Formal at Pembroke College

Approximately two weeks ago, my friends and I went to Pembroke College for a formal hall. It was my first and last formal hall of this term. I wish I could go to more, but as a student who relies on scholarship, I don’t have such privilege.

Pembroke was beautiful!

No, please don’t start asking me, “Did you drink the wine, Titan?”

I went there with three friends from my college: Sara, Aaminah, and Ammar. Yes, all of them are Pakistani and I am the only Indonesian, haha. Sara is doing her Master’s in Public Health, while Amna and Ammar are doing their Ph. D.’s right now. Me? I am still struggling to finish my undergraduate degree…

With Aaminah and Ammar, picture was taken by Sara.
With Sara, picture was taken by Aaminah.

The food was good, and it was really nice to catch up with my friends. I am going to miss them all in the future, after I leave Cambridge. We cook together during the weekends, because all of us are Muslims, and we (they) cannot survive a week without any meat. Our college dining hall doesn’t serve halal meat, and fish doesn’t really count. That is why we always cook together. Sohaib usually joins us, but he could not come to the formal because he had a presentation the next day. Next time, Sohaib!

Pembroke, like the other colleges at Cambridge, has a high table where the professors, master, and fellows sit down during dinner/ formal hall. My college, St. Edmund’s is fairly informal, and we don’t have such table.

It was interesting to see how the atmosphere changes when people in high table entered the hall, and during the dinner. Of course, before we started eating, we had to pray in Latin, which I did not really understand.

When the professors/ fellows are still in their high table, people couldn’t speak too loud, leave the hall, nor use their phones (including taking pictures). My sister requested me to send her some pictures of the food I ate, but I could not do it, haha.

But I got the picture of table arrangement before the dinner started.

Once the professors/ fellows left, the students were suddenly cheering. Some people had birthdays on that day, and we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ together.

I will not say that the food was the best among formal halls I have attended, but it highly depends on each person’s taste buds. The appetizer was the best, and the dessert, rice pudding, was the best I have ever tried so far. I wish the main course would be a little bit spicier, because even salt and pepper did not help much.

Before we left the hall, we had a cup of tea, with mint chocolate. It is really normal in restaurants around Cambridge (or England?) to get a mint or mint chocolate after we finish the dinner/ dessert.

Then we took a stroll around the college, and I must admit that this college is really beautiful. They even have a proper garden, and it is bright enough to sit there during full moon! So jealous.

But my phone camera is too bad to capture its beauty, sorry!

When I came back to my college, my friends asked me to join them playing some board games. Too bad, I had a supervision the next day, so I left early. Thanks everyone for coming with me to the formal!

One week left until Lent term ends. Hopefully, I will finish strong!

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