Tag: travel

Lucky Number

Already it has been two months since the new year rang its bell.  I have not yet divulged all the luck I drew over the past year, I have not yet documented all the adventures that the past year brought.

Until June of last year, I was a devout personal recorder keeper. Last year began with high ambitions of art and writing.  I was posting on Marigold every day- so much so that I had posts planned out for weeks, scheduled and ready roll out at a set time.  I had recently rediscovered drawing- black ink highlighted with colored pencil- a very whimsical yet focused and symmetrical portrait of dancing lines.

I have not been the artist I was in the start of the 2016.  I have not even begun to document all the dishes I have put out in the last 6 months- a personal goal that is greeted with a D- failing grade.  It’s not that the resolution to Marigold wore thin, it’s that I found and focused on a large, all consuming professional project.

Marigold is not the only one who has experienced the profound drop-off in friendship, communication, sanity, support, and the charisma of the real me.  I spent so much of the second half of the year at work that it took everything and everyone from me.  I started a  giant and lovely garden that I let die hot summer sun.  I had to make appointments to see my roommate.  I saw my boyfriend while he slept, and he kissed me goodbye while I snored. Hell, I even miss myself.

It’s been one hell of a year.  I have two jobs, two homes, a boyfriend and roommate/bestie situation.  Life lately has been bananas and so detail-oriented my brain feels like I am constantly holding a plasma globe.

Yet, these are small sacrifices for the amazing feats that 2016 brought to me personally. 16 has always been my lucky number.  Ever since grade school, this auspicious number has been a good luck charm. For me, 2016 was a very lucky year.

January 2016 was greeted in South Africa.  The year started with a trip to a country that I never thought I would actually experience.  That feeling was a carry-over from 2015 when I rang in the new year in India.  I never thought that I would be lucky enough to travel to either country- and yet within one year I got very nice introduction to two very different cultures.

I have spent everyday of the entire year utterly in love.  Love is something that I never take for granted; it was not something that I was expecting to come to me.  Love is very special, and I feel extremely lucky to have found it.

Last year I got a promotion.  I got to be part of opening a brand new restaurant, and with that came the opportunity to run 2 pastry programs, simultaneously.  Much against my constant fear of failure, the new pastry program has been going better than splendid.  One might even call it a success.  We sell a butt load of dessert, I have received all good reviews from Chicagoland critics.  There has not yet been one flop.  The dish that sold the least made it in the top 131 things the MIke Sula ate that year (number 45 the Argentinean Float).

I got nominated for rising pastry chef of the year award- local but still legit.  As it turns out I did not win, but the nomination was very flattering.  I went to the awards, I wore a lovely emerald green dress, and my whole family went to support me and my growing career.

I was on television twice.  Local news- one was aired live, the other taped in one sitting.  I said “ummm” too many times, but I felt confident, I felt comfortable being me, being taped, being in high definition.

I almost got to meet Obama.  Seriously, he almost ate at one the restaurants.  How cool is that?

January 2017, started in tears- shockingly.  It was the chef’s dawn (9am) when I broke open my eyelids like two cold eggs- with a feeling of peril in my gut.  I woke up with a profound sense of dismay- of having to start the year over again- to have to experience everything that has to happen, again.  It’s a scary thought, to revisit the hardships and fears, the emotional roller coaster that was 2016.  Yes there were many positives that came out of the year, but it was a very challenging year at the same time.  It was worth it, but the thought of having to go through that process again, from the beginning, is terrifying.

I don’t want to have to face that caliber of a struggle again, even though I do.  I create my own struggles and my own wars, because they are a necessary side affect of my accomplishments.

Maybe 2017 will be just as magical as last year, maybe it will get easier with time, maybe I will find my artistic voice again, maybe I will not be so afraid of failing, maybe I will have time to dance.

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Transatlantic Transitions

Aboard a transatlantic aircraft, on a western-bound red eye flight, the sun does not ever rise. Those pastel rainbow glowing rays do not ever pinnacle the horizon.  It is nighttime for 18 straight hours as we collectively hide from the sun.

