Wednesday, December 9, 2009
First of all, I went home for Thanksgiving. It was lovely. Much thanks to Aunt Diane for providing the delicious meal and hospitality. Her culinary skills far surpass mine, and I enjoyed the food greatly. It was fantastic seeing all my family, and made me appreciate them so much. I thought a lot of the questions they asked me were going to be a little overwhelming, but I realized that I LOVE talking about what I'm doing. I find it incredibly interesting and intriguing and hope they do too! Anyone who reads this, feel free to ask me any questions. I know now that I have no problem talking about what I love. That's one of the reasons I have this blog, because I love to share what I'm passionate about.
Not only was I able to see my family over break and experience lovely New England, but I got to see my friends too! It is so strange going home for the first time, because you feel like everything is going to be so different and new, yet nothing really changes, which is nice. It felt just like I remembered it to be, and all I wanted to do was what I had done so many times before with my friends. I really realized who I missed and who mattered to me and cared about me, and I loved seeing all of them. Everyone seems so happy where they are and that makes me equally happy. My friends are really finding themselves.
Now, back at school, I'm doing my trimester of academic classes, which aren't NEARLY as exciting as the culinary ones. I'm taking Honors Leadership, Honors Advanced English Communication and Composition, Survey of College Math, and Communication Skills. They are pretty easy and kind of boring, but I can see how they'll factor into my future in the food industry. The professors do a good job of trying to relate whatever we're learning to my future career, which is refreshing, and makes it somewhat worthwhile. I have a feeling I'll do really well this term, as long as I can focus and work hard. :)
This past weekend I was able to go visit my grandparents in Naples. They just got down here for the winter, and I was so glad to see them! It was so relaxing and the closest I can get to home without taking a plane back to Massachusetts. They really made me feel comfortable and right at home. I don't know what I'd do without them, and love them both so much. I'm sure I'll be there a lot this winter. :)
Christmas is soon and I can't wait to go home again! Hopefully I'll see some snow. It's so weird down here. People have Christmas lights and decorations up, but it does not feel like the Christmas season at ALL. Can't wait to go home and feel the holiday cheer!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
ONLY NINE MORE DAYS TILL I'M BACK IN MASSACHUSETTS! I'm BEYOND excited. I can't wait to go to the movies and watch Top Chef and eat popcorn with Dad, get my nails done and eat at Chipotle with Mom, be INSANE with my closest friends, go into Boston for cupcakes and Mike's Pastry!, visit my favorites at my high school, see my Schmoops and my brother and sister, and just relax and have some normalcy back in my life again. College is a fantastic, crazy ride, and I love it. But nothing compares to home. I'm starting to make a list of everything I want to do (as you can see), so I don't forget to do anything. I can't wait for the COLD even. I miss New England air...and Boston fans. I'm surrounded by Yankee fans.
I watched them win the World Series last week, proudly supporting my team as much as I could...I wore my Sox hat to one of the playoff games and my four Yankee fan friends made me put it in the freezer in order for the game not to be jinxed...I think it still worked though, they lost that game. :)
I'm continuing to meet a lot of people here, especially a lot of guys from a fraternity here, who are all really really awesome and great friends. Really decent guys who are laid back, non judgmental, smart and capable, and easy to relate to and talk to. I'm starting to find a lot of really close groups of friends who I can turn to when I need advice or strength. We're all kind of a support system for each other for when things get tough. You learn so much about yourself here at school, and about how to relate to and live with other people. It's quite humbling actually. I've examined myself so much lately and am really starting to find out who I am and who I want to be.
Love you all, keep the comments coming! I appreciate every one I receive (:
Monday, November 2, 2009
All of last week was once again, up and down. The beverage class I'm in right now is really really cool. Our chef is really laid back, lets us take lots of breaks, text during class, and really respects and understands us. Plus, we basically bartend, taste wine and beer, and learn about alcohol all day! It's quite enjoyable. I'm going to have to make some drinks for my family over Thanksgiving break, I'm getting pretty good. Yet, although class is really fun and great, working has been pretty hard at the dorm, since I've had to deal with some drama I don't really want to go into detail about with my roommates. I think it's pretty much sorted out, but it just gave me a lack of sleep and caused me a lot of stress. You know when you try really hard not to get involved in drama, then it kind of just falls ontop of you? Yeah, that's how I felt. Yet all I could do was try to be a good friend and not get too involved, and I think things are gonna be okay. I realized that late night walks and beach trips are perfect for calming me down and centering myself. I also made a few epiphanies over this week about what I can do to adapt better to college life and be a little more happy and confident:
1) Eat better! I have pretty good eating habits during the week because the food is provided for me, so I try to eat lots of salads and good protein and not a lot of dessert. Yet, on the weekends it is difficult because we have to make our own meals. I need to try to keep those eating habits regular on the weekends to stay healthy and happy.
2) Take more time for myself. At school it's hard because you're around people ALL THE TIME. Which means you also have to deal with their problems and concerns all the time. I love my friends here, but I realized I need to take more time just to myself to relax and focus and center myself.
3) Get a better sleeping schedule. I have to wake up at 6AM every morning to go to class, yet I like staying up late, so I don't get too much sleep. Even though the lack of sleep isn't a huge problem for me, I know that I'll be way better off if I go to sleep earlier, or take more naps. Naps are my new favorite things.
So, those, along with some other resolutions, are ways that I can adapt better to college life. This weekend was equally as good as my birthday weekend, if not better. I spent it with two of my closest friends here. We went to the beach, relaxed, went to dinner, and celebrated Halloween in style. I was a French mime, naturally, and we gave out candy at our dorm and just had a good and really fun night. The warmth down here is still very strange to me though. 90 degrees in November?! What?! I miss the fall.
So, there's an update for you. I'll try to be more regular about posting, this was just a very busy couple of days. Enjoy!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A cold front entered Miami this weekend, and temperatures went down to GASP, 70 degrees?! It was actually really funny because all of the people from down here were freaking out about how cold it was and I loved it. It felt like Massachusetts in September, so I enjoyed it greatly.
Nothing actually really that interesting is going on right now, and I don't really have any good stories, so I feel like this is kind of a pathetic post, but my birthday is Thursday and I'm really excited. My two best friends here are apparently planning a ton of stuff, and my friends from back home are being amazing and sending me gifts and cards and such. When your birthday comes around you really figure out who cares about you. I wasn't expecting really anything so I feel really really lucky.
Anyways, I have to go study for my meatcutting exam tomorrow on different parts of different animals and what cuts of meat come from each animal...interesting stuff....so I'll be sure to update after my birthday festivities are over! Sorry for the lame post.
P.S. I miss Ana Buckley. (:
Monday, October 12, 2009
Anyways, I'm currently in meatcutting right now. I have a love hate relationship with this class. I really like the teacher. His name is Chef Lazar and he's from Brooklyn and is just really relaxed and laid back and funny. I think the class is interesting, and I like the idea of butchering...I'm just really slow and kind of bad at it. It was hard to go from being one of the best in my last class to one of the slowest and worst in this class. Meatcutting just doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm pushing along! I've tucked, trussed, and deboned about 10 chickens already, so hopefully I'll be a pro soon enough.
We just booked the ticket home to Walpole for Thanksgiving on November 19th! So excited to get home. I really miss everything, especially fall. Jess and I bought a pumpkin pie and Halloweenified our dorm this weekend because we missed the leaves and what not. I'm thinking about making a giant construction paper tree on the wall with falling leaves that I can play in. It's not the same down here. The palm tree leaves are kind of falling? But they're brown and ugly. I'm a true New England girl through and through...which is why this weekend ALSO was terrible because of the poor Red Sox. There are so many Yankee fans down here so I've been ridiculed and criticized all weekend. I've held my own though, wearing my Sox gear and keeping up with the games so I have something intelligent to say. I'm quite proud of myself. I love that dirty water.
Finally, here's a shoutout to Emily and Natalie, my two crazy friends who have been keeping up with my blog and following me. They're pretty awesome to really care so much about what goes on here at JWU, and I miss them a ton! Thanksgiving break, craziness will ensue. :) Love you both.
Sorry for such a late update! Computer troubles this week. More soon. Beaucoup d'amour. (:
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Here I am with my friend Stephanie in the dining room at lunch. We look pretty gross. No makeup or anything is allowed in class, so this is au natural. The blue neckerchief shows that we are Culinary Arts freshmen. Each class and year wears a different color neckerchief.
Here I am with my friends Marina and Mike. We're out to dinner for Mike's birthday at this awesome little Cuban restaurant right next to the school. Deeeelicious. He's wearing a crown I made for him with my friend Jess and I'm holding the card I made.
