Monday, December 15, 2008

peace/joy/good things and more...

I sit here contemplating Brent's sermon from last really struck a chord, a good chord. As I reflect on the weeks that were, it truly has been one of joy and comfort.

Prior to finishing up at uni, I didn't have a job lined up. I was of the assumption that I'd def have a full time spot next year with the current place I've been at for the last year. I did, however, know that whatever was to happen (beit get a new job or remain at the current place) that I'd have no proper income for the remainder of the year. So as the end of the term rolled around, I was hoping that I'd get told that I'd have work next year and I needn't fret bout money etc. After lenghty discussions if was evident that a full time spot at Merediths was far from my reach.

I was a bit disappointed but not to the degree at which Jean would normally be. Funnily enough I was very much at peace about my job situation despite the constant bugging from my dad to look for a job!! So when full time work at Merediths fell threw I was very much in the mind set of "It's ok, something will come up in due time". This was prob bout 1 week after I'd finished up.

The following week, my dad received a phone call from his previous boss asking if he was still keen to work for him at his new restaurant. The conversation went back and forth and eventually, as much as my dad would have loved to commit to this job he couldn't. with that...lo and behold, I was offered the spot! I was stoked. It couldn't have come at a better time, just when I was about to start looking at job ads and sending CVs through!

It is important to note that for every proper kitchen job I've ever had, I have never had to gripe for work. I've always had the privilege of either being called up and asked to work for a chef or been recommended to other good chefs. This, along with many other factors, has affirmed my choice to be in this industry. It's been exceptionally comforting to know that I have made the right career choice for me and that I will be truly happy doing this for a long time coming. I def see this as a blessing, to do what I want to do for me.

I have so many friends that unfortunately have to pursue a career that they may not necessarily want to or enjoy but have done so because it is expected of them. I really am grateful that my parents are so exceptionally supportive of what I do (though that def took quite a lot of convincing!).

Over the past 2 months I've also had the great honour of getting to know a very amazing lady-Monique (you would have read a little bout her in previous posts). She truly is a beautiful person inside and out, genuinely nice and wants to really know you. Now, to get a better understanding of her personality...just think Jean but wiser! Crazily enough we are very alike and it's been a very good learning curve for me to almost be an observer of 'me'. Interesting and scary also describe this experience. All in all it's been a good time and I really enjoy every minute I spend with her. I always part from out little get-togethers feeling very refreshed and enlightened.

The pinnacle moment of this period of, dare I say it, Sabbath! came about just this past Friday. (I apologise in advance for those reading this blog that don't have a clue what I'm about to talk about. I have my reasons and will not delve into details re this matter. To those who do know what I'm talking about, plz just share in my joy and you are welcome to talk to me about it face to face but I need it to stay away from the cyber world. Ta). First, I received a letter from a certain government body with news I'd been dying to hear for sometime and there it was!!! It made my day...I didn't think it could bet better but I was proven wrong! Later in the afternoon, I receive an email from some random publishing company for Inghams Chicken asking me to fill out a questionnaire as they want to feature me in their Jan issue as Chef of the Month!!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading...Apparently they got my details from NZ Chefs Association , which I am part of. My only guess is that some of my tutors have been saying good things about me and hence passed on my details...Oh the joy!!! Getting all this good news was just great going into the weekend and I'm still on a real high....

As I've made my way through the season of Advent and now heading into Xmas, it really has been an amazing time of reflection and also a way of acknowledging God and His hand over my life. I admit that I am quite often rather useless at taking time out for me and being with God and I have been extremely grateful for these past few weeks as it has allowed me to do just that.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A prayer

First impressions were anything but good
In due time that changed
There was nothing but amazement, awe
Seized it has not.

When all but happiness consumes you
It seems that pain is mine, too
Can I please help ease the that load?
Compassion, forgiveness
Lessons you have taught me.

Amazing is what best describes you...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

clearer mind/growing up

Since finishing up at uni, the lower stress levels have definitely been evident but even more surprising is how much that has effected my how I process things. When I look back to the this previous term at uni, I guess I have noticed a slightly more mature side of me;one that is more in tuned with herself mentally, physically and emotionally. Kinda cool but at the same time I find it odd (prob because this is a totally new and uncharted are before).

What do I mean? Well, let me elaborate...

The old me used to get really worked up and pissed off when I'd get last minute notice to cancel previously organised plans. No matter how valid the reason for cancelling on me would be, I'd still find something to justify my anger. The old me would never handle not planning anything and functioning on spontaneity created more stress to my already high stress life. I could quite literally feel the stress build up within me. The old me was very oblivious to what was happening around me; I was very absorbed with me.

Since my stress levels have significantly lowered, I've been much more aware of me; how differently I react and deal in various situations and with people. Don't get me wrong, occasionally I am still very much me and get so highly strung that there is no way of rationalising anything with me!

Anyhow, I digress. There have been a few occasions over this past few weeks where I've had ppl stand me up at the last minute and I have surprised myself. Instead of my initial reaction being one that is pissed off, it has been one that is forgiving and understanding. And that has been ok. I have also not minded that my last few weeks have not been planned out and I'm taking every few days at a time (now, expecting me to take ONE day at a time is a little too much to ask for at this stage!).

Being in tune with myself physically is one I prob struggle with most. I am a head strong, exceptionally independent and stubborn wee person. Having been a gymnast for many years and now a chef as well as growing up in the family/ culture that I have, the idea of just 'getting on with it' and 'harden up' is what it is. That has been my life forever and very often still is. However, I've been having to battle a rather large injury this past year and a lot of the time I block out the pain and 'get on with it' much to my detriment. But since I've had SO much time on my hands, it's been on my mind more often than I'd like. I have yet to learn to stop and give my back a break but I have definitely been more aware of the discomfort it is causing.

An area where I have been kinder to myself is allowing myself to be angry, happy, sad or whatever I feel; not feeling happy just because that is what I'm suppose to feel. I am allowing myself to just be and it's ok...Friends have been great at helping me with this too. I have received very timely txts at times inviting me to just chill with them and it's just been what I've needed; to get out of the house away from my parents and be with ppl whom I know won't judge me.

It's been good to have this time off, for the most part. The only thing that makes this period of rest suck is the lack of money. It is otherwise a very much enjoyed experience and will continue to enjoy every minute of it while it lasts. At least I'll be very ready and prepared for work when I do start! :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2 weeks out and...

...I'm entertaining myself rather well and keeping pretty sane. I'm also loving the stress free nature I'm currently in!

Initially I was rather apprehensive about finishing up at uni and trying to figure out what was happening with full time work, if I had any at all, and just trying to plan my life over the remaining months of the year and through to early next year.

