Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Time sure does fly... so cliche right? It seem like only yesterday that I decided to go to Culinary school and to go and work and live in Europe. It wasn't that simple though, there were many steps along the way and many people that helped me get to where I am now. I am not there yet though, with a week left to go there are still lots of things I need to do to prepare as well as many people I would like to see before I go. With that said, a major step towards my goal happened today, something that was a big headache for me and ended up coasted me some time and money. But it arrived... My UK working Visa is in my hands.
It almost became real for me today, I am getting pretty excited and anxious now. Lots to do, and not much time to do it. Thanks to everyone that has helped me to get here, I hope to see you all in the next week before I leave.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I cooked for the first time for Ruth last Tuesday, and it was an eventful evening to say the least. I have cooked a few little things for Ruth before, but this was the first time I had gone to her apartment and cooked a full meal just for her. We walked to the Save-on down the street from her apartment and picked up the necessary ingredients. I was kind of planning out the meal as we went but I didn't want to go to crazy so I just made some simple chicken sandwiches, with a baked broccoli mac and cheese. Ruth loves broccoli so I wanted to incorporate it into the meal somewhere.
I pan fried the chicken in olive oil, garlic, and white wine and then put the chicken on a toasted baguette, spread with fresh hand made pesto and topped the chicken with roasted red peppers, sun dried tomato's and feta cheese. I used a cork screw pasta for the mac and cheese with a white wine and cheddar bechamel sauce. I added steamed broccoli florets, and topped it with feta cheese and bread crumbs and baked it in the oven. Ruth sat on the couch and enjoyed watching me cook for her. When I cook I get into a zone and focus on what I am doing. I love how enthralled I get when I am doing it, and how everything else around me just fades away. I especially love cooking for friends and family, so being the first time I cooked for Ruth, it was important that I make an impression.
But the real fun began after I roasted the red pepper in the oven. I switched the oven to broil to toast the baguettes not realizing I had left the dish that I roasted the pepper in, still in the oven and it was still full of oil. It didn't take long for the oil to light up. I was preoccupied stirring the sauce, and cooking the chicken when Ruth asked me what the bright light in the oven. I looked down to see that the oven was full of raging flames and black smoke was billowing out of the vent on the stove top. I initially panic a bit and opened the oven and more black smoke came billowing out of the oven. I closed the oven and asked Ruth if she had a fire extinguisher? Ruth then started panicking a little when the smoke detector in her apartment went off. I then took a step back and calmed myself before decided what to do. I took the dish that the oil was burning in and put it into a large pot and closed the lid on it to take away the oxygen and extinguished the flames. I then opened all the windows in the apartment and had Ruth fan a towel by the smoke detector. I then noticed that there were actually two separate smoke detectors in Ruth's apartment and she was fanning the one that wasn't even going off. I grabbed another towel and went to fan the other detector and it eventually stopped.
We looked at each ohter as the panic subsided and just started to laugh, crisis averted, or so I though. While all this was going on I over cooked my chicken. It wasn't all that bad just a little dryer then I wanted, but Ruth still says it was a very good meal. All in all it was a memorable experience that neither of us will soon forget!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
When I initially took my job with PTI, I had no idea what to expect. I had some preconceived notions of what it was going to be like to work and who I was going to meet "up north" mostly from what I had heard from my uncle Kelly who has been working in and around Fort McMurray for several years now. I had made it clear that I was going to try and keep to myself and stay focused on the reason I was up there in the first place. I had called it a means to a beginning and in that sense, it did serve its purpose. I made the money I needed to fund my trip to Europe in as little time as possible. But lets be honest here, I am what you would call a social being and I didn't exactly keep to myself. I am glad that I didn't though. I came back home with a girlfriend and more then a handful of people I am glad to call close and maybe even life long friends.
I am thankful for my time with PTI even though it was not necessarily the best place for me to go to work right out of school. I was recently talking with Dave, one of the journeymen who I worked with, and he made a good point. We agreed that although PTI was a great place to make money, the job itself was best suited for people just starting off in industry or for people who are well established in industry. For people who are in the middle such as apprentices, it is not quite challenging enough to help continue your education. I found myself to fall right into that category. Don't get me wrong there were things I did learn and take away from this job and it can only look good on my resume. I have never had to cook for such a high volume of people before and it is by far the largest kitchen I have ever worked in. With that said though, towards the end of my employment there, I did start to feel like I was loosing my passion. I was not continuing my education in the direction I needed to be going in, and it could show in my overall lack of passion and indifference to what I was doing.
It seems wherever I go I make significant connections with the people around me and Fort McMurray was no different then my summer working in Banff or anywhere else I have travelled in that sense. Living in camp it was almost even easier to make such connections because of the close quarters and amount of time spent with the other people there. These are some of the people I became friends with and feel have had an impact on my career and life; Ruth, Brandon, Mel, Dave, John, Nav, Darlene, Tyler, Hudson, Meredith, Deb, Denise, Patsy, Kevin, Jose, Kim, Em1,2,3, Todd, Brenda, Linda, Brody, Blane, Angie, Laura, Colin, Cid, Katie, Mohammed, Matt, Savala, Anthony, Paul, Jeff, Kevin. I am very grateful for everything that everyone has done for me and I will always value the time spent with you guys.
Here are a few pictures of some of the people I met
Mel, Tyler, Hudson, and My Employee IDs
Ruth and I
Brandon, Em2, Tyler
John, Blain, Me
Nav, Katie, Me
Mel, and I
Thank you all very much, I won't soon forget my summer spent working In Fort Mac, or the people I met there.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010, the last day I posted. Lack of posting was the title. I had not posted in six days which back then seemed like a pretty long time. I look back now and that small six days seems like nothing compared to the seventy two days that has past since that post. At that time my blog was still pretty fresh and I had been posting multiple times a week. Somethings have happened along the way though and working three weeks on and one week off seemed to make the summer go by really fast. I was getting closer with Ruth and hanging out with her quite a bit more as well as making some real friendships. Camp and work life were also starting to become a little tedious and mundane. I was falling into a routine where writing was less and less of a priority. When I wasn't working or sleeping I would be spending time with Ruth or hanging out with other friends. It's not so much that interesting things weren't happening around me, plenty of things happened in the last two months that I very much intended to blog about, but I was just not finding the time to do so. I was procrastinating. Although camp life itself was pretty dull, I did have other things I wanted to touch on. I took a week long trip to Chicago at the beginning of August with Pejs and Chatwin to attend Lollapalooza. I could not write about it at the time though because of the circumstance I went through to get the time off work. I have also finished my time working for PTI in Fort Mac. I am home now and unemployed for next, um well I don't know for how long. I am leaving for Europe exactly one month from today and I have an interview tomorrow to get my working visa for the UK. So it looks like the my next month will be spent preparing for my trip to Europe as well as catching up some blogging that I have been meaning to do.