Saturday, May 27, 2006


Apparently I don't smile enough! The other day, I overheard Jonathan say to Melissa that he never sees me smile on Sundays....And I thought, "That's true. But Sunday's can get a little stressful and my mind isn't really on smiling but more, I need to get things done. Also, it's not like I don't smile normally". Anyway, I took it into account and for one of my goals for my last performance evaluation (Melissa makes me fill out performance evaluations after each nite I am on chow duty) I put down SMILE. And I did try to smile through out the nite. It didn't last for long but I did try. Then a few days later, I was in my practical class and another lecturer that I know walked in. He started talking to my current lecturer and then stopped, looked at me and said, "Jean, smile....".

So, I came to the conclusion that maybe I tend to get my knickers in a knot just a bit too much and smiling may be kinda necessary. I've been real conscious about how much I smile lately and I'm trying. However, a lot of the time it's not coz I'm not happy or worried, I'm just concentrating. When I was in class, that's exactly what it was...concentrating on what I was doing. But I will keep trying. I know I have enough people around to make sure I keep at it. :)

Something to definitely smile about is the fact that I have finished and handed in my last official assignment ever! I hate assignments and sure as hell hated that last one too. So I'm absolutely stoked to have finished it. I can't wait to have assessments over and done with too...I do prefer assessments/exams over assignments but the stress of wanting A+s is a bit much. Having said that, even though I am worried about my up coming practical assessments, they should be fun. I'm especially looking forward to the 4 people I'm having as my guest for my Final Menu assessment. But first, I do have to practice so I don't stuff up on the day. So I'm having some friends, who have kindly obliged to being guinea pigs, over for dinner next weekend. Should be fun...

Also, with the weeks of uni slowly diminishing from weeks to days, it means that Katherine is due in NZ soon. I'm so looking forward to her coming. We caught up over the phone the other day and it was just so exciting to know that I'm finally gonna see her again....I can't explain the excitement. It just can't be put into words but yea, I'm really looking forward to it and I know she is too. You counting down the days yet, Kath? I am!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A sprinkle of this & a dash of that

This post isn't about anything in particular but a little bit of everything that has been going on for the past week. There's been so much that has happened I just need to process it before I explode.

The pass few weeks have been rather stressful; a combination of finishing up at uni, ministry work load, work and dealing with people. This got me thinking..."Why have I been placed in a position where I am constantly having to deal with people, beit good or bad?". Of course this is mainly centered around chow but it does flow over to the other areas of my life.

Being the chow leader, I am always having to recruit people, confront people. encouraging people, being nice to people, welcoming people etc etc etc and the list goes on. It revolves around people. In the wider scheme of things, the cooking part of chow is like 5% of what chow is about.

And I am far from being a 'people person'. I am extremely introverted and a real perfectionist. People and me just don't add up. I hate going up to someone I don't know and introducing myself. I hate being in a large group when I don't know people (sometimes even if I do know the people I still hate it). I avoid conflict where possible, which means even if people piss me off I don't say anything. I just keep it to myself and stew. And if there happens to be a blow up, I just leave it and avoid ever trying to confront the party(s) involve at all cost.

So why am I a leader? What did Juanita see in me? What did Brett see in me?

Don't get me wrong. I love being able to be in ministry. I have always wanted to be part of ministry but was never given that opportunity. I was always told that I'm not worth it, I'm not good enough. So I am very honoured to have been asked to take up this role, even though at times it's hard.

Again, why am I in a 'people role' when I hate dealing with people? I don't know. Maybe you have some input on this matter......Do share.

On another note, we were in week 3 of our current series on Sunday. Melissa talked about how when God decides to answer your prayers, sometimes it comes in small things or in bits and pieces. But sometimes it comes as something extravagant, like the parting of the Red Sea. While we are waiting, all we need to do is be still. Hard, I know! I'll be the first to admit that. I am always wanting things right there and then. Not just now, not later but NOW! But actually, what I need to be doing is to be still.

She went on to talk about manna. (See Jonathan's blog for a definition of manna). So what is my manna? What are the little things that I hang on to as I go about each day? What are you grateful for?

