Monday, October 28, 2013

Whatever you don't do someone else will do it....

I remember someone telling me- in a relationship if you don't do it then some lady down the street will. I'm not going into 'romantic' relationship issues on this blog, but I will apply this to general day to day things- whatever you don't do someone else will do it.  People say- Oh I will do this, I will do that.  I promise you this I promise you that.  I don't think these words should be thrown around willy nilly, why say that you'd do something when you don't do it?  I always think before I'd say I'd do something for someone- can I actually do it?  If not I rather say- I'd do my best and go out and do my best.  I always try my best, I always push myself to do so.  I don't think people  know that if you don't do as you say then you are letting someone down, after a few times no one will ask you to help- now everyone likes to be needed  Also, if you don't do something someone else will, you may miss an opportunity you may or may not get in the future...  Where did this all come from?  My team, we have to work together, I have three managers who help me make decisions... its very one, two, three done.  There are always people of your team which is the weaker link, to me its the ones who go- yep yep I'll get that done then.... yup nothing or its half arsed done.

So besides that I also don't like people abusing the word 'Sorry',  I only say sorry when I genuinely know that I will not do that action again.  This word means alot, again it shouldn't be thrown around left right and centre.  I've had it said to me way too many times, I sometimes sit and wonder why say sorry the first time when you'e just going to do it again and say sorry the second and maybe third.  Why not go with precaution better than cure?  I'm not saying i'm perfect and I don't make mistakes, but when I do make a mistake and or I do let someone down, I own up to it, I recognise what I've done wrong and make sure I improve on myself and not do it again.

The ball is rolling for project 1, well it has been rolling for a while, but slowed down recently. I've got a new logo for project 1 and new business cards.  All will be revealed soon- I'm so excited!

The count down to one of the most important people in my life arriving in Hong Kong has begun. I cannot wait!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Restrictions.... Comfort Food....

Apologies for the lack of updates, but I was on a work trip with my team in China.  I had to take them to take a look at our branches in the different cities over there.  That meant a jam packed nine days-  two nights in Shanghai, two nights in Wuxi, one night in Nanjing, one night in Yangzhou, a quick pass through Jin Jiang, one night in Wuxi and finally two nights in Shanghai.

Reason why I had to go Wuxi so many times is that my interior designer is there, my superior seems to like his work therefore we use him.  The difficulty with finding someone from the Motherland (China) and not from Hong Kong is that the build rules and regulations and different, so therefore we need a designer or project manager in Hong Kong to liase with him and find contractors for him on the Hong Kong side.  Well... so the contractors which we used for the reinstatement of our old restaurant is the same ones as the ones we were thinking of using for the new restaurant. I already had them messing me around for the reinstatement so I've been on edge using them for my baby.  So... I found plan b, simply a new contractor, how relieved I was when he was so willing, the way he works is the way I work- we get things done.  So wooo!!! happy dance one problem out the window.  

I haven't been Shanghai or done my restaurant rounds in China for a year and a half.  When I was younger I wasn't so keen on the whole thing, don't get me wrong I've always seen the good in China, I've never doubted the potential, but I never thought I could settle there, especially Shanghai.  I preferred second tier cities, with more visable roots, but with that you have the less educated people, with less manners, but hey they never got to experience and see the things I have or the majority of us have so you can't blame them.  I told my team before going up don't build up an image of China in your head, don't expect anything, don't stereotype so soon- at the end of the day we are still Chinese, be open minded don't restrict yourself to the possibilities.  We went up and they were so impressed with how China is, all the stereotypes they had were wrong, it was so much better than what they expected.  I came back from China, happy, happy cause of how much it has progressed and matured, people and area.  I'm a pretty adaptable person and two three years back I never thought I could say- yes I can stay there, but now I can say that I can.  Maybe I have matured and let go of those restrictions that I put up for myself so I couldn't adapt there.

Saying that I'm happy being home, I can get the build up of work which has accumulated since I've been away done.  

I was talking to someone today and i mentioned being fine with your own company.  I think its a good attribute to have, I've always been scared of being alone, this is the first time I've lived by myself, I just had to get over that first night or two and its actually very comforting being alone.  Over these few months I'm learning to be content with myself and my own company, so much I might start becoming a social recluse... which will actually never happen, cause with what I do I have to meet new people constantly and you know what I love doing that too! 

Ok... I was also trying to describe 'Comfort food' in Chinese and there is word or set of words which can really translate 'Comfort Food' correctly- how would you describe it in English or Chinese?

A lovely welcome to Shanghai

Should I? Shan't I? hmmmm....

