'There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.' - Salvador Dali
Serendipity. Ah, yes, how so romantic. But is it? Is it all really happy and fluffy, or is more of a cocktail of 'okay this is happening', 'should I be doing this?', 'I'm really going to miss my $10.90 laksa on Little Londsdale'.
Sometimes I get stuck into thinking 'what should I do next' but never take the chance to realise what the last four months have been (madness 2.0, where my appetite revolves around sugar and dairy).
Opening a restaurant, so I've been told (but now, have more of an insight) is like having a baby, a big baby, a big baby that cries and breakdowns 24.7, and a baby that gives you some sort of postpartum anxiety in the lines of 'why am I doing this? There's people who work 8 hours, only for 5 days a week and getting paid waaaay more! Oh! The sweet sweet dream!'
Anxiety and the worries that I haven't really had a proper meal in a while aside, heres what I've learnt about helping in big projects (whilst taking a ferry down to Tasmania, a week after arriving back from Melbourne, second guessing everything):
- Everyone in hospitality are somewhat superhuman. Working during the opening week of Faro, (the tapas restaurant apart of the new Pharos installation at MONA) I've seen staff go above and beyond for 12-16 hours a day, and come back the next morning to repeat (after the two shots of coffee and maybe 10 mins of solid internal crying).
- Sometimes, when opening a restaurant, shit falls apart. And when I mean shit, I mean half the kitchen, and it's best not to laugh, and you sure as heck know the team will pushed through anyways.
- Learning people's names from the FOH section, means you don't have to say 'hey! you!' (yea I know, whaaaat, who am I trying to be a chef trying to befriend the waiters, and know their names? #magic)
- Sometimes you'll have no idea what you're doing, but you're too scared to ask the clearly distressed chef about what to do next, so you'll wait to be told to do something (even if this is served with some attitude)
- You'll have the perfect 5 hours of sleep, because you'll come home, sit down, and then boom! alarms beeping, and it's 5.30am and you promised yourself to jog before work, but do you? do you really need to jog when you know how the next 15 hours are going to play out??
- It's amazing to watch the team's flow throughout the week/s as the restaurant finds its feet! I remember the yelling and noises of desperation, anxiety and frustration on day one of the opening week, to intense concentration and ballerina-esque flow on the final service for opening week! It's what proud mama's cry about guys!
- You'll be laughing, hysterically. But maybe because you've done so many double shifts, you've lost the reason to stay sane.
- You'll reach the light and will finally have days off! But be aware, when you go out in the public, you'll be overwhelmed with all the public people around you. You might even gasp 'what? humans? everywhere? walking on this pathway? This is so crazy!! Like, she's even walking a dog!'
- Slowly, the restaurant has a flow (like now, four months later). Everyone feels like family, hours have decreased... and you can finally say 'shit man. I think I was apart of something big!'
And to top of this entry of 'Amma don't worry, I am alive and I'm sorry I can't be the Sri Lankan daughter that applies for jobs that are actually related to her science degree.' This is photographic evidence to all the buddies I've made in Melbourne who've known me as the nerdy curious one (still that kid guys, and probably forever!)
Yes, leaving everything to uncertainty is crazy and sometimes it's not everything you wanted. But, you learn about yourself, what you want, and forces you to think about what you really want. I only hope that I take more time in reflecting. How can I keep thinking about growth and what's next without looking back at my progress?