Day 1: Policy. Safety. Brie. Oh, and toys.
I realized that I was at last in long-imagined company when I saw that I was not the only bulb that shone more brightly on the tree when our kits arrived. (Quite sadistically, our registrar-orienter had pointed out the boxes and hinted at what was in them some hours before receipt of same.) Each of us beamed more and more brightly as we all inventoried our brand new toys in concert, to the point that sunglasses may have been an advisable inclusion. It was so enthralling that I found myself ridiculously pitying the few people who had already received their kits - those participating in another program, etc. - because they were unable to join in the exquisite ritual of tearing off the wrapping paper. A surprisingly accurate replication of the most useful fraction of my home kitchen's equipment, the kit was comprised of the tools one would expect, and some really nice knives from that town in Germany. Even managing the crate's bulk on the subway did very little to dull my enthusiasm for its contents, to the point that I emptied it onto the dining room table as soon as I arrived home, determined to find ANY Dremel tool bit that would allow me to monogram the costlier portions. (Which I did.)
Policy was read. Common-sense was dispensed, with a side of brie, chèvre, peanuts (and how refreshing it was to see genuine peanuts; I was beginning to be convinced that the airline people had taken ALL of them away), dried cranberries, baguette, old coffee, and attention-gettingly-lemony water. I felt better, actually, after it was announced with utmost seriousness that knives were never to be left in the sink. Granted, it seems like everyone in the class is perfectly sensible, but I'd just as soon not have to worry about reaching into a sudsy murk and paying the ultimate price.
Our Chef delivered a particularly poignant number on uniforms, noting that as soon as they were donned, the donner was a culinary professional; that to wear the clean, bright uniform evinces the respect for and devotion to the craft borne by the wearer. This immediately instilled in me sparkling but surprisingly solemn pride, and, in so doing, tacked my confidence in my new instructor firmly up onto the corkboard. The lockers suck; they're dishearteningly small, yet we're expected to have "clean and wrinkle free" uniforms. I think culinary-student-clean-and-wrinkle-free means something different than the non-prefixed term. I hope it does, in any case.
It always seems that the sense of possibility one has about a desire, long-awaited or not, tends to deflate somewhat on arrival at the actual threshold of that possibility: The hotel room isn't precisely the right temperature, the fuzzy kitten is a real moron, the car really only gets twenty-six miles to the gallon on a good day instead of the advertised thirty-five. Fortunately and to my great excitement, it seems that any prior sense of possibility I had about the culinary field was much narrower than I would have let myself admit.
Things are going to be happening.