My first week working on a Seaweed Farm in Lofoten, Norway
My decisions to abandon the United States during the holidaze were rooted from multiple things. First off, I thought, I was going to be attending culinary school in San Francisco next semester. The northern lights have always been on my bucket list and thought it’d be ideal to get a quick culture shock in before having griiind time creep back in once again come mid January. But to a new found adventure **cough cough, London** I will not be (blog post for another time).
Secondly: I guess to a degree I was treating myself. For approximately 6 months I was waking up (at the very least at 5 am) to get to school at 6 am… and of those 6 months: 49 days, I was ending class around 12pm and pedaling it to the medaling to to the gym and getting a 2-6 mile run in. Then showering and commuting to my job working as a line cook for an additional 6-8 hours in Berkley. That is the most dedication I have ever invested into a craft (or I guess my health) in my LIFE! I became obsessed with the kitchen and with my mental health. AAAnnndddd when I wasn’t learning or working I was playing in my own kitchen. The work ethic that I developed had become life changing. I’ve always known “pick something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and I’m not quite there yet, but I know I’m IN THE RIGHT FIELD! The thrill of a going, going lifestyle was addicting, but I knew I had to treat myself to a relaxing yet life changing experience.
Last but not least, I was running away. With my brother checking back into rehab and the distance from family on both my mother and father’s side, the anxiousness started to linger as the holidays started popping up in my mind. So what better way to avoid emotion then hoping on a 29 hour excursion to work on a Sea Weed Farm in Norway!
So! Now that I have given a little background as to why I am here in Norway, I can now reflect on my trip so far! I left on December 19th and arrived in Leknes on the 21st. After an extended amount of travel time, I arrived at my cabin. My first day was settling in and small amounts of relaxation and exploration. The winter in Norway is dark. Approximately 5ish, IF THAT, hours of sunlight. And I got here on winter solstice, the darkest day of the year! If I had to relate their daylight to anything it would be like not ever getting past 1/4 of the way brightness on your laptop lol.
My first day we had a small introduction party at the cabin with the founders of the company I am working for. So we had a pot luck if you will meal. I cooked Brussel sprouts and smash potatoes infused with seaweed. My bosses brought charcuteries and I tried whale. I’m going to write another post on my veganism as I travel, but if I am in someone else’s culture and it’s situational I will consume animal products. But ANYWHO…. we had a cute little Christmas dinner and talked till about 11 pm.
After settling in I had to deal with slight jet lag. Actually if I’m being honest I don’t think I’ll ever really get in tune with a sleeping schedule while I’m here because of the dark to light ratio but that’s neither here nor there. I had my first day at work. I woke up at 1 am and planned out my return journey, wrote recipes, and did analytics for the company I am working for here. Around 8 am I cooked a FAT ASS breakfast to try and combat my “jet lag” and prepared a salad for my lunch. Work is about 2.5 miles away from my cabin so I threw on some gear and walked my tooshie to work to enjoy some air and views. Leknes is beautiful and so grounding.
My boss gave me an induction and a bunch of seaweed to experiment with! She also gave me around 30 minutes to prepare a menu and grocery list for a vegan seaweed infused Christmas dinner party that I would be catering on Christmas Day. So that’s what I did… I made my list and we were on our way. I struggled a bit at the grocery store but it wasn’t impossible finding vegan groceries in Norway! The have a complete gluten free and vegan section and selection.
I went home and made my first round of a plant based seaweed truffle infused pulse bacon Mac and cheese! I prepared it and shared it with my roommate! We ate drank a little wine and went to bed.
We discussed our Christmas Eve and talked about going to a hostel about 30 minutes out to enjoy a dinner with a Slovakian couple and surfing at a local surf spot (Unstad) on Christmas morning. So that’s exactly what we did. I spent about 5 hours preparing Christmas dinner for the next day, and we were off to the hostel!
The couple were so fucking sweet. I ate shnitzle and brownies to make the host feel comfortable and the guilt was pretty unreal. We got to talking veganism and I started to cry because I felt like I was being mocked and couldn’t express my views correctly. There’s a battle in my mind with veganism. not because I like to consume animal product but because of the abnormalities attached with a vegan diet and the normalities with animal consumption and specisim. I would say I am a conscious eater and hate that there has to be labels attached to everything.
Any who! after champagne, whiskey, beer, some tears, and a little confrontation… we slept. & in the morning a new chapter began.
We ate breakfast and were on our way to our surf spot. BEAUTIFUL… HOLY FUCKING SHIT. ALSO COOOLLDD HOLY FUCKING SHIT>?@#$
Beautiful day ended with another 5 hours in the kitchen a Christmas dinner at my bosses house. My first catered if you will meal all infused with seaweed. It all turned out! Except for the Wellington that I just didn’t have time to construct. Everyone was impressed and so grateful, it really solidified my obsession with vegan cuisine.
After great company, hard work, and interesting conversation my amazing day came to an end. I pondered life, and slept for 13 hours!
Missing the small window of sunlight…. finally today! Today was huge for me in terms of my future. I decided to bite the bullet and finally made the decision to attend a plant based culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in London. I was extremely indecisive with what I wanted to do teetering on the idea of work/veganism in culinary school…… but I recreated a workaway profile and sent out applications for living/working situations in London. So starting in June of 2020 I will be living out of a backpack and traveling the world continuing my journey as a plant based chef! I made a seaweed mandarin wasabi soup for dinner and tried to get some sleep but I couldn’t. So now its almost 5 (I’ve been up sine 3 am) and I am working on my blogs! I need to get outside today. So on my agenda for today…. I’m going to make coffee, organize blog posts/recipe posts, write in my journal, make breakfast, go for a run/hike, come home do some yoga, laundry/chores, practice German, relax, and go to work for a couple hours! Lofoten has been a great way to reassess my life and really connect/manifest with my subconscious! 2020 LETS FUCKING GET IT.