I didn't have any full time work lined up, got stuffed around with what part time work I had and just figuring out how much time off I was gonna give myself. But as I have been proven to time and time again that as a door closes another will open in due time. And I now have a full time job lined up at a new restaurant that is due to open mid-Dec/ early Jan. In the mean time...

First week out of uni was interesting. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself but I managed to fill it up with stuff to do-fun and relaxing but nonetheless entertaining. I was able to catch up with a friend from UK that was passing through for a few days. It was nice to see her again. I actually also managed to see her when I was in Melb. We both happened to be in Melb at the same time and decided to catch up. I got to watch Rhys and Raegan for the afternoon, too. This was interesting...after that arvo, Kristen may not let me take them again! But seriously, they were a blast! The remainder of the week included another session at yoga with a new found friend! and a quiz nite with some friends.

For the past 5 weeks, a certain somebody and I have been going to these yoga sessions that is performed in a heated room (~40C) for 90mins. It has been blast! I've started seeing results already. Now to tell you a little more about this certain somebody...No! It's not a boy that I've recently met...

Now, Monique is a pretty amazing individual. I originally met her as my podiatrist. I was referred to her by my osteo who was at his wits end bout my back as it just wasn't getting any better. I was seeing her for a while. One day she suggested that maybe I look into trying some yoga to see if it'd help my back. I politely said' "Yea, sure I'll look into it" but fully was just gonna do that and no more. But she then finished her email by saying, "If you're keen, let me know and I'll come along". I was pretty blown away!

Here's someone that I barely knew but was willing to go the extra mile, beyond her call of duty, to be that support system. And so I agreed (not that she had to push very hard. I always thought she was lovely!). We'd see each other once a week for yoga and started to really get to know each other a bit more. And just last week, I asked if I could cook for her and her partner; kinda as a thank you but also get to know each other more.

Last nite was THE nite. I stressed about it all day but it was a blast! Well, I thought it went down fairly well anyway. They seemed to enjoy it and they were both just such great ppl. The nite was just filled with such buzz and laughter...

Anyhow, so week 2. This week has been slightly busier than last, which has been nice. Dance classes are getting a little more intense as we have our end of year show next Sunday. So it was class as usual on Mon and we have an extra class tomoz. I also managed to start on the flowers that I have to make for Becs' wedding cake. It was good to have help, considering it took 3 of us 4 hrs to make 100 buds! And that's just the first part of many...2 yoga classes instead of 1. We decided to up the pace and hopefully try for 3 sessions a week at some point. Then it was dinner last nite and supposed work today. However, considering the current economic down turn...I got the day off! It's been good to get a few things done but not cool for the pocket.

The next few weeks prior to starting are just going to be a matter of staying busy, keeping myself entertained but yet still taking time to chill. I've been rather good at that and so lets hope I can keep it up.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Well...I did say in my last post that you prob wouldn't see any updates for a while and so I kept my promise! Since coming back from Melb it was full steam ahead on the uni front. 7 weeks of madness & it has now come to an end...Really, it is very much an anti-climax.

I start to wonder as to how I am gonna fill my day when I get up in the morning! There's almost no reason anymore, what am I gonna occupy my mind stressing about? Crazy, I know but are you really surprised?

Anyhow, it's been nice to actually have a bit of a break. (And yes, you heard right!). I was actually very much looking forward to this time of the year when all the assignments and assessment would just stop and I can finally just take a deep breathe and enjoy that sweet smell of victory; victory of surviving another 2 yrs of being a poor student, enduring assignments and assessments.

I went to pick up my remaining assigngments and to get my feedback from my final buffet and didn't do too badly. I managed to top the class in the actual buffet presentation with a 95%. I was rather pleased but there were still things I wasn't happy with. But that is another post altogether! :) I will put photos up of my buffet once I can get onto my Photobucket page. It's been playing up.

Til then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stress free

I hope you enjoyed the title of this post...Do savour it as I think it will be a long while before you see anything remotely resembling it again any time soon.

My holiday in the lovely city of Melbourne has just been absolute bliss. I have not felt as stress-free as I currently feel for as long as I can remember and I am loving every minute of it. I knew I needed a break but I didn't realise just how much I needed to distance myself from the all-consuming madness I am part of daily.

For those whom I was in close contact with, they will know just how hectic my life is and this distance I have given myself has been extremely beneficial. I will go back refresh and ready to hit the ground running again and power through my last term at uni.

It has also called for some reflection while I have been away. I realised just how much of a home Auckland now is and that when the day comes for me to leave it will be extremely hard (and I do mean that). Despite knowing that I needed the break and distance from life and ppl in Auckland, I have miss everyone terribly. Believe it or not, I actually can't wait to go back...Crazy, I know!

Anyhow, I guess, I just really need to keep searching and listening as to where I'm headed in this area. On another note...a quick rundown on the past week's happs...

I arrive on Thurs evening and was greeted by a lovely friend. Got dropped off at my guardian's place where I would be based for the duration of my trip. Fri I was off to the osteo here in Melb (long story and I'm not going to go into it). Then I went into Camberwell to meet up with some friends that were in the boarding house with me. We had a lovely lunch and catch up session. Then it was back to my guardian's in Clayton to prepare for the dinner I was to cook that nite. All in all, not a bad start to my trip.

Sat was the day of my 5yr school reunion. It wasn't all that great but was def nice to see some friends I hadn't caught up with in ages! We had lunch, took photos and had a tour of the new boarding house and old school. After which some of us decided to take the reunion and continue it over a GIANORMOUS take away gelati. Oh it was oh so delicious...The weather was just perfect too...Couldn't ask for anything better.

Sun was a nice quiet day with the family. We went to church in the morning and I cooked dinner. Mon was spent with Kath and Woolie (not her real name). We headed to the Dandenongs and had a lovely time at Miss Marple's. Let's just say that it is a ladies' place...the desserts were huge and good! The it was back to Woolie's to chill for the rest of the arvo before I prep-ed for dinner. We then has a lovely dinner together and the 2 bottles of wine def made the nite a little more special..! The choc fondue for dessert was also nice.

Tues started off with a cooked breakky and then a train back to Clayton. A quick lunch with my guardian and Kath before heading to the osteo again. It was a nice bus ride back to Clayton before spending the evening being spoilt by the one and only Mrs O...

I was taken to Lygon St (THE place to go for Italian food in Melb) for dinner. It was a good dinner too. And so was the conversations and company...then it was off to Koko Black for some chocolaty treats before gorging ourselves with more gelati! We were the off to a beautiful concert in which the kids were singing. They were recently on the local Channel 7s Battle of the Choirs where they came runners up. It was such a lovely treat and I had a blast! Thanx again Mrs O...

