I thought the following email to my family in the wee hours of 1 Dec 2008 should be a worthy entry documenting my days post graduation … Gosh, now everything I wrote looked like a blog entry, might as well.
Warning: This entry documents 22 days of my life, it may take you forever to read, live and understand how things work, don’t bother and don’t question, it is just about … My Life.
Remark: Some information were altered or modified for clarity since I last wrote to my family, some information (in fact, a lot) were updated, some information which was shared with my family I prefer to keep Privy & Confy on this journal entry , some information were elaborated for my memories.
Pix will be added coz it tells a story of my journey… (will be uploaded post Orlando trip).
From: Joys <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 2:28 AM
Subject: I am coming home, aren’t you happy? … hmm
To: “Choo, Beng Kuan” <…>, “Lawrence. Sim” <…>, Pei San Lim <…>, “owd…” <…>, Eileen gmail <…>
My dear husband
My dear sis and bro-in-law
My dear bro and sis-in-law
I am coming home 😉 Please let Dad and Mum know my flight details, it just got confirmed.
I graduated on 21 Nov … but I wasn’t bumming around … my detailed itinerary is as follows: (gosh I wrote like I was updating my blog entry, later I will just cut and paste into my blog ;p)
22-23 Nov, Sat/Sun. Spent most of 22 & 23 sleeping (a little end-of-school-term feel, a little jet-lag feel). BK and I were at a neighbour‘s home for chat and wine till 1.30am after we had a Malaysian/Singaporean dinner at Nonya Grill in Missouri City, about 45 min outside Houston. A celebration of friendship … and my graduation!
~ French Bread with 2 Sunny-side Up ~
We woke up early for breakfast at our fav French Riviera Bakery Cafe – French baguette with 2 sunny sides up and a cup of coffee. Then I napped through most of Sat and Sun morn, missing BK’s call before he boarded the flight to Singapore. By the time I was alert on Sun, BK was close to reaching Singapore.
Joined my last Houston Dessert Meetup session at Le Petit Paris Bakery in Spring, arranged to meet my secondary classmate Vivian there after 20 long years since we were 16. Nice!
24-26 Nov, Mon-Wed. Back at the culinary institute for extra sessions, since the Chefs had to forego their 1 week hols. The sessions were meant to make up lost hours due to hurricane, my class already completed the required hours as Chef Philippe arranged for class to start 45min earlier than normal everyday for a couple of wks.
~ 24 Nov ~ Farewell lunch with Jennie and Rafaella before Rafa left for Brazil.
~ With Jennie & Rafaella ~
~ 25 Nov ~ Farewell lunch with my classmates – 6 of us showed up. Beers and margaritas for all, except for Elizabeth who is underage at 18.
~ 6 of us kept to the appointment ~
~ 26 Nov ~ A special lunch for the students cooked by the Chefs … Serviced style. Really nice, but I preferred to have them lunch with us.
Dinner with some Singaporean/Malaysian friends I got to know in Houston at Guoming’s apartment, the guys bought the ingredients and Guoming prep steamboat for us, they bought durians for desserts [not too late for them to find out then I do not eat durian], I made assorted cookies.
~ Having Fun at Our Thanksgiving Eve Gathering, Our Way ~
27 Nov, Thur (Thanksgiving). Returned to my apt about 4am after playing a fun card game Bonanza – all about beans. I found out for the past 3 nights I drove without turning on the head lamp fully unknowingly (so much for an experienced driver, ha)??
Woke up about 11, Bella had invited me to her home for Thanksgiving. I was served Puerto Rican food ~ Turkey with tomato rice, mashed potatoes with corn and berry sauce cooked by her mum Sally, with pumpkin pie and pecan pie from Flyer Saucer.
~ With Alexandra and Her Mom Sally ~
Planned to meet David and Garren for dinner but knocked out before 6. Woke up at 10pm, shortly Sarah called, she was in the Heights vicinity with her boyfriend Charles and invited me to join them for a drink. We would not have many other opportunities to meet after. I was introduced to Oatmeal Cookie cocktail … nice, and had a few sips of Bud Light. Charles helped me with the rest. He showed me some bar tricks so I won’t be fooled. We chatted till past 3. Told Sarah, I am lucky I knew her late in my mid-life or I will be drinking my nights away … Slept at 5+am.
