On Friday the parents of the children hosted an Idul Fitri assembly and potluck and all the teachers were invited. For those of you unfamiliar with Idul Fitri, it is the end of Ramadan and in regards to importance, is often compared to Christmas with its celebratory implications and gatherings of family and friends. I spent the evening being graciously guided around the tables and tables of food. My coworkers and the mothers of the students were truly inviting and took great pride in sharing their foods and traditions with me in addition to getting a kick out of my reactions after tasting different items.
Some of the students participated in a fashion show. It was hilarious and adorable to see them strutting their stuff in traditional attire. As one of the teachers so perfectly put it, “While the clothes are modest, they certainly were still sassy!”
My coworkers truly enjoyed guiding me through the heaps of food. They even would urge me to drop one plate and fill another to try as many things as possible. I even tried a soup (quite delicious) made from chicken feet! I kept telling them that I was willing to try anything and finally put their doubts to rest during this pot luck! I didn’t get many photos because I was too busy stuffing my face but I hope to steal some from coworkers in the days to come and promise to share them when possible.
Black sweet fermented rice is considered a Thai dessert. It is a little intimidating to look at and I will admit, I was a little nervous when I was told to try it. It is a bit aggressive in its flavor but is interesting. I liked how it started out tasting like fermented cider but then ended on a sweeter note. Not really my thing but not terrible.
So this dessert (don’t know the name) is a sticky (likely made with rice flour) snack that is sweet. You then drizzle durian sauce over the top. For those of you who have seen “Eat, Pray, Love,” durian is the fruit that Javier Bardem’s character describes as smelling like feet. It definitely is not a pleasant smell and feet is kind of a good description, however, if you don’t inhale as you eat it, it does have a slightly sweet flavor…in the end though, I must admit, I don’t plan on eating any more durian during my time here!
I also was coddled by what I like to refer to as the Real Housewives of RAPP (the name of this pulp and paper plant where my townsite is located). The Real Housewives of RAPP (seriously sad I don’t have a photo) are a group of the more well-off moms in the complex, obviously their husbands are engineers and managers here as they wear extravagant clothing and tons of jewelry. Their headscarves and clothing were bright, pristine and jewel-encrusted and they were the life of the potluck. Anyways, they refer to me as “Miss Beautiful” and during the potluck they wanted tons of photos with me. I suppose being an American holds some form of glamour to them.