Sunday, February 9, 2014
All right, it's about time I come clean. I've been keeping something from you. Well, two somethings.
One is my recent vanilla bean discovery. Okay, to be clear, I didn't discover vanilla beans, obviously. I mean, I started using vanilla beans in my baking, and I'm not sure I can go back to the extract. It all started last August when I got tired of shelling out $5 for a 4 ounce bottle of vanilla extract (and that's at Trader Joe's, where it's the cheapest!). I learned about making homemade vanilla extract here, so I decided to buy myself some cheap vodka, make it myself, and save some money. I ordered a bunch of vanilla beans off of Amazon, but then the job market happened and I forgot all about using them. And I continued shelling out $5 for vanilla. Then, about a month ago, I ran out of extract and finally got around to using a few vanilla beans and making some extract. It's embarrassing that it took me so long, because using vanilla beans is super easy (split in half and scrape out the seeds) and so is making extract (rinse 3 spent beans and put in a jar of cheap vodka). Anyway, using vanilla beans in my baking instead of extract is life changing. It's so amazing.
And speaking of life changing, I got a job. I'll be starting next fall at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. The academic job market is tough, and the stars certainly aligned for me. This job is a really good fit for me, both professionally and personally, and that doesn't happen a whole lot. If you pursue an academic job, you are at the mercy of location. For the most part, you don't get to choose where you live. You really can't say to yourself, "I'll work in Dallas, Texas and nowhere else" because if you restrict yourself too much geographically, it's unlikely you'll get a job. It's not like applying to college or even graduate school, or like applying to most jobs. Turnover is low, and jobs are very specialized. Imagine, for example, that instead of posting an ad that says "Now hiring," Target posted an ad that said "Now hiring an associate to work in the kitchen section, specializing in pots and pans." You might be thinking, well, someone working in electronics surely has the skills to transfer to the kitchen section, but that's not the case because someone who's spent the past 7 years or so specializing in electronics would not be qualified to sell pots and pans.
So anyway, I'm glad to have a job and I'm glad to have one that's such a good fit. I'm excited about the position and joining my future colleagues, and I'm glad to finally get back to having real winters! There are many things I'll miss about California, but for many other reasons, it's time to move on.