I'll give you guys some more later! It only allows me to put a few up at a time. More updates will come soon. A bientot!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I got picked to work on the line in class the other day. That means I worked to prepare the plates for the dining room, like in a real kitchen. It was super crazy, but wicked fun. I realized that I work best under pressure, which is good for a chef, because you're always under pressure. I think I can handle this industry, and it makes me happy. :) I finish this class on Tuesday, then start Meatcutting...should be interesting?
I'm in the Culinary Community, like I said in an earlier post. We go on different trips and have meetings. It's really fun. Yesterday we went to a fruit and spice park about an hour away from here. It was so cool. We got to try all these different strange fruits like strawberry fruit. It tastes like cotton candy! It was really hot but a really cool trip.
I've been having a lot of fun with all my friends. Going to the beach, making food, talking, dancing around the room and meeting lots of people. We went shopping today for Halloween. We're going to be French mimes. It's gonna be awesome and really cool, we're gonna make up a whole mime routine. Anything French is fine by me. (:
I really miss home though. I miss going to the movies with Dad and watching Top Chef and The Office with him. I miss the color changing leaves, the way they crunch under your feet, the brisk cool air, etc. I miss Bostonians! No one says "wicked" down here, only a few people are Red Sox fans, and people make fun of me for saying "jimmies" instead of sprinkles. I love it down here, but know I'll find my way back to New England. It's not the same down here, and I really have grown to appreciate where I've come from, my family, my friends from home, and of course, Marley. It's really not until you've been away from home for a while that you see and realize how much you love and appreciate it. Please continue to send letters and mail, and I'll try to respond. It makes my day when I get mail, because it's like a little piece of home coming to Miami. I love all the support.
Having a cozy girls night tonight, there's not much going on right now, which is weird for a Saturday night. But I don't mind it. It's nice just to relax. I'll update later! A bientot (:
Monday, September 28, 2009
Get this. For our final lab practical exam we have to make a perfect omelette (French, NOT American, there's a big difference), over easy eggs, tournet a potato, and julienne, brunoise and batonnet a carrot. If you don't know what those are, please look them up, because they're too hard to explain. They are "simple" knife cuts though. "Simple" is in quotations beacause they are actually a huge pain. They have to be perfectly symmetrical and even. Therefore, very frustrating. So, I've cooked about 15 omelettes so far at home (my friends have eaten a LOT of eggs) and I plan on working on my knife cuts and over easy eggs this week, before my final on Thursday.
This post is winding up to be longer than I thought. I wanted to give you a little description of the main people I've been hanging out with here. Probably my two best friends here are Marina and Jess. Marina is one of my roommates. We share both a room and a love for musical theater, which is awesome. We had a huge dance party the other day to Thoroughly Modern Millie and she has a Hairspray poster which makes me really happy. She's from Maryland and is a Baking and Pastry student. My other really good friend is Jess. She's from New Jersey and is a Yankees fan...which causes some contention but we deal with it. She's also in Baking and Pastry, but we have class at the same time and get out at the same time so we hang out a lot, go to the beach, go shopping, etc. She's a lot of fun and a really really good friend. She's not my roommate but she's basically always over. Some of my other close friends are Mike from Tampa who I met at orientation, Zenia one of my other roommates, Gisell who lives next door, etc. I'm meeting a lot of really great people.
I'll give some more updates soon hopefully! This week will be pretty stressful, but hopefully really great. Au Revoir!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Today was our last day of that class, thank God, and we took our final, which I was really worried about, but I think I actually did really well. It involved a lot of math, which isn't my strong point, but I studied and HOPE that I succeeded. (: Tomorrow I start Fundamentals, which basically means I'm learning how to chop and make simple things. Kind of elementary, but at least I get to cook! I can't wait!
This weekend was awesome. Just basically hung out with awesome people, went to the beach some more, went to South Beach Friday night. On Thursday we went out for my friend's birthday to a little Cuban restaurant down the street that is absolutely amazing. He's 100 percent Cuban and says that the food there is better than his "Abuela's," or grandma's. Now THAT'S a compliment. I can't say that I've had any food down here better than yours yet Grandma! I can't wait for you and Pa to get down here so I can visit you all the time for some home cooked meals and quality time at the cluuuuub. Thanks also to Peggy who sent me an awesome Red Sox hat. I have an extreme amount of Boston pride down here because there are so few of us. I've worn that hat many many times so far. You all are so supportive! Feel free to call me anytime if you want to know more. It gets hard to update this a lot and answer all your questions via the blog, so if you have a question, give me a call!