We are vampires in a plastic flying coffin, afraid even of the illumination from a small orb reading light situated above. It is icy cold, a fitting temperature for the cult of the undead. In the absence of fresh food, we eat things out of plastic, on tiny trays with plastic cutlery, sip tiny amounts of water out of individual plastic cups. The choice is limited to meat protein or veg, and what is under the foil wrapping, what lays on that semi-warm plastic shell is anyone’s guess.

In order to cross the mighty Atlantic in the span of one day, I will happily morph into a vampire, I will skip a day of seeing the sun, I will greedily eat my allotted plastic foods, I will freeze and undergo frequent muscle spasms because the seats are more uncomfortable the a coffin buried underneath the cold earth, long forgotten by anyone except a few close loved ones.

They stopped at improving the design of the aircraft seat, leaving it to be more uncomfortable than decade old Ikea furniture because vampires don’t have feelings, vampires don’t deserve luxury. They should cut out the whole chair concept and stack us in coffin-like boxes for the journey. Just hand out straws and we can go without the whole sitting upright concept.

Over and Abound

The overabundance of beautiful scenery,

The euphoria of delicious sustenance,

The synergy of shared adventure.

A cold ocean dip goes a long way to chill

The hot mind and red sun body.

With magic behind every bend in the road,

With imagination as far as the eye keeps looking,

I cannot keep digesting this wonder of the landscape,

I cannot stop my mind from blinking.

I cannot stop hiccupping with curiosity,

I cannot calm my dauntless spirit.

How I can still find the energy to dream after so much speculation

Remains one ostrich of a mystery

To this stuffed soul.

 

 

 

Turning the Tables

I complain about the negatives of kitchen life and the hardship that go along with this career path.  I don’t need to sum up all the drawbacks and inherent wrongness of this job line, so I will consolidated all my complaining into a list for those who may still be in the dark: it generally sucks all around, it’s hard and nobody ever says good job, no vacation time, no sick days (unless you are in the hospital, and deep cuts do not always counts, depends on if it’s a holiday in which case the answer is always no), fire, very sharp knives, very hot things that want to burn you, heavy things, competitive environment, egotism, low pay sometimes even no pay, no respect, sometimes you get yelled at like you are a child misbehaving, incompetent coworkers who get paid the same, small working environment, no privacy, constant harassment, you have to fight for the tools you need, you have to clean a lot, no sitting down, if you do get to eat that will be while standing.

So instead of further complaining, we are going to change the hands of power.  People need to eat, that demand will never go away.  Beyond job security, the stability is intrinsic.  I can take a break, walk away, say fuck you hungry people I am going to be a writer!  I will break your heart and you will hate me.  But when I say, hey, I am back in town, want something to eat?  You will not say no, you will not refuse my cool offer of a hot meal.

I want to travel everywhere on this great and green planet.   This wish is very conflicting with working in a restaurant.  But what if I could cook from home, making delicious and healthy meals, sell enough product so that I can give myself 2 months off a year?  I could be private chef for any special occasion.  I will be your very own caterer.  I will bring my own pots and knives, and I will be polite and cook and serve.  I will wash the dishes and you will pay me a good amount of money because it will be very nice.  Think about wearing whatever you want while you eat a fancy meal, instead of those stuffy clothes.

Sounds crazy, but you don’t know how good I am at being poor.  I have been refining my skill for decades now.  Food for motivation, your reality is what you make it.

Art and Science in the City’s Sky

I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the modern night, by the complacent dance of airplanes in the big, open, uninhabited sky.  I am astounded by the unnatural movements that dominate the once whimsical night.  The crafted zig zag pattern of overhead headlights feels like science fiction eerie in harmony, amazing with the complete overhaul of world above.

Nature has been transformed away from lure of the night sky mystery into a different meaning here in the heart of the city.

The patterns of the airplanes are distinctive, not abstract like the twinkle of the starry night.  Art is about making mistakes, science does not understand this concept.  Art is messy and bold, physics is well defined and stubborn with its limits.  Science has definitive rules, natures is creative in breaking these carefully ordered and well orchestrated structures of definition.

It barren up there now, in the lonely sky, save for the flying machines.  Modernity and technology may be convenient, but they lack the luster of the dreaming night, the spontaneity of the stars spark, the complexity of astrology’s secrets, the depth of the canvas that looms above.  The nation of galaxies that had been a part of humanity’s eye is now a series of dashes.