Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Flipping a Pot of Stuffed Grape Leaves – The Chaotic Way

My brother-in-law arrived from Jordan a few days ago and we had a gathering for him last night. Although the gathering was nice, it was also quite chaotic. After all, it was an Arab/Middle Eastern family so we’re talking sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and more aunts and uncles.

There were more people than my house can hold and it was too chilly to sit on the patio. My husband was passing out jackets to the men (after checking no money was in any of the pockets) but after staying outside for an hour or so, they walked back in and took up whatever little air was left inside.

The most fun part was when all the women tried to help in the kitchen. I was trying to get to the sink but when I saw the little crowd clustered there, I thought, better get the camera instead.
Turns out the fuss was over the huge and heavy pot of stuffed grape leaves, which my husband’s nephew successfully flipped over. The Iraqi version of stuffed grapes is different than other regions in the Middle East. The dish is called dolma and in it is included stuffed green peppers, cabbage, zucchini, eggplants, onions, or whatever else one’s heart contends. Some even stuff potatoes and carrots, if they’re large enough.

The good part is – at least I did not have a lazy group of people at my house, in which case I would have ended up staying up until 5am cleaning instead of when I actually slept at 1:30am.

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Fabulous Teachers

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For two years prior to enrolling my son into nursery school, he would watch his sister enter her pre-school class, then her kindergarten class. Each time, he tried to sneak in with her as well. I’d pull him out, kicking and screaming.

This year, he finally got his turn. He attended school twice a week, two hours a day and had two wonderful teachers – Mrs. Sharon and Mrs. Lisa. Mrs. Sharon was so full of life that when she came outside at the end of the school day to inform the parents what the children did in class, I felt exhausted just watching her energy. Her passion for her job and her love for the children was really a sight. It would be raining or snowing or freezing cold, and she would be out there in short sleeves, excited to talk about our kids. It was truly amazing and reminded of when Marilyn Monroe sang in front of the soldiers one cold winter. She was in a sleeveless dress, not thinking about the weather but concentrating on what she loves to do.

Yesterday was the last day for nursery school, so we may not be seeing Mrs. Sharon or Mrs. Lisa for a while, but we will definitely never forget my son’s first teachers.