Some people head south for the winter (one of my bosses is in Mexico; my landlords are living in their trailer in Arizona); it is vacation here in the Okanagan, people searching for a week or two of sunshine somewhere else than our own paradise, before the gloomy grey sets in. When we closed for the season, I followed suit, and booked a flight. To Red Deer, Alberta.
Was it the pamperous and relaxing all inclusive vacation of someone in desperate need of pampering and relaxations needs, the perfect adventure to satisfy my craving for escape, or the epitomy of food journies? No--it was so much more.
I caught a seat sale the very night i snuck a thought at my sister, Jeanine, that i come visit. It just so happened that she only had class on the day i would arrive (she is in her last year of Nursing studies, compassionate smarty she is), the other morning it was cancelled. So we would have solid days together, and as she said: I would get to see her life. Just as she did mine this summer.
And what a beautiful life it is. Her roomate, Amandha, and her parents are more than i could ask for as a stand in family with me and ma all the way over here in BC now. They made me feel like family too, loving me like they love Jeanine. Her friends too. It all felt very natural, slipping into her day to day (sans stressful classes and hectic hospital scenes); no agenda, just being in eachothers moments. We talked, laughed, did yoga, drank alot of wine with alot of fabulous people (unknowingly responsible for so much happiness and security, so much so needed). And they let me cook for them.
Goodness i love cooking for people who love eating. It was far more fulfilling than any of the glamorous holidays i may have escaped to. This was no escape at all, but rather being in the presense of a hell of alot of well fed love (and well stretched; even Amandhas folks joined us for pre-dinner yoga). They thought asking me might be a bit rude being that it was my holiday, but, really, i was going to insist. That is where i am most at peace, sauteeing garlic and onions, making a meal surrounded by a family of friends loving the wine, talking, laughing, asking questions about the food that they are also loving. That is the fulfillment of being a chef, what i miss so much cooking behind the line: the noted satisfaction. Its inspiring too, keeps you going--as I so needed. Just like a holiday is supposed to do, and we kinda did travel: Moroccan the first night, Italian the second, Mexican the third.
I didnt cook the last night. After conquering a climb in Canmore with Johnny (still had to sneak in the adventure...), the two of us and my sis had dinner in Calgary before i flew home. It had been 4 years-ish since we had seen eachother, and to me, it felt like life may have happened for both of us, but no time really passed between. The two people in that truck with me that last day mean more to me than they can know; true friends who gave me a solace no amount of sunbathing and free-cocktailing could have. Things felt right there, the whole vacation felt pressure-less, fell so beautifully into place, unrushed, no expectations, exceeding anything i could have expected.
Home now, i only cannot wait for my next "holiday."
Thanks everyone. Wish you were here.