Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Love And Hate Relationship With My Braces

Me and my husband smiling with our braces on.

Braces, Extractions, Jackets, Retainers, Crowns, Monthly Cleaning, Teeth Whitening and the like. All of these might sound simple enough but to some people, they are considered frightening. A dentist's job is never easy and sometimes no matter how hard they try to be nice and gentle to their patients, they just end up not going back for their next appointments which of course disappoints them. I admit that I used to be one of them.

But why did I fear going to the dentist? Thinking about it now, I guess the only reason I can come up with is the fact that they have scary looking tools and that the idea of sitting in a dental chair seems like you are sitting in a torture device while the dentist continues to probe your mouth. I am sure this all sounds silly especially to adults but some people might have thought the same way I did. However, some people fear dentists because of their past experiences with some bad ones. Example: having the wrong tooth extracted or the anaesthesia administered to you did not take much effect yet and then a procedure gets started on you. Traumatic experiences like that make people generalize so even if they should not fear all dentists, they end up doing so.

Because of my fear of dentists, I have been scared of going to dental appointments. What's worse, my aunt is a dentist and she is our family dentist. I remember her telling me an embarassing story about me when I was young. That was my first tooth extraction. My parents had it done at home as I did not want to go to the clinic to have it done. My aunt said that I kept on shouting, crying and calling every single saint I knew. I was literally asking for help. I had to be held by my parents in order forthe extraction to finish and I kept on crying until I fell asleep. Through the years, that experience haunted me and even if I was already told early on, during my high school years, that I should get braces, I did not. I dodged every single attempt which led me to getting them later in life.

I am turning 30 this year and I have had my braces for almost 2 years now. I don't know how it happened. It was all still a blur. Somehow I was able to just endure and persevere through all the pain of having it done and the continuous pain that comes with every single adjustment that goes with it. I remember that when I first got it, it was hard for me to eat everything I wanted. I had to abstain from eating crunchy, hard and sticky food. Chips were a big no-no. Gummy candies were not allowed either. Even crunchy pig or chicken skin as well as popcorn. I thought I would go mad at first but look at me now. Unlike me who has had these braces for some time now, my husbnd just got his last night and he has been complaining already. Now, he keeps on apologizing to me as he realized how hard it must have been for me. I should be happy with payback but I guess I can't. I know what he is going through and will be going through.

Luckily for me, I was told that I will be having mine removed by next year but oddly enough, I refused. Why? I am not really sure. Maybe I am scared that with it gone, my teeth won't be in their fixed state any longer. I can adapt to the change, I just wanted to be assured that there won't be any gaps in between my teeth afterward. Whether it is separation anxiety issues or I am just being a masochist, I just hope that everything will pay off soon. I know my husband still has a long way to go but I know he will be able to cope with the changes.

If I can give advices to other people who are considering getting braces, I will tell them the truth. The truth braces are like torture devices. They continue to pain you, the longer it is in you. You will suffer in more ways than one. Each person with braces will have his/her own share of misfortunes because of it. You will grow to hate it, be disgusted by it but in the end, it will all be worth it. For me, I see it now as a journey, a roller coaster ride if you will. No matter how many awkward, painful, embarassing or hilarious moments happen to you because of them, they will end and I think that by refusing to have mine removed early next year is testament to the fact that once you get used to the discomfort of having one, you will just find it have to separate ways. Call me crazy if you will but I am sure I am not the only person that this happened to.

Dentists are not the same scary monsters that most children see them as. They are merely doctors of our teeth. I guess as an adult, I can now say that no matter how filthy and how gross it is to have their hands on other people's mouths to get to their teeth, they will still do their jobs as dentists which is something that most people often neglect to see. I may still be in slight pain right due to my newly adjusted braces but I cannot bring myself to imagine what my teeth woud have been now if not for them. Thankfully, I still have my aunt to help me get these despite all the misgivings I have done to her and all the other dentists out there. Now, I can say that there's more to life than being afraid of a dentist and what he/she can do.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Changes: Our Lives Then & Now

Time heals wounds. Now, I can testify to that. My life has had its fair share of ups and downs and although I would like to say that I am stronger now, I think that is not enough to make me better prepared for what's yet to come. After surviving a very tragic pregnancy which lead to the demise of our first child, our lives came at a stand still. We both were shattered by our loss and have thought of giving up several times. I have constantly cried not just in my sleep but in nearly every waking hour of the day. But after months of tears, my husband and I have decided to move on. We know for a fact that we will never forget what we have lost however, we realized that our child will not be happy to see us this way. Instead of continuing to cry over her, we made her our inspiration to strive harder. It was back to work for me and back to school for both of us. This time, we decided to explore our love for food. It was a journey that we know we will never forget and never regret. Culinary school is not as easy as it seems however, we were glad to have been a part of something that made us more passionate about food. Life in the kitchen is tough and at the moment, we only hope that we will be able to survive it.