Today, it was off to the city to get a few things for dad. We started our little adventure by checking out the various patisseries in St Kilda. Then took a tram into the city where we had lunch at Degraves Cafe on Degraves St. It was a quaint European style street with such atmosphere. Thanx Alan for this little suggestion. Then we headed off to the chef shop to get stuff for dad where I picked a few things to add to our collection!!! To top off the day, we headed back to Koko Black for a hot choc and for me to get some choc to bring back as prezzies...

Tomoz I'm off to buy some windows (ie window shopping) at Chadstone with my guardian. It'll just be nice to walk around and reminisce. Later in the evening, I'll be off to the new BUGS premise and help coach before sitting down and catching up with my previous coaches/friends.

Fri will be spent with the family again and me cooking my last meal for them. I leave them on Sat morning to spend one more day with Kath, Woolie and Smillar. We are going horse riding during teh day and prob just chilling for the remainder of it. The lovely Kath will then put me up for the nite before very kindly getting up early and sending me to the airport on Sun morning... this trip was very much done in true Jean-style-packed full with activity!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hmm...and by that I mean busy, lack of sleep, high stress and crazy adrenalin levels.

Currently I'm officially on a 2 week break. The last 2 months can be best described in 1 word: INSANITY. It was pretty intense; with the NZ National Culinary Salon that took place over the weekend of Aug 31-Sep 2 along with trying to keep on top of uni paperwork, assignments and assessments. The good news is that I was very well behaved and kept myself well fueled, ie I didn't loose any weight due to skipping meals.

This year, I competed in the same competition as I did last year; Nestle Toque d'Or. I won't go into details as it will take me way too long to type it out. Long story short, we ended up with a silver in the kitchen and a gold in the FOH (again, this doesn't indicate placing). There were huge dramas leading up to the competition so I did really care too much what the result was, just glad it was over and I didn't have to deal with the respective ppl ever again. But would I compete again, most definitely! Just making never with the same ppl as I just did. I love competing and have come a long way from vowing never to compete again. So, it's not something I'll give up without a fight but lets not worry bout that til next yr...

The last assessment/assignment we had prior to the break went rather well. Obviously I thought it could have gone a little better but when you have a really tough tutor, getting 100% is kinda impossible. But it isn't always a bad thing. We started another module and, with the 2 week break, are currently is slight stagnant mode. We will resume the completion of the this module along with a whole bunch of other things when we start back up.

The last half of the semester is pretty much going to be much the same like this last half-busy, high stress and adrenalin levels through the roof. However, I think sleep levels will be slightly higher..which of course I'm not complaining about!

When we go back, we begin our 'Product Development'. This is basically coming up with a product (it doens't have to be somehting new. it can be something that already exists) and basically going through various recipe trials and document this whole process. At the end of it, we need to be able to justify whether or not it is feasible to produce this product and make a profit of it.

We will also be starting to put our individual final buffets together for the end of the year. This is assessed and is basically a culmunation of the year's work. We choose a theme we like and design our buffet (according to the guidelines) accordingly. And surprise, surprise I have chosen to do Women's Artistic Gymnastics! I don't know how it'll turn out of if I'll do it justice but in my head it definitely is looking good. In true Jean-style, I have it all planned out and ready to go...actually it was all ready about 2 months ago!

Due to the madness, I knew I needed to have something in place so that I could relax and take some time out for myself (aren't you proud of me Melissa?). I have always wanted to start on some dance classes since finishing up with gym so I decided I'd start on Jazz classes. It has been great fun and I always look forward to the next class. We also started some flex and body toning classes. SO instead of only 1 hr a week for myself, I know give myself 3 hours!!! Aren't I good? :)

So that's me for the next little while, incase I don't get round to updating again.

But for now, I'm off to Melb for a 10 day holiday. It is a much needed time away from NZ and from all the madness. Hopefully I'll come back refreshed (though probably really knackered) and ready to get back into it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Busy busy busy

The holidays went by as quickly as it came. It was a much needed break and I enjoyed most of it, though I was starting to crave being busy again.

I started the first week of my holidays by spending most of it at uni preparing for the competition. I actually was glad about it and the competition went well (as you may have read in the previous post). The remainder of the holidays I spent mainly chilling out with friends. I had some over for dinner and really had a blast. Some of those invited I hadn't had to opportunity to spend time with before and it truly was a blessed time together.

But the highlight of the holidays was that I had my first experience black water rafting. It was a blast!!! Thanx to Joanne and Josh for the invite and thanx to Olivia for the company too...I would do it again in a heart beat!

Mostly the holidays was spent house sitting as my parents were away and really, so was my brother; I hardly saw him! I really appreciated the time by myself and the space, too. I managed to catch up on a lot of sleep and hopefully made a small dent in the rather significant sleep debt I have accumulated over the past 6 months. All in all, it was holidays that I welcomed.

Yesterday was back to uni...I was looking forward to going back and am still glad to be back. However, ask me about the workload and you may get a very different answer. I'm most certainly right back into the busy mode-I was on the go the minute I got out of bed at 5.30am til I went to bed at 11pm. And today will not be any different! Oh, the joys...

At the present moment, the prospect if me finishing this course and not going back to AUT next year is a scary thought. So what is it that is giving me shivers down my spine?

• The workload involved between now and the end of the year. I always knew that this last semester would be beyond insane but it still scares me and I am always wondering how I am ever going to be able to get through.
• The thought that I will no longer have the safety and comfort of being allowed to make mistakes. I don’t handle making mistakes well and it is especially stressful doing so when you are out in the industry as mistakes=loss of profit. And you end up with the boss riding your rear end… :S
• The fear of the unknown. It just means I’m closer to heading back into the world of uncertainty. What will I do? Where will I work? How long will I work for someone before I start my own place, if I ever start my own place? Will I remain in NZ or will I head back to Melb? Will I end up in Melb at all? Do I move out of home or do I continue to reap the benefits of living at home?

Questions, questions, questions… I guess I’ve had the security of knowing what the last 2 years involved when I enrolled for this course and that was a definite comfort. But now…

I think most of all, I really want to be happy with what God's plans are for me. I know I may not have always been contented with what is but rather questioned why it hasn't worked out the way I wanted it to. Yet, I have been proven to that He knows best time and time again. I guess it was very timely that at home group last nite we talked about waiting on God and prayers answered/unanswered on His time.

Now, more than ever before I sense God's desire for me to just be contented with the path He is currently paving for me.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Auckland Reginals Junior Culinary Fare

Another year of Regionals competition is done and dusted again...

And I'm pleased to say that I didn't do too bad a job this year. My marks are still in the land of the unknown, which is why I'm still not as ecstatic as I probably should be, but I did get a gold. But before you get all excited, it does not mean that I came first...

