Friday, March 2, 2007

Bad blogger

Yes, I know I've been a bad blogger. My last post here was more than a month ago. I could list a number of excuses for my absence (travelling, a bad cold, exhaustion, laziness, hibernation, busy at work) but the bottom line is that I'm still alive and I still love cooking.

I think a big part of the reason why I haven't blogged here in a while is because in all honesty I've become disillusioned with my job as a cook at the hotel/casino. I wouldn't go so far to say that I hate my job, but I'm most definitely disillusioned with it. There's only so many hundreds of pounds of potato salad I can make before I go a little crazy, you know what I mean? (Whenever I hear someone complain about their job, I'm reminded of this scene in a Drew Carrey episode where he says to a colleague, "What? You hate your job? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY. We meet at the bar.")

There are, however, some great things about my job. I'm constantly inspired by some of the incredibly hard-working people I have the privilege to know. Many line cooks and dishwashers I have worked with are recent immigrants and have some harrowing stories to tell.

I've worked with a pastry chef who came to this country as a refugee from the Vietnam war. When he was a teenager he spent three days on an open boat with more than a hundred other people adrift at sea after the fall of Saigon. Then he spent three years in a Malaysian refugee camp before being allowed to come to Canada. A lady I worked with came to Canada from China in the early '90s. She was a school teacher in Shanghai for 27 years, and for the last ten years she's been working as a dishwasher. Another lady that was recently hired as a dishwasher came from Iran. One day she asked me my ethnic background (I'm half-Japanese, half-French); then I asked her and she said, "I'm from Iran." Then she raised her arms in the air and said with great gusto, "And I'm a free woman!" There's another guy I work with who has two full-time jobs and he and his wife just welcomed the birth of twins to their family. He works seven days a week and on three of those days he works from 7am to 11pm. And he always has a smile on his face and he never complains how tired he is.

In many ways these new friends have changed my outlook on life. I never would have had the opportunity to know these people if I had stayed at my cushy and sheltered desk job. They make me realize what a lucky life I have and how ridiculous and shameful it is for me to whine about anything, especially about potato salad. This whole experience wasn't just a career change, it was a me change.

And I expect things will change again sometime soon. Which is another reason for my long absence from this blog. I will remain in this job for a few more months, after which I'll (hopefully) have a very exciting announcement to make, so stay tuned!