Life Twist – Part 1

Assalamu’alaikum,

I’ve been wondering for a few weeks what my first post would be. I thought it’d be on my first day wearing my dream school’s chef jacket, or my life as a student/veganpastrychef in London.

But it didn’t turn out that way.

My supposedly short holiday in Jakarta has turned into a life changing moment when a decision that I’ve never thought I’d ever say, came out.

Life could be really unpredictable. By this, I mean, literally everything that you’ve been planning on for years, or it might be something that had been set perfectly, and in the blink of your eyes, it could go to the other extreme, before you even realizing it, and oftentimes out of your league.


For me, it was my decision to withdraw my name as a Diploma Patisserie student at Le Cordon Bleu London.

If you know me, my passion has always been around pastry and baking, and it was during my final year in high school that I made up my mind to apply for the patisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu Australia.

That’s why it was a very big deal for me to be accepted as a student at LCB London. It felt like I’ve finally achieved my long lost dream that I wasn’t able to realise due to my age back then ( min. Age for LCB is 18 and I was still 16 when I graduated from high school).

But Allah SWT had another plan.

Four and a half years later, after I graduated from my MSc degree in UK, I got a chance to work as a Pastry Chef in London, which was also unpredictable as I contacted the restaurant for my thesis and ended up getting a job there. Nonetheless, due to my visa expiring soon with very little chance of converting to working permit, one night it clicked my mind. ” Why not LCB here in London, Vin?” So I thought, everything will be solved then, I will be able to stay for another year (or more) in London, study at the school of my dream, continue my career, and the lists go on.

However, it was not that easy. I had to convince my parents that I’d be able to live on my own salary and will make it a way to succeed there. After several push and pulls, they agreed. My father who had planned everything out for me to go to Taiwan to learn mandarin, finally gave in.

Long story short. Everything had been settled. I’d go back to Indonesia for a 5 months holiday and then fly to London in June. That was the plan. My ticket and my accommodation have been booked. My student card is ready to be collected, my things are still there, my baking tray is waiting to be filled in with batters. The only thing that needs to be there was me, and everything would’ve been perfect (in my knowledge).

Yet again, Allah SWT had another (better) plan.

After hesitating about a statement on the website that I didn’t read thoroughly before because I was so excited to enroll,  which stated that handling alcohol at culinary level is a compulsory part of the program (which in my faith Islam is not acceptable). There were plenty of excuses I made in my mind. I thought that I’d be able to ask for leniency like I did in Malaysia. A very good lecturer named Mr. Joaquim allowed me and other Muslim students to skip the wine tasting part and exclude it from the exam, which I’d be forever thankful about. But then, it was in Malaysia with its rich Muslim influence. But this is London, Le Cordon Bleu evenmore, and after I downloaded the handbook, there were about three subjects that require alcohol handling and tasting. That was then I realized that this wouldn’t work.

And it continued to three weeks ago, in the middle of the night I had another lots full train of thoughts rushing through my mind. I can’t recollect what those thoughts were. But, ” Vin, wouldn’t you also be able to realise your dream here? “, “What Ayah wanted must’ve been the best for you, as Allah’s ridha is your parents’ ridha”, “Your sisters are both abroad, who else is gonna stay by your parents?”, ” What about the wine matter? Who can guarantee that you can escape it once again? ” were some of them, and then after a long deep breath, that was it.

With full hesitation about their reaction. I told my parents and ..

they were sooo happy about it that they couldn’t hold to had a very huge smile on their face.

Alhamdulillah.

I didn’t realize until then that my Father gave up his years of planning and hope, just for mine. I once almost forgot that Jakarta and London is 18 hours away by flight. Also the fact that when I am busy pursuing my career there, they are also getting old everyday. That’s also when I realized that they never once asked their children to go back home. But now I’ve decided that ..

I’m home.

I then emailed the school, my accommodation, and the airline to cancel everything. And it turned out that my ((wrong)) or I’d say my not really thoughtful decision then,  isn’t for free. Some fees are non refundable, which is very unfortunate. But I thought, if it’s for the better, Bismillah.

Although I still yet to know what awaits me in the future, I know it is indeed going to be better.

I believe that when you leave something that you’ve been longing for, for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with something you can’t even imagine having. And although sometimes what your parents tell you to do might not be favorable for you at that time, always believe that they just want what’s the best for you and wouldn’t direct you to the wrong path.  When the time comes you’d know. And remember that, Allah’s ridha, is their ridha, vice versa.

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