The past few weeks have been very jam-packed, stressful, and fun at the same time because I am on the customs committee, so we’ve been busy reading applications, having group interviews, and over the next month we will be having individual interviews before making our final decisions and placements. It’s all very exciting but also very time-consuming as interviews last between 6PM and 11PM nearly every night so I have to be extremely on top of my work and other extracurricular activities.
A great way to destress and reward myself for all of my hard work was to take a trip into Philly this past weekend. I took the train in with my friend Prianna, using our free SEPTA tickets generously provided by Bryn Mawr, where we met up with my friend Elizabeth, who works in Philly. We spent the afternoon shopping and drinking bubble tea (my favorite!) before we took the subway down into South Philly, where we ate Indonesian food. Prianna spent a large chunk of her life growing up in Indonesia and Elizabeth was one of the Indonesia Research Program interns so we were all severely having Indonesian food cravings.
The one we were planning to go to was sadly closed at the time but since Philadelphia has the 2nd largest Indonesian population in the U.S after L.A, another Indonesian restaurant was only half a mile away. We were rather ravenous by the time we arrived so we ordered a feast: krupuk (shrimp crackers), nasi goreng special (fried rice with shrimp and pork), bakmie groeng (friend noodles), and soto ayam (chicken soup). It was all so, so good. Nothing will obviously quite be the same as Indonesia but one must accept that there isn’t going to be the same access to ingredients and recognize that
It was the perfect way to relax after a long week: getting to spend time with two of my closest friends from my travels (and allowing them to get to know each other as well), laughing and sharing stories from our travels and own lives, and simply being in the company of people who love food as well, for these are the best kind of people. The people with whom you can share nostalgia with over the spices that tingle your nose, that can appreciate the subtle flavors, and are unafraid to share their love and excitement. When I was abroad in Denmark, I encountered a lot of food hate from other Americans: people who constantly made remarks about how unhealthy they were eating or complaining about the quality or just generally making eating a very uncomfortable process. What I love about Bryn Mawr is the way in which I can unashamedly talk about my love for food and to always find people who are willing to create culinary delights in the dining hall with me, reminisce upon delicious dishes from abroad, and those who are willing to venture into deep South Philly with me to share a culinary experience that takes us back to a place that holds such importance in our lives.
Next Friday, I am going back into Philly to have my annual Ethiopian dinner night with three of my friends and I can’t wait! Being so close to Philly is wonderful because there are so many options to try in terms of food, especially because Philly has a large immigrant populations which means food from basically any country that you could imagine. I had a hard time restraining myself as we went shopping in Philly before getting Indonesian food because there were so many options (especially in Reading Terminal Market, a foodie heaven). Like concerts, eating out is not cheap but for the money I work hard to earn, it makes me infinitely happier to be spending it on experiences I can look back upon fondly with the people I love rather than on material possessions that I may forget about and might not even get used.