Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's February!

Hello from supervised study hall, everyone! I once again find myself whiling away the hours as a bunch of dejected-looking boys stare at their laptop screens and wait for the clock to strike ten. It feels like it's been a while, so I found some pictures that could help illustrate my recent Exciting Experiences.

1. Chinese/Korean/Lunar New Year/Spring Festival

No one could really figure out what to call it, so I'm gonna use every name we came up with. But this past weekend I was on duty, and glad of it too, because I got to once again experience the amazing cultural diversity of this school. We put on a hell of a weekend for our Chinese and Korean students (and everyone else as well!), centered, naturally enough, around food.

One of our teachers, a Singapore native and fellow Yale grad, literally co-opted the dining hall kitchen, and it seemed the staff were as excited as he was to be putting their skills to use on something new. But our feast was also very reliant on student helpers, who put their culinary skills to work and crafted a truly unbelievable meal. Highlights included the Korean kids' bibimbap and dukbokki (delicious rice cakes in a spicy sauce that I last had on the street in Seoul), and the dining hall's renditions of beef with broccoli and fried fish weren't half bad.

Here's my own masterpiece: Vietnamese spring rolls! I was somehow put in charge of making them, and after about a zillion tries, got pretty good at it.

I have to say, making spring rolls was definitely not on my list of expectations before coming here. But this place is full of surprises.

We finished off the evening with some hot-air balloons:

And here they are heading skyward. It was a pretty beautiful sight (23 of them in all), and a great end to a busy and thrilling and very culinarily exciting day.

2. The Khalayleh House!

Fewer pictures here, but still fun: on Saturday evening, my teacher friend Moamer invited a bunch of us young folks to his family's house, about an hour outside Amman in a town called Rusaifa. Moamer is one of 7 brothers, nearly all of whom either work at, attended, or are about to get accepted to King's. He's the physics teacher; one brother is an admissions officer; and another brother is a current junior (and Glee Club member!).

And their house was super cool. Up in the hills in a middle-of-nowhere type place, it was beautiful and nicely decorated and his parents were awesome and served us delicious food. Even better, we ended our evening by visiting the school that they founded (?) and on whose board they serve. Here's a picture of the recently-completed second floor:

Really awesome to see a slice of Jordanian life outside the King's bubble. Hope I get to go back someday.

3. The Present

What's left to say? There are some things I left out last week (eating more delicious things when we celebrated Africa Night on campus; going to an awesome concert by a super-popular Jordanian band), but those feel long ago and there are plenty of exciting things on the horizon.

This weekend, it seems I'll be making my way back down to Wadi Rum, this time with more teacher friends to spend the night under the stars. And next weekend is a long weekend, which means Jerusalem! Plenty of pictures and musings and updates certainly to come after that.

Until then, though, February moves along steadily. Pumped for the weekend tomorrow, and for some good discussions in class (we're talking about the problem of evil which is always a good conversation starter), and for the adventures yet to come. And only 40 more minutes of study hall! My, how the clock keeps ticking.

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