Sunday, 28 June 2015

Cookie jars and puzzle pieces

I am sitting in my new life, preparing for a presentation that I have been putting off for the past two months. But as the date of the presentation is looming near, far too quickly for comfort, I could not put it off any longer.

"In the agricultural industry, quality evaluation and grading are integral to post-harvest and pre-marketing processes. These processes function to elevate market value of products, as consumers are willing to pay higher prices for what they perceive as better quality...

Colour is one of the first sensory attributes perceived by consumers. It acts as an indication of other qualities such as freshness and sweetness, though there may not necessarily be a correlation...

In this study the non-destructive method of analysing colour, through machine vision, was applied. Machine vision analysis of colour was compared to human sensory panel evaluation of colour. The feasibility of machine vision in colour analysis was investigated through comparison with data collected from sensory evaluation by a trained panel..."

After many months of neglegance, and struggle with this love-hate relationship with my thesis, I can hardly believe I am pouring through these words again. After I completed my thesis, I could not even bare to think about it, let alone look at it. But reading through it now, I feel a sense of pride and a rush of nostalgia. I actually miss it - the people, the routine, the structured life of ploughing through to meet deadlines, the sense of 'we're in this together' as my colleagues and I work late into the night in that cold, chemical permeated, suffocating lab. It was my 'home' for those long nine months. Oh how much of my life I poured into it. Every single day of hard work was another day ticked off and a step closer to finishing. Cliched as it sounds, it was literally blood, sweat and tears, with plenty of liquid nitrogen, sweet smelling apples, colourful concoctions paving that ice cold road, warmed by friendships forged as we battled expectations and unexpected happenings. 2014 for me was indeed a series of unfortunate events. But through it all I have gained so much. It was a year to remember.

So many months have flown by and doing this timewalk into the past, the juxtaposition showed how much the scene of my life has changed and I along with it. The faces that were so familiar no longer feature as a regular character in my current life. New faces became regulars. I can't believe it was half a year ago that I had my hair cut short! I can now tie my hair up again. If you asked me to describe this new chapter, instead of the pressure cooker that it was last year, this year was more of a melting pot of chocolate ganache, Manuka honey, lemon cake, homemade distillates, learning Chinese medicine, treading the tightrope called family, regaining health and stuffing my hands into as many cookie jars as I physically and mentally can. A shambles, really. But I am figuring it out, slowly discovering which type of cookie I like the most and which type I am best at making. There are still plenty of cookies left to be tasted, which is extremely exciting! But I also have to remind myself not to be too greedy. I need to narrow down my selection and become and expert in making those cookies, rather than wander off into the donut stand or the brulee bar, as tempting as those are.

Each day I lay down a piece of puzzle, each day I am closer to revealing the bigger picture of my life. Maybe some days no puzzle pieces will be placed, and maybe after that long stretch of quiet I'll lay down a patch of puzzles. Who knows? It doesn't matter as long as I keep my head screwed on and focus ahead on my vision. As more puzzle pieces are laid down, the picture will become clearer. Be it marching ahead or taking a step back, it's all part of the process. Work hard, take it easy, go with the flow, go against the grain, do whatever I must do. Plan for the future, live in the present.

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