Lia. Then came the cooking. And, when cooking began, I took instructions and chopped, cleaned dishes, then chopped some more, and washed more dishes. I kept track of time, and made sure I did my job. With music in background, chatters, sounds of chopping, mincing, and washing, the temperature becoming warmer, the tasty smell arousing, time flew by, and it was almost time to finish up. Doing final touches and tastes, packaging the food, and making signs for our lovely team, we were done exactly when we needed to be done.
I am always amazed by team work and how much can be done when a group comes together and works out the weaknesses and strengths of each member. Our group of 7, most of us carnivores, chose the theme “Red Hot Delights” incorporating Red and/or Hot spice in each dish we made, and we had to have the secret ingredient being Lays potato chips in at least one of the dishes. We managed to make; Stuffed Red Peppers, Chili Tofu & Spice-mixed Rice dish, Roasted Penne Salad, Potato Chip cookie, Potato chips dipped with Cayenne Chocolate and A virgin bloddy marry drink. All in two hours time including clean up. I was very impressed and pleased with how well our team worked together, improvising and making food on the spot, cleaning and presenting it to our lovely judges, Carly and Lia.
Going back to the SGA house and seeing the other two team’s work, I was further impressed by the abilities of my colleagues and how great and creative cooperation can be. The other two team’s themes were, The hobbit, and Mexican themed food. After the judges tasted the food of each group, we were able to devour the deliciousness. Although I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but when I tried the dishes, I was amazed by how good they were. Creative, good and inviting both in appearance and taste. So, I learned my lesson of never to underestimate the power of cooperation, even in cooking, although there is another proverb that says “The more cooks, the more burnt the meal will be”, I told you, they are pretty ridiculous, but luckily, for us HAs, that isn’t the case. Food was satisfying and delicious.
It is wonderful how great memories are easily made at this place. With one semester left ahead of me, I will always look back with fond memories of a magical and loving place, filled with people who are full of talents, skills, abilities, intelligence, sincerity, joy and love.
Here are some pictures of the great journey that was HA Iron Chef
The three groups:
Until we meet again,