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weird and wonderful memory

I have a weird memory, I remember a lot of events and just things in general which doesn't have anything to do with school work.  I can remember whole conversations, emotions and things like that.  Its a good attribute to have in my industry, but it can be annoying for me in a day to day way.  There's no filter, I remember the good and the bad, also with the emotions that come with the memories. One minor thing can trigger me to think of a memory and all the emotions come rushing back, sometimes its hard to deal with.

Today my memory served me well, I met up with two friends for dinner and it brought back good memories.  Its always good to catch up with old friends, when it doesn't feel awkward and it just feels the same as it did way back when.  Its the same with the relationships I have with my customers, before moving back to Hong Kong I'd only be here twice a year, the feeling you get seeing old customers still come back time after time is a great feeling- you must be doing something right.  Also with my staff, I have a member of my team who was working for the restaurant for ages, since I was 14, he left a few years back and he is now joining my team.  I saw him for the first time in ages a few weeks back and its still as though he's part of my little family.  Its a good feeling.

Off topic here but me and my friend was having drinks last night and the couple behind us were taking soooo many pictures.  There's nothing wrong with people taking pictures of themselves, I do it, I'm sure everyone does.  So anyways this girl was taking pictures of herself and the guy was using his phone to spotlight her and she was making every face she could- duck face, smiley face, sad face, the list goes on.... We were just thinking... why doesn't the guy just take the picture for her with flash?!?!!? then the guy and the girl tried taking a picture together but they were sitting on opposite sides of the table.... I have no tact I was saying to my friend, why don't they just sit next to each other? It'll be so much easier! so me and my friend tried to take pictures of both of us whilst sitting opposite each other... it just does not work! But i got a picture of me taking a selfie, with the girl trying to take a selfie and the boy spotlighting her in the background.  It was my achievement of the night.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Take a breath and take a step back. Its either going to go away or I'll get used to it.

Today's been a day of figuring things out.  When approaching a problem I go at it head on at first tackling it from every angle and usually I get somewhere but I don't come to a conclusion.  It doesn't matter what kind of problem it is work related or personal, the best way for me to deal with it is after battling head on is to take a breath and take a step back, clear your mind and the conclusion is usually there.  Sometimes I find we over think things, things are usually really simple we just over complicate things by thinking about what ifs and such things.  One 'what if' situation that comes up a lot is in regards to my restaurant not being able to remain in its original location, my father and I at first continuously tried to find out the reason why we couldn't renew our lease, so around a hundred 'what if' scenarios emerged.  It started to do my head in, I took a step back and thought Hey why am I fussing about the past, which I can't change?  All these 'what if' situations are good at the end of the day cause then in the future we can take them and improve ourselves and learn.  Things usually don't pan out the way you wanted or expected just because it just wasn't meant to be, if it was meant to be it would be.  I don't like wasting time or stressing myself out by trying to figure something out, which was beyond my control.

I'm also don't like complaining about things or people who complain about something again and again.  Its monotonous.  If you have something to complain about ok voice it once, then sort it out make it to your liking, if you can't do anything about it then shush accept it.  If there's something that I don't think is up to my satisfaction I'm not going to sit there and waste my time saying this and that, I will get up and make it to my liking so I will be satisfied with it, again if its beyond my control I let it go.  Its either going to go away or I'll get used to it.

One complaint I hear about the most is- I'm not satisfied with where I'm at in my life....  Do something about it then don't just sit there and say it do something about it.  I am always trying to progress myself and push myself to my limits, not for anyone else but for myself. Forward thinking and drive is a very attractive trait in my opinion, so if someone does say to me I'm not satisfied with where I am at in life and they actually get up and do something about it then I'd applaud them and support them in any way I can.  I took on a huge amount of work this year, I've had a lot of support from people, but I remember someone saying to me- 'what are you doing? why are you taking on two huge projects so early on? You're just going to break down, its not going to work out, you don't have time to do it.  Also, no one's going to take you seriously, they are going to treat you like you're a little girl.  But if you need help in anyway let me know' Firstly, who are you to judge what my abilities are as a person?  The only one who can judge is myself cause I'm in control of how I deal with situations which I put upon myself.  Secondly, yes I know I will break down at times with the workload, but I will always get back up cause I know the end result will be worth every sleepless night, every panic, everything.  Thirdly, why would i even ask for your help now?  Why would I let anyone who doubts me play the hero to catch me when I fall?  I don't need negativity in my life, no one does, I always turn a negative into a positive, I'm glad this person said what they said to me cause I know that they no longer need to be present in my life,  I shouldn't let someone feed me with negativity that leads to me doubting myself.  What ever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, I'm not going to let anyone get in the way of me getting to my goal.  If I get thrown into deep water, I will swim my way up to the surface,  I have to believe in myself before expecting any one else to believe in me.

