Life’s A Zoo

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So, I went to a zoo about two weeks ago. Why does that matter? Because I seem to have arrived at a rather delayed reaction type of realization or thought or some other related word that you feel like inserting back there instead. What if that was us? What if that is us? Metaphorically of course, but think about it.

Sometimes we feel like we are caged. Just go with the flow and nobody will try to put you down. That’s the thinking, right? You’re just doing the same thing day in and day out. Everybody’s watching you, so why even attempt something that might disappoint them? I think I’ve talked about this before, but maybe it only sounds familiar because that’s what life’s like. It’s a zoo. Sort of.

Now, I’m not trying to say we’re all a bunch of animals. That’s not where I’m going with this. I’m just simply making a comparison that may have made more sense in my head. In the wild, animals adapt and roam and aren’t limited, but that’s different in captivity. Not to sound like too much of an animal rights activist (although I used to be a vegetarian and I am very much against animal cruelty), but exhibits are nowhere close to being the equivalent of what the wild offers. I think that in today’s society, we tend to get stuck in ruts and then complain about getting bored. That could have been avoided if you didn’t let your peers pressure you into doing what ‘everyone else was doing’. Be yourself. I can’t stress that enough and I’ll keep on saying it. Stand out and express yourself without fear of what others might think.

Then there’s the ‘everyone is always watching you’ factor combined with the ‘don’t mess up or your life is over’ way of thinking. True, it’s important to always do your best and get things right the first time, but we are all humans. Humans make mistakes and that’s never going to go away, so instead of dwelling on it, choose instead to learn from those mistakes.

And now here’s a quote, because I add one every time and this one seems to fit in quite well with this post in both content and author:

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
― Dr. Seuss

If you’re failing to see my zoo-society analogy and make the connection, don’t even worry about it. It sounded better in my head, but I thought I would share it anyway. Also, I think we’re kind of like zebras. We may look the same at first glance, but we’re all unique.

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We Can’t Have It All

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Those five words are something that life has repeatedly thrown in my face and they’re true. We can’t have everything. We can’t always get what we want. Don’t let it bring you down though because despite what the world hands you, or doesn’t hand you, you can choose to be happy with what you have right now. It has a lot to do with how you look at things, so always try to look at the bright side.

And even though we can’t have it all, we don’t have to sit around doing nothing except dwelling on that fact. We shouldn’t. We can and should work towards the things that we want to achieve. You’re never going to get anything done if you don’t try. Sitting and wallowing in self pity is a very unproductive way to go about life. It’s not really healthy for anyone either. Keep yourself busy with aspirations and doing what makes you happy, what makes you smile.

When life throws a curve ball at you, don’t freak out. Take life as it is and as it come. If you spend too much time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future you’ll miss the greatest gift of all. You’ll miss the present. Even though you can’t change what has already happened, you can learn from it, so do so with enthusiasm.

 “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
― Margaret Mitchell

Make the best of every situation. I know it’s going to be hard sometimes, but one thing we will always have is hope.

Dear Words, I’m Still Waiting

It’s almost like watching grass grow in a way. When it rains the grass grows faster. When life knocks us down we seem to learn more than when we’re standing up. Okay, so that wasn’t my best analogy, but what I’m trying to say is that when we’re down on the ground, seeing things from a different point of view, we can really learn a lot about ourselves. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past year, which hasn’t been the best, but I have plenty to be thankful for.

Finding the right words to express my thoughts isn’t always easy. I’m sure plenty of you know what it’s like to see something so beautiful or so amazing that anything you say or write about it hardly seems to do it justice. I mean, breathtaking seems to be a bit of an overused word for those types of situations to me. And what about the other side of life? I know for a fact it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. How do you describe those dark days when you feel like you can’t get any lower?

When you’re frustrated or angry or lonely, things can get very confusing for yourself as well as others. You can overcomplicate things. You can say things you don’t really mean. You can hide and pretend everything’s okay when all you really need is someone to talk to, to listen to you, and to offer comfort. As much as venting is sometimes necessary, I don’t like dumping my feelings on my friends even when they tell me that they’re there for me no matter what. It makes me feel bad, especially when I don’t know how to explain myself and it comes out wrong. Maybe the simple fact is just that there isn’t a word for everything.

I’m sorry if I seem to be skipping from one topic to another, but I feel like all of this is related in one way or another. Sometimes what we take for granted are the things that we need the most and a lot of us seem to realize that only once those things are gone. When those things that we rely on are missing we learn what lies within ourselves. We can find our strength just when all the light seems to have faded away and then there is hope again.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
― Anonymous

Believe in yourself because you are stronger than you think you are. Believe in those who believe in you, who give you hope, the ones who keep you going and the ones who help push you forward into whatever tomorrow has to offer. This is to the ones who pick us up when we fall down and to the ones that give us courage. You are the light in the dark.

Faces I Will Never Forget

I’ll be the first one to admit I can be a bit antisocial when I meet new people, although I have been working on trying to be more outgoing. That being said, I don’t usually go beyond tolerance if I know I’ll be moving on in the near future and if there’s a good chance I’ll probably never see those people again. I think everyone has met people they can’t stand, kudos to you if you find the good in everyone, and people that they just get along with, but nothing more.

However, every now and then you come across people who you want to stay in contact with beyond the short time period you’ve begun to get to know them. Sometimes you find people that have so much in common with you, from music preferences to your usual order at Panda Express, that it’s kind of freaky but in a good way. Sometimes something just clicks and you find the time and space to let someone new into your circle and, after a while, you’re glad you did.

