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Monday, February 27, 2017

Noshes of Philatrophy and Nibbles of Charity at Robin des Bois

RIDDLE: How do you learn french for free while making a difference at the same time in an atmosphere surrounded by delicious food?

ANSWER: by volunteering at non-profit farm to table restaurant Robin des Bois

My descent into this magical world where food and philatrophy began when i was in a little cafe doing research on where to find my next foodgasm. I happened to do a particular search for "farm to table" restaurants and Robin des Bois came up top of the list. Further research would reveal that there was something even tastier than just the food itself.

Robin des Bois combines food and philatrophy in a mouthwatering manner. Founded in 2006 it was the first of its kind in the world. The majority of the staff in both back room and front of the house are volunteers. 100% of all profits go to 4 different charities in the Montreal area helping with a range of things from providing free nutritious meals to needy, womens shelter, young homeless men etc.  I knew in a heartbeat that i was meant to sign up. They have a lovely system where you can go online and sign up for whatever available shifts on the calendar. 

***interestingly enough "Robin des Bois" means "Robin Hood" in english. This non profit restaurant was named after a heroic fictional figure that robbed the rich to feed the poor.

At my first shift in the back of the house of the restaurant, the staff couldn't have been more welcoming to someone who spoke little french and had never worked in a kitchen before. Whether i was slicing potatoes, peeling carrots, or weighing gorgeous chunks of poutine cheese  (I'll admit some of those chunks ended up in my mouth), they always took time to make sure i felt comfortable in whatever task i was doing. 

Working in the back kitchen also impacted me personally. I have always been empathetic to people in the service industry because i know they work hard. However the experience of being in the backroom doing prep watching the cook as well as doing the prep work myself deepened my level of empathy towards service industry people. As a result of this experience, the next time i go out to any place I'll want to tip more.

One morning as i was preparing to do a waitressing shift at the restaurant, i happened to check my phone and it had opened up notes of a sermon i had jotted down from my time in hillsong LA. Those words ran a sword thru the very core of my heart....

Do more than you are paid to do

Do more than you want to

Consume less than you desire to

Help more than you need to

Waste less time 

God time more than you are used to

-Brian Houston (global senior pastor of hillsong)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Honing and Harvesting Raw Honesty (pt. 2)

La Fontaine Parc

Last week i began writing on the theme of cultivating raw honesty in a relationship. My last post touched on how to create a platform and foundation for your loved ones to have a safe space. This week part 2 will be about how to create the kind of relationship where you look out for each other and call out each other on things that might pose risks to well-being.

This is a topic that passionately burns inside of me because i have been burned countless times by people who emotionally abused me under the name of looking out for me. I've had some of the most demeaning comments made to me and then get told that it's good for me and that the "truth" is simply hard for me to hear. Funny how that is exactly what women who are victims of domestic violence get told by their spouses.

Believe me when i say that when someone is looking out for you, their behavior is a far cry from emotional abuse under the guise of love. The two are like night and day and there is literally no comparison. One of the first red flags i get is when someone says they are telling me a hard truth that is really in fact abusive, it's funny how that same person will never give me positive reinforcement in my daily life when i am doing things right. I never get praise, support and encouragement on virtually anything but they are quick to rush in and point out faults in the name of "looking out for you".

Me on the other hand am always praising my loved ones with positive reinforcement. On regular basis I'm always saying "im so proud of you" "you've grown so much!" I've even written emails telling them every single positive trait about them and what i love about them.

The Bible says that salt and fresh water cannot come from the same source. So if I've been clearly demonstrating that I've got someones best interests at heart, then even if one day i have to have a hard conversation with them they know that it is coming from a place of having their best interest at heart. However if you have a toxic relationship where there is no positive reinforcement on a regular basis, then when that person comes to you saying they are doing this out of  "love" for you, i find that really questionable.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Honing and Harvesting Raw Honesty (pt. 1)

Caramel maple syrup ice-cream in Jean-Talon Market

The season for harvesting maple syrup here in Quebec is once a yr during late winter to early spring. Locals will tap trees and watch as liquid gold oozes out of the trees into their buckets. Likewise i see our dearest relationships as lovely trees that can ooze goodness. If honed correctly we can enjoy a bountiful harvest.

There is a deep conviction inside of me that rich relationships aren't invented, they are cultivated. I cannot tell you the countless amt of relationships that I've had that began with a BANG of great chemistry and today those people are no longer in my world. Much like the leaning tower of Pisa, those relationships were not built with the proper foundation and ultimately sank just like one day we know the leaning tower of Pisa will.

For me chemistry is simply not enough,  I want longevity. One of the things that i had a desire to harvest is raw honesty. My heart was to create a platform and space where we do more than brunch and coffee dates. But for it to become the kind of relationship where we look out for one another and even have the kind of trust that we can call each other out on things that may pose a potential threat to someones well-being. 

One of the first things I've learned is that when i want change in a relationship i have to demonstrate the behavior that i wish to see from the other person. Whatever words or actions i do or say are things that will either build or erode the foundation of relationships. If i take on a passive aggressive tone, it will be dealt back to me. If i demonstrate an ability to show raw honesty, then I'm opening a door for that behavior to be a regular part or our relationship.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Bitter Bagel Battles

Doorway of Drawn and Quarterly. Famous hipster bookstore in Mile End specializing in comics and graphic novels 

Upon landing in Montreal, unbeknownst to me there was a civil war of sorts going on in the city. Enemy lines were drawn and loyalties divided in a bitter bagel battle between Fairmount and St. Viateur. If i wanted to be a true local i could only have one lover and forsake all other mistresses.

One cold crisp winters evening, i braved the icy streets to grab a bite of both and decide upon my alliances. The first bagel place i popped by and for a mere 90 cents i was holding in my hands one of Montreals foodie gems. When they handed it to me i could feel its warmth oozing out of the pouch seducing me.

As i made my way to the other bagel place, i couldn't take it any longer and took one naughty nibble. It was love at first bite and in that instant knew where my alliances would be forged. But i couldn't be 100% sure until i snuck into the enemies camp for a tasty morsel.

Before long i found myself in the door of the rival bagel place holding a divine food find. Taking a deep breathe, i opened my mouth and allowed my tastebuds to savor the moment. This bagel was a completely different experience. Firmer, less sweet and chewy than the first place i tried. A very worthy contender in the heavyweight battle of the bagels.

On this note it is time for the big reveal to which bagel joints SWEET seduction i came under. For those of you from Montreal the word "sweet" is already a huge hint to where my allegiance lies. But for those of you not from here without further adieu I'll unveil which bagel won my heart...... t'aime a la folie :)

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas