I just got dumped.
The boy and I finally got to the fork in the road where we had to analyze what we were, where we were going, and what we wanted to do.
I felt like we were in a relationship, I was in love with him, and I wanted to get serious.
He liked hanging out with me, cared about me, but…
Anyone who’s broken up knows that “but” is a heavy word. 50 percent of the time there’s nothing good that follows it.
Turns out, he felt like this year-long rendezvous needed to end by the time I got back to Santa Cruz.
Seasons change. People change. Love changes.
And so, with that, it was time to part ways. More or less, it was amicable. He understood my position, and I his. After spending four amazing days together, we called it off and decided we wouldn’t see each other for a while.
But where to go from there?
I finally left his house on a sunny Tuesday morning. I stepped out in the Mission District of San Francisco I cried, hugging a casserole dish that I needed to bring home, and I soon found myself in Dog Eared Books purchasing The Joy of Cooking.
The boy was a cook, and throughout our relationship he cooked for me, we talked about food together, but I was never adventurous enough to pick up a spatula and skillet to whip up a meal solo (or at least try to).
Instead, I became a woman behind the man. I marveled at his ability to flip omelets, throw foraged-food dinners for San Francisco’s foodies, and absorb knowledge about wild food and gourmet cooking. I became a very satisfied consumer of his culinary creations, but not a cook.
When we broke up, though, I was devastated I felt desperate and sad, but a part of me was determined to use our breakup as an opportunity to try new things, explore the rest of the city, and most importantly, to learn and grow.
After the breakup, I became obsessed with food and cooking. I began asking farmers how to choose the best peach (I was told a dark ring around the bottom meant the peach was sweet), closing my eyes while I ate to savor tastes and develop a palate, and borrowing a stack of cookbooks to thumb through from the San Francisco Library.
Among them was a cookbook and biography by Alice Waters, of the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Some say she’s pioneered California cuisine and local food. For me, she offered up a surplus of love and culinary guidance.
In the book, Waters relays a story about learning and loving food. She recounts a year studying abroad in France while she was a student at UC Berkeley, and how she went to French restaurants where the waiters turned their nosed up at her while she asked questions about the ingredients and recipes.
“You learn better when you’re on your knees,” Waters wrote, as if speaking directly to me.
I’ve channeled my sadness into actually making something, using it to lift me off my knees. By channeling that energy I’ve created frittatas and peach cobblers, written incessantly and started a blog on love and breakup advice. After beginning the week with a break-up, I made sure to fill the rest of it with firsts: my first Giants game, my first rock-climbing experience – and, for the first time in awhile, I found myself with the passion, energy and ideas to truly take myself where I wanted to go.
To read more of Ms. Luu’s breakup advice and musings on love, visit her blog at lovelifelessons.tumblr.com.