A LIFE LESSON
On Friday Finley’s school hosted their annual International Day celebrations, and I had signed up to run a stall representing Norway. Although this is one of my favourite parts of living in Dubai – interacting and learning and getting to know other cultures and people from all over the world, I felt myself oddly getting more and more nervous as the day grew closer, like I was about to get up onto a stage and hold a presentation in front of the entire school. Which I guess, in a sense, is exactly what it was, but on a much less intimidating scale.
Each country decorates their stall with artefacts and props from their country, and make traditional food for everyone to enjoy. I decided to make cinnamon buns; easy-ish to make, easy to transport, and super yummy and very Norwegian.
Mid bun baking on Friday I spoke to my sister on FaceTime. Naturally our conversation mostly focused on her and my beautiful new nephew, who is keeping my sister up at night and busy during the day. While she sipped her coffee and little Oscar took a nap, I told her how nervous I was feeling. How tense my shoulders felt, and tight my jaws were, but how determined I was to make this work – for our kids, for the international community, for Norway. Yes, for Norway! And how I really just hoped that the buns would be a raging success, seeing as that was the only food I had prepared.
I went on and on about my nerves, and then I encouraged Lou to go on and on about all things baby and post pregnancy related.
Until suddenly, could it have been the burning smell? The piles of flags and Norwegian clothing that lay all over the dining table? Who knows, but somehow I suddenly remembered the buns and flung open the oven door and pulled out a tray full of perfectly shaped burnt rock solid black buns.
I swore and I cried and I held my head in disbelief and I swore some more and I really hope little Oscar stayed asleep throughout it, and did not hear his mad aunty flipping out over burnt buns and a major feeling of letting her entire country down.
How’s that for your highly strung out of proportion nerves, ey?
Louisa laughed. Like, a lot. She even laughed so much she had to call Michael to come and take a look. He laughed, too.
And then I laughed a little, too. But only a little, because you know, SHIT. NOT GOOD.
… however, here’s what I learnt:
- Out of four batches of sweet, perfect dough, two were overcooked and dry, one was completely burnt, and one was near perfect. 1 out of 4 is not a complete fail.
- If you can make a sleep deprived New Mamma of Four laugh, its’s worth it. Always.
- Buy a timer. Use it.
It turned out great, by the way, the International Day celebrations. I felt proud to be part of it, from behind our “Norwegian Stall”, right next to Nigeria and Philippines. We even had plenty of buns in the end, and some of the ones that earlier that day were deemed almost not edible, got a nice coating of icing sugar on top, and voila! sim-sala-bim! good as new.
Or at least good enough for a large crowd who were tasting a million other foods from around the world that afternoon and probably most likely definitely did not go home concerned with how Norwegians have been delighting in dry, stale and burnt, sweet rolls for decades.