I was once told, that once you hit the mid-twenties, the years whiz right by you, and when people ask you for your age, you actually have to engage your mind in simple arithmetic.
I finally get it. Shite.
2011 came and went like the wind. It was the start of a new chapter for me – finishing up university, taking a first step out into the vast world as a young adult. It didn’t quite pan out the way I had initially planned it, and even when making the necessary adjustments, it didn’t even turn out the way I really hoped it to be. Felt, really, like I did a whole year of nothing.
Which is not entirely true.
As they say, the higher you set your expectations, the more disappointed you would be. Or at least, the higher the chance you would fail to appreciate the little things. In retrospect, I travelled, and I learnt a lot, even from my periods of doing-nothingness. A lot might have changed for me, but at least not when it comes to my belly – except those extra inches.
Besides my fairly epic trail through Korea in April by way of my belly (yes, and friends and sights, but my belly wins all – always), stuffing my face in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Melbourne, I also stepped into a kitchen for the first time. Yes, a working kitchen. Yes, I was paid. No, there were no chef whites, there was no trace of fine dining in that establishment whatsoever, but it was valuable experience, and for someone who came in with skills of zilch, I learnt a lot of what it meant to work in the industry. While I chose to continue to walk down the path I have been treading on the past 6 years, I still look on at chef whites wistfully, and even watching people prep boxes of vegetables at the back of Quay’s kitchen, I was envious.
So when a chance came by, of course I took it.
A wedding in the country, followed by a big birthday celebration at a private residence (which, interestingly, was better equipped as an event venue’s kitchen than the wedding venue!), it was four days of crazy cooking madness. I was there as the replacement apprentice, so I did mostly just the prep work, but it was a great experience. I took away a memorable experience (Sitting down for a proper meal after 4 days of standing never felt quite so surreal), and a few lessons. I was gobsmacking shattered by the end of it, and it took me 2 days of bedtime to feel somewhat normal again, but if you asked me…
I would gladly do it all over again.
Wrapping up the year having this experience, taking away with me this photo (Well, the only one I would put up here), and most importantly, REMEMBERING to appreciate it as something valuable of 2011, makes the year feel less hollow. A reminder that while a lot of things don’t go your way, little things can come up to surprise you, and be a wonderful experience, moulding you and pushing you towards your next step, or simply reminding you of where you are headed. It was a year of confusion, worry, stress fear, disappointment, surprise, and still, joys. I was blessed with much, even when I did not accomplish as much as I wanted. Could this be the typical coming-of-age scenario for a mid-twenty-something? Perhaps. Either ways, I’m taking what I can with me, positively – Or, at least, if you were to challenge me on that, they’re positive perspectives on my own terms.
So here’s to the coming year: While I don’t know if I may be in chef whites again, what other whites I may be in, may the year be once again filled with learning… And may it always be tasty.
2012 – BRING IT ON.