It was her silver hair I noticed first.
As women, going gray is a daily test for self confidence and acceptance. At 41, I now see more of gray hairs every time I look in the mirror, and each one rattles me just a little bit, even though I know full well I shouldn’t. Each time is an opportunity to accept my age, life and mortality and carry on. So when I see younger women with all silver hair who proudly made the decision not to dye it away, I immediately credit them with a level of confidence I strive to have.
Rebecca rocking her gloriously silver hair in a short cut, was sitting at my restaurant. Is she yet 40? Maybe. Then when I heard her speak in a distinctively direct way I made my final assessment: If there were a war to fight, we’d win if we sent her into the battle. I don’t know what war I was thinking of, but probably any war, any battle that’s worth the fight.
Weeks later I had made a connection that she is @thepoetryofthings on Instagram I was beginning to pay attention to and a mutual friend thought we should meet. Days later, we ran into each other at VMFA, where a small talk about ramen life led to all-out business in no time.
Rebecca> Can I give you an unsolicited advice?
R> You and your servers shouldn’t interrupt guests by asking if they need anything so often. Needing the validation the guests are doing OK comes partly from your insecurities. Take the water pitcher, fill up their glasses without interrupting. They will tell you if they need you. If not, all things are good and you walk away.
WHAT? Did she just read into my mind, pointed out something I need to improve on, then suggested a solution? Yes, she did, without missing a beat, feeling uncomfortable or making me feel uncomfortable.
Those of you know me well enough know that I eat this shit up. I love NO BS women who are direct, know their stuff and get stuff done, but do so without losing warmth and elegance.
I went back to dinner service that night and tried this new trick. Worked like a charm! And I did feel more chill and confident.
So that’s how Rebecca got on the top of my Ramen With Strangers guest list. I could not wait to spend more time with her. When she showed up for a late lunch, I discovered the softer side of this Joan D’arc when we chatted about work, family, fighting cancer and true to form for two single women in 40s, dating.
our lunch menu:
House sodas with ginger beer and pear shrub
Karaage Buns of Steam
Veggie Hiyashi Chuka
Originally posted on Instagram: 2gutsygirls
I was telling my#ramenwithstrangers date yesterday that for many years I tried to reconcile my all-out intensity work mode and uber chill/whatever-goes attitude because you couldn't possibly be both.
Some love one aspect of me but not the other, and meeting the Chill Sarah first then discovering the Worker Sarah can sometimes be a jarring experience (queue the ex husband who met the post-Katrina girl happy to be hanging on the beach for days in his baggies and frayed tank, then slashed $70K from a data conversion contract on day 2 of a new job confidently declaring, "I don't need a consulting team.
I got this."). I wasn't happy until I accepted that I AM both, and everything in between.
So here is to doodling pink flowers (like this one), not cowering from tough conversations, crying to Chopin, telling people what to do, gushing over babies and furry creatures and standing with my back straight when someone tells me I cannot do or have something I want, until I prove them wrong. Or at least until I learn they are right, but only after I give it a shot anyway.
Here is to nurturing all small buds to become something beautiful.
More thoughts on my ramen date coming later this week.
I have been thinking about this for a whole week and in Sarah-time, that's a long time to consider if I'm going to do something. So I am going to just start and see what happens: I'm launching Ramen With Strangers.
Tomorrow, lunch service starts at Shoryuken Ramen. And that very realistically means I will be physically at the restaurant more than any place else, six days a week.
For those of you know me well enough, being in the community with lots of freedom to get involved in anything and everything is my lifeforce and as excited as I am about Shoryuken's potential, I am nervous of what this could mean for that area of my life, which I identify with deeply as my personal and professional value.
So, if I can't come to them, I will invite them to come to me.
I'm going to invite so many Richmonders that I'm yet to meet, or only know of superficially, or would like to get to know better, for ramen and a cocktail whenever they can join me at Shoryuken Ramen. I know I will thoroughly love the experience as it is the people I feel most passionately about and if it is of any interest to others, they can read about it on this page.
I have no idea what the frequency of posts will be, but I do have a long list of people I've been dying to meet. So follow me here. Or suggest people here. Or better yet, if you want to be my guest both to my restaurant and the blog, please message me. And if you think this may be fun, please share.
Off to send invites now, oh, and please come see me for lunch this week!
#moveDOconnect #ramenlife #ramenrva