Happy valentines day, first and foremost. Although I did nothing today that represented valentines day in America, I did do a lot of much needed laundry (not in the shower but in an actual washing machine!!!)and had dinner with new co workers. I have not started work yet due to the massive amount of snow that has completely covered San Marino and all the surrounding towns but i have spent all my time with Danilo (a fellow cook), met a few other cooks and finally met Chef Sartini and his family. I start work on Thursday which turns out to be a great blessing because now I have had a few days to get a grip on things. Let me tell you.... It has not been easy. Not at all. Not that I expected it to be, but it's more difficult than I imagined.
I am so very very very thankful to have this opportunity. To live and work in another country is incredible; to learn a craft in a foreign land, one such as cooking in Italy, is absolutely priceless. I see the generosity of those who have made and are making this opportunity possible and believe me, it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I owe so much to many people already and my real journey has not even begun yet. I'm forever thankful and will not be able to express the significance of my gratitude.
can I sound like a brat for the next few seconds? It's day two and I am exhausted. I mean mentally and emotionally drained. DRAINED. I have never had so much difficulty communicating before in my life and it's a completely new experience to be surrounded by people and still feel so isolated. My mind thinks in English and is trying to translate every word into Italian at all times of the day, whether it's speaking, listening, reading, tv, etc etc etc. It's about 12am and because my brain has been running marathons of language translation, I feel like I could sleep for at least 24 hours. I want to learn so badly and total submersion is great for me... But why does it feel SO impossible? Listening to people speak makes me realize I know even less than I thought I did. And because I've been trying to translate italian all day, I dont even think I can think/write/speak English anymore. My current face is 0_0. Just a glazed look.
And so I turn to music. It's the only thing I have with me that I can relate to currently. The only thing. Once I start cooking, I think I'll feel a little better because cooking is something I know and feel somewhat comfortable with. But for now, while I'm trying to find solid ground, music is it. A lot of lyrics have been hitting me harder than usual or making sense in a different way than before, maybe because my emotions are in a massive knot and I'm on edge. But the best one of all was tonight. While in danilo's car on the way home, I was thinking about everything and how far I felt from everything and suddenly, Rod Stewart's "have I told you lately" came on. I instantly thought of my dad, since he always sings that song, and then started thinking of my whole family. While listening to the entire song, vivid images of my mother, father, brother, uncle, and grandmother came to mind and I could hear their voices repeating all the support they have told me over the last month. It felt very real. I could hear and see each of them and my isolation didn't feel very prominant anymore. It slowly started to come back to me the very reason why I am here: to learn. And learn everything.
It's day 2 in San Marino. I'm kicking my own ass harder than anyone knows. Yeah, I'll get it pretty bad when I step foot in the kitchen too but no one kicks my ass harder than I do. The pressure is just beginning and I'm feeling it now more than ever. I've reached the highest of highs and the lowest of lows on this journey and although it's hard for me to believe and I almost wince as I type this: bring it on. Bring it. Because so far, I haven't been thrown anything I couldn't handle. Some higher power has given me tis challenge because they feel I'm ready. I gave myself this challenge as well... I must think I'm ready. Currently hard to believe, but that's where the self ass kicking comes in.
And to my family that gets me through the tough times... You have been most supportive and a constant flow of positive energy. Without fail, I know you believe in me and that makes this whole process worth it. So heres to you:
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.
Now that's a true valentine :)