~ An "Oatmeal Cookie" and A Beer Later ~
28 Nov (Black Friday). Received sms from Garren at 5.50am asking if I was joining them for shopping. Nope, I wasn’t ready to forgo sleep for cheaper deals. I found out later in the day they had not slept that night. About noon, I drove to Katy Mills… more coz I haven’t been there. Wasn’t in the mood to shop, spent some time reading in Book-A-Million, bought a few books even with no deals… bought some bake wares … Better at supermarket shopping, was at HEB megastore at Gessner till 10 … I spent quite a bit [and happy] ;p
29 Nov, Sat. Updated blog on Graduation, a week overdue. I found it difficult to catch up with past entries. So said, be present. I had planned to drive to San Antonio, but I didn’t feel like it then.
Drove to RAO’s Bakery in Spring, it was part of Houston Dessert Meetup agenda in Jan09, but I will not be here so I checked it out first. Spent afternoon reading till about 3. Arranged with Jennifer to visit Phoenicia for the first time ~ she was funny, like a tourist at home. We had dinner at House of Bowls, spent half hour lost in BW 8/1-10 connection, turned back to Westheimer and took 610N/E instead.
30 Nov, Sun. Woke up at 2+am, guessed it was too cold. Couldn’t sleep, again surfed online resources, also listed international shipping contact details as my international shipping was not arranged yet, put up To-Do list. 10am, I was exhausted. Slept till 1pm.
SQ flight back to Singapore was confirmed. Confirmed with Chef in Singapore about our appointment on 13 Dec. Printed some pix, wrote some cards … sad, distracted. Procrastinated to study Servsafe. Couldn’t sleep, again slept at 4.
1 Dec, Mon. Met Chef Kris at about 11am for career plan discussion, … one fine lesson learnt from him ~ plan and be objective-driven. My vision and objectives remained unchanged, though I need to understand the Singapore market better. I am clear that family holds an important place in the plan. We chatted. Side track – I believe he can be an authority in sous vide if he wants to, I researched the topic a while back coz he spoke about it passionately a couple of times. Chef Kris set up Servsafe for me to complete at home the next day, free & easy.
Chef Philippe handed me the Letter and copies he had prepared for me. I am thankful for every word he put on my letter, the rest is up to me to live up to and exceed expectations. Again, never to disappoint or I never did … Forwarded my career plan to Chef, he returned with a list of places I can consider in future for extra lessons to upgrade my skills, which was listed as one of the key objectives in my career plan. Thank you, Chef!
I completed writing my cards to the individuals ~ each with a personal note. Each card was specially chosen for the individual, I got a card for CIAML too – a card printed with a message I want to convey to everyone. Communicated my final thank and hugs for the individuals at the institute. I decided that it is going to be the last time … The last time.
~ With Sandra @ House of Bowl ~
Had dinner with Sandra at House of Bowls – she preferred to have noodles and we had beef hor fun (rice noodles), egg plants which we both liked, and I must introduce her to the pepper scallion chicken wings which I always enjoyed. Had Hong Kong milk tea too.
Back in the apartment, received confirmation email from Chef in Orlando that I can drop by the school for a visit and a chat on 3 Dec. I decided to make a day trip on Southwest Airline, had to pay more for the last minute change for return leg so that I can have a free day on Thursday to do some packing for shipping. Confirmed flight to Chicago for Sun too, had to pay double for the flight. Just 2 days early, I would only have to pay $240, couldn’t do so earlier as I was waiting for the Orlando trip to be confirmed, as unused Southwest Airline tickets can be used for future purchase but not cancelled. Whoosh it, decided not to let it bother me.
2 Dec, Tues. Met Jennie for breakfast at French Riviera Bakery. We had a good chat, decided to meet up again during the week when we have the chance to. Will miss her. She is the big sister that constantly watched over me and made sure things worked for me in Houston. She told me, I will see you next year … I went, oh you are visiting Indonesia soon? She said No, I have no passport. We will meet in the US ;~ Was that a request or was that a prophecy … ha. Love the 3 mice, hopefully not 3 blind mice 😉 She told me it signified the friendship between her, Rafa and me, sweet.
My Last Lesson … I knew she did a lot of homework, lots. I am definitely going to miss my first French teacher lots. With her as a baseline ~ Who can I find in Singapore who will conscientiously pour over recipe book to help me understand words … Who will positively reinforce my learning with Tres bien when I pronounced a word rightly or constructed a sentence correctly … Who will watch and listen to how I pronounced words and encouragingly said I can hear it, when I wasn’t even confident of what I just uttered … Only Sandra. The word that got my tongue all twisted: ~ûler .. brû~ … brûler. Got a vocab and verb book each … it will be fun to recognise and read paragraphs in bits and pieces and get the gist, even if I cannot read the sense out of every word. Je l’aime! Soon I am going to roam amazon.fr.
