The year started off with a bang. When I brought in the new year last January, I was working at the Horned Dorset Primavera where guests were celebrating in their own way, loudly with lots of alcohol and festive Spanish music. It was completely different from the quiet nights I had grown accustomed to, a bit of a rush even. The restaurant was packed, but the only thing the locals cared about that night was having a good time and drinking. Looking out over the balconies of Restaurant Aaron, the fireworks could be seen slowly ascending over Mayaguez in the distance, and the insane sounds of people cheering and yelling in response to the new year could be heard rising up from the dumbwaiter and lower levels.
I remember the days preceding my arrival I was so full of self-doubt and had so many conflicting feelings about the risks I was going to take. Looking back through my track record though, spontaneous moving and significant life changes are no stranger to me. In the end I felt I was doing it for the right reasons, and I had my brother with me in case I fucked up. I will always remember that and am thankful for the opportunity he gave me.
Working in Puerto Rico was good for me. I didn't want to stay there forever, and I missed home more than I probably should have, but I realized that I could work in front of a large number of people and I could do so under a bit of pressure. Sure, there were a few moments I just wanted to tell them fuck it, it's not worth the bullshit... My one boss and I never could understand each other due to language barriers, and having a brother as head of the kitchen operations meant a shit-ton of extra pressure not to fuck up, or it could look bad on his part. At times where things got tough and heated, he'd get around to yelling as all members of successful kitchens are expected to- and it was an effort to keep calm myself and keep mental notes, but it's all a part of the experience. A couple people I'll never miss, and there were some I met there on the island that I'll always remember, and seriously hope to see again someday. The varying personalities and learning to be comfortable in a completely new environment was a big step for me. Before working there, I didn't trust myself to carry a single tray topped with food and glassware anywhere- much less running across a resort to people who were paying more to stay there than I'd be making in months. But I learned.And it happened fast. I had left for Puerto Rico with about a week to come up with the final decision to go after just learning about the opportunity in the first place, but it was a now or never opportunity. Just days after arriving I visited the restaurant and that day I found myself working and drilling new routines into my head. In any case, that experience lead to another: getting the job at the HD Inn closer to home in May the next year.
On the whole, 2012 was a year for personal growth and new experiences. Once I started working at the Horned Dorset Inn around mother's day, I was able to get into a reliable routine with work. The money I could hold onto was significantly better than Puerto Rico, where paying for two places and making less for it wasn't a great combination... but it was all about opening up a new path. Again, arriving in Leonardsville was another work environment where I met new personalities and built new friendships with my coworkers. Due to the late work days and the convenience of living on the property I was able to stay up late and sleep in the way I naturally like to do... and to make it even better we all sit down to eat family meal together almost every night we're working. Saves you money and from the stress of deciding what groceries to buy for dinner. When it came to organizing personal time, there was usually a 5 day schedule to rely on during the week, sometimes more workdays if there was an event. However, occasionally it was slow, and I was able to grab three day 'weekends' (Monday-Wednesday), and actually travel back and forth between Leonardsville and Hudson in an effort to see friends and check on the home-front. A little costly, but worth it. The restaurant manager, Harvey, is very easy going. He can be strict where he needs to be, 9 times out of 10 he is usually smiling, making small jokes to make you laugh and the positive mood that radiates from him is the best kind of infection you could ask for in a working environment.
I appreciate the level of excellence that's expected of us at the Dorset, and as a perfectionist, it' not like I'm getting more stress than if I was working for a more casual restaurant. I feel like I belong in a place like the Dorset, everything has a working procedure. It's not a chore for me the way it is for other people to act and dress accordingly, and I feel accomplished after a good night. Stress never carries over from one day to the next and usually you know what to expect. The workload is usually pretty evenly distributed, and you have each other to help out. In addition to that, the owners are all artists involved with a project they've created called the Horned Dorset Colony, which I have a great deal of respect for as an artist. It's a selective residency program intended for qualifying artists looking for a quiet space away from distractions in an effort to increase work productivity. Each of the owners has put in a great deal of effort to ensure that their dream is on it's way to becoming a reality, and that's another reason I like being able to say I work for them. This past year I was able to contribute by working as the Photographer, taking pictures of concert events and artists so that they could use them for magazines, networking, event promotions, and website creation.
