I think I won the externship lottery!

I’ve been sitting on some exciting news for weeks, trying to come up with an eloquent way to ease into what I’m about to say, but really, I’m so excited that creative words escape me.

Pardon my blurt, but I WILL BE SPENDING THREE MONTHS IN BOSTON WORKING WITH AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN THIS SUMMER FOR MY EXTERNSHIP!

This chance of a lifetime encompasses every single aspect of food that excites me — food writing, recipe testing and development, film and television, teaching, and print/web design. I can hardly wait to work with their team of chefs and be in that environment, even if just for a short time.

I’m also overwhelmed — not by the job or expectations, but by the food. I’m the first to admit, I complain a lot about the lack of locally-grown, organic food available in the Orlando area. Our farmer’s markets are so pathetically stocked that I’ve stopped going, and I can’t always drive one or two hours to the remote farms to pick up eggs or grass fed beef. I often wish that I had the kind of markets in Orlando that were available in Rhode Island, where I grew up.

Since I’ve been gone, the local food movement in Rhode Island has happily outgrown my memories, with a long list of markets and farms I can’t wait to visit. And that’s just Rhode Island – I can’t even get my mind around the possibilities in Massachusetts. Day trips to New Hampshire, Maine and Nantucket have my head reeling from the weekend to-do list I’ve mentally created, and the food blog posts I’m already inspired to write.

It makes me wonder how a foodie like myself has survived in this chain-restaurant town for so long.

So my summer, it seems, will be a food paradise, but not without sacrifice. I will be apart from my husband and daughter for more weeks than I care to mention. We’ll communicate every day through video chat and emails, telephone and care packages. But it’s not the same as being able to hug my little one and tuck her in bed each night. It’s heartbreaking, and I’m weepy even just thinking about it now. But we all agreed, after much debate, this opportunity may never come again. The work will come with ease and excitement, but I fear the evenings will be quite lonely.

In spite of the short-term emotional hardship, I’m hopeful I’ve taught my daughter an important life lesson in following her dreams. And that is simply: go for it, always.

Do you have any local food related, must-see recommendations while I’m in New England? Post a reply below and tell me more.