My Creations, Places I like

Monday, April 30, 2012

"Happy Place"

    In my humble opinion, one of the perks about living in the Rosental dorms (along with other benefits...nope, never mind this is the only one) is that you have the beautiful, pristine, Hudson River flowing right behind the building. Behind my dorm is a quad area for tossing the B around, and a few picnic tables underneath some trees. Moving your way up the hill a few feet and there is a nice assortment of small boulders to sit on atop the cliff to lookout across the river and the line of trains running directly below the cliff, and another across the river.
    The block I'm finishing up right now has proven to be the toughest, and most grueling time I have experienced here at the CIA thus far. My A la Carte kitchen class is in its final stages culminating in a 2 day practical examination. A 100 question multiple choice exam and a 2.5 hour cooking exam at the end of my class this week determine who gets to move on to K-16 (high volume production) before departing for externships. If you fail, you have to reschedule a do-over in order to advance to the final pre-extern class aka K-16 aka "the exgirlfriend" (see exgirlfriend post for more on that...seriously, check it out. Its pretty funny).
    In addition to preparing extensive timelines/game plans for the cooking portion of the exam, and reviewing study questions for the written portion, I also had other things on my to speak. Externship is a major deal at the CIA and our school takes pride in offering an exhaustive list of pre-approved externship sites. Locking up a site proves to be much more difficult than you would imagine. Getting in contact, talking to the chef, owner, or what have you, doing a stage/trail in the kitchen, etc all takes time. I am fortunate enough that Chef Miller, Certified Master Chef and Chairman of the Alumni Council for the CIA replied to my email in a swift and decisive fashion. (There will be a whole post on Sperry's in the near future so stay tuned for that).
    Individually, each of these events are merely minor speed bumps, but when they are all peaking at the same time things can get crazy. Couple all that with the usual daily group meetings, 3+ hours of nightly homework, class from 6-2pm, midterms, quizzes, special project assignments, and you got yourself a twister even Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt couldn't run from...
"Its the perfect shit storm!"
I look at this now and think: "what a waste of beef"
    Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress, and for some it can be too difficult to bare. Recently I have been hearing a lot of chatter about students buckling under pressure and jumping ship to community colleges and other career options. This isn't for everyone, and that's something you wont learn from watching the Food Network (I still love that channel I have to admit). The point is, in order to survive you have to find ways to cope with the highs and lows of the culinary world, and school in general. Usually I workout or play music but time has not permitted me to get a solid 60 minutes of sweat in so I had to resort to other measures...

    In the movie Happy Gilmore (one of my all time favorites), Adam Sandler's mentor and club pro, "Chubbs Peterson" tells a struggling Sandler to find his "happy place". I'm not going to delve into details here, because we've all seen the movie (I think I can recite the entire movie line for line) but that's what I decided to do. Find a center of gravity, find a happy place of my own...

     I think the key is to be able to turn if all off for a moment, and get away, no matter how brief. You have to be able to put cooking, school, externship, and all that out of your mind otherwise your going to get eaten alive. Sometimes, weather permitting, I'll drive up to the Catskills and hike it out. Clear my mind and body a little bit. I don't always have the luxury, or the time to embark on epic adventures at a moments notice so I found a happy place right behind my building. The past few days have been warm and the view from the cliff behind my dorm lends itself to some brilliant sunsets if your patient enough. I'll take 10 minutes out of my day and sit on a boulder and look out across the river at the houses and walking bridge in the distance.
    The picture at the top is a pic I snagged on my camera phone the other day of the view. If your wondering what I am point at its a house that BON JOVI owns across the river. I kid you not, Bon Jovi has a mega house on a hill right across the way from my school. I like to think he's watching over me, with his rad 80's mullet and bankrupt arena football team (seriously, the man can't be brought down, hes unstoppable).
Hi, I'm Bon Jovi...and I can't be stopped.

    All jokes aside, what I am trying to say here before I adlibbed a little too much is this: you have to take some time for yourself (I'm a big believer in that). I'm just fortunate enough that all it takes is 5 minutes of looking at a beautiful sunset to make me smile and know things will be fine. Simple pleasures. That's all I need. I'm cool hand Luke (like my dad). Things always work out, and I thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I would thank you all individually but I think my computer would explode.... 

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