When we were kids and trying hard to escape the looming shadow of fall and back-to-school time, we used to believe that adults had all the fun. Grown-ups didn’t have to ride the bus, spend the day flitting from class to class, play kickball in the middle of a hot day, or read books for hours on end each night.
Now that we’re, ahem, wiser, we can’t help but be jazzed by the prospect of going back to school, and all it entails—in fact, we wish we could pay someone to drive us around, we’d love to spend sunny afternoons out on the soccer field, and we’d happily while away our evenings reading books. We may not be able to fulfill those dreams, but we can tick off another column on our wish lists: learning new skills.
This fall, many of us at Fresh American are going back to school—not necessarily for degree programs (though we do have a few staffers who are doing exactly that), but for the stuff that personal enrichment is made of. Here’s just a sampling of what we’re doing:
Ballroom dancing. If you’ve always wanted to try ballroom dancing but never worked up the nerve, do it. Now. You don’t need a partner to sign up, and you’ll thank yourself when you see how much fun it can be. We keep up-to-date on lessons and open dances through local organizations like Berkshire Ballroom Dancers, but you can find resources in your area by running a Google search on your city and ballroom dance lessons, or by checking out review sites like Yelp.
Language lessons. Despite not being able to find classes locally, at least one of our staffers is brushing up on her Spanish with private tutoring sessions via Skype, online classes through Livemocha (which offers self-paced courses in eight different languages), and practice chats with Livemocha “friends” and with a Spanish-speaking colleague here at Fresh American who’s looking to improve her English. The moral? Opportunities are out there, even if they don’t seem apparent.
Cooking classes. It’s no secret that we love food and experimenting with new recipes at home. So why not learn the proper (and often time- and effort-saving) techniques behind them? We’re fortunate to have lots of cooking resources in our area; check your local newspapers and event websites for listings near you. So far, we’ve tried everything from making tofu with private chef Julie Gale of At the Kitchen Table Cooking School to crafting mozzarella with the big cheeses at Hawthorn Valley Farm. Next on our list: tackling a chocolate-making class at the Chocolate Gecko. If your skills are more advanced and you have some extra cash stashed away, try the Culinary Institute of America’s boot camps, two- to five-day workshops, where you’ll learn to chop, sauté, and bake like a pro.
Art and handcraft workshops. Again, we’re lucky to have several arts-education organizations in our region. But our favorite is IS183, where we can learn how to make everything from ceramics to quilts, jewelry, and sculpture, and try our hand at painting, drawing, photography, acting, fiction writing, glass blowing, and welding (we kid you not).