Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Workin' for a livin'

Anyone who has followed my life over the last five years has probably wondered "And just what the heck does she do all day?" Some days I wonder the same thing.

My stock answer, until a week ago, was "As little as possible," usually said in a half wistful, half boastful kind of way. Because yes, it's great to have all kinds of free time to pursue any idea that sparks your mind. I've had the chance to learn to ride a road bike. I've wallowed in my art. I've babysat. I've dogsat (is that a word?). I've taught English (a real English teacher would know if dogsat was a word).  I've attempted yoga.

I learned some valuable lessons. I learned that as cute and loveable as kids and dogs are, they are expert at pushing my buttons. Buttons I prefer to leave unpushed at this time. Being able to speak English like a native does not make me a passionate teacher of language. Yoga, well...let's just not go there. I'm incapable of attaining, much less holding, the pretzel position for any length of time. Which leaves the two things I really, really do feel passionate about. Cycling and art. Two jobs that only the extremely talented can really make a living at. So for the longest time I've been content to pursue the things I enjoy and practiced patience in waiting for that thing to come along.

Being able to contribute  to the household is important to me, and while all the stuff I do isn't exactly nothing, I still have always felt a little like I'm taking advantage. Like I'm making Leif do all the work while I lollygag around the apartment eating bonbons and reading trashy magazines. (By the way that's not true. I seem to have lost my craving for chocolate, and the last time I picked up a People Magazine I didn't recognize a single name or face. I'm rather proud of that.) So I do always keep my eyes open for opportunities.

I found one such opportunity on the Facebook page of a creative group I belong to. A group I wouldn't have belonged to three years ago because I hadn't really embraced my artistry yet. After several email exchanges, one phone call, one face to face interview and one full day interview/audition I have exciting news. I have a job! Well, let me rephrase that a little.

I'm participating in the centuries old, time honored tradition of apprenticeship. Appropriate, I think, to be doing this in Italy, where hand craft and hand made are still respected skills. The great masters have always had apprentices. I am so excited that I was one of two people chosen to begin training with one of the top wedding cake designers in Italy, Melanie Secciani of Tuscan Wedding Cakes. Like the great masters, she's pretty much going to share everything that she knows about her business with us, teach us the basic skills, then turn around and ask us "Now what will you do with all this information? What's your interpretation of the things I taught you?"

This job (because one day I will cease to be an apprentice and become an employee) is the perfect blend of art and food. Making something beautiful that pleases not just the eye, but also the mouth. Creating something that takes the breath away even as it fills the heart with memories. I've waited a long time for this thing to come along. This thing that I can throw myself into fully and probably become slightly obsessed with. I'm so ready for this.