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  • Lizzie Heyes

An introduction...

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

2020 was a year that passed us all by. And though everyone I’m sure had big plans for it, I felt more than a little robbed of what should have been transformative and exciting.

Admittedly, by the time I approached my final year of university I was already somewhat jaded. Three and a half years spent coming to the slow realisation that I was a small fish in an ocean inhabited by sharks with the IQs through the roof had done little for my self-esteem, but still I had found some incredible friends and loved the life and routine we had all formed for ourselves there. Exams were a few months away and it was about to get tough and stressful, but once it was over there would be those few incredible post-exam weeks in which I would do sweet fuck all in the sunshine - the “gold rush” - in which you would get with whoever you hadn’t and probably shouldn’t, make up for all the antisocial library sessions with consecutive nights out, and solidify the friendships that you wanted to last.

In March that bubble was burst and I was back in my small town, stunned and confused, wondering what to do with myself. Over the following months, a growing dent formed on the right-hand side of the living room sofa where my growing butt sat for hours on end studying for online exams and applying for endless jobs with growing frustration.

When exams ended there was no gold rush for me, not in the sense of those few carefree weeks saying farewell to undergraduate life, nor in the sense of a solid income. Until that point I had pushed the looming transition from “student” to “unemployed” far to the back of my mind, but with the final electronic submission of an exam paper word doc in June it was upon me. The isolation re-imposed by new restrictions in the subsequent months made my sense of desperation and hopelessness all the more acute. In normal times I probably would have rewarded myself with a cheap holiday, perhaps find a bar job somewhere sunny to take some time and “figure out what I wanted to do with my life.” But stuck in the deepening dent of the living room sofa, there was no excuse not to face the bright, harsh light of the Linkedin login page.

Rejection after rejection slowly shrank my optimistic employment expectations. I knew I wasn’t alone in that experience, but it felt like it. My parents courageously bore my despairing rants, read my cover letters and didn’t charge for bed or board. My friends, many of them in similar positions, provided an expert balance of commiseration and encouragement, as well as odd but thoughtful gifts in the post (a cocktail in a plastic bag).

Throughout this time, one of the things that I could really truly fully distract myself with was cooking. Having not been too impressed by oven pizza and fish finger dinners as a child (who did I think I was?), I’d become obsessed with different dishes, their cultural background, flavours combinations and cooking techniques. The number of gadgets and recipe books I had already accumulated grew exponentially, and with my mum and dad as captive dinner guests I found real comfort in the process of creating something from scratch for people I knew would appreciate both the food and my time and effort.

But by December, a Christmas miracle occurred! As the angels (my parents) had always foretold, I found a job and a house to share with friends in London. It wasn’t my dream job, and the house had only one snail-infested bathroom between the four of us, but from there things started looking up. My friends were close (a fresh batch of captive dinner guests) and so were the culinary hot-spots, and I have been enjoying both of these facts since then.

So to recap, and to give some context to the collection of posts I intend to for this site: I was a very sad graduate, but touchwood it’s going better now. And with my newly positive outlook, I feel it’s safe to share some of my mental ramblings. Since the main topic of my thoughts is food, I expect that’s what will feature heavily, but to be honest it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. :)

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