With competitions like this, everyone is marked out of 100 and points are then taken away as they critic your dish. So in any given category, there can be as many or as few golds, silvers and bronzes awarded. Effectively, you are competing against yourself.

The stress, frustration and sleepless nites have been worthwile and I would definitely do it again in a heart beat! But for now, it is time to enjoy the holidays because the minute I'm back at uni in a couple of weeks, it is straight back into competition mode...

So here, enjoy these photos:

Chocolate Mille Feuille, Passionfruit Gel, Pistachio Coulis, Sauteed Pineapple

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Life as it is... the moment I'm on holiday and for the most part, I am enjoying it.

Despite being rather hectic, the last few weeks of uni went well. After my manic few weeks of uni & work, it's calmed down quite a bit in terms of having to run around like a headless chook and I've been able to get more sleep. However, the stress of assignments, assessments and competition paper has still plagued me.

The last assessment of the semester went extremely well and I am savouring that 'perfect' and am still on cloud nine. :) This was the first assessment that we had to come up with our own flavour combination, recipe, plating etc. And for the first time ever, I managed to get a 'perfect' out of my tutor and it's something I'll keep aiming for... Here's some pictures of my assessment.

Cold dessert: Buttermilk Pannacotta, Lavender Raspberry Soup, Honey Snaps, Honey Foam

Hot dessert: Apple Rosemary Tart, Poached Rhubarb, Rhubarb Ice Cream, Apple Rhubarb Gel

This weekend is the Auckland Regionals Competition. And yes, I am competing. It was at this competition 3 yrs ago that I competed for the very first time and hated it. And this weekend is the first time I'm competing in this exact same competition since then and the process leading up to the competition this time round has been a much more pleasant journey, but it hasn't been without it's frustrations and sleepless nites. I am nervous but yet looking forward to it. Once it is over, I will endeavour to put up photos.

Since being on holiday, it's been interesting. This week, I have had the house to myself-my parents are back in KL and Ian has been away with friends. It's been nice to have a quiet house but at the same time it can get pretty lonely. But I have been out and spending time with friends; on Wed, Kate and I spent the day making engagement invites with Becs and then came back to my place and I made hamburgers for dinner over dvd. Sara joined us for that too so it was a nice girls nite. The today, we took the kids of the parents for the morning and went to the zoo. The weather held up really nicely too. Awesome day all in all.

So it's competition stuff that will keep me busy for the weekend before I start prep-ing for dinner next week. I'm having some friends over for dinner. I'm looking forward to it. It's just something I do when I have the house to myself. Then it's work on Sat evening followed by a busy Sunday before mom gets back on the Mon.

I am on holidays but I am still keeping occupied...Sheer bliss. Aaahhhh.....

Monday, June 09, 2008

All work & no play

Currently, being able to even sit down in front of a computer and hear myself take every breath of air is a rare moment worth savouring. Over the past 2 weeks, I've had to have my Energiser batteries running on full mode for 70 hrs/week. At the moment, no word comes to my mind to describe just how crazy it has been.

On top of my current commitments at uni and church, I had to pick up a few extra shifts at work due to staff shortage and dramas. It was organised weeks before and I agreed to it. I was restrained enough to only commit to an extra 2 days and not 3 , which I could easily have said yes to. However, it has still meant that I do 2x20hr days + a 17hrs day to follow and add that to the othe days I've either got other classes, training, work or church.

I have been running on adrenalin for most of the fortnight but despite being so completely drained, I can still say that I love what I do. In that sense, it has been very reassuring that I am in the right industry and it is something I can see myself continue doing for a long time. This decision that I made 5 yrs ago for my career has so far been the best decision I have made for myself, no regrets.

This week is yet another 70 hr week, unfortunately. Fingers crossed that this will be the last of it. However, even if the hours drop next week the madness still goes on as we are fast approaching the Junior Culinary Fare which is being held on July 5&6. Training is well underway for that and for the most part is has been going well. There is just a fair bit of refining to do to my dish before I can be happy with it.

Besides training for the Regionals, I've also been training for Nationals which is being held in September. Soudns crazy to be training SO far in advance but nothign beats being prepared. Training for this event hasn't been going as smoothly and at times does take a lot out of my and create more frustration and grief then it does satisfaction.

So for this current moment, I can only take each minute as it comes and just continue to breath. I am very much looking forward to the break I will have after Regionals but til then...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Been thinking...(surprise surprise)

During the drive home from work last Saturday nite/early Sunday morning, my work mate and I (we car-pooled) were talking and the subject of alcohol came up. I don't think that it comes as a surprise that chefs are generally placed in the same category as alcoholics, in fact it is rather common.

I knew going into this industry that alcohol played a HUGE part in the rise and fall of a chef. I also knew full well that if I didn't make some serious choices and put certain boundaries in place as well as ensure that I surrounded myself with accountability relationships that I'd run the risk of following in the footsteps of many EX-great chefs. (These were footsteps I didn't want to follow).

Some of these choices, boundaries and relationships included:
• No consumption of alcohol is to take place if I have to get behind the wheel afterwards, a great excuse for not drinking at the end of the nite after work. See next point…
• Upon returning home, no consumption of alcohol is to take place as a regular part of winding down at the end of a working nite. This is normally where the problem starts, alcohol is used to help with getting to sleep so you actually get some sleep before starting another LONG day
• Alcohol is consumed as a once off/occasionally for pleasure, NOT to get drunk on
• Telling close friends of the boundaries put in place so that the chances of me slipping up are highly unlikely. I have a real fear of seeing the disappointment that could possibly be written all over their faces if they ask and I have to tell that I stuffed up
• Sometimes the choice not to drink is a sacrifice. Drinking is a social thing to do and it’s something often done at the end of the nite while winding down with the rest of the brigade and by not drinking, it is considered uncool. This often leads to being left out and not being invited to events.

So back to the conversation that I was having that we talked the topic of drinking as being a sociable thing and a kind of "bonding session" came up. My work mate was of the opinion that he felt pressured into drinking as a way of building a relationship and as a way of being sociable. He felt that if he started to say no that he'd start to feel isolated and thought of differently. There was also a notion of "I have done this all my life and why not? I don't see anything wrong with driving home after having numerous bottles of beers".

I kinda tried to explain to him where I stood on this subject, without offending him. It wasn't so much to get him to change, although obviously that would be ideal, but it was more to try and get him to take a look at this issue from my point of view, to get him thinking. I don't know if it fell on deaf ears but it sure felt like it.

This is an issue that I will continuously wrestle with. Not that I see myself going down the route of hitting the piss or getting into alcohol related problems but more so the social aspect of alcohol and standing by the tough boundaries I have set up for myself and what it means for me to have to sacrifice certain relationships for self preservation.