Looking back on the years that have passed as we embark on our journey to becoming cooks, we realized that there's just so much we have missed. If only we could turn back the hands of time, we could have been more exposed to the world of food earlier on. Culinary school taught us many different things. Apart from the knowledge which we have gained, we also gained some new-found friends and mentors. Although we may not know what the future will hold for all us, we remain hopeful that one day, we will all be able to get somewhere with the knowledge and skills that we have learned and that with each passing day, we will continue to grow and become better. Life is different now so it seems. Yet, it still feels the same. I will always find happiness in food however, now, I can't seem to find it much in the food that I eat if I know it was not homemade or made with love. Fast food used to be yummy, now, I just enjoy eating it when I am exhausted and have no time to cook for myself. Knowing things that I did not know before about food made that difference. Any other changes? Sure, plenty.

Back in the day, we were more concerned about when the next anime, gaming or toy convention will be as we would like to attend them, take photos of cosplayers, get some freebies or even buy something otaku-related. Now, all we can think about is going to the next food convention despite the fact that most of the big ones happen in SMX which is very far away from us. In the past, I was the only one who enjoyed going to bookstores especially second hand bookstores due to my love for reading fiction. Now, even my husband enjoys going to the same places because we now have love for books and magazines related to food. It looks like our bookshelves will be filled with a whole lot of them soon enough. Shopping was not something that we enjoyed however, now, we enjoy shopping – shopping for anything we can use in the kitchen only though but it is still considered a change. We no longer see kitchen utensils, equipment, ingredients, fresh produce and food itself the same way. Culinary education and kitchen life has changed all of that. In fact, even watching MasterChef became both more interesting and less interesting. More interesting because we can now analyze some aspects better but less interesting due to the unfairness of who gets to be booted out every week.

On television, the life of a chef always seems so grand, so eventful, so different. But once you immerse yourself into the field, you will soon realize that it is not all that. Unfortunately, that is what the general public do not understand. Most people believe what they see on TV and so, whenever they find out that you went to Culinary school, they immediately think of you as a chef which is of course, not true. Having proper education will of course give you a leg up on others however, if you do not practice or pursue your dream of working in a kitchen then, what is the point of being educated in the Culinary field? Whenever we get asked if we are chefs, we say that we are cooks. We might be educated but we know that we are not yet that educated to be called chefs. We have not even earned the right to be called that. Wearing a chef's jacket and a toque might just too much for us as the moment especially since we have not taken the TESDA NCII examination yet. Hopefully, after applying everything that we have learned in school in our daily kitchen duties and after taking that exam, we can be proud enough to be called chefs. For now, our journey has merely just begun. Hopefully, after a few years time, it will all be worth it. 

In reality, life in the kitchen is filled with both blood, sweat and tears. Every cook/chef needs to invest not just time and effort in the kitchen but creativity as well. Life in the kitchen is hard and draining. Very different from what we see, read and hear about. But no matter how un-glamorous the kitchen life may be, we are here to stay. Whether we become famous or not, does not matter much to us as we only care for those who we make happy with the food that we create. That's what real happiness is to us right now. Definitely a big difference to what happiness used to mean for both of us. Hopefully, our passion and sincerity for what we do will come through everything and anything that gets made in our kitchen at home and at work. This is our life now. Better make the most out of it.

 Our first day in school.
 First time in the kitchen as we practice our safety & sanitation. (HACCP)
 Our first kitchen hands on with Chef Rudolf Ranada.
 Hubby and I in our chefs' jackets. 
Fruit and Vegetable Carving With Chef Vicky. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Part Of Something You're Not. At Least Not Completely.

Sometimes it is nice to just be alone in a busy place while everyone moves, you just observe everything and everyone as they mind their own business without a care in the world. It is nice to just be quiet and content that somehow, someway, you are a part of something that you are not.

Somehow I find joy in watching people. As odd as it seems, I find the said activity relaxing. Eavesdropping, no matter how accidental, can be amusing especially knowing you do not know the people who are talking and who or what the hell they are talking about.

Seeing families bonding, make me imagine what it would be like to have one and continue to yearn for our child who we have lost so soon. Seeing an artist draw peacefully on his sketchpad with a contented look on his face despite the fact that the life of an artist is hard and not a job that would earn you so much money.

Groups of people laughing as they tell funny stories to each other while old people without anyone with them pass by, makes this life bittersweet, a mixture of both happiness and sadness rolled in one.

Although this might not be considered deafening silence, I consider this moment as one of my many treasured silent moments. After all, taking a break from a busy life does not only mean doing other less stressful activities but rather, also a time for one's self and for reflection, which is something I have already missed.

Lucky are those who get the chance to do this every day...