Each day, I am exceptionally grateful for the friends I have. The true friends. The ones that I know will miss me, the ones that I share pain and joy together, the ones that love me for who I am-the imperfections and all (I know...I said it!). I have always found it hard to gain friends let alone good & great friends. But I now have some and feel very blessed to have them as part of my life. (It is a bummer though, that they are everywhere-USA, NZ, Australia. If only I could have them all in the one place....)

I am also appreciative of the fact that I have been able to study in the field that I have so much passion for. How many people do you know that are in courses that they hate? And they are there coz their parents said they had to? I'm glad I was able to find a course that I would enjoy ploughing through, even though I had to leave my favourite city.

For those that have been keeping up with the blog, you'd know that I am finishing up at uni in about 2 1/2 weeks and so I am looking for work. About the end of last week, I put in 3 applications over the internet through Seek. I wasn't expecting anything coz I have put a few applications in through Seek before but to no avail. But I thought it was still worth a try; if I didn't get anything then at least I tried but if I got something then sweet.

Well, to my absolute surprise I got calls, today, from 2 of the 3 places I applied to but I only managed to pick up one of the calls. So I have my first interview on Thursday @ 3pm. It's a new hotel that's opening in Auckland city on Waterloo Quadrant. It doesn't have a name yet...But another cool thing was that my old head chef that left Celsius about 3 months ago called me up later in the day too. There's an opening for a commi and so we'll see where that goes. He's at Sky City and I meet him on Tuesday @ 2.30pm.

So doors seem to be opening for me...Hopefully at least one stays open. I'll keep you posted.

Today is Sarah's 21st b'day. Happy Birthday Sas! I had 2 parts to her present. One of it was dinner at Portofino's Mission Bay. The other part to her present was a surprise that I organised about 2 weeks prior to dinner last nite. I had organised to have the cell group meet us at Portofino's to surprise Sarah and it was good! We had a blast and I'm so glad I didn't let the surprise slip. (I'm like the worse liar ever!)

I have finally managed to crack my lecturer. What I mean by that is that whenever I present my food to him, there are no more complaints. Only good comments and the occasional productive criticism. You don't understand how much relief I felt when I brought up my entree for my Magic Box practice last Thursday. I was the first one up there and was crapping in my pants with a million guesses of what he was gonna say bout my dish. But he surprised me by saying, "There is absolutely nothing wrong with this dish at all. Well done." I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that. And it's now the third day in a row that I've managed to not have him tell me off. If I keep this up, all my assessments are looking good. But I don't want to get my hopes up too much. I still need to pass before I can gloat!

So as you can tell, there's been a lot happening and I had to get it out somehow. (I hate writing and prefer typing so it came out here).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I went to my first ever Human Rights Film Festival movie, Drowned Out, tonite with the Powell's, Ritchie's & Read's.

This movie highlighted an issue that not many of us in the developed world know about. It's about the dams that have been & are being built on the River Narmada in India and how the lives of so many are affected by this seemingly well intentioned project. (In my very humble opinion, this project is centered around ego, pride, greed, supposed honour & glory for the nation.)

For dams to be built, all living along the river are affected. Those living up stream loose their land, livelihood, homes etc due to flooding. Those down stream loose the same due to 'drought'. These people are not compensated appropriately, either offered resettlement land that is measly in comparison to what they had or cash, which is of not much use to them because they depend on the land. Some are driven to the city to survive and end up living in slumps on the outskirts of the city earning next to nothing and just barely surviving and others end up dying defending their land by refusing to leave.

When the villager make the tiring journey to the nearest township to try and get answers or fight for their land, there is little luck. The official has either been transferred, sacked, replaced, not around. Either way the journey was for nothing.

This is still an on going issue. For regular updates, click here.

For me, this is nothing new; all the political bullshit, empty promises. I grew up in a country that had all of that. And that is one of the many reasons why my parents decided to relocate to a better, fairer country. But I was still frustrated and pissed off.

Why is it ok for the poor to suffer in order for the rich to live 'better' lives but not ok when the equation is the other way round? Why is there so much hypocrisy? So much greed? So much pride? WHY?

Friday, May 12, 2006

A version of The Lord's Prayer

This prayer comes from Chp 12 of Richard Winter's Perfecting Ourselves to Death. It was written by some student of Richard's when he was giving a lecture on perfectionism.