Monday, May 05, 2008

holidays/work/Savour NZ

The last 2 weeks saw me on a mid semester break. It wasn't a break I was looking forward to (I know that this wouldn't come as a surprise to many). This was mainly due to the fact that I didn't have much on to keep me occupied til this past weekend.

So as the first week went by I pretty much just bummed around and did bugger all. I was quite ready to head back to uni by the end of the week! As the second week rolled round, I helped dad out with a dinner that he was asked to cater for. That was very much welcomed as it broke the monotony of doing nothing much.

Before the holidays, myself and a few others from uni were asked to help out at the latest Savour NZ. I was looking forward to this the entire holidays and though it was great to be busy it was a big let down. Unfortunately, we ended up being used as slaves for the hotel instead of being used to help out the celebrity chefs, which was what we were told we were gonna be used for.

Fortunately, my boss was at Savour doing demos and I was able to give him a hand. After the demos, I was able to then head into work with him and give them a hand for service. The days I ended up work mounted to bout 15-20hrs each day but I have no regrets. I actually had a blast being back at work!

Since my 5 week holiday, I had yet to go back to work as my boss was finding it tricky to fit me in and I was living off my savings. It was getting pretty dire that I go back to work, not so much for the money (though that is always helpful) but more for my sanity. I was getting really restless each week as the weekend rolled around. I desperately needed to and wanted to go back to work.

So, even though I've had a very very full on weekend with absolute minimal sleep it was a blessing in disguise. My boss finally said OK to me coming back to work and I officially start back this Saturday. Yay...

It started off as a holiday that I dreaded but ended on a fairly high note.

I'm back at uni now and we're back into the swing of things with assessments and assignments to keep me going. This term will be pretty full on with Regional competition looming in the near future it will also entail competition training. Mind you, a friend and I have already started on training for Nationals which is in late August. So, I guess I can now truly is back on the go, finally!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Jean time"

Well, it wouldn't be news that I am no good at taking time out for myself. I'm often more worried about getting things done, what's the next big thing that I need to complete, who needs a babysitter..and the list goes on.

Over the last few mentoring sessions, 'taking time out for Jean' has been on the list of things to do but to no avail...At the back of my mind I know that it is of some importance that I am able to carve out time in my crazyness to just chill on my own. But it is often something that I let fall by the way side. I find it easier to make up excuses of why I don't need to take time out for me.

As part of something for me to work towards, I was to put aside 1hr a week to myself. The good news is, I managed to drive myself to Howick beach on Sunday arvo and spent a good hour singing, getting some mentoring homework done and just watching the waves break on the beach from my car. (It was an extremely gloomy and windy day, filled with showers-for those that don't reside in Auckland).

I must say, prior to getting to the beach I was rather nervous about the idea of spending an hour with myself. I wasn't quite sure what I'd do or how I'd entertain myself for a whole hour. I don't often do well or chose to do things on my own. I tend to enjoy intimate company with a small number of ppl. But once I got there, put some good music on and started putting pen to paper, it was great.

Something else that caught my attention during the last mentoring session, (aside from sensing some frustration for my lack of want to express how I was feeling besides one or two words, that is) was my lack of attention to how and why I view or do certain things. I've never quite noticed what makes me tick. I got asked, "Do you think that is a problem?". Judging by the tone of the question...I'm thinking that it is.

So apart from making sure I get my 1 hr a week, I'm working on taking a bit more notice as to why I am me...

Monday, April 07, 2008


It's been a rough few weeks...

The manic-ness started the week prior to Easter with the first of 3 assessments. I did surprisingly well as it was a pretty nervy time, with it being the first assessment of the year and a new lecturer as well as a harder, more challenging work load. This happened on Maundy Thursday.

On Good Friday, I had to start on the prep necessary for a friend's wedding that was taking place the following day. It was pretty full on as it was also the weekend that cession put on Stations of the Cross (an art and media installation that tells the story of Easter). The good thing was that I was able to leave the setting up of our station to my other friends and concentrate on the wedding prep. But I made sure that I was well and truly done so that I could make it to the Prayer Walk prior to the service later that nite.

Saturday rolled round and it was pretty crazy but was definitely glad it was over. To the credit of my brilliant helpers, it went rather smoothly and not a lot for me to complain or pick on. A rather successful job done! (Enjoy doesn't come around often!).

After the wedding it was off to a friends birthday do which fortunately didn't last too long. I was pretty over it by the early evening. But it was still good to chill out with some decent company before heading home to hit the sack.

Easter Sunday was a rather LONG day with our first ever morning service. It was still a little bit of a sleep in but after the weekend I just had it was not long enough! So after the morning service, it was lunch with mom and dad then back to church to mind the doors for our last gallery opening which then extended to the evening service. It was rather low key and after 40mins or so, I had to go if I were to make it home without falling asleep behind the wheel.

The next 2 days involved me getting ready for my practical assessment which was to happen on Wed. It;s the first assessment that I'd ever felt SO worried about and I was right to be that worried...For the first time in 4 yrs, I failed one of the items which requires me to do a resit with the maximum mark able to be obtained is 50%. It was hard and I'm still struggling with that...I still try to not think about it until I have to when the resit day comes around.

This happened on a day that I was supposed to be celebrating my 4 yrs of being in NZ. Needless to say, it wasn't a very good day!

After that rather demoralising day, I had to get my butt into gear and get a 1500word assignment started and done before the following Mon, which was when it was due. I was able to get it done in 2 days flat...

After the assignment was done, I thought I was finally able to relax for a bit before the whole assessment season started again but I thought wrong! My body decided it would get sick the following day instead of hanging out til the holidays to get sick...

So this last week has seen me a real grump. Instead of being sick for a few days, I've been sick for a week and a half now and am only just starting to recover...Kinda frustrating for miss perfectionist here!

It's also been rather discouraging to see that my body can't handle as much abuse as it used to. I guess, it is probably a good thing but when you are so dependant on the rush of constant adrenalin pumping through you, it's hard to have to slow down.

But yea, so that's just a little update of the past few weeks...Hopefully things start looking brighter this week. :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Almost half a decade

As the title suggests, it has been almost half a decade...since I left Melb for NZ-actually it's just gone 4 yrs to be exact. March 26 marked that day. I would have got this post written a lot sooner except that the last 2 weeks have seen an extremely busy girl.

The day came and went so quickly it almost slipped my mine. Maybe I was in the midst of a ridiculously busy 2 weeks of my life or that it's not that big of a deal anymore...Personally, I don't think it's the latter coz it is still a rather big deal for me.

