Yesterday was my first day at Habitat for Humanity, and oh boy, let me tell you-- it was exhausting. For about three and a half hours we were moving sheets of drywall (4'x8'x1/2" and 4'x12'x1/2" and the worst was the 5/8" thick stuff) off of a forklift and into the houses we are building. Oh Lordy, talk about tiring. My arms, neck, and random parts of my back are still aching! However, as exhausting as it was, it still felt invigorating and great when the day was done. Not to mention, I ate my lunch totally guilt free!
Another first was my meeting with Giancarlo today! Giancarlo's is a local Italian restaurant in Morro Bay that is slightly fancy and verrrrry good and run by an Italian man, Giancarlo. I had never met the man in person, but I looked at his website and had an idea of what he looked like. I called ahead and was told to come by at 4:30 (they open at 5 for dinner). I dropped mom off at the grocery store, pulled up to the restaurant, and had to give myself a wee pep talk to get out of the car. I reminded myself "what's meant to be, will be." a mantra I'm growing quite fond of these days. I got to the front door and noticed a young man about my age painting something on the front of restaurant which I figured out was going to end up looking like bricks. I then saw a man with a striking resemblance to a pirate standing at the door and asked to speak with Giancarlo. After some confusion, I realized the pirate man was Giancarlo himself and that no one had told him I was coming by to talk to him. Solid. I wonder how well this is going to go over... Fortunately, it turned out great! Nay, better than I could have expected! I was super nervous but thanks to Giancarlo's pirate-like persona, his adorable Italian thick accent (missed like 15% of what he was saying), and his generally welcoming and spirited personality, I quickly relaxed fell into my own slight Italian accent. (Seriously, I don't mean to insult people, but when I'm talking with people with accents, I start talking with an accent, I don't know why! It's very hard to stop.) We ended up talking for over an hour! Three tables had already filled and he still talking with me. Telling me about Italy and going to a chef school there and what the culture is like. I told him about my own experiences some. The boy out front painting is his son, Alex (I think? He also said he's called Giancarlo, so I'm a little confused), is 23 and apparently Giancarlo hopes that I can talk some sense into his son about also going to Italy to study to become a chef. Hah! Not even an hour of knowing this man and I'm already getting set up. Oh silly Italians... :P But seriously, this man, is awesome. He told me about the different regions, programs offered, things to know. Apparently, the first caffe of the morning, if you don't like it, you can send back and they'll make you a fresh one, free of charge. It's a thing. I'm promised it's true. I'm going to have to try it! He also told me about his family in the South (he's from Bari) and told me that if I need any help with anything, he's more than happy to call his brother in Italy to check something out. Apparently his brother is high up or actively involved in some Finance sector (and escorted the president around Venice?? waaaatt??) and his mother is a teacher for 40 years and his grandmother is about to turn 100 in September.... not sure why any of that last matter is of importance to you, but this is why I love Italy and Italians, it's all central about food, family, and memory making! Seriously, the man and I appreciated talking for over an hour on just those three things! It was glorious. He instructed me to come back in the morning so he can call his brother (it'll be evening there) and I'm going to bring some possibilities of schools and he'll help me weed out which ones are touristy and which ones are legit. :) I'm planning on going tomorrow at 11!
I am pretty convinced that I'll need to be abroad for a whole year for my culinary experience if I want something that isn't a touristy attraction. I just need to figure out a way to finance the whole thing, oy vey... (birthday is coming up, day 15: how to subtly hint to your family/friends you just want cash for a post-graduation adventure) It felt great talking to him. I have a renewed excitement and appreciation for Italian culture again. I was starting to lose touch with it and was starting to doubt if I'd ever go. I really think I need to do this. I can't really explain why, it just feels right. Whenever I think about where I'll be in just over a year, or like, shortly after graduation, I picture myself in Italy.
Anyways, I'm tired. Thanks for reading! I'll post this whenever I get internet back, oh yay Cayucos...
P.S. No, I didn't ask if I could shadow him. But I will ask! Tomorrow! When I come back with schools to look over with him. I think it'll seem more natural. :)