Monday, April 6, 2009

Lessons from my 100th post

As if by some karmic coincidence, I am writing my 100th post on my flight back to Perth, Australia. It has been almost exactly a year since I relocated temporarily to Singapore to be with my mother following dad’s passing… and this blog has been an avenue for me to indulge in my amateurish interests in food, photography and writing.

To say that the past year has been an emotional roller coaster ride is an understatement – I have, through stepping away from a job and life that I was so used to, learnt more about myself and my relationships than I would have ever imagined. Not surprisingly, food has been used as a metaphor through most of this… and in doing so, fed the words and squeezed the creative juices for my blog.

I have learnt first and foremost that my heart still aches whenever I think about my father, be it remembering him at his favourite restaurant to letting go of his liquor collection – but that I should be grateful that he still lives and resonates so strongly in my life.

I have discovered the joys of street food in Singapore – that I had only been a pretend foodie up till this point in my life without venturing out to the heartlands where ridiculously tasty and embarrassingly affordable food are whipped up by people who know and love what they do.

I have travelled across Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne … eaten myself silly through all of it but realising that the ingredients to a perfect meal don’t have to include pristine presentation or alluring ambience… that the comfort in food rests in finding your heart’s longing for something emotionally familiar.

I have in the process of my eating expeditions, discovered my deathrow meal of tonkotsu ramen in the charming city of Fukuoka. The Japanese are the most food conscious people in the world… period.

I have learnt that we can all stomach a little more tolerance and swallow our prejudices – the most delicious Singaporean dishes can be prepared by a Filipino domestic helper who’s passionate about the food of her adopted country – a person’s heritage doesn’t determine who they are and what they stand for.

I have learnt that being able to put food on the table through a job is a blessing, no matter how much you hate waking up in the morning and joining that rat race. Your job, like your life and relationships, is what you make of it.

I have, quite amusingly, learnt to eat slower to avoid the prospect of swallowing a star anise or chipping my tooth on a chopstick mid chew - CT scans of my thorax and dental work don’t come cheap.

And most importantly, I have come to understand why I am the way I am – that food has always formed a big part of my family and my life. Food, for as long as I can remember, has always peppered our conversations, garnished our relationships and flavoured our memories. The plate of life and the things that matter taste a whole lot better with food included in the serving - and maybe its taken me a year and a hundred posts to realise this - but that in itself is something that we should all be happy to be hungry for.


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