It really hasn't felt like 4 yrs. It has gone by so quickly that it feels like I only left yesterday. Much has happened and much has def changed but the time in which all that change has happened really doesn't feel like 4 yrs has gone by.

As noted in my earlier posts, it really is starting to feel more like home here in NZ. I seem to have this sense of calm over most things. They just feel right, like being here and not in Melb. (Even though at this point Melb is not where I should be, I do think that I will be back there one day...)

So what's the latest haps in the life of Jean over the past year? Simply put, it was an absolute nutter of a year. One that I wish never to have again!

The year saw me back at uni again in a whole new class with a whole new bunch of classmates. It saw me become a poor student again as opposed to the slightly less pore full time chef. It saw me run myself down physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and therefore saw me take time off from ministry (something I never thought I'd ever have to ever confront). It saw me with a free trip back to Melb at the Good Food and Wine Show as well as being able to catch up with those who mean a lot to me. It saw me leave Sky City, where I had been working for 1.5 years and it also saw me at a new job. A job that I really love with a bunch of ppl that are amazing to work with. The year also saw me with my best results ever academically and it saw me gain enthusiasm and love for patisserie. By the end of the year, it basically saw a very overwork, high strung, extremely stressed Jean that was very much in need of a holiday.

Fortunately, I got one. Earlier this year, I had a 5 weeks holiday to Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. It was well deserved and much needed. Scroll down to earlier posts on my holiday.

Despite the rather discouraging year, it wasn't all bad.

Through the hard weeks and months, I was comforted by the fact that I have a great support system around me. With those friends, I got through it. And I guess, it is this support system that has made the last 4 yrs a real joy and I know that as long as this support is around me, all is good.

So what's in store for the coming year?

Uni has has a fairly good start with a slight mishap on the way already-not really such a good start to the year but hopefully it'll get better. The rest of the year should be as much fun as the last year has been but the workload is def a lot more challenging. In a way, it's good thing. I need to be constantly challenged so as to not get bored and to keep me on my toes. I'll try and keep you updated...

Work started off really well and I will head back soon. But til then, I'll enjoy having Saturdays off...

Church has been a lot more enjoyable since I've been back. I think that time away really helped me to gain some perspective as well as get some space. And I think, once you are refresh, things seem a lot brighter!

That's all I've got to keep you entertained about me. due time, there will be another update.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Photos from Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Well, this post has been a long time coming but it's finally here...

I have been ridiculously busy over the past few weeks trying to get back into the swing of things with uni, church and work. The good thing is that everything has been going well and I am yet to start back at work. On the other hand, I managed to get myself into a bit of a whirlwind by commiting myself to a whole lot of stuff that is due in the space of 2 weeks, which has made up for the fact that I'm not back at work yet.

Anyhow, I am surviving. Do enjoy these photos...A word of warning though, you have to make sure that you have some free time up your sleeve to check them out-there's about 300 photos to get through!

Click here to view...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Life as it is...

Well, I've been back in NZ for just over a week now and it seems like I have never left. Everything seems just right, just like it's suppose to-just like home...

I'm back running around and keeping busy. I'm back singing on the worship team and it was awesome being back singing! I'm back at uni today and I'm really worried about what is to come...

So really, I'm back in my element.

I guess, I wouldn't have it any other way really. I enjoy being busy and having things to do to keep me occupied. Coz otherwise, I really wouldn't have a clue what to do with myself! Well, it's def gonna be a busy year but we'll get through it I'm sure. They year has started well so hopefully it'll stay that way.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back into the swing of things

Finally, I'm back in NZ and I am glad to be back! Yes, you heard right...for the past few weeks, I have been rather open about the fact that NZ is the right place for me at this present moment of my life.

So, I touched down at 12.10pm yesterday and arrived home bout 1.45pm...Then it was straight back into my crazy life. I unpacked and freshened up (not that I needed to considering the weather I was greeted with!) and headed out the door to run some errands. No surprise really...Jean = busy!

I'm still very jet lagged but the feeling of being back in NZ where my friends are and life is, trumps the overwhelming tiredness I am currently feeling. It was great to be back at cession again tonite. And what was better was that feeling of freshness and renewed perspective and hunger to be back at church and 'getting stuck in'.

I was also a recipient of some rather exciting news but coz it's not my place to tell, that named person can announce it to the world (if you choose to) in their own time! I was very stoked...

Well, I'm off to try and get some decent 40 winks before the week ahead creeps up.

It's good to be back........Aaaaahhhhhh
p/s: photos will come when I have some time to organise the mammoth pile.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

4 weeks down, 1 more to go

Well, well, well...I can't believe it's been a motnh since I left Auckland for my holiday. Since then I've been in 3 cities (1 new city and 2 others I've been to), travel many miles, hopped on and off the plane too many times to count and eaten WAY too much.

It has been a good month and it was definitely a much needed holiday. I needed to go away and gain some perspective on things in my life. I just needed space, clearity of mind. Last year, I fell victim to a build up (over a few years) of doing too much, expecting too much and giving back too little to myself.

I started to lose interest in a lot of what I was doing. The area that suffered most was ministry. There was no more hunger, passion and love in what I did/gave. I hated that feeling and by trying to make up for the lack of everything, I pushed myself harder in other areas (work, uni) to try and find this hunger, passion, drive and love again. Even though I really enjoyed uni and competition season last year and found a job that I now love, it did more harm then good at the time. I was a tap whose reserves were running out and instead of turning the tap off to let the reserve refill, I kept draining it.

I had nothing left to give to anyone, esp myself, by the year's end...

So with 1 more week left of my holiday to go, I can't wait to get back into the swing of things again. I already have a list of things (that started even before I left for my holiday!!!) that need to be attended to the minute I arrive home. However, it will require a lot of smart planning so as to not end up in the same position again.

I had a hard year and instead of leaning on God, trusting Him and listening to what He was trying to say to me through my friends, I decided to do it my way. It was very humbling. The big man and myself didn't have a particularly good year together. At the time, it didn't seem like He was there but He was. How do I know this? Well, just look at the amazing support system He has put around awesome friends (there's too many of you to name and I don't want to be guilty of leaving anyone out). These people aren't just those that I see on a fairly regular basis but also those who are overseas, those that I can just pick up the phone and have a conversation with for hours on end.

This year will very much be a year for me to be intentional with every part of my walk with God. Sounds so contrived...having to be intentional but I guess I need to start somewhere or it'll never happen. And this will start with me making sure I have at least 1 conversation with Him and then 2, then 3 then hopefully it'll just happen without thinking. After making the step to start talking to Him, I then need to learn to listen. I tend to be really bad at that. Since I suck at keeping to my Bible reading, I'll have to try and figure out a way to keep at it...

