Back in the States

The latest High Low Glitter from Alex Nappi home from Brazil 6 months.

High: The million and one things I need to do.

Those of you who followed the blog while I was in Brazil probably had some idea of the fact that I was bored out of my mind. In a place where even some of the locals complained about having nothing to do, the language barrier erected an enormous wall of monotony in my life. Certainly the high since I’ve been back has been the million and one things I need to do. I’ve been working in a restaurant as a cook since my return, and anyone who has worked in a kitchen, especially a smaller kitchen, knows that it can be hard work. As I type this, I’m sitting at the bar of our (right now closed) restaurant because I had to register for classes, but I also needed to be here in order to do prep work in the place of someone who nearly lost a finger to an enormous slicer last night. Seventy five hours a week, I work nearly a full time job (sometimes as much as 36 hours!) over the course of just Friday and Saturday, and this is definitely a high. I’d never actually worked a “real” job before I started here, and the sense of gratification and accomplishment through work, no matter how admittedly menial the work can be, is a fantastic feeling. It’s the only thing that got me out of bed at five this morning to go to the gym and be back to work by seven- especially since I got home at around 2. Working as the Late Night Cook for the bar I’m sitting at right now is really putting the axe to my weekend sleep.

There are so many other highs! I met some great people, some at work, some where I live now in Ann Arbor. I took a solo trip to the northeast to visit. I got my first chance to live on my own – to run my own home (my roof, my rules? I can’t wait to use that on my parents when they get back in just a few days!), to clean things up, not because someone is telling me to do it but because I want to have a sense of pride in my own place.

Low: Everything has to come to an end soon enough

Just because I’ve had a great time since I’ve come back doesn’t mean that it has been smooth sailing. My hair, for example, has been a disaster. Wearing a hat for half of the week (really, half the week was almost literal) really just doesn’t do it any good. I’m also constantly reminded that everything has to come to an end soon enough, when I return to school. I don’t dread it, but I am certainly a fan of how my life is now. Some call me crazy for enjoying my low-wage, high-hours job, but what could be more fun that cutting zucchini for 15 minutes every morning?

Glitter: A giant cooking class that they pay me to attend.

Besides all of the (glittery!) recipes I plan on absconding with, I’ve learned a thousand little things at work! Prosciutto needs to be sliced so thin that you can see through it, and it always works well arugula. Flipping food in a sauté pan is all in the wrist. Never, ever use an electric range when you could use a gas one instead. Basically, the last few months have been a giant cooking class that they pay me to attend, and pretty much the whole thing has been one giant glitter, as far as I’m concerned.

alexAlex is an 18 year old who is taking a gap year before college to live in Salvador, Brazil. He’ll be returning to the United States in the fall of 2015 to attended school at George Washington University, where he plans to major in finance and international relations. He enjoys science fiction, soccer, and procrastinating, and, much to his chagrin, has learned that his archenemy, the snake, is a permanent resident here in Brazil. His solution was simple: if the snake is a permanent and visible resident, Alex is not. He left Brazil and is now living in Ann Arbor, working as a cook and waiting patiently for his summer of 75 hour weeks to end.

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