In the second half of the summer season we hired a couple new faces to make up for the vacancies in working staff, and that's when I met both Johan and Travis, both pretty cool guys. Needless to say, Travis and I have gotten pretty close and as a result it's been relatively life-changing for both of us as. We're now roommates, certainly at different points in our lives, but that's part of what makes it unique. We have a bit in common and fortunately he's not someone that feels intrusive. I can't say that about most people because I love my space, but Travis doesn't take that from me and have each other's company if we need it. I'm not saying I don't miss having the place to myself and having friends stay over for days on end, doing whatever we wanted, walking around naked, etc., but I'm happy and it's giving him a chance to seek out something else in life aside from the military.
So what I'm trying to say about this year is that I always hear about how a lot of people dislike their jobs, or their roommates, or where they're headed...and I can't say that about my life at the moment. I've decided the Horned Dorset is something worth investing my time into because it works for me right now. If a really amazing door opens up to another road, it's not likely I'll ignore it, but I can rest easy knowing I have something working out for me at the time. I was able to save up enough money to keep myself safe during the off season where I just enjoyed my holidays with the family, and more recently I've been very proactive about following my own personal goals and writing. And underneath it all, that's pretty important to me.
I saw something like this shared by a friend, and decided it's perfect for an entry like this.
The awards for significance in 2012 are as follows:
In memories or experiences that capture the spirit of the year best through my eyes
My Playlist of the Yea --- Spotify: Bring Me Your Love
The Girl- City and Colour
It's Time- Imagine Dragons
Eyes On Fire- Blue Foundation
Last First Kiss- Ron Pope
Full Moon- The Black Ghosts
I Would Do Anything For You- Foster The People
Strangeness And Charm- Florence + The Machine
Not Enough- Get Well Soon
I Belong To You [+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix]- Muse
Everybody Talks- Neon Trees
Something Good Can Work- Two Door Cinema Club
A Song For The Lovers- Richard Ashcroft
Arms- Christina Perri
Can't Stand It- Never Shout Never
Let Love In- The Goo Goo Dolls
-Favorite Poem: Poison
-Journal Entry: A Mayaguez Night
-Photographs I'm proud of:"White Crane in Blue Simplicity" (Crane seen flying over the rock formations and ocean in Puerto Rico)"Another Side of Earth" (Rocks and beach textures are cast in deep shadows by the setting sun in the background, but a lot of detail remains. I can make out the edges of a sand shelf and rock formations and in the distance the setting sun with Desecheo Island along the horizon line)Album: Puerto Rico 2011-2012
-Photographs of People: Justin's shots during the sunset at Steps beach in Puerto Rico. They turned out exactly the way I'd wanted them to and I feel they capture his strongest features.
-Biggest Achievement: Making it through the 4 day wedding working at the Horned Dorset Primavera which also marked the last week there.
-Most awkward moment: Walking into the Kitchen one night during the 4 day wedding, where one guest that had been repeatedly hitting on me was sitting on top of the counters, waiting with a grin on his face and one leg up in the air like he was going to give me a strip tease. They had to escort him out. More than once.
-Best one liner: Travis was giving me a compliment during a conversation with our coworkers and mentioned how he actually looked up to me, Justin quickly spun it around by saying "From on your knees!" In that perfectly ridiculous way he says anything funny. Everyone died. It was flattering, hilarious, and embarrassing all at the same time.
