Monday, March 6, 2017

Intercultural party Vol.2

Constant rushing around, kitchen enveloped in a variety of smells, digital invitations were being spread like wild fire – the time had come for another so called „intercultural party“. As our group of international volunteers recently grew, we decided that it was time to test their cooking capabilities and challenge their knowledge of traditional dances. 

The date was 3rd March, 2017., the sun was setting and pots were cautiously being carried to the old heart of Kalamata. Inside, tables were being set up and a collection of songs from different countries morphed into our evening playlist. On one side there was a big table intended for the local, greek cuisine (why was it so isolated form the others, no one knows, maybe for those skeptical about foreign cooking); on the other, a line of smaller tables presenting different countries. We learned our lesson last time and when our multinational buffet was ready, we decided to keep all the food covered until the very start of the meal. The room was getting noisier by the minute and smiling faces filled up the space of the Youth Center. 

These kind of events always create nice opportunities to talk to all those people you usually just pass by during the week, those who you know because you do see them around but never strike an actual decent conversation with. Soon enough laughter was overpowering the music.

Not so long after that, the crowd grew restless and we had to start. We introduced ourselves and tried to keep it as short as possible because some stomacks started to growl already. Our repertoire of countries ranged from Portugal in the east to Ukraine in the west. This time our reach streched even outside of Europe further south to Tunisia. Soon, plates were being filled with the craziest mixtures of greek pies and beans, colorful slavic spreads and dips with a dash of tunisian cuisine. When it came to deserts, Portugal and England shined. The music could be heard more clearly again as everyone was munching away on their catch.

More and more pots and boxes were empty and ready to be taken away. All the cooks that made an effort that evening should feel proud of their work. Splendid job! And yes, they truly deserve an applause because these events do pose a challenge since the food served is quite often a first attempt at making the particular dish. The comforting part is that the guests usually don't know what the dish should taste like so that works to our advantage.

Once a dining space, now became a dance floor. We had to make sure that all of that newly acquired energy from food is being put into good use. At some point a clearing in the middle of the dance floor was made for our dear ukranian colleague to present one of their traditional dances. At first the onlookers were a bit shy but soon enough try decided to give it a try. After an intermezzo of various songs, we had the opportunity to try out another traditional dance, this time – polish. However unwilling they may be at first, in the end you could see smiles everywhere around. Later in the evening, we decided to test our footwork with different greek dances. We were more or less successful, depending on the dance but it looked as though everyone was having a great time. The evening was slowly reaching its end and though some decided to continue the party elsewhere, most wanted their well-deserved beauty sleep. 

New food, new friendships, new experiences. 
It was another successful event at the Youth Center.

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