Thursday, November 24, 2011

random things that make me happy

I've just finished reading Neil Pasricha's The Book of Awesome. It was a fun read, with Neil listing things that are "awesome" and it made me want to do a list of my own, on a much smaller scale, that is.

So, here are random things that are pretty awesome, to me. Some of these may have been in the book, too, but I assure you it's purely coincidence that both me and the author find it great.

  1. Popping bubble wrap. Come on, who doesn't like to pop bubble wrap? My Mom wouldn't often get exasperated because she keeps bubble wrap for future use or for storing breakable items such as vases, mugs, etc. And everytime I see one, I pop it before my Mom can use it, which leads to her telling me how I wasted a good length of bubble wrap, yada yada yada.
  2. The smell of freshly-baked bread. Ah, baked goodies. How I love them. Which is one of the reasons why I'm studying Pastry Arts. There's just something good about the smell of freshly-baked bread.
  3. Freshly laundered sheets. They smell good, the feel good, and what's more, it's clean. They give new meaning to a good night's sleep.
  4. Laughing over something that you just remembered. I do this. I'm the type of girl who laughs over something that happened yesterday, the other day, last week, last month, or even last year. When I remember something funny, whether it's something I read in a book, or one of my friend's crazy antics, I just give in and laugh. And this often happens while I'm alone, so people would look at me as if I'm crazy.
  5. Jumping into the deep, blue sea. During summer, my nephews, my cousin, my cousin's friends, and I would go to Kuya Robert's hometown in Antique. Their house is right along the beach so we'd often go for a dip in the sea. They have this small floating cottage made of bamboo, and there's a diving board built at the side. We'd usually climb the bamboo poles till we reach the top (about 8 feet high, I think), then we'd pinch our nose, close our eyes, and just.. Jump. Climbing is a little nerve-wrecking, our knees start to shake, but the feeling of free-falling into the deep sea is just awesome. It's only for a few seconds, but those seconds you feel free. And once you hit the cold water, you get hit with this feeling that hey, I just jumped from an 8-feet high board to the 15-feet deep sea.
  6. When my Mom cooks my fave dishes. My Mom never remembers what food I hate. She'd be all, "Why aren't you eating that?" during dinner and I'd go, "But Mom, I hate raisins." And the next time she cooks something with raisins, we'd have the same conversation all over again. But even with that one flaw, what's great about Mom is that she knows what I like. And nothing beats that feeling of happiness when I sit down at the table, and realized that Mom cooked all my favorites all at once.
  7. The smell of onions and garlic being sauteed. Back at home, when I had nothing to do, I'd sleep late, and wake up around noontime. And since my room is just beside our kitchen, the aroma of whatever's cooking would usually drift into my room. I'd wake up to the smell of sauteing garlic and onions, and my stomach would rumble just from the smell of it. There's something very familiar and comforting about that smell, not to mention the awareness that, in just a few minutes or so, lunch will be ready. And it'll be eating time again!
  8. The milky smell of babies. Babies have this milky-odor that's very comforting. And it's nice to cuddle with a baby, and maybe sniff him/her every once in a while.
  9. New socks. They feel nice and soft, and it's like my feet's able to breathe even while trap in a pair of shoes for hours.
  10. When my Dad texts me just to check how I am. I am a Daddy's Girl, but while my Dad and are close, we don't have that firmly-bonded relationship where we hang out together, do things together, and I share my everyday life with him. So when he texts me just to ask if I'm OK and to ask how I'm doing, it gives me a very warm feeling.
  11. The smell of books. One cannot be a bookworm and not love the smell of books. This may sound weird, but while waiting in line at the cashier in a bookstore, I'd be sniffing and smelling the book in my hand. Just one of my little quirks.
  12. Free WiFi. In this day and age of laptops, WiFi enable cellphones, tablets, iPods and iPads, wireless connection is a must. It's also the time where coffee shops and restaurants offer WiFi, but you have to order something to avail it. That's why it's so awesome when you encounter WiFis that aren't password protected. So, here's to people/establishments that share their wireless internet for everyone. Cheers to you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

my little home away from home

Being an only child, I've always had to battle my parents (well, my Dad, especially) for independence. My Mom taught me to be independent at a young age - I was barely 8 years old when she taught me simple house chores like washing the dishes, sweeping/mopping the floor, doing my own laundry and ironing.

From there we moved on to basic kitchen duties, where I started washing and peeling veggies. Then came chopping, gutting out fishes, and eventually, cooking. I know how to cook basic dishes - adobo, sinigang (with the benefit of Maggi's sinigang mix), spaghetti, tinola, omelets, etc, thanks to Mom. Although when I get lazy, I do instant noodles and canned goods, but I try not to make a habit out of it, because it's not healthy, yada yada yada.

