Monday, May 9, 2011

Here's what I have to say about that

Although I have a space in the fall program in culinary school, I still need to complete the application.  I have my recommendation letters in the bag, I can print my tax return and bring my social security card to prove that I am who I say I am and I have completed my entrance essay.

The information about the requirements told me that my essay needed to have a title, answer the some questions that I can't remember right now and be at least 300 words.  I was relived that it couldn't be *more* than 300 words because I can hardly tell Scott I'm going to the grocery store with 300 words. 

Here's what I'm going to be turning in:

Following my bliss

In 1995 my husband had just graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor's in Theater. He was struggling to decide between graduate schools. His options were to attend a Southern California program and teach theater or opt for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to specialize in sound design, which included a murky future.

In a fit of frustration, he asked a friend to do a Tarot card reading for him. He admitted he felt foolish, but he was stuck. Our friend, after explaining the lay out and meaning of all the cards turned, said “Well, looks like you need to follow your bliss.” His bliss, was in working with sound. We moved to the college in the middle of the cornfields where he obtained a Masters in sound design and I worked in the basement of a department store.

He received a job offer in his field the same week he graduated in 1998. He's been working with sounds via video game design since.

I don't see any reason why this philosophy, follow your bliss, won't work for me, since it's also brought wonderful results for many other people I've known.

When I had my children, I knew I was going to stay home and be a mom as long as I could. I've tried very hard to give my kids the mom I'd like to have. I've lead my daughter's girl scout troop, I host playdates, I drag them to the park and the children's museum and the grounds of the Capital building.

And in all the years I've been home with them, they've helped me cook. My nine year old daughter has been able to make pancakes single handedly for two years. My five year old son has assisted in kneading hundreds of batches of bread, bagels and pizza dough.

Last year, with my son's fifth birthday and my fortieth anniversary of being born bearing down on us, friends and family started to ask me what I was going to do now that both of my kids would be in school full time. My answer would usually be vague, something about taking solids at ACC until I found something that grabbed me. But, I was always thinking about culinary school.

In November of 2010, we attended the Gypsy Trailer Picnic where I made an appointment to go speak with the Cordon Bleu, which didn't impress me. While the campus was big and impressive, I didn't want to watch a chef cook on a screen. I didn't want to bring up my final product to be tasted and critiqued. What if my sauce was lumpy because I made the roux incorrectly? I've tried recipes I've seen on television, I could do that for free. And their student loan program frightened me. I simply wasn't comfortable going to a school owned by a company that would also be giving me my student loan. And my externship is in the restaurant that's owned by the school? I wasn't interested in being the free staff for a money making venture.

When I visited CAA, I very much liked the smaller class sizes and the fact that I was able to speak with one of the chefs about why they liked CAA as compared to LCB. I could talk with the students, watch the class and taste what they were creating. It was comforting to hear the students receive constructive criticism while there was still good natured banter going on.

After I made my final decision to enroll, I began to be asked a new question: What are you going to do with that?

My answer: I'm going to cook.

I can't conceive of where I'll be in five years. I imagine I'll be crying in anger since my daughter will be fourteen, but professionally? I honestly just want to learn to cook. Maybe I'll be a great home cook. Or I'll work for a caterer, I may get into a line and find I love it. I just have to wait and see what I learn about the industry and what opportunities I'll have.

My enrollment in the Culinary Academy of Austin is my action to follow my bliss. It seems a simple, new-age, not very practical statement, but it's the truth. I'm forty years old with two children, a husband and a household to run, I don't have time or energy for anything but the truth.

I just want to cook. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Don't wear clothes that don't fit.  Find someone who can alter them for you or learn to sew. 


Beckett Gladney said...

This is totally awesome. You'll be so great. They'll be lucky to have you as a student, too.
So proud of you, and proud for you.
*massive hugs*

Cyndee said...

I'm so proud.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi said...

This is SO great, Amanda. I'm super-proud of you.

And by the way, I am giving you the STYLISH BLOGGER award! See the end of my post here: