“there we are” (as Henry James would say).

Today marks the beginning of my first official blog entry.  Since graduating two and a half months ago from Sarah Lawrence I have been enjoying the warm Santa Monica weather and the familiar beachy setting that I grew up in.  A place where during my short breaks during a college semester I would savor each moment of being near the beach and frequenting my favorite organic cafés as well as favorite yoga classes.  Now however, since I’m here and not going anywhere, I’ve been enjoying all those pleasures often.  I can go to the farmers market every Sunday instead of just once every few months.  I can get a tea latté from Urth Caffe on Maine Street and practice yoga almost daily.  In short, this transition period has allowed me to do my favorite Santa Monica activities and create my own routine based on my passions and desires.  It almost feels like I’m on Summer Break but of course it’s just the beginning of a new chapter in my life.  And with all beginnings even though it’s nice to have this time to relax and enjoy myself it can also be challenging.  I often feel restless and get the feeling that I’m not being productive or moving forward because I don’t have a “job” yet.  I also miss New York and the routine I had established for myself during my last semester in school.  Its strange to think that assignments and classes are over (unless I go to graduate school later) and instead it’s time to enter the “real world” filled with “adults” and “jobs.”

Of course I’m looking for a job that feels right to me and seems best.  At this point I’m told that I need experience and that I should be open to things and essentially explore.  Exploration is the stage that I’m in and well it’s the stage that one should always be in—isn’t it?  What I know about myself in terms of “career talk” is that I am a writer.  I also have a passion for music, yoga, and food.  Moreover, I’ve decided that it would be helpful for me to develop my writing portfolio while also exploring my passions—and both surely are connected.  I can indeed write about my passions.  I’d like to explore cooking so I’ve decided to blog about my cooking adventures (a cooking journey that started tonight).  I’d also like to write about my yoga classes that leave me feeling fantastic.  And music, well I could write a review for an album that I love and maybe even write about my favorite instrument, the bass.  Lastly, I must do some creative writing and I think the best way to start is to revise some of the stories I wrote for my fiction workshop class over the past year while also being open to perhaps starting a new story.

Ultimately, my goal is to find a job that feels right to me and is best for me.  I’ll need to use my intuition and my sensibility.  To start off, I will probably end up doing something that doesn’t feel great but hopefully leads me to a successful and fulfilling path.

So, as I said, I started my cooking adventure tonight.  I got out my most coveted cookbook: Sophie Dahl’s Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights (bought at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street in London–a cute villagey street), went to the “winter” section, and found a simple dish under “winter lunches” that seemed perfect to begin with: penne putanesca.  I followed the instructions meticulously down to the final words on the page–a note she adds after serving the pasta: “…and pretend you’re in a steamy restaurant in a winding alleyway in Naples.”  Yes, it may seem silly, but the dish when finished did actually look like it came from Naples.  The smell of the garlic and tomatoes were perfect.  The al dente wheat penne was chewy and just right.  In the end, my parents and brother were all delighted and we all enjoyed a warming winter pasta.  Each bite made me feel good.  I actually cooked, and it turned out pretty good–like maybe even better than a restaurant’s pasta.  There really is nothing like making your own food at home and then being able to sit down, relax, and enjoy it.  I’ll have to start taking pictures of my dishes since it really did look quite lovely with its red tomato sauce, stuffed olives, fresh parsley, garlic, and red chile.  And, it was yummy; yay! I’m ready to continue cooking and exploring my passions.




About ravishingshaukwaves

Leila Shauk is a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence. She studied Poetry, Philosophy, Art History, Literature, Music, and Fiction Writing. She has a penchant for good writing and good food. Apart from good eats and literature, she loves practicing yoga, playing bass, and exploring other forms of creativity like abstract painting, and cooking.
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3 Responses to “there we are” (as Henry James would say).

  1. Mira says:

    I wish I’d been there to partake in that meal, sounds delish 🙂

  2. Tamie Adaya says:

    Beautifully written but I def want to see the photos of the culinary delights. And sample them too:)

  3. Ayesha Karim says:

    wow you really hit my weakness_ Italian food so next time I visit Los Angeles I hope I’ll be handed the mouth watering delight. My stomach is already growling with the tantalizing smells you have described:)

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