Lots of love, hope it's not too cold up there. (:
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
1) I GOT MY CAR! It fiiiiiinally arrived, I was bouncing up and down when it pulled in. It's so nice to have the freedom to drive around now. I really missed my little bug. The only annoying thing is that we got my car cleaned and washed before we shipped it, but it got really dirty on the outside in the shipping process, so I think I'm going to go down the street and get it washed again. There's this really weird car wash that doubles as a restaurant? So my friends and I are going to try it out.
2) I started classes! I'm on a lab schedule right now, which means I have a culinary class from 7-1 for nine days. Each lab is nine days, I take a final, then move onto another one. It's frustrating to have to get up so early, but I'm out of class by 1 unless I have a my stupid freshman seminar class (which is pretty pointless) on Tuesdays or my sanitation class (which I haven't had yet) on Mondays. So I have all my afternoons free pretty much!
My first lab is Purchasing and Production Identification, which is about as boring as it sounds. We basically fill the requisite orders for all the other labs (grocery shop in the storeroom) for two hours, then listen to the chef lecture about can sizes and cost sheets for the rest of the day. He gives us really only one break to go to the bathroom in a total of six hours, and he's pretty strict. So it's not the most enjoyable class ever, but I'm still having fun and enjoying myself.
I had to submit a menu today for a restaurant as part of my final project for the class, where we'll break down our menues and figure out what ingriedients we need and how much they'll cost and what not. I did a Cape Cod themed restaurant idea, with lobster, clam chowder, etc. Stuff I miss from home!
Aside from classes, life is really good. I'm making a lot of really cool friends and working really hard because I'm so passionate about what I'm doing. It feels awesome putting on my chef coat everyday. Miss you all! Feel free to send me stuff if you have my address, I finally figured out how to open my mailbox :)
Beaucoup d'amour! (:
Monday, September 7, 2009
Apparently we were all required to do various service projects today. This morning we signed up for where we wanted to go, then each proceeded with our fellow servers to our service sites. I decided to work at an assisted living home, because I really like hanging out with older people, it was air conditioned, and I didn't have to clean up trash.
When we got there we had to sit around and wait for a wicked long time until all the residents woke up and the activities director got there. The whole project wasn't really planned well...it involved a lot of waiting and down time, which was semi nice because I got to sort of half sleep? But also frustrating because I wanted to move and do stuff. FINALLY, residents started showing up, and the bonding begun.
I ended up coloring most of the time with two of my friends and a few residents. A bunch of the residents didn't speak English, so it was hard to communicate, but it was still interesting. We met a bunch of characters: a little old Russian woman who spoke NO english but was obsessed with our drawings and examined them like a critic, a little old lady who apparently used to be in movies and sing in Hollywood? (She gave us beautiful renditions of Unforgettable and her specialty, When You're Smiling), another old woman who would NOT stop talking and made no sense but was still hilarious, and other various characters. We colored for a while, then had an epic dance party, where the residents stared at us dancing to Jackson 5, NSync, The Temptations, and other various upbeat songs, while smiling and clapping their hands.
I really really didn't want to do this service today because I haven't gotten much sleep, but it actually turned out to be an awesome experience. I felt like we were actually making a difference just by bringing a smile to the residents' faces and engaging in activities with them. A bunch of friends and I are planning on going back and perhaps putting on some kind of show for them. Should be exciting.
Good mood, good day. All is well. I got to do some meaningful service, hang out with my friends and get off campus to walk around the mall, and talk to my sister who I haven't spoken to since before I left. :) AND my car might be coming tonight! Yahoo!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Aaaaaanyways, my car situation has become increasingly weirder and weirder. Apparently the driver of the truck carrying my car's brother died yesterday in a car crash? Sooooo instead of driving my car to Miami with ALL my stuff in it, he's been greiving and making funeral arrangements...It's a pretty ridiculous situation. So, I have absolutely no idea when my car will be here. Hopefully in the next few days.
