During the initial search for the Inn, the place I’d been dreaming about working in since November, I’d had such high hopes that everything would be just around the corner, and that Siri would be more than willing to lead me there with her electronic voice of encouragement. However, when I hit the ocean, I figured I had gone a little out of the way. I asked a fellow doing landscaping who only spoke Spanish if he knew where it was. He said he didn’t, so I turned around and went home. It turns out I’d been in the exact right place, but The Wauwinet hadn’t opened for the season yet, hence they hadn’t put out their signs.
Let it be known, every building on Nantucket looks exactly the same. Whether it be a house, grocery store, or in this case, an Inn, they’re all covered with grey shingles and surrounded by blue hydrangeas.
The following day, I returned to the Wauwinet, now adorned with hand painted signs reading; “The Wauwinet Inn, The Inn by the Sea,” and “Topper’s Restaurant at The Wauwinet.” While it still looked like every house around it, and within a 15 mile radius for that matter, it somehow had a different air. This would be my place of work for the next 5 months. A place in which I would grow, learn, and finally be paid to do my favorite thing: baking.
I was greeted with open arms and warm smiles. The other chefs had been returning to Topper’s for years and had a family-like bond with each other. Inside jokes that hadn’t been discussed since the end of last year’s season rekindled within minutes. Hugs and inquiries about family and work sprung out of nowhere between the group of chefs. I smiled and puttered about my station, wiping my knives clean, as they twittered around me. But this feeling of being just outside a wonderful family lasted only a moment, as Executive Chef Kyle scooped me up by the sleeve and introduced me to everyone in site from the chefs to the stewards, the housekeepers, managers, and pretty much the entire staff of the Inn and restaurant. I wasn’t introduced as a student, as a visitor, I was just “Annabelle, the new pastry girl.” I was an equal and was quickly drawn into the feeling of togetherness.
While Siri may have taken her sweet time getting me to the right building, I knew I’d gotten myself there. It was I that found the restaurant online, immediately drawn in to the beautiful setting and the various menus. It was I that applied right after new years, not applying to any other place because I knew this was where I wanted to go. It was I that took the four-hour drive and the two-hour ferry ride to get to the island. And it was I that drove the car over the cobblestone, clunking over brick speed bumps, and passing miles upon miles of daffodils. Siri was just along for the ride, but I was so proud of myself for getting to Topper’s on my own.