My name is Sarah Haak and I'm a thirty-three year old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are many things I could tell you about myself, but I shall stick to the basics as much as possible!
I've just graduated from the University of New Mexico with a dual undergraduate degree in English (concentrating in Creative Writing), and Interdisciplinary Studies. I went back to college later in life after establishing a career in the culinary arts. For a long time I thought I'd like to have a restaurant of my own, and while this is still a dream I culture, it has changed over the years. Now I'd like to have a little bakery or a chocolate shop...as you can see, I am an entrepreneur.
As someone with many passions and ambitions, I often feel hemmed in by time and the pressure to "decide" what to do with my life and which direction to concentrate my energy. But recently I had an epiphany: I don't have to decide, and I'm already living my life! And have I ever had a wonderful one. I've traveled and worked on many farms and rooftop gardens. I've been a baker, a personal chef, and done just about every job you can do in a restaurant besides holding the title of Executive Chef, though I must admit this has not been my goal. Had it been I can assure you I would have reached it. (I say this not to sound pompous as a great deal of work goes into attaining this position.) I did however run the kitchen and bakery at the food co-op here in Albuquerque for many years as the Head Baker and Head Chef.
I found after a few years in professional kitchens that I was much more interested in sustainability and farm-to-table practices than I was in the convenience and luxury restaurants can offer to the public. Food is absolutely my passion, my art, but I found without a connection to the land and the dirt and the guts of the matter--it made no sense. Thus, I refined more and more how and when I choose to cook for other people, and for myself.
Mixed into that process is my love of health and wellbeing. I attended the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics in 2006, graduating with a degree in Natural Therapeutics. I found myself specializing in herbal medicine when I was in school, as well as learning more and more about various diets (macrobiotic, raw, vegetarian and vegan, paleo and carbohydrate-restricted) and when they are appropriate for an individual. I've worked as a personal chef for both terminally ill patients and athletes, truly spanning the extremes.
After this dedication to the world of food and health, you might be curious as to what brought me to the scholarly existence and why I intend to go forward with graduate school and pursue professorship. (I know I was for a quite a while!) After four incredible years working as a teaching assistant, publishing my work in small journals, learning the small press and publication arts, researching, writing, teaching at conferences, studying learning strategies and educational techniques, as well as nonviolent communication, I realized many things about myself. I am committed to justice, truth and communication. I truly believe in helping people find their confidence, their voice. I love to praise the voices of others, and linger over the beauty of the written word; just as much, I love to puzzle that mysterious process of drawing an idea out of the recesses of the self and bringing it into the world of others, in a way that unites and resonates.
One day I do believe all of my passions will come together. It makes sense, doesn't it? To have as much a love for the soil and the sun and the deep power of food and sustenance as for the nourishment of the soul?
So what can I offer you? One of the reasons I have just shared so much of myself is to show that I am a very diverse person capable of anything I set my mind to. I am a collector of useful skills and a very adept learner. Naturally I have an optimistic and kind heart. I do not turn away from suffering or the ugly side of life (having experienced and known much of both myself), but I do naturally gravitate toward finding solutions and helping. That being said, I have excellent boundaries and communication skills. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and can usually find the best and most useful place for myself, even without much direction. I develop rapport with people very quickly. I am a minimalistic person, a bit of a dreamer and very adaptable.
Though much of what I have said here is a bit grandiose, I am an extremely rational and practical person. I assure you that I will not commit myself unduly to a project or undertaking. I love a job well done, and I love to work! There are a few skills I would like to gain from this experience with Workaway, so I will be looking for hosts that can offer me something in return--the chance to broaden my toolkit, my mind and my heart. I hope we might meet one another soon!
Skills and knowledge I'd like to share or learnGardeningCreating/ Cooking family mealsGeneral MaintenanceLife at a FarmstayHelping around the houseAnimal CareHospitality/TourismArt ProjectsTeaching
More details about your skills
Many, but I think I have listed much of them above! I am a skilled baker and cook, adept with plants and animals. I can manage many computer-related assignments. I am very good with leading people, with teaching and am generally quite extraverted. I am organized and efficient with time management and the tasks of running a small business or household. I'm familiar with medical care and lingo, and have worked for many professional people as an assistant. I can plan events and execute them well.
What else ...
I am not the best with construction-related jobs in terms of skills, but I am never averse to "grunt work" and hard labor; you tell me what to do and I'll do it willingly!
Some more information
Unfortunately, I have Celiac disease and cannot consume gluten. In Europe I am willing to try as I have had good experiences with certain grains in France. I prefer to limit my grain consumption, but I am prepared to be as adaptable as possible!
Special dietary requirements
As mentioned, I do have Celiac disease, which I believe to be a modern and mostly-American illness. Perhaps in Europe I can try things out! I do not eat very much dairy here in the States, but that is mostly because we have terrible pasteurization laws.