Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me.

You know that time, when you had that dream that you never thought would come true? You spent all of your days and nights dreaming about what life might be like if only you could reach out and grab ahold of it. From the time we are small children, our parents would ask us, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" And we would always answer honestly and with great conviction. A ballerina. An astronaut. A cowboy. And our parents would always smile and reply, "You can be whatever you want to be." But it always changes. We grow up, go to college, we start racking up student loans and bills and all of a sudden "what we want to be when we grow up" turns into "what I need to be when I grow up so I don't end up living in a box on the street". And just like that, we lose that childlike ambition to become exactly who we are, who we dream to be.

It only took me 30 years of life, 4 years of college, multiple career changes and a huge episode of personal self-acceptance to realize that I wasn't who I dreamed of being. I had lost sight of my own happiness. I found myself one day, driving to work like I always did, at the traffic light that turns into my job. The light turned green, but I didn't go. I was frozen in a moment of epiphanous glory. Amongst all of the honking it hit me like that semi-truck almost did... I have to make a change. I didn't want to got lost in the daily grind, just trying to make a living. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate my job... it just wasn't me. I wasn't passionate about it. I knew that if I wanted my dream to come true, I couldn't just sit idly by waiting for the dream fairy to swoop in and drop it right in my lap. So that day, I put a plan into action to make my dream come true.

After months of hard work, my dream has now kicked into high gear. I took the biggest risk of all by quitting my job, a career that I have been quite successful in for many years, to work at a restaurant so that I can completely immerse myself in the industry that I will now be in for the rest of my working life. And I can proudly say that after taking that first incredibly terrifying step, everything else is just falling into place. I am officially signed up to take my Level 1 exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers (the first in a series of 4), I began training at the new restaurant and I attended my first ever blind tasting study group with some wonderful people who are at various levels in their MS training.

So my message to all of you is that age old cliche... Never lose sight of your dreams. You are never too old, too scared, too stable to make a change. If I can do it, anyone can.

In Vino Veritas!

And here is our pal Kermit for some inspiration to never stop chasing rainbows...

Monday, August 4, 2014

The journey begins...

Today I begin a journey. One of self-discovery, comings of age, episodes of deep regret and intense sensory overload all served alongside copious amounts of that sweet liquid of the gods... wine. I've always dreamed of living a life where I can take a dive into a pristine pool of Pinot Grigio or lie on a bed while ripe Cabernet grapes fall from the sky like American Beauty (in this fantasy I look a lot like Mira Sorvino and the grapes don't smash and stain my delicate satin sheets). But alas, my childhood fantasies of Willie Wonka-esque oenophilia are left to die with Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, and I'm forced to find a more realistic avenue for centering my life around my most favored beverage. I've decided to embark on a journey towards becoming a member of one of the most elite groups of people in the world... The Court of Master Sommeliers. It’s crazy, I know. But I think one must be at least a little crazy to do such a thing. And have a completely obsessive personality. So I think I’ll be just fine.

My first encounter with this heavenly substance was at the tender age of (don’t tell my Mom) 15 years. I remember watching my Mom drink this beautiful and elegant looking pink wine out of this fancy stemmed glass which at this point in my life I equated with glamorous movie stars. I knew I had to have it. As in most teenage drinking stories, this one begins with my mother stepping out for the evening. My eyes widened when I opened the fridge and saw it sitting there on the shelf… beckoning. With shaky hands and shifty eyes I lifted the enormous bottle out and onto the counter, and grabbed a wine glass out of the cabinet. The familiar sound of glass clinking sent shivers down my spine. This was it. My time had come. I poured a ridiculous amount and sat down at the table. I fluffed my hair and readied myself, pinky out, and closed my eyes while I lifted the glass to my lips. As the cold, delicate wine slithered across my tongue and down my throat I thought to myself, this is absolutely horrible. I won’t name a brand because I realize this particular winemaker does have some quality wines out there but it was the ever so ubiquitous white zinfandel. Yogurty and sweet, it tasted like my strawberry Dannon had been left on the counter a few days too many. I spit it out and returned to the table. Confused and enraged. How could something so beautiful taste this way? Could it be that this whole time I have been completely delusional??  It was at this very moment that I realized that cold, hard truth. I was a wine snob.

Both my Mother and I have come a long way from the days of 1.5L bottles of cheap white zinfandel. The more I tasted, the more I sniffed and appreciated, the more I paired and compared different wines from different regions, the more I understood exactly how much that wine could effect my life. I truly enjoy it. There’s something about a glass of wine that can transport you to another place and time. When I have a long day I like nothing better than to sit at a picnic table in a Napa Valley vineyard, eat fresh cheeses and enjoy a glass of wine straight from the barrel, all from the comfort of my living room in Orlando, Florida. It provides an out of body experience. A lucid dream that I can make whatever I want. I guess you could say, wine is the imaginary friend to my inner child. And what could be more satisfying to a little girl, than that very special kindred spirit materializing and becoming reality. In vino veritas!