That was the time I discovered the miracle of cookbooks. Mom encouraged me to explore, so I'd make dishes on a trial and error basis (whatever the results, we'd still eat it), following the recipe. But cooking isn't my first love. Baking is. So, here I am. But I'll get back to that.

It's ironic, because from the time I was a kid, my Mom preached about how important it is to know my way around the house, because someday I'm gonna make my way in the world and no one's gonna be doing it for me, but I had to fight my Dad tooth and nail before he let me be on my own.

Granted, that if he said yes before, I'd be studying Medicine at Manila, not Pastry Arts here in Cebu. And baking being my first love, I'm not sure how I currently feel about that. I don't have regrets about not going into Medicine, but when the taxi I rode in (I usually take the jeep, but I went to Unitop and bought three mono-bloc chairs) passed by Cebu Institute of Medicine the other day, I felt a twinge of something. Just a hint of what could be.

So anyway, I was beyond thrilled when my Dad told me I could study here in Cebu. Of course, that might be attributed to the fact that there are no decent cooking schools back home. My Mom knows for a fact that I'd do fine by myself, but my Dad still needs a little convincing. After all, I'm his one and only baby girl. ♥

This is the first time I'm gonna be away from home and from my parents for a long time. The last time I was at Manila, I was there for about for months or so, but this time I'll be gone for a minimum of 10 months. I miss them both so badly, not to mention Lex, but still. This is exactly where I want to be.

I agree with Dorothy. Indeed, there's no place like home! But I sure put in some effort into making my little place feel like home.

From outside the door.

Another view from the outside.

Behind the door. Slippers, sandals, shoes. And I'm wearing the fluffy bedroom slippers.

Everything but the kitchen sink! =)

Making do with a table for my little kitchenette. There's my rice cooker, electric heater, and electric stove so I can cook.

My toilet.

My bed. The top bunk is messy, seeing as how nobody sleeps there. So I just dump my stuff on it. And there's my teeny, tiny electric fan. Plus my freshly laundered clothes beside it, waiting to be ironed.

Where I sleep. And there's my precious book, Professional Baking. ♥

My dining table, courtesy of Kuya Larry. Thanks! My laptop and Kindle take up space, though.

The closet. Messy, as always.

The small screened balcony where I hang the wet clothes after I wash them.

It's not much, but it's home. My home. =)

Friday, November 18, 2011

i survived my first week

"The only way to master this is to answer more problems. So, I'm going to give you more problems."
-Chef Nick

Then he hands out papers. And everybody in class groans.

That's the thing about schools. No matter if you're elementary, high school, college, graduate school, or even in culinary school, homework and assignments are something to be groaned about. And, when Chef told us that he was gonna postpone our exam, everybody pumped their fists and said, "Yes!" School will be school, and students, no matter how old, will be students.

I love our school. We get free WiFi access, the bathrooms are clean (and they always have tissue paper), we can get water from the dispenser for free, and our classroom is air-conditioned (to the point where we all complain about the room being too cold). Of course, for the price we are paying, I'd say that we all deserve the best, don't you think?

I can't say the same for our current subject, though. Everything starts from the basics; and that's what we're doing right now. Math. Oh, I like Math, but now I'm rethinking it. Seeing all the numbers make me dizzy, and I'm starting to question myself if being a Pastry Chef is worth going through all these (yes, it is!).

So, Culinary Mathematics. We started with conversions, which is easy enough. And then we moved on to product costing, which made my hurt pound, but is fairly tolerable. But then there's the horror of recipe costing. and I don't know if I could take some more. At least our classes are over for the weekend. And thank God Chef Nick didn't give us any more assignments, like he did for the past 3 days.

Another thing about school that I just remembered, is how the students would go tho class early for the purpose of copying another classmate's homework. Not that we did any copying. But we did go in early, compared our answers, cheered when we got the same, then debated on who is right or wrong whenever the answers differ.

And I've made friends. Not the let's-hang-out-and-be-BFFs-together kind, though. Just the come-on-let's-sit-together kind. We still have more time to bond later on.

Oh, and speaking of friends, this shoutout goes to one of my BFFs, Janelle (I don't know why I keep putting her link, it's not as if she updates her blog, LOL). It's her 19th birthday today!

