Story of a Maker

Wishing for the what ifs.

Ever since meeting my partner and leaving my highly stressful day-to-day job and sadly my sunny life in California, I began to question a lot of the things that made me feel homesick. What if we could make our own budget $4 toast by making the bread ourselves? What if  I could have that one condiment that made my heart sing when I was 5yrs old living in Argentina? What if I could make good chocolates and give them to our families in Belgium for every Christmas? Wishing for these what ifs became a question of when.

In college, I loved the fast pace dynamics of working in a restaurant. I danced every day from 6am to 4pm / 11pm. I knew that dropping out of college and getting into culinary school was the best thing for me. But my parents had other plans. “What if you apply yourself to something creative” instead of liberal studies (their 1st choice). Since they worked in the fashion industry for 20+yrs, it was the closest to the creative option I had. So I graduated from college and went to work in the Fashion industry for some surprisingly fun years. Until my partner came with his own questions.”Unfortunately we might have to move because of my visa situation. So what if you start doing what you like? “I enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu in London and got a diploma that same year. After getting my diploma, I made cakes for various celebrations, catered take-away meals from my kitchen window, made condiments and sold them to local shops, made chocolates seasonally, opened a farmers’ market near our home…

But the thing about these what ifs is that it fled with age. As I started making more and more, it started taking a toll on my health. My hands were cracking and bleeding from all the dish- and handwashing. Wearing gloves was sadly not the answer, but the only solution to continue to work. Losing sleep because my hands wouldn’t stop itching and the only prescription was to wash them less. The light in the kitchen at 2am because of deadlines. There was hardly any energy to take pictures or tell the story of why these things mattered. I was slowly running low on energy and I started wishing for some time to rest and heal.

6 months and 2 burnouts later, I started hearing that voice again. What if  I could explore the world outside of these kitchen walls? There are lines, highlights, birds creating shadows and beautiful people enjoying the sun. Like a jolt to the heart, the what ifs brought me back to life again. So I decided to do something for myself again – I took my savings and bought a camera to explore the world to tell these stories.

Reflecting back now, I do cherish these moments in these handful of pictures. I smile when I think about reliving those crazy nights in the kitchen. But this is me. I do my best when it’s presented in front of me and everytime I ask myself… what if.

More visuals found here on facebook.

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