-Favorite memory: Toss up between my only Dinner night at the Horned Dorset with Abdiel, (I was allowed one visit to the restaurant to eat before leaving) and the trip to Vermont and night in Stowe, with Harvey, Johan and Travis. Harvey force fed me Cheese that smelled absolutely disgusting (but oddly enough tasted fine) while Johan held me down, them wrestling- the whole night was hilarious
-Scariest moment: urfing in Rincon. I paddled out to sea (something that scares me already) and got nauseous from the potent smell of wax that the instructor had just applied to my board (Like a new can of paint in your face), on my way out I managed to cut my foot on a piece of coral, and I was out of breath by the time it came to jump up on my board for the first wave. Imagine taking in the view of endless blue water, breathing in the fumes while being "gently" rocked back and forth with a bit of salty seawater to the eyes and mouth while your foot sears with a blissful pain. I was legitimately terrified for the first 10 minutes thinking that I was just going to pass out and drown- but it got a lot easier once I sat on the board and relaxed for a bit. Successfully caught my first wave! After that it was exhilarating. And sexy.
-Things I missed the most: My best friends. Sister. My Room.
-Things I had that I will miss: Running/jogging along the beach while listening to my Ipod & watching the Sunsets in Puerto Rico. As a combination it felt unreal.
-Things I won't miss: The Cockroaches. The cold/boiling showers. The concrete bombshelter.
-Bad Luck: Drove backwards and failed put the car into drive while backing down a steep hill and as a result parked on a gigantic tree, blowing my paycheck.
-Stroke of Luck: In Vegas I lost at all the Casino Games, but I did find over 300 bucks in my search of money to gamble with, in an account I thought I had already depleted due to multiple freezes on my account in Puerto Rico. (They didn't like me using it for shopping in the US and couldn't communicate with me to tell me what was wrong) And to think, I almost threw out the card.
-Best thing about home: Kayla.
-Memorable mental images: The Heart-Shaped rock on the jogging beach in Puerto Rico, The rainbow and sunset through the rain overlooking the balcony at the Dorset, The Ceiling in Utica's train station, The private dining room, The figure in the road, Justin's foot-shaped running shoes.
-Routines: PR: Washing the silver before walking the linens up that impossibly steep hill, climbing the fence, and walking home at night- along that dark winding road with all the animal noises in the jungle. Open the apartment door, and there was Justin and League of Legends
Leonardsville: Tablecloths, leveling, silver, napkins, polishing, glassware.
-Food experience: he Farewell dinner at The Horned Dorset Inn- Lobster Tail, NY Strip Steak & Filet Mignon, Pate, French onion soup, Lobster bisque, Risotto, Duck, Squash, Quail with bourbon sauce, potatoes... if I'm missing anything, someone correct me. Dessert: Pecan Pie, Nadene's amazing Peanut butter Pie, Rainbow cake and Chocolate Bomb. Unbelievable.
-Day of the week: Game night at Matt and Adam's.
-Biggest Regret: Probably not visiting Old San Juan.
-Best Tech Purchase: Android Razr Maxx Phone.
-Feel Good moment: Christmas Night. The Hudson Winterwalk and Dinner after with Scott, kayla, Luke and Travis.
-Favorite City: Santa Fe, New Mexico.
-Song of the year: A toss up between 'It's Time -by Imagine Dragons', & Somebody That I Used To Know- by Gotye & Kimbra.
-Popula Band of the Year: Muse.
-Alternative Band of the Year: The New Electric Sound.
-Staple: Coffee at work.
-Movie: Cloud Atlas.
-Book: Game of Thrones.
-Board Game : Strategy: Zombicide, Party: Cards Against Humanity & The game of things.
-Quote of the Year: "Along with love, compassion is the face of altruism. It is a feeling from deep in the heart that you cannot bear others’ suffering without acting to relieve it. As compassion grows stronger, so does your willingness to commit yourself to the welfare of all beings, even if you have to do it alone. You will be unbiased in your service to all beings, no matter how they respond to you." --Tenzin Gyatso.
I think that sums it up nicely. I can't think of anything else.