For the past two years a whole lot has been going on in my life. I can best sum up the series of events with one word “Roller Coaster”. Okay so that’s two words but you get the point or at least I hope you do. But hey, hold on a sec, this story isn’t about the roller coaster trip, nope, it’s about the much more steady ride I’ve been and still on. Let’s go back to the beginning of it all shall we⏳💭
It aallllllll started back in 2010 with a TV show about the making of incredible cakes. I was in awe about how the combination of flour, butter, sugar, a few other ingredients and techniques can be transformed into literally whatever one can imagine….okay that’s too far back.😁
May 2018, we had gone on a family trip to visit our Mums, I spent a few days with Zee’s mum and siblings and went on to be with my mum. Zee would join me later after a few days, for a few days and then we would return back to our home together afterwards.
I got a message from him one of those afternoons, “I’d like us to try France, I think it would be the best place for you to fine tune your raw skills and get your first full-time formal education in pastry and baking”. Really, I was in a head space where I was just about ready to be over and done with my roller coaster of a ride. So we agreed to discuss it more when we were together and thus my search for the ”perfect” school began.
Like most people from Nigeria, LCB Paris, was at the forefront of my mind but honestly, it wasn’t for the reasons you think. I did not want to go there! It would be 5 months later before I realised I had made, yet again, another best decision of my life! I chose Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie (ENSP)!
Honestly I had never heard of it or the incredible great Chefs that own it but then again, oh what little, minute, tiny I knew about the world of French Pastry.
My decision was based majorly on two things.
One, the schools curriculum! It’s incredibly wholesome! It looked really good on paper. Too good I was skeptical at first but having lived here for a few months I can say this for a fact “Ducasse education surely does put in the work to deliver their promise every single time”. Minimum class size, incredible pastry labs, high quality ingredients, attention to detail in lectures, the formateurs are incredibly sound and well experienced, presentation of finished products, incredibly helpful and patient admin staff, regular checks and balances…don’t get me wrong, there still are areas for improvement and thankfully, they always welcome feedback!.✔️
The second thing is that I wanted from scratch to pro education and that, for me, meant a Bachelor’s degree, not just a diploma as most schools offer. Very few pastry art institutes in france offer that, and from those few, I narrowed it down to ENSP.✔️
After I decided on the school I wanted, I started my application, the first home hurdle will be the collection of my transcripts but God big pass dem 😏. Zee actually wanted me to apply to 2 or 3 schools to increase my odds but I had chosen and would prepare very well to ensure I got in. I was sent a CBT exam, for those not yet acquainted once you begin, you have to work fast or else you’ll be locked out of the system, I passed and moved on to the next stage. A face to face interview. I was invited to Skype, the chat lasted for about 30-45 minutes and finally, I received my admission letter, I paid my acceptance fee and got my attestation. Phew. that went well💅🏾. On to the second home hurdle.
I put together my Visa application dossier and I secured an interview with Campus France Abuja. Only for me to get there to be told I needed to go to Lagos. Really! 😏
People, I now had less than a month to get my Visa. I emailed Lagos and they were fully booked 🙆♀️. Na so everybody wan go school for france shuoo? I had to wait two extra weeks. To cut the long story short, after sleepless nights of affirmations, visualizations and novenas to the sacred heart of Jesus, I was on my way to school. Late, but still on my way. 🤗
Lagos airport is like a
zoo, jungle, market place. The amount of people travelling out of the country is incredible. What’s even more incredible was the chaos versus orderliness at Istanbul and Lyon. If you’ve travelled this route before, you know what I mean.
I finally got to Lyon after about a 10 hr trip. I nearly passed out when the baggage carousel notification started blinking Istanbul completed. “Jisos! where is my biggest bag?!🙆♀️”. So, I walked to the other far end of the carousel only to see that some idiot had knocked it off the carousel probably trying to collect his or hers. Anyway, sigh of relief.
Since I was leaving Naija later than my earlier scheduled time, I had small glitches in my sleeping arrangement but I had already informed the school and they were kind enough to hook me up but one last thing stood in the way. I had to get there while school was still open for the day or “sleep under a bridge”. 😆
From Lyon on, the real test of my 5 months of french classes at Af 2 years ago began. Yo, you can already tell how that went 😅. Thankfully, there was a lady from one of these francophone african countries on the bus with me from the airport and she helped get me a taxi. I couldn’t wait for a train, or another bus. I needed to arrive at yssingeaux (a small town in the south of France where the school is located) on time. I made it!
Tomorrow, the load down of the experience of my first few weeks in France. Like a chicken on new grounds 🐓, one of my foot was up the whole time. Yep, you guessed right, I fell because, well, I’m not a chicken😄, I have a terrible center of gravity, and you cannot hit the ground running on one foot.
My feet are firm on the ground💪🏾 , I love my school a lot💖, except when I feel overwhelmed, cold and in need of a break, my chefs are great, the students are people, I’m running🏃🏾♀️ and won’t stop till I get to the end.