I can't wait to go back to Auckland and get going with uni and work and church this year. But with 1 more week remaining of my holiday, I am going to enjoy it and make the most of it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too much eating...

...pretty much sums up what I've been doing over the past week! Since being back in Malaysia, I've been doing more eating than I really should, esp since I have friends around.

I've put on WAY too much weight and losing it is definitely a priority when I get back to NZ. It's been good taking my friends around and letting them experience proper Malaysian food as opposed to the crap that is being served in Auckland. Sad but true...

Everyone has enjoyed every meal that we've had. It's a pity that one of them will be heading back home tomoz as there is so much more to try and we have barely scratched the surface; and this is after 14 meals + snacks over the past week! The others will be here for another week so will be taking them to have more food. They've also been able to experience the Malaysia shopping malls in between all the eating to try and walk off some of the food consumed. Again, it's way better than Sylvia Park.

Apart from that, I really don't have much to offer in terms of news. I was looking at my diary the otehr day and noticed that I'm already looking really busy the minute I set foot back into Auckland. Oh well...I'll just leave that at the back of my mind until the time comes. In the mean time, I'll just keep eating...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Vietnam, Singapore

It is the 2nd day of Chinese New Year and celebrations are much different to when I was growing up. This time round, it is a lot quieter and low key; no big family get together and dinner or big queues from auntie to auntie/uncle to uncle asking for red packets (a tradition where the unmarrieds receive red packets from marrieds filled with money).

Anyhow, I'm back in KL after being in Vietnam and Singapore for 1.5 weeks. The trip started off in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with a reunion with my friends. It was nice to see familiar NZ faces again after such a long time. I hadn't seent these friends seen they left NZ 2 months ago.

In general, I found Vietnam extremely over rated. I was very disappointed but nonetheless a good experience. Traffic in Vietnam came as a total shock to me. I thought Malaysian traffic was bad but Vietnam was 10x worse! There is no sense of care or safety. There are also no road rules. On a one way street, don't expect traffic to come from only 1 way...traffic still comes from the other direction! Car/motorcycle horns constantly fill the air. Horns are not used as they are in NZ to voice annoyance or anger but more as a way to say that "I'm behind you" or "Watch it, I'm coming through and get out of my way". It was a rare sight to see only 1 or 2ppl on a motorcycle but rather a family of 4 or 5! It was unbelievable...

Back to food, most food was sub-par. A lot of eating was seen but not a lot of feeding. We never felt like we ever had been fed after each meal, feeling hungry again after 2 hrs. Having said that, there were 2 meals that were VERY enjoyable-'Pho' and 'Ban Xeo', traditional Vietnamese soup noodles and Vietnamese panckae respectively. Apart from that, all very disappointing.

My reflections on Vietnam: it's worse than Malaysia...I guess I can't complian anymore; Malaysia, though I never intend to leave here ever again is much better than Vietnam in terms of economically, hygiene, food and mentality.

After a week in Vietnam, we headed of to Singapore. Originally, this was the leg of the trip that I was least looking forward to but I was proven wrong.

The highlight of the Singapore trip was a dinner at Aurum. It is one of the few molecular gastronomy restaurants in Asia. My friend found the website while we were still in NZ and after checking it out and asking round we decided we'd make a nite of it. We were VERY impressed with the food, service needed some work but the food made up for it. You'll have to wait for photos....

I had their degustation menu that was on offer that nite. 9 courses, 1 cocktail & 2 glasses of wine later...I was very very satisfied. I'd be back in a heartbeat. (I'll dedicate a seperate post to do justice to the food and along with it photos, so hang in there).

The following nite, we went to try out Les Amis. It has been up and running for many years now and has definitely made a real name for itself in the Culinary scene. However, we were quite disappointed especially after the meal we had the nite before at Aurum. A real anti climax...Service was amazing but food didn't match up to it. Wine list was ridiculously huge but interior design and layout was good. They just needed to work on the flavours and combination of each dish considering the prices they charge! Oh I know.

So, I'm back in KL now with the mob and it's pretty quiet. But we are still doing heaps of eating, what else?! They'll be here for another week or so, which equates to MORE eating...

Tomoz we are heading up to Genting Highlands. As the name suggests it is a highlands situated in the East Coast of mainland Malaysia. It is a popular holiday location for both locals and tourists alike as it is nice a cool (~16-20C) as oppose to the usual hot and humid weather. It should be a good day out...

Til the next post...

p/s: I don't have anyway of downloading photos from my camera to the computer thus I have not posted any. I will do so asap when I get my hands on a cable or wait til I get back to NZ. I do apologise...I am very annoyed at myself for forgetting to bring it with me. :(

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Latest haps

As most of you know, I was very much looking forward to the plethora of food that is normally on offer in Malaysia. The variety is still evident and probably even increased. However, I have been sadly disappointed...

I don't know if it is just me and my standards/expectations have gone up or the the care and quality that goes into preparing a dish has gone down the drain! I think in some occasions it is me but more often than not, the care factor is definitely no more there. Very sad...

For a country with such incredible food to offer, why is it that they can't even get that right?! *sigh*

Anyhow, despite a few sub-par experiences there have been a couple of meals that have been rather good. Last nite I had dinner with my cousin, his new girlfriend and Auntie Jacqie and the family. What we had was a typical Chinese meal where you order an array of dishes to share and it is to be eaten with rice. We had 1 large crab tossed in a spiced salted egg sauce, vege medley in spicy shrimp paste, a whole chix just light poached serve with spring onion/ginger oil, bbq pork, red wine braised pork ribs and a traditional Chinese New Year dish (this I can't explain..). I forgot to bring the camera out but we will be back there again when my friends are up in KL. I will make sure I don't forget it then!

Earlier in the day, dad and I headed into the city-something I hate with utter passion-but it had to be done. We needed to go into the bank to sort some stuff out. But we then headed to a Japanese restaurant a little while away. This place was called Wa-Raku. It is supposed to be a fine-dining Jap restaurant. It's prices definitely reflected that but the food, though not bad but for it's prices, I expected a little more...

We've yet to battle the shopping malls again as today is a public holiday, I told dad I'm not even attempting that feat. If you think Botany and Sylvia Park are a nightmare....multiply that by 20 and that's what it's like here!

On Mon, I spent a few hours at the hairdressers and treated myself. The photo will come, Mrs O...I promise. Just be patient.... :D It's much shorter, which I really wanted and it has been thinned out. It is also no longer copper/goldish rather light brown with a redish tinge through out. I quite like it though it wasn't quite what I expected. Actually, I didn't really know what to expect since I told the hairdresser that she could do whatever she wanted but within reason. A rather interesting experience, I must say...You proud of me, Melissa...?

Well, only a few days to go before I'm off to Vietnam and catching up with the gang.

