I. The Gentle Layoff or a Note to Self
After the huge ups and downs that started in my life last year, early this Spring, it started to feel more steady, workwise speaking. After a six month internship in an startup office, I was hired as the content manager; I’ve worked on the blog and the social media of an interior design website. An exciting adventure and a very full time job, that demanded for almost all of my energy.
However the euphoria of the new job did not last long. Soon I started feeling restless, as what I did, although thrilling, was not much creative. I started missing working in the the creative/artistic/culinary world.
Now that I look back to the end of July, I can see clearly how attending the Gradara Workshop —hosted by talented ladies Betty, Zaira and Valentina— was a turning point. I had never met these girls in person, and it was my first time at Valentina’s home, but somehow I felt at ease with whatever was going on, things came naturally to me, I was at the right place at the right time.
As I came back to Rome, I started to feel uneasier every day at work. I tried to remain focused at my deskjob but I felt out of breath as I dreamed about cooking, shooting and creating something instead of organizing documents.
At a certain point, on September 1st when I woke up in the morning, I looked at the rays of the early sun outside the window, then sat on the bed and… started to cry! The mere idea of going back to that office for a long, indefinite time made me feel plain miserable.
Later when I was washing the breakfast dishes, all I could think about was the need for a big change, a revolution.
The big change arrived some hours later. On that same day, I was, very nicely, laid off.
And, odd as it may sound, I felt relieved! I felt that my chance had come, I could do whatever I wanted. This is an opportunity. Now I can dive back into creative work and start anew!
It wrote these words down immidiately, in order to record my precise intinctive reaction to this apparently bad news; down at the bottom of my guts I was feeling lighter, content and not worried at all.
That night I went to bed quite late. The subconscious did its dirty job. I jetted awake, very early, feeling quite anxious.
So, I left This note to remind myself to trust my instinct. To remember, always, what my reaction was to this. To know that I can do better. This is not some self-helping acknowledgin or inspirational note. It’s what it is.
“Do not forget it. Do not forget how miserable you felt on the morning of September 1st, thinking about going to office, and how things lightened up and how you sincerely smiled, after many days, when on early evening of the very same September 1st, you were fired.”
Here I also inform you officially that as of October 1st, I’m available fulltime for jobs for Photography, blogging, cooking lessons, workshops and graphic design, food tours in Rome/Italy and recipe developing for brands and editorial products.
No better moment than this to finally publish this memoirs of three days of pure creativity with like-minded people, with a touch of magic that only true passion at heart and crafty hands can bring to life.
2. The Gradara Workshop, The Italian Riviera, July 2016
It was Summer time at its peak. The Italian riviera, where Valentina lives, was hot, humid and adorable.
I got on a train from Rome’s Termini station that took me towards north one day before the workshop. There, in the station of Cattolica Valentina, Zaira and Betty were waiting for me. Though it was the first time we met, we clicked immediately; we shared the stories of our lives and a laughter or two.
That evening we had the best piadina (Italian authentic flatbread from the Romagna region, wrapped around cold cuts, cheese and vegetables), somewhere looking over the sea. A simple, incredibly convenient dinner that represented the charm of local Italian regional gastronomy at its best.
On Friday, we harvested and arranged flowers, wrapped the gifts for the attendee (incredibly gorgeous looking Raku ceramic bowls by Freaky Raku), froze peaches for the welcome drink. Betty, Zaira and Valentina went through their keynotes and slides.
By the times the attendees arrived to the garden of the Solfrinis, the sun was low, and our beautifully styled Summer table was decorated with fresh fruit, crystal glasses, roses and flowers from the countryside and olive branches.
We were a group of talented, sensible women from all walks of life, different religions, and three different continents; In a moment where the world is being teared apart by hatred and fear, we gathered around from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Croatia, Turkey, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iran and celebrated our similarities, while each expressing uniqueness through our personal stories.
The following days that passed like a blissful flash of time were filled with more beauty, amazing food (we devoured a super delicious gluten free cake from Valentina’s upcoming cookbook, and Marisa, Valentina’s mom delighted us with the most incredible dishes of the Italian cuisine), styling sessions, pasta making workshops, photography lessons and more chats and meals.
I tried my best to catch that magic in my photos that I hope you can get a glimpse of the good time, company and food that we shared. Also, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Valentina, Betty and Zaira who welcomed me with open arms, I’m so glad I had could give helpful hand. Also, thank you so much all the attendees, for your super positive vibe, curiosity and generosity. We all learned so much from each other. I hope we can get together somewhere soon again. The sweet memory of our last candle-lit, alfresco dinner at sunset will linger with me forever. (I’d love to link to your blogs and/or business websites, so give me your links!)
I leave you with the photos. You can see even more of them here.
Tell me what you think about the event; would you like to attend the next workshops? Where would you like them to be and what are your expectations?
Coming from Iran, she mostly develops her recipes by combining the aromas of the middle east with the flavors of the Mediterranean, specially Italy, where she has found her second home.