Of the many programs initiated by IPC, Dining with a Dane, which occurred on the 20th September 2018, was an initiative that the school had never done before. The school launched this event on Facebook and perhaps among other networks as well. Thirty two local families from in and out of the town signed up to host IPC students for dinner. Around 10 students also signed up to help organize this amazing event. They managed to divide the students into groups based on countries, cultures, levels of English and the request of foods such as vegetarian and meat lover.
The families had to host 2-3 students at their homes. With Ann-Katrin from Germany, we visited Marianne and Jorgen. It was only about a 10 minute walk from IPC to get to them. Ann-Katrin and I have been making a wild guess about the ages of our host family: “They might be around 40 years old,” guessed Ann-Katrin, while I thought, “They might also be around 60 years old.” We then kept on guessing about our host family, on the route to their home.
As it turned out, they were around 70 years old, and welcomed us with sweet smiles. They prepared chicken, potatoes and salad for us. I wore my traditional outfit to reveal them that Myanmar exists on the earth. Luckily, they already knew that Myanmar exists. However, some students have actually asked me whether or not Myanmar is really a country. Most people I have met know Myanmar because of the conflict in Rakhine State.
It was always hard to answer when someone asked me about the conflict in Rakhine State. I shared my opinions with Jorgen on that conflict, and he also shared his experience about drinking alcohol from Myanmar while he was in Bangladesh. At this time, Ann- Katrin helped Marianne to get the dinner ready.
At some point in the conversation, Marianne noticed that I was missing rice and she immediately cooked rice for me. When Ann-Katrin mentioned during the conversation, that she likes apples, they packed a lot of apples for her to take back to IPC. We were really grateful for their hospitality and kindness. We shared each of our life stories during the dinner. We were also served dessert and beers. We spent about 4 hours with them. It was a great chance for us to experience a real Dane’s dinner. The students I have talked with were also happy about their Dining with a Dane evening. We also invited the host families to IPC to participate in a Networking Dinner organised by the school.
Two weeks later on the 3rd October 2018, IPC hosted a Networking dinner with about 180 participants; students, teachers, host families from Dining with a Dane event, and other guests. Students in their own contact groups undertook different responsibilities to prepare for the Networking Dinner. For instance, one contact group was going to serve the first course, another the main course, another dessert, and another the washing and cleaning up.
Guests arrived to IPC at around 5:30 pm and the common room was crowded with students busy with their duties and guests chatting with one another. Returning the favour of being hosts to our Danish families back at IPC was plenty of exhilaration. Soren, the Principle of IPC, gave a welcome speech in the common room whilst everyone was enjoying the apple juice or wine which I couldn’t make clear of.
After that, we moved to the big hall where we had dinner. Students sat in their contact groups together with some guests. Soren played the piano and everyone sang a song called “Imagine” before we had our first course of dinner. Imagine that how it could be nice when 180 people sang a song together and it made everyone more comfortable and worn smiles. It was also nice to talk with other students’ host families. Japanese students performed with their traditional dance called “Sorambushi” in Japanese and “Fisherman Dance” if it is translated into English, right after we finished the first course of dinner.
After the performance of Japanese students, Soren explained briefly about the dance and then invited the IPC Choir to perform. As I am in Choir class, it was my first experience singing in Choir on the stage. It was different experience of singing in the normal class room and in the big hall with audiences. I couldn’t hear my voice and I felt that I was out of tune sometimes. My throat was getting dry and I needed to swallow spit often. We performed Circle of Life, Africa, and Shosholoza. Students who were responsible for serving the main course then started setting the food on the tables. The main course included fish, potatoes and salad. I had a guest on my table who didn’t know about Myanmar, and I didn’t know about fishing in Denmark. So we shared knowledge about these things in return.
After the main course of dinner, Soren shared with guests the history of IPC, how IPC is going on and the life of students at IPC. IPC Choir then performed another two songs again on the stage; “She is leaving home” and “The day after tomorrow”. I originally do love to sing and had to perform on the stage. It was one of my best nights in IPC.
At last, we had time to chat with our host families. Marianne and Jorgen also came to the Networking Dinner so that Ann-Katrin and I could have a nice chat with them. We could make the Dining with a Dane event successful, and also the Networking Dinner as well. So everyone was happy, but some students were overly happy. Anyway, I would say that all the happiness in IPC that night, may make it become one of the best memories of my life.