Le Cordon Bleu Orientation – GAH!

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach.  It’s my last day before going back to school.  Classes at Le Cordon Bleu begin tomorrow at 6:00 a.m.  Oddly enough, I’m not apprehensive about my abilities or much directly related to the classes.  I’m nervous about the schedule.  Going to bed by 9:00 p.m…. getting up at 4:00 a.m….relying on Ty to get me there and pubic transportation to get me home (at least until the Fiero engine is replaced in a couple of months)….homework…being a mom.  Managing to do this for myself and also keep my home and family from running into the ground.  Thats where there nerves are and the only thing that will help is just to dive in and cope.  When it comes to school itself, my butterflies are a flurry of excitement.  My passion for food and cooking are intense and actually spending this much time and money to fuel that passion feels incredibly self-indulgent.  I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to move forward.

On Friday, I went to Orientation.  As we filed in and got in the first of many lines, everyone was quiet.  I have a feeling that’s an odd thing for this group.  From my experience, that’s an odd thing for most interested in this industry.  I checked in, got my folder filled with information on housing, kitchen shoes, on campus clubs and most everything else.  After a short spiel from the rep from the Jr. ACF (American Culinary Federation) and setting up an appointment with my Career Services Rep (because isn’t this really what it’s all about?), I moved into a large room with all of the others starting school on Monday.

As I looked around the room, I remembered a scene from Ratatouille where the one girl in the kitchen monologues about those who work in a kitchen as being “pirates” and “rebels”.  This group of rough and tough, tattooed and scarred kids definitely fit the bill.  This industry is not for the weak or the timid.  But that’s okay.  I’m a 41-year-old mother of two teen and almost teen boys.  It will take a lot to scare me.  Another realization, once I looked really closely is that there were at least a couple of others there my age.  I know it’s silly but that did make me feel a bit better.  Will they be in my 6:00 a.m. class?  No idea.  But at least they are there.

Orientation was a bit information meeting and a bit pep rally.  The only person I met by name was the guy lucky enough to be sitting next to me.  Adrian.  He will be in my class and likes to cook on the grill.  It will be nice to at least know someone when I walk in tomorrow.

After the meeting we filed out and received our uniforms.  Three sets of uniforms – a chef coat, houndstooth pants, cravat (I HAVE to learn to tie that thing today), apron, beanie and side towel.  Everything has now been pressed, hung and is ready to go.  It will be nice to not worry about what to wear everyday.  My beanie is a little bit tight.  They didn’t measure those but the person taking the orders looked at my head and said, “You’re definitely a ‘regular’-sized hat – not extra large”.  This is probably true if I didn’t have GOBS of hair that had to go up into it.  I spent a good hour yesterday trying to find a way to get it under the hat without feeling like I was about to bust a seam.

Once we had the uniforms, we headed to the library for ID badge photos.  I have a feeling I’ll spend a good amount of time in that room over the next year.  One thing I noticed was that they have computer terminals dedicated to Rosetta Stone language lessons.  I’m looking forward to taking advantage of those.  I need to learn some spanish badly – even if my heart is still pulled toward learning Italian.

And then we were done.  I left feeling good about it.  I left feeling ready.  I hope I can still say that a week from now.  My goal is just to take it one day at a time and give it at all I can.  It won’t be easy but I’m hoping it’s worth it.  We’ll see.

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