The next night when work was officially over for the week, German K, Hong Kong P, and the awesomest J&O gathered for some noms together. It'd been a solid year since I'd last seen J&O and it was wonderful of German K to remember to invite them out to dinner with us so we could catch up.
Turns out lots was going on: O had been hired and quickly fired from his last job and J was asked to continue being a trainee for our company. In O's case it seems like a case of discrimination; his boss was worried he would lose motivation for the job because he was too qualified, therefore leading to the need to let him go. Where does this happen without repercussion? I said, like the true American I am, that he should sue the company (because in my opinion they'd have to give a real reason why he needed to be fired), but such is not the way in Finland. O just accepted it and now gets into a rage whenever he sees his former boss on the street (this happens more often than you'd expect in a small town like Helsinki).
J on the other hand, though being offered a job in his current position, had been looking for something more permanent other than another traineeship.
So after talking with O about their current situation, he decided to turn down the position and now they've sold their flat and are going traveling around the world for 9 months. Or as long as their money will last them (which will be pretty long because the flat sold for a pretty good price).
Jealous. I always find it so inspiring when people quit the security of their jobs and just take off to explore the world. I know I'm not really one to complain about this, since I travel enough as it is, but I do envy those who are able to let go of obligations long enough to take a trip of a lifetime.
This is what they'll be having while I'm hopefully in grad school and work slaving away at my future. All good things, just very different. :) And difficult in their own ways, also.
Anyway, all this was discussed over a lovely Moroccan place that someone recommended called Sandro.
J used to eat lunches there all the time when O was working at a nearby office. It was extremely crowded, loud, and dimly lit...which means that it was clearly the place to be.
After starting a Moroccan bottle of red together (which was delicious, btw), we ordered our entrees. I had no idea the platters would be so humongous:
This is what I ordered - saffron lemon cream mussels from the "royal feast" section of the menu. Holy crap. Royal feast indeed. This platter was literally bigger than I am.
And it was good, oh so good. The mussels were fresh and fragrant and absolutely covered in cilantro and parsley. The broth was fantastic - so fantastic that I almost tried to sop it all up with the huge chunk of bread they gave me (barely visible behind the tall blue and white dish...it was the size of about four of my fists put together...to give you scale).
This is exactly what I hoped it would be, and there was tons of it.
"On the side" were all the things you'd want in a Moroccan dish - olives, fragrant couscous with dried fruit, and a bevy of sauces and dips: pumpkin hummus, mint yogurt, something called moutabal (an eggplant dip that is made similar to hummus - with tahini), and harissa pesto with preserved lemon.
All of them were absolutely delicious.
And despite this being almost larger than my whole being, I ate basically the entire thing. I think I left just a little bit of the couscous and bread behind, though I wanted to eat it all. I was so full.
And yet the night continued with goodies - Hong Kong P had to go because she had an early flight to Barcelona the next morning, but the rest of us continued with lots of red wine and chocolate at J&O's beautiful but now sold, apartment.
The night was wonderful and being in the snow a refreshing reminder of winter instead of a sad one.
The good weekend was just beginning though; it made me miss Finn all over again.