Do you really know what your life would be like in 5, 10 or 20 years? We can plan, wish and hope, and envision what it would be like, but do we really know?

As for me, when I left for Australia 31 years ago to pursue studies, I did not have much planned. I expected to finish my degree and go back to Malaysia to start my career and possibly a family, and I would probably be settling down in Penang or another state in Malaysia.

Who would have thought that my plan did not turn out to what I had expected. You see, from the moment I stepped foot on to the beautiful Australian soil… I never left!

I finished my studies, started a family and career, and moved from Melbourne to Sydney. This meant settling into a new environment, getting to know new networks of people etc.; it was definitely a huge learning experience along the way.

With the demand of everyday life commitments, I learned to adapt to my new environment, adopt new outlooks and values, re-evaluate and establish new beliefs, learn new life skills and fulfill my commitment as a parent.

With all what is happening and time passing so fast, sometimes we have to wonder whether we still remember/recognise who we are? What did we used to be like? What is our favourite colour/food? What was our purpose and aim in life? What was our dream?

Can you relate to that?

It is important to be able to connect with our core, that is about who we are, what makes us happy… and the easiest and most effective way to do it is to EAT!

You see, sometimes when we taste a particular dish, especially a dish that you used to like when you were young, it will trigger an emotion or a memory.  The memory could be a family gathering, Sunday breakfast time, grandpa’s special dish, or my grandma’s amazing kaya (coconut custard), making traditional cuisines with grandparents etc.

Those are happy memories, right?

So, whenever you feel bogged down and tired, or feeling stressed, frustrated or sad, take some time off and give yourself the opportunity to reconnect to yourself. Get to know who you are and what you want in life through your favourite childhood food, especially your cultural food. And when you eat it, try to connect that dish to your childhood memory, who cooked that dish for you, what was the process, were you involved? Think about why this dish makes you happy…

I believe that food can tie you to your past, your culture, your heritage, your community and who you really are. It is like reigniting your happy memories, your history; it reconnects to a part of WHO you are – your identity – your values and beliefs – it is reconnecting to the core of who you are – the HAPPY you when you were younger.

Let’s cook!