Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!!!

In true New Years fashion allow me to look back at this year and sum up what it has meant to me, what my accomplishments were, and share with you some insights and fears to the coming year. But before I dive into the heart of this year I realize I never explained how I ended up in PEI. Let me end the mystery now. Here is the story:

It was my third year in university, my banner year! I was living with 4 wonderful, encouraging, spontaneous, loving men, the best roommates, friends, and confidants a woman could ask for. We had many adventures together: trudging through snow, epic grocery outings, decorating for Christmas with deer heads and snow shoes, trading a spatula for a piano, and countless late night conversations sharing our "feelings." But with all these adventures none were more heart warming, dangerous, or deadly than our culinary endeavors. Pots were thrown, spoons shot across the kitchen like missiles, and we used butter like it was going out of style, but amidst all that we challenged ourselves, we dove into recipes, we conquered, we fell, we learned, we conquered again.

The boys were especially encouraging as I challenged myself both on the cooking and baking side of things. Although I love grilling a good steak, making garlic bread, and spicy mushroom chicken my palette always favoured and excelled in the art of cakes, cookies, tarts, and pies.

As third year folded into its second semester the idea of going to culinary school became quite tempting. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about it and one delightful afternoon I took a stroll to Student Services and Careers to inquire about culinary school. The professor I spoke with was very encouraging. She helped me rifle through books, pamphlets and course calendar’s and answered any questions I had. However, my search came up some what empty so I walked home, made the best dinner I have ever made in my life and then searched the internet for more answers.

I plunked myself in front of my computer and typed: Culinary Institute of Canada into Google. The first school to pop up was Holland College, PEI. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and spend the better part of an hour flipping through the site. I like to have options so I stumbled upon two more culinary schools within Canada, one in Vancouver and one in Niagara.

When third year came to a close and I was at home for the summer working and spending time with my family, I began to compare and contrast all three culinary schools quite seriously. Vancouver was a little too far away from home for my comfort zone, Niagara looked promising because Anna Olsen’s husband was an instructor at the college and it would be a wonderful opportunity to work with him, but their website was confusing and when I asked if they could send literature on their programs they did not provide any. That left PEI on the table. When I contacted Holland College the staff replied right away, they sent literature, an application form, course calendar, the works!

I began my fourth and last year at university with the decision to apply to culinary school and forgo my original plan of going to teachers college after graduation. I took a risk, jumped in and sent my application to Holland College PEI.

On January 19 2011, I had been accepted into the Culinary Institute of Canada for the Pastry Arts program. I got in!! News like this was hard to keep to myself and ran through the apartment shouting the news. Among the reactions of congratulations, best wishes, excitement, and some sadness there was this gem of encouragement from my dear friend Jonathan, “Oh crap. Now I have to pay $7 for a piece of your cheesecake when before it was free.” Haa haa, thank you Jonathan. A week later I sent my confirmation reply and 8 months later I planted myself in PEI, and the rest you know.

As I look back on the year 2011 it was a year of big decisions for me and accomplishments. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelors in Fine Arts, the most useless degree you could ever receive, but it’s mine and I love it!

As a graduation present to myself, I took a road trip out east to PEI with my best friend Rachel. Driving across the east side of the country was a blast! Canada is beautiful! It has also become my measuring stick for when I am faced with new challenges, for example I tell myself, “If I can drive to PEI and back, I can make caramel.”

I drove through Montreal twice and survived both times. This ties into the above statement but any accomplishment involving Montreal deserves its own paragraph.

I wrote an original Christmas song for my Christmas album EP that I co-produced and recorded over the summer. Writing an original Christmas song is hard, it feels like they have all been written and you have to be careful not to rhyme snow and mistletoe a thousand times. But on November 29th I released my “Christmas Teaser” with 4 delightful and heart warming songs.

I have also decided this year that once I graduate from culinary school this April, I will officially end my occupation as student. I am hanging up the books and ending my formal education career. However, I will always be learning, willing to take on new challenges and keeping my mind and heart open.

Now that 2012 has begun I have thought about what this year will look like for me. For starters I have a list of things I would like to accomplish on the Island:
-          pet a fox
-          go on a sleigh ride
-          visit Sea Cow Head light house

The rest of my New Year resolutions haven’t come into focus yet, but I will keep you posted. I do have fears of what the end of this school year will bring. Where will I be when I slip on that graduation chef jacket? Will I find myself home in Ontario baking up a storm? Or will I permanently fold into the gentleness of PEI? What ever path I find myself strolling I know I am exactly where the Lord needs me to be. I will be fine.

Happy New Year every one! Reach for the impossible, hit the ground running, and pursue the unattainable, it looks like a good year.

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