Thank you all for being patient during our editing process. We have recorded 8 episodes and we’re shooting the last two on May 7th. The success of the show could not be possible without your support, love, and encouragement. Check back next week for the Middle Eastern Cuisine Episode as well as the link to USDtv’s new youtube site where you’ll be able to view all of “Cooking with Me, Rita Marie.” Until then, here’s what’s been brewing in my mind these days…
Delicious ambiguity. Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm. Change has never scared me. Well, almost never. I find myself in a period of reflection at the two week mark until graduation. I look back on my four years of college and am in awe of how fast it has gone and how far I’ve come as a person. For those of you who don’t know my story, I’ll explain what lead me to San Diego and how I found exactly what I was looking for, before getting to the good stuff. For those of you who do know- feel free to skip this trip into the past.
I had my eyes set on the palm trees and clock tower that symbolizes the University of San Diego since the sixth grade. My Dad and I did not agree on much growing up, and he tended to repeat himself and his stories more times than I can remember. But it was his stories from San Diego that were the ones that always sounded brand knew each time. He talked about the weather, the people, the atmosphere, and the overall impact that USD had on his life. My dad is a critic to say the very least and can find something wrong in almost anything, but who can blame him? Any good entrepreneur possesses this trait. Looking back, I’m not sure if I was more interested in San Diego or the place my dad talked about with such admiration and no fault. I always felt different when I was younger when my friends would ask me where I would want to go to college. Sometimes I would feel embarrassed saying San Diego and other times I said it with the utmost confidence. Regardless, it was my most intimate dream. I remember laying in bed thinking about finally getting to move out of my house and becoming everything that I knew growing up in a small town held me back from. I rarely let myself get attached to much until the end of high school when I realized just how blessed I was to have so many wonderful people in my life.
I can still remember every emotion when my family and I stopped at the mailbox on a Sunday afternoon, after a day filled of church, brunch, and house hunting. My dad, I am sure, made fun of my mom for not getting the mail Saturday, but as he got back into the car he said, “Rita Marie, look what’s here.” And there it was indeed. That beautiful large white envelope marked with the USD clock tower and cross up on the left hand corner. I burst into tears as I knew that small little dream deep inside had come true. I applied the past fall knowing that I “just had to.” I had thought about it all these years and even though I had little intentions senior year to make the transition out west something kept pulling me out there. I was a little upset that my dad opened the letter for me, ( I don’t think I had ever seen the man happier since our first family trip out to USD two years prior), but I was too struck with emotion to open the letter my self. My Dad joyfully and proudly read the letter out loud as I cried. Cried with happiness, disbelief, and fear.
See for me, it has always been easier to imagine the dream. I loved working with incredible diligence and persistence to earn whatever it is I was after. The chase has aallllwwaayyys been better than the catch. It is the thrill of being close but not close enough. When the dream suddenly became a reality, I froze. I lost the drive, the heart, the passion. I forgot what I wanted and started asking everybody else what they thought I should want. Because had I not worried or thought or what if-ed every second and just followed my heart, I would have picked my dream over settling for something easier.
But that’s just it, I always thought that the chase for the dream was the hardest part, that when you get the dream it’s supposed to be easy. To the contrary I discovered that getting the dream is only the end of the beginning of the fight. I let my dream slip away and because I let it slip away I realized that it really was my dream, it really was what I wanted. So you ask, “If it’s what you wanted Rita, than how could you have turned it down?” Four years later I ask myself this same question. How did I ever say no? I don’t remember the reason as to why or have an answer. I do however, know now that the biggest challenge when the dream becomes reality is actually accepting it–forcing the immortal dream to finally become mortal.
This is why, I think that the dream is just the destination, it’s just the next step. I thought that getting in to USD would be the answer, but it wasn’t. My freshman year was a period of self-reflection among other things that don’t need to be rehashed, and I can say without a doubt had I come to USD freshman year I would not be the person I am today. It was the year long journey not at USD that allowed me to appreciate and start a new life here with clear eyes and an open heart. The footsteps that I created on this journey in San Diego three short years ago are the largest and deepest footprints on my heart. I said no to USD at first, because I was too scared that I would fail once I got here. I was afraid that I would fail at my dream. My dream was perfect, glorious, and fabulous. If the dream became my real life it would soon be tarnished and rusted with mistakes. Once the dream became reality I realized that it had a chance to be flawed. Imagine the disillusion and heartbreak of having your dream-come-true turn into a train wreck.
After some pivotal moments freshman year I realized that you can’t be scared of your dream and to start anew. You can’t be scared that you’re dream could actually be the worst thing for you, or the very best thing. There’s a reason you dreamt it. There’s a reason your head has been stuck up in the clouds thinking about it. Unfortunately, you don’t see it that way at first because if you did you wouldn’t have faith. Faith is something you cannot see, or touch. It is something you feel. Your intuition, one of the most intangible things we as humans possess, oftentimes leads us to the most rewarding experiences. As an accounting major I have learned to analyze, apply rules, follow procedures, and determine something that’s feasible or unfeasible. However one of the greatest problems to solve are the ones that don’t have an equation, that you can only excel at through trial and error and that is your life and chasing your dreams.
I have spent everyday of the last three years of my life living my dream. I don’t know many people that can say this or who were fortunate enough to do so like me. I am so lucky, yet only now do I realize that for the past 7 months, I have been setting myself up to repeat the same mistake. I have known that I was moving back to Connecticut and leaving my dream since September. I knew that after graduation I would have a job and security and a “good” life. I stopped dreaming because my dream taught me that you can’t just dream you have to do. And that’s the mistake that I cannot repeat–will not repeat. I had my dream but I didn’t act on it at first. So now, I sit here two weeks away from completing one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, graduating from USD. What was a childhood dream is now coming true.
People ask me what my plans are for after graduation, what I want to really do, what I’m passionate about. It gives me ojida (you know that feeling in your stomach that makes you feel sick) and anxiety to think that I can’t answer these questions like I could when I was in the sixth grade and somebody asked me where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s funny to think I was a more certain and confident 12 year old than I am 22 year old. But, I think the difference is that the confidence is in the not-knowing this time. The confidence is knowing that I possess the power to be a do-er. To create my future and run after it, full force into the dark. I can make any dream a reality– this is the only thing I can say with confidence and certainty. I have a job that I can’t wait to start and a career that I can’t wait to be apart of, but I know there’s something bigger out there for me, too big to even dream. So for now, I will walk across that stage, receive my diploma, and just enjoy the dream for a while.
A dallop of change, a pinch of hope and a dash of passion creates ambiguity. Ahhhhh now those are the perfect ingredients to start simmering a new dream. I’ve thrown my various talents, work ethic, accomplishments, awards, relationships, and experiences into my pot; now is the time I let it do the work on its own, the way it is supposed to. Let everything just brew and simmer and come together. Like a perfect sauce takes hours on the stove the perfect life and dream will take years to brew just right. Now that’s what I call delicious ambiguity.