Sabrina Nirmaier (Narrative)
Do you have a moment in your life that has completely defined you as an individual? Do you have that moment in your mind? If you’ve got it, good; this is the point in time that represents the woman I have become, and who I am today.
It began in Annapolis, Maryland, it was my first time experiencing this specific location, and my first time having what we called in culinary school, an “externship.” Remotely, it is defined the same as an internship, the sole difference being that we were paid hourly to do work. I chose my Culinary Externship to take place at the Annapolis Yacht Club; or, I guess I could say, they chose me. I interviewed in March of 2015, hoping that I would be the selected student for their establishment. A few days post interview, I received the call; I got the job! That interview was the start to a bright future, and that is something that I could feel the moment I walked in to it. I moved to Annapolis after graduating Culinary School in August, and the moment that I drove past the sign “Welcome to Maryland”, my life had already completely changed; I just didn’t know it yet.
I remember feeling so nervous; and not for the first day on the job jitters reason that you’re probably thinking. No, it was something completely different. I was set up to live with a host family, a family who I had never met before, for the next four months. They were members at the Annapolis Yacht Club and allowed their home to be opened up to a complete stranger (me), as I accepted the invitation to live with complete strangers (them). It was going to be new territory for all of us, and I was afraid that I would not enjoy my time in Maryland because my host family wouldn’t necessarily enjoy me. I remember pulling into their driveway, looking at their beautiful home, shaking from head to toe. My parents were with me, luckily, so it eased the nerves I felt coming on. I knocked on the front door, and my host mother opened the other side – her name was Joan, and we clicked instantly. I was so extremely blessed to have ended up with host parents who I now stay with on a month to month basis and can call them a close second to a set of parents. They took care of me for those four months, feeding me dinner every night, getting to know me. These two have impacted me so greatly and I am forever encouraged by their words of wisdom.
Aside from having the greatest host parents, I also experienced the greatest four months of my life working for the Annapolis Yacht Club. Not only did I learn a variety of culinary skills, but life skills as well. I was mentored by the most amazing staff, and I can truly thank them for all of the accomplishments that I have made as a student here at IUP. They taught me to never give up, to persevere no matter the struggle, and to shape myself into the person that I wanted to be. At the end of my externship, I was told to write about my experiences from August-December 2015, but I truly could not find any words to describe the way that I felt; Annapolis would forever be carved into my heart in a way that I couldn’t explain.
I found it to be one of the most complex writing assignments I had ever been given. How does one write four months of experience into a small, one-page limit? I thought this through for days on end, hoping that I would be able to fulfill the requirement of this final paper for Culinary School. I finally asked my host mother for help because my struggle was clear, and she said, “Sabrina, you are so much smarter than you believe; you don’t have to write about every single piece of food you cut on the cutting board, or every dessert you made; write about what you feel in your heart.” This is the quote that changed me as a writer.
I ended up writing about the way that Annapolis impacted me, and the way that the Yacht Club would be in my heart forever. I wrote about the things that I learned, not only about food, but about the meaning of life and the way that my co-workers truly helped me become a person who I am proud to be. I wrote about the experience I had with my host family, and I wrote about the way my heart broke when the Annapolis Yacht Club caught on fire three days previous of my culinary externship completion. I wrote about all the banquets I got to be a part of and working alongside some of the most prestigious Chef’s in the entire country. I wrote about how honored I felt to have been chosen to be a part of something that was so genuine and special, something that shaped me, and something that I knew I would never forget.
My paper ended up being six pages of gushing over my past four months, and I didn’t care if I was penalized for writing over a page; being able to write those experiences down made me realize how truly blessed I was throughout this adventure, and I wanted to share that.
This was my moment in life, the one that defined me as a person; it truly did. As well as defining me as a person, these moments defined me as a writer. I learned that maybe not every writing assignment will be concealed into a page alone, no matter what the required outline may appear to be, and maybe to be a good writer you don’t always have to follow the rules. As my host mother said, write what’s in your heart. I have written with all I have in me since that moment, and I know I will continue to for the rest of my life.