The Perfectionist's Prayer

Their Father, who may be in Heaven,
Holy be my name.
My kingdom come,
My will be done,
In earth as it should be in Heaven.
I'll get my own daily bread,
(I can't trust you to do it)
but I can't possibly forgive my sins
As there are too many of them,
And they are always bound to happen.
And I can't see why I should forgive other people
As they are always hurting me.
And anyway they never do anything right.
I'm quite capable of leading myself into evil
Thank you very much.
And if you had made a good job of this world
In the first place, I wouldn't have to
Endure all the temptation.
Mine be the kingdom,
The power and the glory,
Forever and ever,

When I first read it, I found it rather amusing. And as Melissa and I had our discussion about the book, we had a good laugh together, too. In my world, a lot of that prayer is true. Crazy as it is, that is how I am wired.

It's kinda hard for me to put this post up coz I don't trust people and therefore, never tell others how I'm doing and what's going on (esp those close to me). But I can't talk to anyone at home and I need to get this off my chest. So I'm taking a huge risk by putting this on the blog for the world to read. I just ask that you be patient with me, please.

Anyhow, this pass few weeks have been an absolute nightmare for me. Uni is getting more and more stressful (people and work load), life at home is getting really tense (there's some tension between mom and dad but I don't know what's going on, Ian decided to piss my parents off by not doing well in his studies and mom & Ian are really grating on me), work is a load of nonsense & waste of time (we've got a new head chef who is a total pain in the rear) and there's some crap happening within chow (people, AGAIN!). So there's quite a bit going on around me at the moment and it's taking a huge toll on me. I am physically, emotionally and mentally drained...So much so that I've had my face in my hands for the past week while trying to get to bed.

I feel so helpless...

Last nite I had a little chat (over gmail) with Juanita and she suggested that I spend a few minutes with God, surrendering all aspects of my life to Him and wait for His peace to wash over me. I wanted, so much, to sincerely give it up to Him and honestly say, "Father, I trust you in the situation of uncertainty, hurt, anger, absolute shit (excuse the language but that's how I feel) and that in time it will be better", but I couldn't. I just couldn't. It's that whole trust issue I have with others, God included. And as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't. And I didn't want to say, "Here, I trust you" when I knew in my heart that I didn't.

So where do I go from here? The coming weeks aren't gonna get any better. I only see it getting worse, at least until I sit my finals. I really, really want to say that I can leave it up to Him, trust Him that His plan is good and perfect but I just can't.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Dunia ini tiada yang tentu
Ingin mendengar suaraMu
Walaupun tarafMu tidak dicapai
Masih diiktiraf anak Tuhan

Monday, May 08, 2006

Re:sharpening the barbaric edge

At leadership training last Saturday, we revisited the dvd on Ewan McManus (I think that's how you spell his name) on being a barbarian. At this point in time you may think, "WHAT THE...?!"

Rewind back to the time when you first accepted Christ or when you first decided you wanted to start getting serious about your relationship with God...Remember the straight up, no nonsense bible bashing? The invites to church, youth group, cell group? And the list goes on.

But as time went by, along with the many rejections and the comfort of feeling more like you are part of the community, your "barbarian self" starts to mellow out and you become a little more careful about what you say and how you say it. You tend to avoid the subject of church or God with non-Christian friends. You almost lead a double life-the edge dulls.

During our time of discussion, we had a time where we brain stormed our thoughts about the dvd, how civilized we've become and what can you do to become more barbaric. One thing that struck me most was when Melva pointed out that we have an issue with "cliques" within the community. This is nothing new-it happens everywhere and at every church too.

I was quite pleased that someone brought it up coz it's something I've noticed for quite a while and it also meant that I wasn't as crazy as I thought I was and I wasn't just making all this up in my head.. Being someone who's always been left out I noticed these things very quickly. However, being a perfectionist also means that I can be a little paranoid and often imagine situations that aren't real. So I didn't say anything to anyone about the possibility of cession falling into the trap of being too "clique-ky". (Not cool, I know).

Something I thought was SO cool last nite during dinner was the many leaders sitting at different tables with different people. I just found it such a beautiful sight especially since we only had 9 leaders as training. Funny how it kinda just happened...and Rebecca noticed it. Cool stuff!

