This week, between meetings and workshops I’m surprised the school’s squeezed in anything else for us to do, and yet somehow they managed to fit in a welcome brunch and a start of term dinner gala as well. I’ve learned that this school likes to throw lavish events. Why you ask? My uneducated guess is that they love food and socializing, at least that is what it seems like. I could get used to this, not because of the elegant formalities, but because of the food (come on, you knew that was coming).
We had a welcome brunch for new staff and faculty. Everything looked very pretty and the food was plentiful. I can’t get used to this because I will, in my father’s words, “get fat”. There was a lot of Lebanese food and some Turkish, Egyptian and Western food as well (or so I was told, since I don’t know anything about Egyptian or Turkish food (except for the Turkish dessert ashur). It seems like fruit juice is a big thing here. Servers passed around freshly squeezed lemonade, mango, pineapple, kiwi and strawberry juice, although it looked more like puree. Who cares? It was sooo tasty! This could get dangerous, folks! I’m being spoiled and my waistline is suffering. Below are pictures of the place setting and the plate of food I grabbed.
The expansive buffet-yes, buffet-had a pita making station (someone was laying pitas stuffed with meat and veggies on a flat grill, all made-to-order), a foul making station (again, someone was making the foul), and the main table was reserved for a combination of Lebanese, Turkish, Egyptian and Western food. Even though I only ate one dessert item, the dessert section was delectable!!! I don’t LOVE dessert, but I had riz bi haleeb (Lebanese-style rice pudding)….God help me.
The table setting, complete with my mango juice (and, as always, bottled water)
Foul, tabouleh, halloumi (cheese), sandwiches with falafel and grilled veggies, zatar flat bread and more!
The gala event was on Friday the 18th, and boy was it quite the event! We were told to wear our best evening wear (I was kicking myself because I didn’t think I’d need a reason to pack evening wear and left it ALL in Canada). Although the event was lavish-excessively so-it was very relaxed, surprising to me since it was a work event and there was no alcohol flowing. It had an ambiance I felt was more west coast, mixed with the over-the-top, formal style of an event I would normally attend in Ontario. We were invited to the Arraya Ballroom at the Courtyard Marriott Kuwait in Kuwait City. You cannot get the full effect of how luxurious it is from the pictures I took, so please take a peek at the website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/photo-tours.mi?marshaCode=kwicy&pageID=HWPEM&imageID=7
Another buffet-style meal, I took only itsy-bitsy portions this time…I admit I’d had Lebanese take out earlier for lunch (falafel, olives with pickled vegetables, hummus, fattoush and pita (both fresh and deep fried), so I wasn't starving by the time dinner was served (refer to “after” picture below). Are you jealous yet, Em? ;) For dinner I snuck some grape leaves, (the Middle Eastern version of Greek dolmathes), kibbe, kafta, salmon kabab, shrimp and chicken! Dessert was (more) riz bi haleeb, mango cheesecake and crème caramel. My tummy really hurt after dinner (you’re going to need to exercise, Mik!). After dinner we played a game where tables competed with each other to identify the country of origin of a selection of songs, facts and food. It was hilarious and interesting (how did I miss that Amr Diab is Egyptian, NOT Lebanese?!? Durrrrrr!). The prizes for taking part in the competition were prizes you would want! I heard that electronics was a common theme and my co-worker saw someone open a Wii!!! Since my table was never chosen, I came home without a gift. However, I took the white roses adorning dinner tables and put them on my coffee table (a reminder that even in the driest of places life can thrive).
"After" lunch: Lebanese food with my co-worker
The driveway to the Arraya Ballroom. Can you see the Kuwaiti flag blowing in the wind?
The lobby of the Arraya Ballroom
My colleague and I before I stuffed myself silly
I’ve realized that one of the main reasons I travel is to eat good food/try new food. I know that a lot of my family and friends love food, too. I honestly wrote this post in hopes that more people will visit if I can promise that they’ll eat delicious food and be satiated. Sadly, I haven’t had much of an appetite today due to overeating last night, ha. However, I do have to venture out to see an apartment now. I’ll let you know how it goes.