Sunday, June 22, 2008

Portland Progress

Well, we have arrived at a point long coming but ever so hard to imagine, especially because I have thought about it for what seems like a lifetime.

In fact, it has been a lifetime. As I held Madelaine in my arms I would of course wonder what she would sound like, how she would talk and walk. I never thought about what she would 'do', in so far as a career, mostly because it was so far away, and because I was content to wait and see what see brought me.

Consequently, I never imagined her working in a kitchen until she brought it up, but as soon as she made it her ambition, I could see why it makes sense, and now I think it is fair to say that I share that ambition with her. I will certainly do whatever I can to help her, but I can see my time for doing this is growing short.

She attended Orientation at the Culinary Institute yesterday and received her uniforms after touring the kitchens, meeting the chefs and getting a first taste of 'the rules'.

Of these, which are many, the most important is to be in class on time and in uniform. For students, the uniform, is well, the same: Black steel-toed lace-up shoes, black and white checkered chefs pants, a crispt white double-breasted chefs coat with the WCI seal embroidered over the heart and a name tag (correctly spelled!) on the opposite side. Around the neck goes a hand-tied cravat (basically a white napkin, which is what chefs actually use) and atop the head (above the beaming smile) is what is called a 'commis' hat. It looks like a white skullcap, and it covers most of the hair. Students are required to be in a clean, pressed uniform at the beginning of every class, which means that if it gets dirty they have to go get a clean one from their locker.

Fortunately for Maddie, her apartment has a washer and dryer right in the unit, so she can keep her uniforms--they gave her five sets, along with the shoes--clean and pressed without having to make a trek to the laundromat.

The apartment is quite nice. It is a two-bedroom, 1 1/3 bath (which means that Maddie has a sink in her bedroom) apartment. Maddie got the larger bedroom because she was the one to find the apartment. We met her roommate Brittany (also a student at WCI) at the apartment shortly after we arrived last week, and (luckily)the two girls hit it off right away. Actually, it isn't surprising that they would at least seem compatible, since, after all, they have a good deal in common; Brittany is also in the Patissiere and Baking program with Maddie, they will have the same school schedule: 4pm to 9pm.

The apartment is actually in Beaverton, which is across the Willamette river about twenty minutes away by MAX, which is the light rail line that runs every ten minutes or so into the Portland city center, just a block from the WCI. The train is well-lit and very safe, and it runs well after nine pm, so she'll have no trouble or danger getting home at night. The walk from the MAX station to the apartment is about two, well-lit and public blocks.

Yesterday, we went to IKEA to shop for furnishings--specifically, a bed and desk--for the new apartment, and found it to be quite interesting. I say it that way because it was actually our first trip ever to this Swedish style sensation, even though I have perused their catalog from time to time. We went there thanks to Chris and Colleen, who provided a nice gift card to get Maddie started in the world the right way. In spite of misgivings--the parking lot is full of SUVs--I found the products to have the allure of the simple and the satisfaction of being inexpensive. Not cheap, in the more conventional wallymart way, but in a way that derives from simply being simple. If that makes sense.

But for some things, IKEA is simply over the top, or at least far too out of the way, so Madelaine also received a wonderful gift card to Target from Alexandra, which will help outfit the new place with all the little details that make it a livable home. Like sheets and pillowcases and towels, and silverware and pots and pans and shower curtains. Oeuf! What fun!

I certainly never anticipated just how much pleasure I would derive from this process. Today we will soon go over to Maddie's apartment (what a delight it is to say that) and get the bed, desk and chair set up and go shopping yet again! Ok, so maybe I am not all that thrilled about all the shopping, but know this: I am again truly happy, if only for this moment, and the pride I feel, if unanticipated, is not undeserved.

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