I'll admit that I'm not very good at it myself coz I'm not a people person but as a leader, I have to lead by example. Therefore, it's something I have to keep working on. I don't think I'll ever be good at it or enjoy it as much as someone like Brett or Frank (sorry...don't mean to put you on the spot but you guys are good) but I'll endeavour to not hate it as much. I'm counting on you to keep me accountable, Sarah.

Moses' life...My life?

So we've started a new series...

We're working through the story of Moses and how, as an ordinary man, he was chosen to perform some extraordinary feats. The first installment covered the beginning of Moses' life til the 40 years he spent in the dessert.

As we approached a time of reflection, we were asked to re-examine our lives and where we are at. Are you in a sweet spot? If you are, maybe you need to be shaken back into a spot of tension or maybe you've just worked through some hard stuff and am enjoying that experience. Have you made some bad decisions? Or a series of them?

Where do you see yourself at the moment? Where are you at?

I guess for me, I'm at the stage of my life where everything is about to change. I'm finishing uni in 5 weeks and then I'll be out in the real world, fending for myself. There will be many decisions and choices to make and that scares the living daylights outta me. Being the perfectionist that I am, I don't handle decisions or choices well and I'm afraid that the decisions I make will not be the right ones.

Being adamant about staying in Melb after I finished school was a bad choice (I didn't wanna admit that at the time but it was a bad move) and since then, everytime there's a big decision to be made I have the image of the suck time I had in Melb on a constant replay in my head. It would be easy to say that I'm just being stupid and paranoid, and that may be very true to a certain extent, but I can't help it. I live in this constant tension of having to make a decision and worrying about whether or not I'm making a right decision and whether or not I'm gonna regret the choice I made.

I can't tell you now what my life will be like in 5 weeks, what I'll be doing and where I'll be working, but I hope that before those weeks are up I would've some idea of what's gonna happen after I'm back from my little holiday.

So I hope that this post has prompted you to re-examine where you are currently at in you life and if there's anything you to do to get your life back on the right path. This is something that we need to do on a regular basis yet we struggle to do it...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The end is in sight. Scary or Exciting?

I'm constantly being asked and asking myself that question...And the truth is I really don't know. I'm excited that in 5 1/2 weeks my life will no longer consist of assignments, due dates, practical & theory assessments, final menus, costings etc etc etc. And the sooner I finish the sooner I get to see Kath. If her exams work out the way we want it to, we'll have 3 whole weeks together.

But at the same time, I am totally freaking out that I will no longer have the comfort of being in a controlled, protected environment. Besides that, I am in this state of not knowing what I'm gonna do when I'm finished. Granted, I will be working. But where, for whom, how much? I don't know.

So what's Jean's life like for the remaining 5 1/2 weeks? Well, next week will be the first practice for our Magic Box assessment (it's kinda like Ready Steady Cook, except we have 4 hrs). The following week, we'll have the second practice for the Magic Box and final menu costings & requisitions due in. Week 4 is the actual Magic Box assessment, week 5 is the City & Guilds exam & week 6 is my final menu assessment.

It's absolute mentalness with uni for the next little while tied in with church, ministry and work. I don't know how much I'll be posting for the next few weeks but we'll see. I'll try and stay as sane as possible and not drive others around me insane while I'm at it!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Last nite at cell group we started off with answering 2 questions:
  1. How have you seen God in the past 2 weeks?
  2. What is one gift that you wish you had?

My answers:

  1. Through the friends I have. Having dinner 2 Wednesdays ago with the Powell's, Jones', Sarah & Ju was so much fun. It was nice to just chill and hang out over a casual dinner and just talk about whatever we wanted. No stress of work, life, everything just forgotten for those few hours. And on Sunday, Sarah very patiently organised a cessioncommunity banquet so that Jean and the rest of the chow team would have a nite off.
  2. Be able to play an instrument on the worship team. I love singing on the team with the others but the one thing that I have yearned for for a long time now is to be able to play and instrument.

At the end of the nite, Kristen asked, "Why do you think we have these longings for what we don't have?". And this was Rebecca's answer, "Our longings may be something that we will eventually be gifted with but we are not ready for it yet". Kristen also had a take on it: "For me, sometimes it's pride".

There are definitely many sides to this issue and I guess we have to constantly re-examine our wants and needs and whether or not they line up with God's plans.