Thursday, January 16, 2014

14 weeks to go

Well, as of today I have officially been living in Chicago for two weeks and I’ve been attending The French Pastry School’s L’Art du G√Ętaeu program for a week now. I have completed my sanitation course  (and hopefully passed the test because if I didn’t I’m going to feel like the dumbest person on the planet) with probably the greatest 72-year-old man ever. For those of you who went to Mississippi College and had the pleasure of taking a Cliff Fortenberry class, you understand how funny his jokes are. This gem of man was right up to those standards. 
            What kind of animal is on an official document?
            A seal!
I mean, that’s a quality joke. I used to laugh so hard in Uncle Cliff’s class and he always used to say “Working for that A?” Well, I didn’t get an A. Should have laughed more. But that’s neither here nor there. My sanitation instructor last week, he was a funny one too. I sat on the very back row of like 60 plus people and I was just cackling the whole time. And you guys know how loud and obnoxious and distinctive my laugh is. But I couldn't help it. I don’t remember much about sanitation (jk chefs, I remember everything) but I remember how much of good time we had. At one point he came back to me during a break and asked me not to laugh so hard because it encouraged him and we couldn’t cover the material if he kept telling jokes. I was like, well don’t be so funny and I won’t laugh, ya know. I mean, if you can have a good time in a sanitation class, that’s saying something. That’s saying a lot.

I’m loving school. It’s the only thing I’m doing, so good thing I like it. On the weekend I usually just alternate between sitting or laying on the floor in my apartment. But I'm not bored with that yet. I won’t lie, I was little intimated and overwhelmed the first few days of classes. It’s just so much crammed into 16 weeks. And my feet hurt by 10 o’clock and two months ago I was still asleep at 10 o’clock. But I wake up at 4:30 every morning and I’m not mad. You would think that waking up at 4:30 (the first one, not the second one) would make someone angry, but I’m relatively excited about my day. 

And I will tell you, even if I end up being the worst cake decorator in the history of the world (I really need that not to happen considering the financial burden this is) I won't regret the decision of coming to The French Pastry School. I miss Korea a lot and my students more. Maybe more than I've ever missed any place I've ever left. (Except for my home, Pop. I always miss home <3 ) But as far as schools go, FPS may be the greatest place. (and no one is paying me to say this) I just know that a lot of people at home don't know anything about this school and sometimes I know you people think I'm crazy because I just find things on the internet and I'm like oh I'll go there! and granted, I am kind of like that. But let me validate my decisions for you. First of all, my chef instructors are more than qualified, but what has impressed me the most is how they treat each of the students. Now of course I'm expected to be respectful and do what I'm told but I don't feel like they look at me like I'm a cockroach. And my realm of culinary professionals is not vast, it's actually quite small, but I've been looked at like I'm a cockroach by some chefs before. But not here. Now who I really want to brag on are the admissions and financial aid and marketing staff. Not only were they phenomenal enough to work with me while I was in Korea and skype me because I couldn't call or come visit, but I've been there for a week and I can walk into the office and they know my name. They knew my name in less than a week. You know how schools always say, you're not just a number to us, you're a real person blah blah blah...well they said it too. And then yesterday when I went into the office because I had a problem with my transit card they didn't ask me my name. Because they knew it.  Oh, so when you say we're not a just a number we're a real person you meant that we're a real person. Cool. And then today I had to go for this little meeting to sign some papers and stuff and they talked to me about being on the phone with my mom and were like we love southern moms. And I'm just like, you know who my mom is. I may be a terrible cake decorated when this is all over, but these people are nice, and intentional, and fantastic at their job. So there's that. 

It's still cold in Chicago. I'm not sure why harsh winter follows me. But come visit anyway. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm still cold.

Last winter I moved to Korea and they had the coldest winter in 27 years. Thursday I moved to Chicago in the middle of a blizzard with the most snow and coldest temperatures in the last 30 years. (Blizzard may or may not be an exaggeration.) I can’t even plan the kind of misery I find myself in. My orientation for school was scheduled to start tomorrow, but it has been cancelled due to “inclement weather.” So I guess tomorrow I’ll just sit on my yoga mat and eat some yogurt. It’ll be fun.

Despite the freezer like atmosphere I have been out and about. Ya know, trying to figure this place out. I think I’m having more culture shock here than I ever did in Seoul. A man asked me today if I shoveled my own snow. I think that’s kind of like, do you grow your own vegetables. I mean, it’s gotta be done, so do you do it, or does somebody do it for you.

 I will never down play the brutality of my winter in Seoul. It was cold, in every sense of the word. And I will never get over the shocking period of time I had to wear socks. However, it was a nice precursor to the agony I just walked into. But the snow here. Yall. The Snow. I don’t like snow. I woke up yesterday morning and my calves were on fire. Burning. I know I ain’t exercised. What is wrong with me? Oh yeah! I haven’t walked on solid ground in four days! Dumb. Just dumb.

I’m happy with the apartment. Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re gonna get when you literally just put the address into the rented GPS and drive to it on the first day you move in. But I don’t have too many complaints. It’s definitely a step up from where I was. And Pedro, my maintenance man, is nice and helpful. He did however expect me to be Chinese when he knocked on my door Friday. Somewhere down the line I had become the girl from China instead of the girl from Korea. No, not from either one of those countries. Pedro did ask me if I was from Alabama. Close, but no cigar, Pedro!

Well, hopefully after tomorrows sub zero temperatures I will still have working appendages and be able to continue this blog.