I have been planning to write this entry the past few weeks but didn’t quite know how to. I wish there was an easier way to explain the plethora of emotions I went through the past months (or even years) leading up to the big day; the big day being my first day as a student chef at Le Cordon Bleu London pursuing the prestigious Le Grande Diplome. I have been waiting for this day to arrive for as long as I can remember but somehow as the day got closer, it seemed harder for me to grasp it. From my decision to fully embrace my passion to making the tough choice to leave the comforts of monthly pay checks, I have had doubts and fears only my dearests would know about. I have toyed with the idea to attend this dream school the past few years but of course, it remained as an idea. I was too scared to do anything about it despite knowing that it is my calling from the age of 5 (when my class was told to bring eggs to kindergarten for supervised cooking lesson). I even remember during fasting month when I was an undergrad asking my flatmates if I could cook lunch for them, just so I could enjoy the pleasure of being in the kitchen even though I couldn’t eat or taste. However even though I knew that there is nothing I take more pride and pleasure in than to cook and despite being pushed by dear friends to pursue this passion, I had created excuses and reasons for me not to and had allowed my fear and doubts to get the best of me. As a consequence, I had lived in fear of pursuing my dream for 28 years of my life.
In my confusion and fear, the one thing I was certain about was no matter what I had gone through in the past, I’ve always been well looked after by Him and I always turned out alright. All I had was this faith to ensure me that no matter what happens, He will continue to look after me. And certainly enough, He has been kind to lend me this courage to stop lying to myself and believe in my own ability. I had to relearn the way I think and approach life, and most importantly to have conviction in my own dream. I have the full support and confidence from my dearest mother and husband, and some dearest friends but I had to block out the ones who contribute nothing but negative energy. He has been very generous to give me my life and I intend to make the best out of this gift. Even though my new found courage has been far from smooth sailing, He had made things manageable for me and all I have to do is to continue taking everything in stride and enjoy the journey.
My first week at Cordon Bleu has been everything I had imagined it would be and I can’t believe I am so fortunate to be given this opportunity. The chef teachers are immensely knowledgeable and the facilities are world-class. I am surrounded by those who have similar stories to mine and it feels good to be in the company of those who share the same passion and drive as I do (let’s just say we’d arrive 90 mins before class just so we can get the best seats in class, that’s how passionate we are). I have made good friends and have heard interesting stories and backgrounds of others. I have cut and bandaged myself and intentionally dipped my fingers into 100+ degC of sugar syrup (this is to test the different stages of sugar, and only after soaking my hands in ice cold water, so don’t try this at home. As I was doing this, a dear Moroccan friend reminded me to say Bismillah before going ahead with the test. I am grateful for this reminder). Whenever the doubts and fear kick in, I would remind myself of my mother’s courage, my husband’s focus, the support of family and friends, and how blessed I’ve been, and everything is immediately put into perspective again. I am far from overcoming my fears and this journey is far from over, but I know that if I continue to man-up to my fears, be clear with my niat, learn from my setbacks and move forward with strength, Insya’Allah this journey will be a successful one. And with His blessing, let this journey begin.
Footenote: Thank you so much Aishah for your sweet entry on your blog (http://www.aissarah.com/2012/10/updates-5/).