Still waiting for inspiration to do servsafe test … ha. Time: 11.31pm… now 2.32am…
3 Dec, Wed. This feels so crazy but I am going to do it.
On my Facebook, I updated my status last midnight Joycelyn has decided to fly to Orlando, for a couple of hours and back… Yes, all in a day. A friend commented on my FB: Disney World? My response: I am not so crazy … more purposeful than that ;p Yes, I am going to visit a shop, meet a person I was told to meet, ask whatever I got ready to ask and watch a sugar class in action.
That is how it is going to work for me to fit it all in a day:
To & Fro Orlando
Arrive in ORLANDO INTL (MCO) at 1:35 PM,
Depart ORLANDO INTL (MCO) at 7:30 PM.
Chef Charles Carroll wrote, “…I often hear many things from many students but the difference with you is you’re a “doer” You do what you say you’re going to do...”. I just realized it myself, doing what I said I am going to do ~ my commitment. Or more that it is him – like all individuals I look up to – I trust his recommendation and words, and I have no excuses not to pursue great advice.
4 Dec, Thur. I have better to start packing and know what goes into shipping, what goes into my luggage, what goes into someone else’s home, what goes into the trash. Indeed, I have mainly books, bake stuff. My gosh, my fridge is still loaded. Possibly have to steal some time to meet Vivian too before I leave.
5 Dec, Fri. Will be visiting Linda & George and little Aaron at Pearland, and of course passionate Scottie for the last time before I leave. Amongst the exchange of emails, Linda wrote “… and who wants to come walk Scottie? …”; Garren enthusiastically went, “… I volunteer Joys to go walk Scottie, since Scottie likes her. Kekeke”; Then George added, “And in return for the walk, Scottie will give Joy a Big Wet Slurping Kiss….lol.” Scottie is a 2 year old? schnauzer – a cutie, a smartie and a real charmer. I never really like dogs, coz they can get too passionate and overwhelming, but he is a sweet, real sweet. He actually can read my expression when I pouted my lips and he leaned forward to kiss me? BK loves dogs, but Scottie only likes ladies, ha.
6 Dec, Sat. My last weekend in Houston. Going to “chiong” (Chinese dialect, loosely translated as party but doesn’t sound right, so maybe hangout) at my fav bakery cafe and read. Possibly go Museum District and drive round Texas Medical District. I don’t know, so far, I have never been to where I plan to go except bakery cafes.
That evening, I will have my last dinner date with a great couple I got to know in Houston. Looking forward to it.
7 Dec, Sun. Flight to Chicago. Was supposed to stop over in Chicago en-route home but couldn’t confirm UA flight Chicago-Narita-Singapore. Completing a 2 Day Choc-Wine Pairing Workshop on 8-9 Dec. I am flying back to Houston instead to take a direct flight back to Singapore.
Sun/Dec 07 Depart HOUSTON HOBBY (HOU) at 12:15 PM
8-9 Dec, Mon-Tues. Choc-Wine Pairing Workshop at Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy. Chef Kris said to check out Alinea if there is one place I want to go – experience and understand the business philosophy.
10 Dec, Wed.
Arrive in HOUSTON HOBBY (HOU) at 11:45 AM
If all my stuff are in order, then I can have a relaxing day … err.
11 Dec, Thur. Goodbye Houston!
To my dearest friends, I will miss ya all!
To my loved ones in Singapore, I’ll be home in next 24h.
SQ Flight at 16:50h.
13 Dec, Sat. 05:30h arrive in Singapore. Appointment with Chef later in the morning. Family hours.
~ Home Sweet Home ~
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 12:26 AM
Subject: Redemption Booking Confirmation
Dear Ms xxx Joysxxx,
You have made a redemption booking with Singapore Airlines for the following trip:
Booking Reference Number: xxx
KrisFlyer Number: xxx
Passenger Name(s): MS JOYS xxx
E-Ticket Number: xxx
You are confirmed on the following flight(s):-
Flight No. : SQ61
Aircraft : B777-300ER
From : Houston(IAH – Intercontinental)
To : Moscow(DME – Domodedovo Intl)
Date : 11 December 2008
Departure : 16:50
Flight No. : SQ61
From : Moscow(DME – Domodedovo Intl)
To : Singapore(SIN – Changi Intl)
Date : 12 December 2008
Departure : 14:25