Saturday 20 September 2014

The Story of the Golden Raffle Ticket

A few weeks ago someone asked me what my five year plan for the blog was, it got me thinking. I'm the kind of person who doesn't plan things too much and live day by day. I've never really thought about where I'd like FFID to be in a few years time.

So I sat down with Mr. FFID in a pub (I like using the pub as an office) and we decided to think about my five year plan. We managed to write down my goals, both goals for the blog and my professional goals, which of course were interlinked. It was difficult to come up with them, there are things I want to do but think I can't, or can't see how I could achieve them. On the other side, Mr. FFID  believes I can achieve anything. So together we wrote down the ways to reach my long term goals and to be honest it scared me a lot, although it motivated me at the same time.

The week after we talked about my five year plan, I saw that GIY International were having a raffle with the most amazing prize: a place on the 12-week certificate course at Ballymaloe Cookery School including accommodation. I bought my ticket and Mr. FFID also got me one as a gift. The money raised by the raffle was going to a good cause as it was a fundraising campaign for GROW HQ, GIY’s national food education centre, which will open in Waterford in 2015.

I started dreaming and thinking of what it would mean to win this prize. All the things I wrote in my five year plan were scary as I thought I lacked the necessary knowledge and experience in the Irish food industry to achieve them. The Ballymaloe 12-week certificate was something that I've been thinking about for a while but could never afford, it was just a little dream I wasn't allowing myself to have. 

The day of the raffle draw arrived and it was a sunny Sunday. Unlike usual Sundays Mr. FFID and I didn't do much. I was in a weird mood, a bit grumpy or tired maybe, I'm not too sure. A few things didn't go the way I wanted and I remember saying to Mr. FFID "The day can only get better". 

At around five o'clock we went home and I was packing my bag as we were flying to Paris the next day. I was checking Twitter to see if the raffle ticket was drawn. Mr. FFID was on the sofa playing games on his iPad and I sat next to him. His phone rang. It wasn't a number saved on his phone and I said "Answer, that might me about the raffle". He answered and I couldn't hear what the other person was saying but I saw Mr. FFID's facial expression change. He became completely monosyllabic and looked like he was in shock. I started shaking my head and saying "No, no, no it's not true!".

He said the words "Ballymaloe Cookery School" and tears started to flow. I was shaking like a leaf and he gave me the phone. I spoke to Eileen from GIY International and she told me that Mr. FFID won the amazing prize. Eileen probably didn't get a word of what I was saying as I was crying as well as speaking with my French accent. I didn't sleep that night, I was going to Paris in the early morning but all I could think of was that fantastic phone call and what it meant.

That phone call changed my perspective on life in more ways than you can ever imagine. All my scary goals that Mr. FFID and I wrote down made even more sense and suddenly became all the more achievable. I'm in shock and I still wonder if that phone call really happened.

I'm over the moon and still pinching myself. I'm so grateful to Mr. FFID who already changed my life  almost 10 years ago when I met him four weeks after I landed here. He is still changing it every day by encouraging me to live my dreams and do what I want in life. There are no words strong enough to express my happiness and excitement at the moment. I've received so many lovely comments and words when I announced the news on my Facebook page but one stuck in my mind 'That's fab. This is destiny'. I like to believe it was meant to be and that I'm going in the right direction since I started this blog.

Ballymaloe is going to be an exciting, intense and life-changing journey away from Dublin. I'm so looking forward to it and the challenges it will bring, at all levels. I can never thank GIY International and Ballymaloe Cookery School enough for this prize. A special thanks also to Lilly Higgins who randomly drew Mr. FFID's ticket.

This blog will take a little detour for the first three months of next year and I hope you will stick with me as I share my Ballymaloe adventures. I can't wait.