In the meantime I've met some pretty awesome people who've lent me uniform items, sheets and towels. I miss my stuff though! I spent about 2 hours making a sicknasty bulletin board covered with pictures of my friends, and I really want it. Also, my friend made me an awesome college survival kit that is currently MIA with my car. So it's a little frustrating, but I'm adapting! As my dad said at dinner tonight, "It's like if you went into the kitchen...and you didn't have a pot! You have to adapt." Good analogy Dad...but yes, I'm making due without my "pot."
I'm pretty proud of myself that I've been blogging a lot lately. For the few faithful followers I have, (Peggy and Bonnie, Gram and Pa!) I can't promise that I'll be this efficient in the future. I went to an orientation for my classes today and they're gonna be pretty intense, so I may not have a ton of time during the week. BUT, I got my knife kit....and it's freaking awesome. It was like Christmas morning getting that thing.
The pictures I posted are of my dorm, except it's not completely decorated yet. I have borrowed sheets and won't have the rest of my stuff until my car gets here, so once I finish decorating I'll put more up! Enjoy!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
...except for the fact that I have no sheets, towels, uniform, OR car, since the company we used to ship my car with all my stuff inside has been extremely incompetant and the car, which was supposed to be here at 9AM, is STILL not here. Soooo, I will be dirty and uncomfortable tonight...but oh well. I'm just happy to be in my dorm. Even though the day was EXTREMELY stressful and annoying.
After a Target shopping spree, my fantastic parents unpacked and moved in all my new stuff while I spend 2 hours on the phone with Dell tech support, fixing the wireless on my laptop. It's also a tad lonely here now because none of my roommates are sleeping here tonight and most of my friends live in a different dorm and aren't allowed to visit until Tuesday. Therefore, I'm blogging!
There's some sort of "foam party" tonight at nine. Elusive name, right? First I thought it had something to do with shaving cream...then I thought maybe it was a big room and all the walls were coated with foam pads and we'd run around and bounce off them? But no, I was reassured that it was a room filled with soapy foamlike stuff.....how is that fun? Apparently it's a really big event, you need yellow wristbands to get in beacuse some upperclassmen try to sneak in...so I think I'll check it out.
I'm gonna go make some friends now! More later. A bientot!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I'm the only person in the 25+ years my tiny little private all girls high school has been around to graduate and go to culinary school. I'm not saying my class wasn't varied, interesting, or diverse. One girl went to study philosophy at Amherst, another continued onto Tisch at NYU to become an actress, another is studying education at St. Anselm's. Yet, no one has ever entered the world of food. And what a strange, small, specialized little world it is. Applying to schools was extremely tough. No one knew how to help me. Not my parents, my college counselor, my friends. Therefore, I was pretty much alone. Yet, I made it through senior year and am headed off to Johnson and Wales University in Miami on Friday, majoring in culinary arts and restaurant management, following my dream of becoming a chef and owning a restaurant one day.
When I told people where I was going to school I got an ENDLESS amount of questions. Why go into the food industry? You live in Massachusetts, why choose the Miami campus over the Providence one? Don't you know how difficult the industry you're entering is? Do you think you'll be able to handle it? The questions were always the same. And my answers were always the same. I know EXACTLY what I'm getting myself into. Classes at 7AM, going into a profession where I'll be working long arduous hours and holidays, strict uniforms, etc. I chose Miami because I need to get out of New England. After going to school in a class of sixteen girls for 7 years, I needed to explore, expand my horizons, and meet different varied people of different backgrounds and lifestyles. I also preferred the Miami campus because of the weather (obviously) and the fact that the culinary students were integrated with the rest of the school, as opposed to living on a different campus.
Really, the reason why I'm majoring in what I'm majoring in, going where I'm going, living where I'm living is to do what I've been wanting to do since I was eleven in the best way how. I have an unbelievable passion for food. I believe cooking is one of the most beautiful, spectacular art forms. I always knew I wanted to go into something creative, yet I never could really succeed in art class. When I found cooking, it just kind of clicked. I could make something beautiful, AND satisfy other people in the process. Food is an art that appeals to all the senses: the smell of caramelizing onions, the taste of a fresh piece of melon, the sound of butter sizzling on a pan, the feel of tart dough in your hands, the sight of a perfect finished dish. I've found so much happiness in food, and I hope to continue working with it as long as I can.
I'm starting this blog in order to update my family, friends, and anyone who wants to read about my adventures in culinary school. It's sure to be an interesting journey. I can't promise that I'll be faithful and write on a scheduled basis, but I'll try my hardest! Bon Appetit!