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.