Fingers crossed, there might be a new person joining my team!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mutual respect and Vodka shots!

It was our last meeting together as a full team before our senior goes to Shanghai.  One of my team members messaged me in the group chat saying they would be late.  I jokingly messaged back- girlfriend?  He said- yes something happened last night now I need to sort it out.  Half of my team went out last night to the wee hours of the morning- which isn't my problem as long as they are productive at work.  Now... it was around 4pm our meeting started at 1pm, this team member still had not turned up, I called him and left a message telling him to call me back.  He eventually called me back at 5pm, I asked him where he was and if he was going to come to the meeting- if so forget it the meeting was going to end in an hour. But what ever problems you have with your girlfriend is no problem of ours, keep your work life separate from your private life.  When my restaurant opens, what is he going to do when his girlfriend is upset with him? Not come into work? I don't think so.  I've had problems with other team member's girlfriends calling me at silly o'clock in the morning asking if their boyfriend is with me and if so tell them to call them.  Firstly, I'm not here to baby sit my team, I lead the team I don't mother them.  Secondly, if they think that there is something going on between us then darling I don't every eat where I crap.  Thirdly, its seriously its not my problem. In my opinion you have to priorities things,  if I had another half I would understand their family comes first and I also understand work is also another priority, I expect that in return.  But I have encountered people lying about work and family situations, thats just stepping over the line and that is unacceptable, well lying is in general, don't take for granted someone who trusts you.

I'm pretty new at this leading my own team to set up my own restaurants shebang, one thing I've admired about my Father is that he treats his employees as family, there's a lot of mutual respect.  I hold this belief as well, I will respect my team members as long as they respect me and the rest of my team. If anyone looks into one of our meetings they'll probably think- that's not a meeting, thats just a group of cuckoo people brainstorming, its actually just that but we get things done. I'm not one of those people who power trips, I also try to meet everyone halfway.  I dislike arguing, there's no point, I dislike being angry, the only one you're really going to bother is yourself.  I've always been told I'm doubly stubborn being a Taurus in western horoscopes and a tiger in Chinese horoscopes, yes I am stubborn I hold onto my beliefs with my head held high.  Saying that I do step down, I listen to the other person's opinion and give me some time to process and I will meet you halfway willingly.  Though if someone disrespects me or people that I hold close to my heart thats a whole different matter.  As long as my team does what is required for the day then when the day ends we can go out, eat, drink and just have fun together, with no ranking or anything, then is the time when we are friends.  I can't actually use the term after work its our 'Love you lots vodka shots' time cause the rest of my team either prefer whiskey or beer- well that just means more vodka for me and I'm so not complaining about that!

I've decided on a graphic designer, which is exciting stuff cause this is one of the fun parts in my opinion- so I get to do my happy dance!  Actually I've had this itch since yesterday to salsa, so salsa is going to be my happy dance of the day.

Happy Friday everyone, lets have a drink! ok its Saturday now... but whatever its all the same to me!

 I kinda know where I get this drinking thing from... I learn from the best!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Don't you worry about a thing... Simple things make me smile.

This morning I was saying to someone that there are blurred lines between work and my private life, does it bother me? I guess it does in a way when I get stressed out and boy do I get stressed out, but on the other hand I know I was made for this industry.  I'm in my element when I'm in my restaurant, I'm on high alert, I know when and what my customer wants before they voice it, cause of my high attention to detail, my weird memory allows me to remember what all my frequent customer's eating habits and habits are and I'm so built to please.

There are blurred lines in a lot of things in life, private and work, again it stresses me out but you know what it doesn't matter, we have to move on from this flight or fight mentality which has been built within us and learn to just adapt.  I stress out, it feels like everything around me is all tumbling down and I'm in a tornado of mess, afterwards I'm like what the hell was that all about? When I have something to do I always get it done, the results are always better than expected, then what was all the mergh stuff before all about? I will never know I guess that's how I do things, though I must admit the feeling of achievement is amazing.  When people ask me- Are you ok? I'm always ok cause I just deal with it, I need to thank or curse the person who imposed that mentality into me.

Simple things make me smile everyday, I'm a pretty positive person, it helps me deal with things.  Little things- this morning I felt great cause apparently what I write is enjoyable (to some), a total stranger held the lift for me and smiled at me- I smiled back, a good morning text, one of my team goes to me 'Hey you have such a huge workload' - some recognition of what I'm doing.  The call from my Grandma asking me if I was with my Mum for no reason even though I was on the phone with her 5 minutes before.  The one thing which always makes me smile is when I'm driving and a great song comes on (my playlist is always on shuffle).  Today was Stevie Wonder- Don't you worry 'bout a thing, yes yes I listen to oldies.  I felt great instantly, I've been dancing around my flat, totally cuckoo the whole evening.

