| By Brigitta Kinadi |
In the cramped and stuffy kitchen of Leo’s GW Delicatessen, Dian Nugraheni braces herself for the rush of students that will inevitably bombard the sandwich bar as soon as afternoon classes are dismissed. She puts on her transparent plastic gloves, and fixes the red patterned bandana on her head with resolve.
Within a few minutes, the deli buzzes with conversation as students from George Washington University place orders for BLT sandwiches and steak and cheese subs.
As more customers flow in, the kitchen becomes increasingly chaotic. Seven people work behind the sandwich bar. Each worker in the kitchen handles their own orders, but they collide and jostle in the small space. Nugraheni tries to avoid crashing into other workers as she heads to the counter with an order of a bacon, egg and cheese bagel wrapped in aluminum foil.
As she brushes past one of her co-workers, Nugraheni apologetically says “permisi,” “excuse me” in the Indonesian language. Nugraheni is one of five Indonesians working in the deli. Throughout the day, more snippets of Indonesian, a language most Americans are not accustomed to, are heard in the deli kitchen.