Now, where was I? Oh yes. Italy. Get ready for the proverbial “long story.”
About the time when I decided to quit my internship, I started doing what I always do when my life plans fall apart: I reassess.
There were several things that led me to think that culinary school and a [very expensive] degree in Baking & Pastry might not be the best path to take to where I wanted to go – where I wanted to go being the first major question I had to start reassessing.
So I sat, and I thought. And I baked. And I thought. And I googled. Oh goodness, did I google.
When I came across a one-year master’s program in Food Culture & Communications at a school in northern Italy founded by the Slow Food Movement, several different things started clicking. It didn’t make sense to not apply. It was like someone dug around in my psyche and created a program just for me, all while being shockingly affordable and, um, in Italy. Italy was where all of this began, after all. Simultaneously, an article about a woman who graduated from Boston University’s MLA in Gastronomy program came out that discussed her master’s thesis on the organization of people’s recipe boxes. Organization? recipes? Where do I sign?????
The more I got comfortable with the idea of choosing a graduate program over a culinary one, the more sense it seemed to make. I love baking, a good bit more than most, but I want more than just the practical side of such a multifaceted world. I want to delve deeper into my research on cookbooks and American cuisine that I began with my senior thesis; I want to learn more about food writing and all the different genres under that large umbrella; I want to be around people who love discussing the impact of a cuisine on its culture and the current movements in sustainability. And I would like a master’s degree – maybe another psychological snag, but moreso I think the credentials it would give me would get me a lot closer to where I’d ultimately like to be.
Yes, a lot of this is based on “think” and “suppose” and general uncertainty, but at the same time, I feel like just as life is too short to be miserable, it’s also too short to not go with your gut. Sure, it would have been nice to figure this out a year ago, but that’s not what happened and I like to think there is a reason for it, even if I don’t know what it is.
So, I came home, because I could just as easily sit and think at home as anywhere else. And thus began the paper chase from hell.
You’d think I would’ve learned something from the first time I decided to study abroad. Silly Gilly. I looked at the list of required documents and thought, “oh, all I have to do is gather this together and make a quick trip to the Consulate. I can easily apply by the August deadline. Easily.”
Here’s a tip: do not EVER under any circumstances use the word easily when referring to any goingson at the Italian Consulate. Ever.
Me: Hello, I’m here to inquire about receiving a dichiarazione di valore.
Consulate secretary: Do you have all your documents?
Did you receive your degree in South Carolina?
Oh, then we don’t have jurisdiction over that. You must apply to the consulate that has jurisdiction.
Oh, so I need to go to Miami. *Nods solemnly*
Yes, but before you do that you must have an apostille.
Ok, where can I get that?
You must go to the Secretary of State office, in this case of South Carolina. But you must also do this for your high school diploma – did you go to high school here or in another state?
Ok, then for high school you must get an apostille from the Secretary of State office here and then come back here.
Ok. So I need to go to the Secretary of State in South Carolina and then consulate down there for my college diploma, and then the Secretary of State and the consulate here for high school?
Is there anything else I need to do?
Just make sure you have your translations.
…ok, I need to get translations of both of my diplomas?
Yes, your diplomas and your transcripts.
Ok. Thank you very much.
Right. That’s happening within a month.
So here’s where I am:
- I have learned that unpaid internships are the new black (much to my parents’ dismay).
- I have researched all 4 programs in the entire world that offer master’s degrees in food studies and know which I am applying to.
- And I’m food blogging for my local town blog, Dedham Rocks – check it out to see what I can do with fresh produce from the farmers market!
I’m more superstitious than I like to admit, and so until all applications have been sent, interviews done, and decisions made, I’m not going to be too explicit about where all I will be in a month. But I can tell you that I’m not going anywhere – I do have some new ideas for good ole WBIB that I’m pretty excited about.
And of course, you can depend on me for the full Izzy status report.
She is loving her crate, G.I. Joes, and chasing ants. And she never has to worry about how to say “grade point average” in Italian.
Oh, to be a dog.