On Rough Patches
Out of all of the chefs I know, most of them have been divorced at least once. A lot of the issues in their relationship had to do with communication and cheating…with the other “woman”/”man” being the restaurant. How do you maintain a healthy relationship while juggling the demands of a restaurant? Is work and life balance even possible (or hell, realistic) in the restaurant industry?
Sound off in the comments below.
[Edit: I’m guilty of not being able to balance work and life too. You’re reading a littttttttle too much into this if you think there is something to be read between the lines. This is about talking and having a conversation about what works and how you make time for each other.]
On Kid and Kids
Last weekend my sister brought her, uh, boyfriend/male companion over for dinner/snacks. Let’s call him Kid. What I absolutely love about being an older sister is the ability to give whoever my sister dates a hard time. I was actually pretty nice to Kid though because he only had to cook/prepare food for us — it was my way to test him because he supposedly likes to cook and is also good at it. Nothing super scary, right? It’s not like I made Kid run a marathon.
Now this is the first and last time I’ll probably ever write about my sister’s dating life, but I had to write about this because…Kid’s dad was a chef. Kid is studying computer engineering at university because he didn’t want to follow his dad’s footsteps. And because he wanted a steady family life in the future. While he was cooking, I asked him one question that I kind of regret asking: was your dad around a lot? “No…” he said, as if he was embarrassed to admit it. As a chef’s wife, I was really really empathetic and sadly, what he said reinforces my belief that work and life balance is not feasible for many chefs. I also had other lingering questions that I wanted to ask, but didn’t because I just wasn’t ready: did Kid’s father attend his sports games, school events, or recitals? Did he help him with homework or even find time to do father-son stuff? I’m a little afraid to ask Kid because a small part of me does not want to know. Another part of me wants to hug Kid and tell him he’ll probably be a great dad some day.
While Chef can’t attend every life event of friends and family now, would he be able to attend all of Spud Junior’s Little League games? Tater Tot’s violin recitals? Will his priorities even shift with a kid*? Few chefs have aced the ability to balance work and life so I would be lying if I said I was completely 100% confident in having a stable family life in the [not that near] future. I guess time will tell.
I saw this map today and I was kind of amused by it. There’s something really romantic about seeing a random stranger and being so intrigued by them that you had to write a Missed Connections post. I still think airports are the hot spots. Did you meet your significant other in a non-traditional way too?
Anyways, Chef hasn’t had a day off this week and because I’ve started work, I don’t have the energy to stay up at 2am to chat with him. But making time for each other is a two way street and I can only do so much on my part.
Besides, I think I’m more insulted that he hasn’t had the time to try my pulled pork yet.
On Love Barf Day
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I’m highly dreading any form of social media for the fear of reading rage-inducing mushy and depressing status updates and tweets (“I love my hubby-poo! He’s the best!” “Woe is me! I have no date! I’m going to eat a bucket of jjajang myeon noodles”). I never understood Valentine’s Day probably because it’s a holiday that is not important to me and I never understood why it was such a big deal even when I was single and unattached. Marriage doesn’t change my feelings.
On the Definition of Home
Chef and I were at a cafe for about an hour yesterday before he had to leave for an event, despite the fact that it was supposed to be his day off. That annoyance just fueled my anger even more because for the past eight days (not counting my half-asleep “hello”s at 3am), I’ve only seen Chef once. Part of the reason why I rarely get to see him lately is that he still trying to figure how to balance work and life. The other part of it is that he has been helping out another chef who is still trying/learning to grasp executive chef responsibilities. While I want him to be successful and work hard, I always feel like I get the short end of the stick. We do text and call each other but the lack of physical presence is something that makes me (and I would think most people) angry.
When we first moved back, I told myself that restaurant widow life would be easier here in Minneapolis than it is in New York because we have some friends here, we grew up here, and we also have family here. Even though the restaurant widow feelings are the same, the intensity of these feelings are stronger here. I can’t distract myself as easily as I could in New York and I had a lot of close friends there that I heavily relied on emotionally. Because I was so dependent on these New York things and New York people, New York has defined who I am and my sense of belonging. Being here in my home state, makes me redefine what home is to me: there’s a feeling of unease in the way I feel about my identity and my sense of self when I say that Minnesota is my home. Home is not Minnesota anymore despite the fact that I am Minnesotan by upbringing. Home is New York right now, but maybe that will change in a few years. This Atlantic article (which I’ve linked in one of my prior posts) talked about the psychology of home and how home is who you are, not where you are:
“No one is ever free from their social or physical environment. And whether or not we are always aware of it, a home is a home because it blurs the line between the self and the surroundings, and challenges the line we try to draw between who we are and where we are.”
When I thought we were moving home, I was not moving home even though he IS a big part of my definition of home.
I plan on living and staying in Minnesota for the rest of my life, but I’ll have to go back to New York every couple of months just for myself. Maybe I’m still going through a big adjustment period before Minnesota becomes home. Maybe Minnesota will be home once Chef has a grasp of life/work balance. We both have a lot to learn.