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One of the topics of discussion with friend E was about giving in abundance. She wrote about the importance of seeing the motivation behind others. I quote from her email: Is it to make ourselves feel good? Am I focused on helping others to distract myself from my own problems?

Honestly sometimes I am guilty of that. Humans apparently have a threshold for giving, based on personal experience. Once past that limit, the motivation behind the act of giving becomes lost. There were times I got tired when I just wanted the activity to be over and done with and I became guilty and angry with myself for being self-centered and selfish.

I didn’t realise I was tired. That’s not an excuse. But rather that’s why I realised I had to stop. The act of giving which was supposed to be initiated by abundance has instead become an infliction of guilt. It felt far better to do nothing than to receive a negative feeling in return.

Hence for the first three months of this year, I tried to give more time to myself to recover my equilibrium and be more myself. Tougher than I thought but I am still trying.

Remember how I started on baking last year? The time I spent to build my patience and soothe myself brought my skills to a new level. Never in my life have I ever thought I would be good at baking. When I first baked at 13, I remembered I was rather enthralled but I never got a chance to explore further due to a equipment deficiency at home. That was that.

Fast forward to more than a decade, chocolate cake, apple cake, lemon cake, poppy seed cake, carrot cake, chocolate hazelnut torte, cookies, orange brownies, vanilla chiffon cake – I have acquired a new gift for sharing. Not a huge fan of cakes and cookies, the joy during the process of creation and distribution of outputs far surpassed anything else. Although I used to despair during chemistry practical lessons when I screw up my indicator values due to my impatience, baking – I realised does not require precision. There is a general concept behind it and being able to grasp that element enables one to produce(or even save) delicious pastries.

Not only that, I have influenced two persons to start on baking. My flatmate A who can now bake a decent lemon apple cake has recently acquired icing writing from me. After numerous occasions of witnessing me in the kitchen, she finally returned from one of her holidays back home with one cake under her belt. Last Sunday, I baked my first brownie and finally had my friend M kickstart her first baking attempt. I conclude that she has much more patience than me and is more thorough and will soon surpass me in time to come. When I saw her delight and how she enjoyed the fruits of her labour, I was certain another baker was already in the making. Recalling the numerous times when I attempted to explain how simple it was to bake a cake and she would be able to do it, she had looked at me disbelievingly and brushed off my comments.

By passing on the gift of making, I had given love in abundance because I wanted to share the colour it had brought into my life.

 

 

 

Orange brownies with M – tangy and refreshing taste.

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A failed vanilla chiffon cake – yet tasted pretty light and fluffy.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte without a blender – a mix of brownie, Ferraro Roche and chocolate.

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Lemon Apple cake by A and a combined icing effort.

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