But just like everything else, there are usually two sides. The good and the bad if you will. Maybe appreciation and disappointment are somewhat better words. Have you ever experienced a moment when a complete stranger says or does something that really changes you or offers a simple, friendly gesture that turns your whole day around? Something that makes you arrive, sometimes quite suddenly, at some sort of realization that teaches you about yourself or life in general. Then, in a blink of an eye they’re gone. You probably didn’t get a chance to say goodbye or even thank them. The only trace they left behind is the impact they made on you. An abstract idea. A memory.

“You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

People will come and go throughout our entire lives. Sometimes we control this, but most of the time we don’t. That’s the way things are. Appreciate those you have right now before it’s too late and never forget the ones you have made a difference in your life.

2012 Summer Studio: Culinary (Ai) – cont.

Almost immediately after I published my last post, I realized I hadn’t mead any mention of what I cooked and concocted while at The Art Institute of Colorado, so I shall do so now.

The first day in the culinary lab consisted of a lot of knife cuts and food prep work. Everyone made some sort of breakfast food that included eggs, be it a simple omelet or a breakfast burrito like I made. We also made salsas as table groups. That afternoon, everyone made different variations of sushi that contained mostly vegetables, but occasionally crab meat as well.

The chili cook-off was the highlight of day two. It was a bit like the show Chopped on the Food Network. We were given a whole bunch of ingredients, some basic instructions and given free rein to make any type of chili we wanted in a given time period. It was so much fun and we got to taste and vote on everyone’s chili afterwards. I was shocked to learn that I placed second in the contest because I had never made chili before in my life. Here’s what I tossed in the pot: garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, green chili, habañeros, pinto beans, chorizo, chicken stock, water, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. We also made chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting in the baking lab. We got to color the frosting and decorate some of the cupcakes to take home. They were delicious!

On the third day, my table made quinoa pilaf and some crepes for the next day. The afternoon was filled wilt tex-mex foods. Again, different tables were responsible for different dishes. I made queso blanco by myself after my table helped me prep for it. I also made dough for corn tortillas and helped prep for tortilla chips.

On the fourth and final day, everyone was extremely busy. We were preparing a buffet for our parents. Everyone seemed to be doing a little bit of everything. I made a ton of crepes that someone else filled with ice cream. I was also in charge of concocting punch, which was very interesting to make, but turned out to be very good. It was so much fun and then we got to sample everything we made (after sharing it first, of course).

2012 Summer Studio: Culinary (Ai)

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There’s a difference between thinking you’re going to like something and knowing that you’ll love it. I am ninety nine percent decided on pursuing a career in culinary arts by going to college for a bachelor’s degree in culinary management. The Art Institute of Colorado’s week-long summer program definitely helped to further cement that decision.

What better way to explore and get a feel for a college than to experience the classes and instructors yourself not to mention the area you’ll possibly be living in? While at Ai, we were given tours of the main campus and The Towers, or the dorms. We didn’t live in the dorms though; we stayed at The Curtis Hotel. We ate breakfast on the second floor of the main campus each morning and then the culinary students took a bus to Ai’s culinary building where we spent most of the day in the kitchen, and one time baking labs.

The chefs who instructed us were very nice and did an excellent job teaching us. They explained and demonstrated the techniques and everything else we needed to know very well. I know I felt comfortable asking questions and I’m pretty sure all of the other students did as well. A couple of the chefs present were actually current students a t Ai and were able to answer any questions we had with a student’s perspective. Our group, according to one of the chefs in charge, was so good that he said that if he had us in training for another six months, he could open a restaurant with us working it.

I had an absolutely amazing time at Ai’s summer program and I am now seriously considering choosing that college. I had an experience I will never forget. I had so much fun learning hands-on every day. I also got to meet some pretty cool people who I plan on keeping in contact with. It was an awesome week!

Thank You For The Love

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Nobody likes to be alone. Some people would say that the more friends you have the better. I might have to agree with the statement in some cases, but when your friend circle has a radius of over one thousand miles things can get kind of difficult. I think a lot of us take our friends for granted because we’re so used to having them around almost every single day. Sure it’s easy to pick up your phone and call them or turn on your computer and message them, but it’s not the same as talking to them face to face.

I just want to say thank you to all of my friends, both close and far away. So, here it goes. You all mean the world to me and I miss you more than words can say. Each and every one of you is special to me. You make me smile when I’m having a bad day, laugh when I feel like crying, and you have always listened when I needed someone to talk to. You made me feel accepted because you loved me just as much when things got ugly as when life was beautiful. I think it’s great that you can laugh at my sometimes really terrible sense of humor even when I know what I said wasn’t the least bit humorous. You helped pick me back up when I fell even when I refused help. You are like the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I can never thank you enough for that. I want you to know that no matter what happens I will never ever forget you. I will treasure the memories that we’ve made and all of the good times we’ve shared.

So here’s a quote to show you what a real friend should be and to encompass what I mean:

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
― Elbert Hubbard

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not necessarily have to be the years you’ve lived that teach you the most, but rather the many miles that you’ve traveled. I understand now that it’s true what they say about not realizing what you have until it’s gone. Share some appreciation with the people who have made and/or are making differences in your life. Take the time to tell your friends how much they mean to you before it’s too late.