2010 has been amazing in many ways. Yes, there were times when I felt lost and depressed over what I should do with my life, but in recent months, I’ve learnt to be more optimistic, to see the good in most situations and most importantly, I am beginning to find myself. It’s been a while since I felt wholeheartedly so, but today, on 28 December 2010, here I am sitting in our tiny bedroom in Singapore in my tattered tee and shorts, feeling happy, contented and at peace. Finally.
This year started out pretty rough, with my final year of research making me exceptionally high-strung and really quite the pressure cooker. I also had to give serious thought to what I was going to do about my career options after I graduate, and to carve out anything at all, I had to do a lot of soul-searching. I had long thought about leaving academic research, but I didn’t have the guts to step out of my comfort zone, to plunge into something else that I really wanted to do. The whole process was very emotional, and it took me at least 8-9 months before I made my decision. During this time, I lost it on a few occasions, and I shed loads of tears when I couldn’t take the stress and confusion. Poor M had to witness everything. But I always felt better when I spent time with him, when we went out exploring new haunts, hung out with friends and satisfied our palettes. M, our friends, and food calmed me down. In retrospect, I guess this has always been the case, but I never realised it till I got really stressed this year. Suddenly, everything that I took for granted was a lot more important to me and the worries took the backseat.
That was not all that was responsible for the route to my happiness. Having noticed my age-old habit of taking pictures of everything we cooked, ate and saw, M encouraged me to write about my adventures. He was the first to notice that writing soothes me (I had an old blog) and that I am always inappropriately excited about food and pretty things. So in February this year, I thought long and hard about the name of my blog and decided that I would call it ‘The Pleasure Monger’ as I wanted to share everything good that I had and will experience with anyone who cares to read my insignificant ramblings. Through this, I had hoped to appreciate the happy moments and to cultivate the almost non-existent optimist in me. Shortly after, I designed the site logo, featuring a cupcake, lipstick and an engagement ring to represent food, beauty & fashion, and marriage respectively. I scanned my hand-drawn ‘masterpiece’ with rather poor resolution, photoshopped it and uploaded the final logo on the blog. The rest was history.
I started out writing for no one in particular and loyal friends made it a point to read what I wrote (right about 15 who visited my blog everyday, thank you darlings). Then I shared tales about my wedding planning, and readers started coming in to see what I have to say. In between, I dabbled in a little bit of beauty and fashion and I also talked about love and marriage. Some readers liked what they read, and they stayed with me ever since. Amazingly, we became online pals. Over the next ten months, I found my passion for cooking, renewed my love for baking (I even learnt how to make macarons, something quite unfathomable in my kitchen!), and discovered my penchant for food styling and photography. By then, readership had grown immensely, and people were writing in to tell me that they loved reading my adventures. I felt comforted and encouraged knowing that I have inspired people out there, that in the smallest of ways, I am somehow doing something I love which incidentally delights others as well. I even got acquainted with the most wonderful bloggers who inspired me enough for me to be starstruck when I met them in person. We are friends now and I feel very blessed to have known them, and to learn from them. I’ve also been very fortunate to have gained exposure on several websites – and through these features, I’ve come to know about more fantastic blogs out there and the personalities behind them. It’s a good chain reaction that I have come to appreciate.
I have also had the chance to travel a fair bit this year. I’ve been to Paris, Brussels, Macau and San Sebastian. I’ve come home to Singapore twice. I’ve seen my parents three times this year, how lucky! I’ve even met three Michelin-star chefs at Arzak in San Sebastian, interviewed them, tasted their wonderful creations and toured their kitchen! During our holidays, M and I crafted memories that we will never want to forget.
I am also immensely grateful to have shared the joy of my friends this year. Some got married, others welcomed new additions to their families, a few others got new jobs and started new lives. The list goes on. I have even managed to rekindle old friendships with friends that I have lost touch with! As they say, old is gold and I am thankful for my friends.
The cherry on top for 2010? I acted on my desire for change, stepped out of my comfort zone after months of agonising and incessant whining, and landed my dream job early this month!
M was right by my side through everything yay and nay that I have gone through this year. Through the tough and volatile times, we have learnt to communicate effectively, to understand each other and to love unconditionally. I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more contented. It’s all thanks to him and I’m glad that I have M onboard my journey this year. More to come and I can’t wait to embark on a happy 2011. Many exciting plans are in-store, both personal and ‘professional’, including new collaborations on the blog that are currently underway and will hopefully come to fruition when I return to London, so watch this space!
Here’s wishing you all a blessed new year. Eat to your heart’s content, tell everyone you love that you love them, do the obligatory countdown and start the new year with a big smile on your face!
P/S: I would love to hear about your 2010 highlights and hopes for the new year, so drop me a line if you don’t mind sharing!