Dear valued, fabulous, scandalous readers
I don’t know what the frick is going on, but for the past couple of weeks, WordPress has been having weird blips and content is missing from posts that I’ve published. Strange! So if you see anything like unfinished photo captions, you know that’s not my doing. I know how to string together a sentence. I make a habit of stringing too many together!
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Before I start writing about school, I hope everyone who reads this at least received a giant hug or treated themselves to some chocolate/egg rolls on February 14th!
The day was all right for me. My brother (Tarek) and I cooked a belated birthday dinner and dessert (butter chicken, and choux puffs to dip in orange-flavored dark chocolate) for our mom, who brought us won tons and chow mein. I called my Grandma to wish her a happy Chinese New Year and she told me to come by and pick up bamboo leaf-wrapped sticky rice that was loaded with duck egg/peanut/chinese sausage/pork chunk/red beans. Did you know that being part Asian is totally sweet?
About Changes, a few classmates asked about my store, and wanted to know what it’s like. You can check out our site, www.changesclothing.com or watch this video below! Rhonda, my store owner threw a party because the torch passed by the shop and she loves the Olympics so much. She is volunteering as an Athlete Marshall for the opening and closing ceremonies, which means that she gets to hang out with cool people and wear a puffy parka.
This past week at school was a little bit crazy because
1) I think my brain is exhausted!
2) My station partner and I struggled sometimes with a language barrier (and because my noggin is tired, I often paused and said a lot of errrrs and ummms, which was not helpful)
3) In addition to school and work, I went on two work observations (days where you go to an establishment and work for free, to gain experience).
4) I’ve been studying like crazy because midterms are coming up next week. My body keeps asking for 10 hours of sleep and then doesn’t even use them well. Frustrating!
Fortunately, this was a short week, and the classes were all about vegetarian cooking and grain prep, two things that I’m pretty keen on. I do a lot of veg food, and not with an intentional point of cooking without meat, but it’s definitely easy to make tasty and fulfilling dishes without an animal protein, which many people are unaware of.
Learning about vegetarian cooking was an eye-opener for a lot of people, because figuring out how to do it well often includes borrowing ideas from other cultures, substituting ingredients, understanding the need to respect and accommodate other mindsets, and if you’re used to having meat as the main event, knowing how to turn what you know on its head and become unusually innovative. I’m pretty wild and wacky in the kitchen as-is, so this bodes well for me.
My brothers used to be tofu-phobes who also wouldn’t touch whole grains or eat something if there wasn’t meat in it, and same for another friend of mine, until they tried food that surprised them (in a good way). It’s often our ideas and expectations of what something is, that keep us from actually experiencing them. Now Tarek cooks with tofu and brown rice often, which is nice. We just went to Memphis Blues for dinner and I need a nap, but it all balances out.
I will now interrupt my usual programming for a brief report on Wednesday’s filming of The Colbert Report!
We were also entertained by clips of Stephen Colbert’s Olympic Journey and the audio from his one-off Better Know A Riding sketch, where he interviewed/annoyed Ujjal Dosanjh, who remained patient and then turned a little feisty, which was hilarious. In between interviews and audio clips, Colbert was very business-like. He kept thanking us, promising to come right back in a minute when exiting the stage, and laughing when screwing up lines. It was a really fun time and is something I can cross off of my Wanted To Do That For Years! list, just like Rhonda wanting to be part of the Olympics and getting to cross that off of hers.
If anything, this week was a test of endurance, creativity and patience. Our next project was vegetarian menu development for canapés and appetizers. I love menu development days because they let you play with ingredients and get creative, plus bounce ideas off of your partner(s) and have fun making things your way. Our teachers know that if you ask somebody like Bowes or myself to come up with 10 different appetizers (on our own) and plate them wildly, we will do it with gusto because we’re firecrackers, so of course they said that each person could only come up with one of the appetizers.
I was freaking out and basically about to lose my mind because my partner wasn’t coming up with any ideas, nor giving any feedback/criticism for my ideas. I was practically begging him to come up with something. The next day, when we were supposed to actually make the food, he kept disappearing or only working on his appetizer, which was due to be served last. I was all but left alone to complete the first two dishes and was really steamed about that. If a person is to work solo, they don’t have the hassle of thinking that someone will be there to rely on and then find out that they are not. This is why Batman Works alone! Sometimes!
In the end, he helped out with plating (because I kept asking) and in the end he thanked me for working hard to execute his dish. I would have liked to have aided him a lot more throughout the day, so we could have found a better balance, but he couldn’t delegate tasks to me, because his plan kept changing. I can at least be happy that while my work was constructively criticized, it wasn’t ill-received.
About the work observations, I went on 2 before school started (not affiliated with NWCAV), have now been on 2 more, and am due to go on another one next week. I had a conversation with a classmate about how it can seem a little daunting in the beginning, but once you get a few done, it’s easier. You have to think about it like ripping off a Band-Aid. Just go!
It’s interesting how different environments make you react, though. At one location, I was rational, efficient and collected amongst organizational chaos and workplace hazards, and in the other place, which was safer, cleaner, and quieter, I kept dropping the ball, and eventually became frustrated with myself for being a scatterbrain (re:tired!). They were pretty patient and nice there, but the next day when the teacher asked how it went, I answered that I was less than impressed by my performance. Maybe the instructors will give me a chance to go back and do better one day.
Until then, I have loads of studying and knife-sharpening to do. Ouch!