Dear 17-year old me

February 22, 2020: Last day of your first culinary arts course

It only took us 10 years before taking our first culinary class at an actual culinary school. It was worth the wait! It only goes to show that oftentimes the thing we always wanted, truly wanted, will come with patience and faith. 

Looking back, had you taken that road defiantly would have changed your passion and appreciation for food. You had to learn over the course of ten years why it matters, how cooking makes you feel, and what about food makes it a big part of your identity. The uncertainty of waiting, yearning for the thing you wanted to do only made the experience that much richer. 

Wearing the pristine white chef’s coat, top hat, and apron for the first time became a proclamation to genuinely and openly put yourself into the world with confidence. 

This is me. This is the woman that God is making me to be.

And what an exhilarating feeling it was! The 6:30 AM wake up routine during cold winter Saturdays won’t matter. Showing up was more important. Acting on your values with integrity matters. 

Though the next 10 years of waiting for this moment may seem too long, frustrating, and most of all exhaustive, the day will come at the right moment. You will feel with every bone in your body that this moment is the right moment. So simmer down. Take time to discover. Making a master stock requires the right ingredients, time and patience to marry all the flavours together. So do you. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Faith is the salt that will help you heal, bring you hope and determination. Sprinkle it in every aspect of your life, generously. 

To my future children

I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait to watch you grow and see the people you’ll become. Most of all, I can’t wait to show you the world that God created for His children.

Year after year, your father and I will dread the moment you leave home in search of your independence and personhood. I hope to have instilled in you enough courage to take risks, with tremendous faith that God will be your guide, ally, and friend throughout your journey. I hope to teach you enough discipline to challenge yourself to do your best in everything you do. I hope to show you compassion and empathy to treat others with dignity and respect.

There may be times when you’d stumble. Or times when you may think that I would be mad enough to stop loving you or caring for you. Hear this now:

I will always support you. I will always forgive you. I will always love you.

That my darlings will never falter. Though, that also doesn’t mean that I won’t give you some tough love from time to time.

As I await the time you’d come into my life, please know that you are always in my thoughts and forever in my heart. I vow to slowly but surely blossom into the woman you would be proud to call your mother.

Always,

K (a.k.a your mom)

P.S. Don’t worry, I also vow to not be a helicopter parent. Mistakes and failures are pretty good teachers. Make them often.

Re: When you live life in gratitude

I was in the elevator on my way home from work when I felt a faint yet warm feeling of relief. Shoulders relaxed with a soft smile on my face, all I can think of was how thankful I am to be able to live the life that I do.

I’m not saying that to boast or to insinuate at all that I’m living life as comfortably as Nick Young’s family in Crazy Rich Asians. In fact, I’m far from that. Nonetheless, I still feel incredibly grateful to have a cozy home, food in the fridge, friends I can lean on and the spare change in my bank account after the rent money has been taken out.

You don’t have to live a perfect or lavish life to feel grateful.

Often we think of life as cruel because of the circumstances that life has dealt us. And absolutely, sometimes we go through a period of complete and utter despair. But the brilliant thing about being human is that even though life happens in all of its cruelties there will always be light when we choose to see it. Every hardship we go through comes with a lesson to learn, and more importantly, an element that makes us even more resilient.

When you live life in gratitude, it’s not about just looking at life through an optimistic lens. It’s seeing life for what it is – with all its messiness, stress, anger, uncertainty – and being okay with it. All of it. And doing so not because of complacency or passivity. But because you, as an individual part of a greater whole, are trying your best to be a better person, son/daughter, parent, friend, professional and so on anyway.

None of this is revolutionary. It’s just something that needs to be put out in the world more often.

Always have a grateful heart.

Always,

K

Dear 2016

14570419_10154549153319948_833745159854235337_n

Starting out strong and positive, I never would have thought that it would end like this. Well, to be fair I don’t recall having expectations, just goals that I hoped to accomplish. In literally a year, my life has changed. I changed. For many reasons it would be very easy for me to say that you have only brought me sadness and pain. Yes, I’ve had to endure my grandmother’s passing, a difficult breakup and multiple job rejections, just to name a few. But I refuse to see you as a crappy year. There’s always two sides of a coin. So although, I’ve had to endure a lot of unfortunate circumstances, you, 2016, have been one of my most rewarding years.

You have taught me so much about the value of patience and perseverance. Often time, life has a very different timeline than we do. So, even though I was working really hard and going to interviews yet had no luck finding a full time role for a few months, I ended up landing an opportunity at the exact time I needed to land it. When we’re in the thick of it all, it can be so easy to lose patience, especially when we want it so badly. Granted, shouldn’t wanting something so bad also be the reason why we should keep holding on? It was a good enough reason for me.

You, 2016, also brought out someone I’ve been missing. Someone I tucked away deep inside of me. You’ve helped me see how important it is to be unapologetically me. Regardless of what other people may say. Regardless of what other people may think. Regardless of the insecurities, fears and anxieties that I may have. At the end of the day, this is who I am, no one else.

You’ve taught me about love, real love, and what that actually looks like, feels like, smells like, to me. It takes, well, real work to get real love. There are no shortcuts or cheat sheets you can use to get through the ugly fights and misunderstandings. You have to get through them together even when it’s difficult to let go of your pride and fears. There’s no such thing as being ‘ready’ for it either. Real love is rare because nowadays, we buy into the dream of falling in love more than seeing the reality of what it takes to stay in love. It’s worth every effort. Always.

Most of all, you, 2016, have taught me to take care of myself. I’m not talking about how to be independent. I mean actually take care of me and my needs, because they matter just as much everyone else’s.

So, 2017, you have big shoes to fill. I guess we’ll just have to take it one step at a time

Always,

K

P.S. There’s no need for New Year’s resolutions. Make your time count now. It’s the only time we have.