I miss you loads! =)

Monday, November 14, 2011

back to school

So.. Today was my first day. It was basic Culinary Mathematics, and it's basic Math all over again, but I had fun. All we did was introduce ourselves, listen to Chef Nick's short lecture (he's a Pastry Chef, and he's awesome), converted one unit to another (cups to pints, teaspoons to quarts, kilograms to ounces, etc.). It's not much yet, but we all gotta start somewhere, right?

And my batchmates are all nice (we're Batch 20). Most of them are under the Culinary Arts program, though. Only two of us are doing the Pastry Arts thing. But it doesn't matter, coz we're all together for our classroom lectures, and there are Pastry Arts students from the previous batch.

Chef Nick mentioned something about having all Pastry Arts students gather and making a gingerbread Christmas village, which is ambitious (he said it himself). But if we do proceed with that plan, OMG, I can't wait!

Anyway, can't blog long. I gotta make visual aids to help me memorize the conversion units. Gah. And we've got assignments. Boohoooo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

it's my first day alone

I forgot who sang that, but when I was younger my Dad would play songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's, and I remembered that one.

So, last night was the first night I spent alone here. My friend, Jin, and I accompanied my Mom to the pier, where she boarded the slow boat leaving at 10 PM. My room feels so quiet with only me in it, but it's not unpleasant. I actually like being alone, and now I have more time to read (because I have no TV, and I have no desire to get one). Afterwards we split shared a banana split, then we walked all the way to my place.

I attended our orientation yesterday, and I got to meet my classmates. It's nice, because we sorta bonded despite our differences - courses, ages, nationality (we have a Korean classmate). Also, the one who oriented us, told us, "Students, what you cook.. You will eat." And I thought, "Oh God, hopefully I'd finally gain weight!"

Classes start Monday, and I'm so excited. My journey to being a pastry chef starts right now. ♥

Here's a little something one of my best friends, Janelle, gave me before I left.
It's a t-shirt, with the above picture printed on it. Fitting, don't you think?
*For your souvenir and printing needs, visit Janz' shop at Real St, Tacloban City, across the Medical Arts Bldg of Bethany Hospital.
It's kinda hard to miss. Just look for a cute, purple shop. =)*

Sunday, November 6, 2011

love love love

I got bored, I had nothing to blab blog about, so I thought, why not? I started the 10 Day You Challenge, and this is my second post about it.

So, here goes.
  1. Baking. This is the ultimate hobby, stress-reliever, and anti-depressant all in one. A friend once told me my passion lies in baking, and I'm thinking she was right. I've always wanted to be a pastry chef, and I'm working on that dream.
  2. Eating. This goes hand in hand with baking, and cooking, too. What I cook, I eat. What other people cook, I also eat. I'm not a picky eater, not much (I don't eat okra, though - even I have limits). If it's edible, and it's yummy, I'd eat it. Good thing I'm blessed with a fast metabolism, and I always maintain a 24-inch waistline no matter how much I eat.
  3. Reading. Now, this is something I wouldn't be able to live without. To me, reading is a necessity. It's more as important as the air I breathe, and, no, I'm not exaggerating. I started reading looking at pictures when I was as young as 3. I remember my yaya (nanny) had a hard time feeding me, as I'd insist on eating with a book spread out next to my plate. Check out my Goodreads profile.
  4. Travelling. We (me, my nephews, my cousin and her friends/co-workers) travel to a new place once a year, usually in the summer. So far, the best place I've been to was Coron, Palawan and Singapore.
  5. Beaches. I love everything about the sea. Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, island hopping. I'm a certified beach bum. One of these days, I'ma try scuba diving, too. I love the Philippines, because of its pristine beaches. Proud Pinay.
  6. Sunsets. I love watching the sun set. I like the way the sky changes its color from blue, to orange, red, purple.. Until it turns black as night.
  7. My Ngit♥. I'm 22 years old, and I've been with only one guy. He was my first boyfriend; we broke up, then got back together. We call each other Ngit, short for Pangit, which is the Filipino word for ugly. Weird, huh? But that's a story for another day post.
  8. My Mom and my Dad. That's two, I know, but I'm counting my parents as one. Because that's how I see them: they're a unit. Partners. I have the coolest parents, ever. I'm an only child, but I never had curfews. I never got everything I asked for (how only children get everything they want is such a myth), but I received everything I need. My parents raised me to be what I am today, and I think they did an awesome job. I love them both so much.
  9. Last but not the least, I love my Daddy God. I know this is so cliched, but it doesn't make it any less true. My parents, my Mom especially, are both Catholics, and they raised me according to the religions teachings. Prayers and faith, those are two things my parents taught me not to lose. I believe in Him, and I know He's watching over me.

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