Til the next adventures...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

OFFICIALLY and finally on holiday

Well, well, well...As of yesterday, I am officially on holiday. By this, I mean that I am many many miles away from receiving calls from work asking me to fill in when I'm supposed to have finish work on NY eve. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my new job but when you are suppose to be on holiday and have to go into work..that's not so cool).

Anyhow, I flew out early arvo yesterday and arrived safely in KL later that nite. There is a 5hr time difference and currently still running on NZ time. Thus, haven't had much sleep; actually, sleep has been rather lacking all week. The 10hr flight was torture but nonetheless, I'm off the plane now. Since being in Melb, I've had quite a strong hatred for flying. Every year for 3.5yrs, I flew back and forth between Melb and KL 4 times a year with each leg of the trip taking 8hrs long. So now, the thought of flying really fills me with dread.

So, dad and Auntie Jacqie (a long time family friend of ours) came by and picked me up from the airport and we headed for supper. It was good...I'm looking forward to more food to come. Tonite, we are having dinner with my dad's sister and the family. I'm looking forward to seeing the kids again and just reconnecting with them. They have grown up HEAPS....and of course, I'm looking forward to the food too! I'll try and remember to take photos.

This past week was originally assigned for me to get a whole heap of cleaning, organising and packing done before I left. However, for those of you whom I have told bout my boss and his arm, I ended giving him Mon & Tues. But me being me, I sucked myself into working Wed as well and somehow managed to say to him that I'll give him a half day on Fri. So, I pretty much worked all week. How do I always get myself into situations like that?!

Due to the work situation, I was rather stressed out and rushed when it came to organising my packing. It did get done and I remembered everything that I needed to bring too. Oh, and I came in under weight!!! Considering how much I had to bring back as prezzies, I was VERY surprised.

I can't really say in one word how I feel bout this trip coz there is no one word to describe it but rather many words; excited, nervous, apprehensive...I'm excited to reconnect with family that I haven't seen for many years and had very little communication with them too. I'm excited about my trip to Vietnam and Singapore. I'm excited about being able to travel with friends. But I am nervous and apprehensive because everything is different. Nervous coz I don't know what to expect. Apprehensive coz I am away from my home (I never thought I'd say it but yes, NZ is home) and my support system for 5 weeks. It's the longest I have ever been away from my friends, whom I so heavily rely on to stay sane. (If I have never said how much I appreciate you...hear it now: I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU!!!). I'm nervous and apprehensive coz I feel like an outsider, a foreigner in my country of birth-will elaborate on this at a later time/day/post.

Despite this though, I will definitely make sure I enjoy this trip. It is a much needed break from work, uni & cooking in general. I guess what I hoping to gain from this trip is some perspective. Having had a rough year last year, I'm really hoping that with this break I'll come back refresh and ready for what the year has installed but also to be able to handle the bad as well as the good with greater strength and knowledge that in the larger scheme of things, ALL IS GOOD.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More painting

Rebecca and I have been talking bout getting a piece of painting done for a while now. And tonite, she came over and we finally got it done. It's similar to the one that I did yesterday but obviously slightly different. Enjoy...

The finished product

I'm really enjoying this painting business...Hopefully, it's something I can keep at when I'm back at uni and have a manic timetable. :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I'm bored!

Yes, what else is new?!! Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying my time off but with nothing much to do I get bored easily...

I have found something to entertain myself...PAINTING! Now, I'm not a painter nor am I artistic in any way but it's something I've always wanted to dabble in. So here is my first...It's not great but I guess it'll do for a first go.

The writing on it is people, places, events, things that all have speacial significance to me

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to reality

The past month has been a rather mad one, filled with many (ridiculous) hours at work and lack of sleep.

As most of you would know I've started a new job at Merediths. It's been bout a month and a half now and I have to say...I really love it. There's no feeling of dread of having to go to work each day and no counting down the hours til the end of the shift and I get to go home. The rest of the team are brilliant-not just as people but at their work too. It just makes it so much more enjoyable when others that you work with know their job well too. We work together like a very well oiled machine.

I've had a few nites (Xmas break and New Yrs Eve) where I'd be the social bunny and have a few drinks with them and it's been great getting to know them on a slightly more casual level. (I am otherwise very 'unsociable'. I refuse to have a staffy coz I've got to drive home and would much rather hit the sack then stay up any later).

It has however, been extremely hard work. The hours more than anything else. I did 2 weeks of full time work and clocked up about 60+hrs each week. But it's been worth it, esp with being able to pick up things a little faster than if I were to only work 2 days-which was the original plan.

Apart from work, I've been house sitting out in Sandringham and am back home now. It was nice to be closer to work and save on the travelling but it wasn't a particularly nice house so you won't see me back there in a hurry...

I managed to get Xmas off last yr and I had a good Xmas too. Mom got a few invites and so we had lunch at the Fussner's and then dinner at the Lee's. All in all, great food and awesome company. I was also able to spend Xmas eve at the beach to start the tanning process and the weather permitted it!!! Boxing day was pretty low key considering I was back at work the following day.

My New Yrs Eve plans went out the window real quickly when I found out I had to work. Oh the things we sacrifice when working in the Hospo Industry...It didn't actually turn out too badly though. We ended up finishing work bout 11.45pm. We then popped some Champerz and had our own lil' countdown. We then just chilled out at work for the next few hours over numerous bottles of opened wine, which obviously wouldn't keep over the 2 weeks that we would be closed. Hunger started to set in and we made our way down the road to some Chinese shop which opened til 5am and had supper. So it was a nice way to usher in the New Year with some very decent people.

We are now officially on holiday-we are closed til Jan 15. And I'm totally digging it! It's been great to have some time off. I've spent 1 day at the beach already and have a few more planned before I head away. I've also been able to catch some movies and will be catching a jazz gig this Friday. I'm really looking forward to that, seeing as I've been working and haven't been able to go to any. Should be good.

So what's install for this coming year for Jean? A lot!

For starters, I'm going away for a much deserved 5 week holiday to Kl, Vietnam and Singapore. Then back to uni for 1 final yr (and this time it really is the last year!). In the midst of the madness of uni, we'll be starting plans for competition and maybe trying to fit in a few more small competitions on the side. I'm also hoping to make a weekend trip to Melb for my 5yr reunion at PLC.

I guess most of all, I really want this year to be a year where things start to come together and make sense. For me to build a better relationship with God. To be able to call Him "Father" and really mean it. To be able to REALLY lean on Him. To be able to REALLY trust Him. To be able to just TRUST that what will be is what is...

2007 was a particularly trying year and I can't say that it was my favourite year. But, I'll try and learn from what the year was to make this year a better one...

Here's to 2008! Happy New Year, all...