Sunday, July 25, 2010

A journey begins

The first time I entered the kitchen was when I was just five years old.  My baby sister had just come home and I, being the eldest, went to the kitchen to get myself something to eat.  It was not much but I found myself comfortable in the kitchen.

Growing up, I watched my mother pick fruits and vegetables from the garden and bake cakes, make ketchup and mayonnaise, anything you could think of.  As I learnt to handle the kitchen utensils, my mother gave me more and more responsibility in the kitchen.  Eventually, by the age of thirteen, I could cook a decent meal for my family.  At boarding school and college, I experimented more and more with cooking.  And once I got married, there was no turning back.  With my own kitchen and a taster, namely my husband, I experimented with recipes and tried new foods from all around the world.  Suffice to say, I enjoyed cooking.  My major, however, was computer engineering.  

After I had my first born, I decided to take a break from computing.  The break became longer and longer as I looked for jobs, interviewed and came home disappointed time after time.  The break turned into seven years and now I had two kids to handle.  I had taken the odd website work in between but nothing solid enough to get me a full time job.  I thought to myself, do I really want a full time job in a field that I no longer enjoy.  The world of computing had become extremely competitive.  Most of the work was now outsourced so what would I be expected to do.  I wanted to spend time with my children.  After all, they are home for just a small portion of our lives, then they will be off to college, married and have their own lives.  How much time do I have with them?  Eighteen years, twenty years?  This really pulled at my heart strings as I battled between full time work and stay-at-home.  

As I enjoyed cooking and baking, I used that to start a home business.  I started taking orders for simple party cakes.  This was good as it fueled my desire to spend time on my hobby and the work hours were flexible.  If I didn't have time, I could refuse an order whereas some weeks I could take five orders.  It was fun.  I even did some wedding cakes which I never though would be possible.  

When my second one came along, I thought, "there go my cake orders, no more time now".  But surprisingly, the second one was much easier to handle and I realised perhaps there was something more I could do.  Finally, after talking with my better half and doing some research, I decided to enroll at culinary school for a pastry arts certification.  Sometimes I feel like I am betraying my computer engineering degree but then maybe I am just enhancing it.

I started college 2 weeks ago.  The first day I was really nervous.  I thought the students would all be young, energetic and have much more time than I do therefore do better than me.  To my surprise, I found a varied age range in our class of 12.  From 18 to 50, believe it or not.  Men, women, teenagers.  Its quite a group.  The first week, we made bread.  I learnt a lot and thought this isn't so bad.  Then there was the quiz.  I got an A to my surprise.  I hardly had time to study with both kids vying for my attention.  The first week was tough on the kids but they have adjusted.  I think the next 2 weeks will go well.  I am enjoying studying and acing my course.  In fact, now I'm thinking perhaps a full degree would be a good idea.  I'm going to get the basic courses done first and then look into that.  But I can tell you this much.  If you have ever thought about going back to college, do it.  This is the best thing I have done for my heart and soul.  I feel alive again and I am truly happy doing this.  I find myself smiling more and I am so lucky to have a supportive family.  Without them, I wouldn't be doing this or even think about doing it.
I look forward to treating them all to lovely pastries once my course is done.  Just goes to show, there is always something more you can learn.  Good luck all of you out there with your ventures.  Make the most of them.

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