I was talking to my team today about our frequent customers, some of them are so so picky, but hey we accommodate so happily.  Mr.  Ladies man from my team told my manager for my coffee shop- there's this one customer, she doesn't eat this certain ingredient and its used in our char siew cheurng fun, so every time she orders it, he goes especially to our roast department and gets them to chop up some fresh char siew and then he takes it to our dim sum department who rolls the cheurng fun for her, so that ingredient isn't used.  She doesn't know in reality that because of that one little habit she has it causes him to do so much, he's more than happy to do that cause its simple she's happy and it makes him happy.  No physical reward is needed just knowing our customer is happy makes us happy. I understand why my team is so good with ahem yea well yea simple things- pull a chair out, others before you, when serving a girl a drink make sure there's a straw, if you're not serving a girl and her drink doesn't have a straw- get her one! Anyways we're weird like that- they spoil me with their attention to detail and I spoil others with mine... I'll leave that for some other day...

I currently feel like I've taken 100 happy pills (which I haven't) so I'm going to go carry on dancing around my flat like an idiot. Till tomorrow!

Let me leave you with my happy song of the day!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Its been a hectic few months since May.  I'm now a mini restauranteur, relocating our restaurant which has had 23 years history at that location to a brand new one, opening a bistro coffee shop- which is unchartered territory for me and my senior.  I'm saying my senior as my boss is also my father.  This blog will be a little window to my world, as a mini restauranteur.
Where shall I start... Around 2 months ago, I was driving back to my Mum's house from my restaurant, when I get a call from my Father 
'Your Grandma is going into ICU, we are there now, wait for us at home, if things get bad we will call you'  
I stopped my car in the middle of the road and thought- no way am I going to sit around waiting for that phone call, my Grandma is my rock, my strength and without her I would not be who I am now.  I turned back and the only thought in my head was- she must be so scared I have to be there for her. 

The next evening we were having dinner, my Mum got a call from the hospital
' Its serious, she needs as much support as possible, be prepared and make sure you see her as much as you can'
We all froze, a lump formed in my throat, I had to be composed, I had guests, we excused ourselves and headed to the hospital.  We got there and the minute I saw her tears started to swell up in my eyes, I couldn't breathe, I could not break down in front of her. I stayed with her as long as I could, then I left and told my Grandma's sister in law to go into ICU to see her.  I broke down outside, how could someone who has been my life, brought me up and has never failed me be in that state, how could I ever had let her be in that state?  So much was going through my head, but I have to be her strength now, she needs me like how I have needed her and still do.

My Grandma is out of hospital, but she's not the same physically and emotionally.  Every night I get these horrible thoughts going through my head that I will never be able to taste her cooking anymore, which makes me wish I went home more for dinner.  I think back on all the situation where I've taken her for granted and I kick myself and hope that she realises that I love her more than life and I would do anything to take the pain away from her.  I even sometimes think, maybe if I didn't move to Hong Kong and if we were all staying in London that this would have never happened.  Then I remind myself I cannot dwell in the what ifs in life I need to grab every opportunity with her now, make sure she's happy and as comfortable as she can be.

Coinciding with this situation, we closed up our restaurant in our old location and 24 years of memories seemed so remote to me, I grew up in that restaurant and now it was being taken away from me.  But hey ho new chapter new leaf.  It took a lot of sleepless nights to build and make sure that the team I wanted was going to start this new chapter with me.  The last five days I was on 12 hours of sleep or so, but perseverance is always rewarded and my team was built and what a great team it is!

My team went with my senior to Shanghai, there's this stupid thing called reinstatement, where we have to return our site to a bare shell state, in accordance to the landlords guidelines.  That was a hard week of battling with landlords and contractors who were trying to pass blame on me.  My team was not with me so I was a one man army, to be honest from day one it has been a one man army with my senior guiding me slightly and giving me the ok.  I have only been doing this from May.  I held my head up high and told myself 
'I will not be satisfied with who I am today, I will be more satisfied with who I will be tomorrow'  
I got past that emotional couple of months with help from a few people- special mention to my Baby Giraffe.

Recently, I've been thinking to myself- I'm not as strong as I make myself out to be, but I am stronger than I think.  There has been a dip in my confidence, I guess I have to allow myself to be vulnerable in certain ways, but today I reminded myself- you know what I can always do better in everything.  

On a lighter note, I'm crap at surprises, not receiving them but giving them, I get too excited,  I've been looking for something, its taken a while, but I think I've got that near perfect something.  You'll find out soon!  I promise tomorrow will be a lighter post.