Time flew and it is now end of October 2018. This is a year that I probably wrote more procedures than blogs. While I spend most summer with nature, this years seems to be an exception! Work got too busy and it just got an extra piece of challenge to move up into a role that look into food safety deeply & to put effort into influencing positive food safety culture development and continuation.
Here are some pictures of my adventure this summer and autumn.
I have been fortunate that this summer alone, I have seen and experience working in different plants and food sectors. These experiences helped me to understand common challenges amongst food plant and differences between the different type of food sectors. One of the most valuable lesson is knowing what to look for in different processing plants and factors that affect food safety and quality.
I am hoping to get back to writing more blog articles hopefully by early December 2018 -really miss writing articles. Hopefully, with my recent move back to a less demanding position, would give me more time to focus on writing more articles and some courses that I wanted to complete for personal development.
It has been a while since I wrote a diary. Life has been in a love-hate relationship. I began my life in Vancouver, a much different one, that I love one part of my life and hated another part of my life. However, I am really looking forward to July, when the snow melts and I am finally getting back to the mountains regularly.
I took on too much commitments to learn different things in life -whether it is about working and communicating with others, food safety and the relevant business aspect, or to have more life skills such as driving, swimming, photography and photo editing. It is a new beginning.
Life isn't as pleasant as I hope it is but I am glad that I am able to use my food safety skill somehow. The Canadian Safe Food Regulations just came out last Wednesday and will be in full effect next Jan 2019. It is not clear as in how much the regulations affects the current food business that imports/exports plus perform inter-provincial transactions. In addition, it eliminates the requirement to trace back to the consumers, only the need to be able to traceback to the suppliers.
Current GFSI requirements are able to meet the traceability requirement plus installing some preventative measure in the food safety system. What remains unclear are the need for an additional CSFR license for export-import and interprovincial transfer, which serve as a hurdle in the supply chain management.
Let's just hope that it is just documentation based, similar to the US requirement for declaration of food ingredients/ products into the US called Prior Notice. Again, for an exporter or importer, it may just mean lots of documentation, which may be automated with our current technology advancement. I am really looking forward for better food safety commitment for safer food.
It took me a while before I finally say, "Let's go for it!" Yes, I may not make any but if I don't follow my heart and at least try, I failed myself.
All I need is the right opportunity, not every opportunities. It is not about myself rather, it is truly about helping those who are committed towards producing safe food. All it is about is fostering an improvement based food safety culture, coming from the top management itself. I have seen it work and want to continue to see these good food safety cultures continued to be develop and practiced. In short, I want to help those who want and need to be help.
This morning, I woke up with nostalgic and sad feeling, looking at people around me, that are seeking for opportunities in the land of unknown, just as I did in the past. I am luckier because I have friends through my exploration, I had experiences and references where I am seeking for opportunities. Time can be tough at times when finance shrinks.
I knew how hard it did be to be away from the known, for often I ran into the unknown. My path didn't came along easy. I had goals to reach and commitment to fulfil. I took no long holidays apart from being with my family.
I am glad that I decided to take a transition year to be in Asia, to travel, to learn about the culture, tradition and literally, what is there in the world? As Chinese philosopher said, the world untravel is wasted. I finally realized why and how people enjoyed travelling.
It is a brand new month! August 2017 is supposed to be the swimming month. I am finally brave enough to say that I am finally learning how to swim. Although my progress is going to be slow, I am finally learning. It is so that I can enjoy water sports in the future! Kayaking and snorkeling to see the underwater world.
These few years, I have learn a lot about life in a very personal way. While I have lost one of the most precious things in my life, I have also gained from the most challenging situation in life. The social, cultural and economic interaction made me appreciate my life beyond just working (and studying). I am content with my life, knowing that I am spending a little bit more time with my family and experiencing the unique cultural experiences with the amount of travel I am doing now.
The gift of nature, are a part of my life. I am proud of myself for overcoming the scare of height, the ability to say yes to adventure and the ability to move out from being an introvert, from someone who don't dare to speak in front of others to someone who can. I am sure there are more to come but I want to make sure that I learnt how to acknowledge who I am, despite there will be things that I am lacking.
You will see how others will question you along your path -two reasons: they are interested at what you are doing OR they have problem or questions on how you are doing it and that is fine. I always get the question on what I am interested in and the real answer is I am always perfecting the dimension of my interests. As life goes by, maybe you have the same experiences as me, you will have more interests and now, it is the question of balancing time for your interests.
People will always be people. Everyone has an agenda of their own of what they want to achieve. It is important to have a medium that overlaps and that creates opportunities to work together. It is also important to note, although the agenda might not aligned today, it maybe in the future. So, don't push others aside. We work as a community, to build our future together.
I urge everyone to come forward to build a lively communities, that we can tap on each other's interests and expertise to support the massive needs of our growing global communities.
Recently, I am bogged down with very unpleasant experience with someone who thinks they are superior and smarter than others by literally and openly labelling someone as stupid. I am not sure if anyone agree with me, I categorized this as verbal harassment.
While many people will associate the word "stupid" and "smart" when describing a person, it is one of the word that we need to use with care. I work with some of the greatest production workers, they are not stupid. In fact, I think they are one of the few smartest people in the area that they are working at. I am amazed with their creativity handling difficult situation. Although sometimes, they made me panic, I still value them.
I would like to remind us to look at people around us, that they are not merely another person that helps you achieve your goals, but truly, a community member that worth caring for. Together, we can build a caring community!
The beauty and the not-so-beautiful part of life is that it brings you to a place that you never have expected or imagined before.
It maybe both blessing and torture but that is a part of life. This two years, I have lost and gains in many different ways. Some of these losses and gains, I never will know how to describe them but I knew they made me stronger and to know my priority and choices that I will make in my future.
I went back to the very origin of my belief that everyone should be blessed with the basic necessity for human, just to find out that the suffering has never ended and were more serious than what I thought. I am glad, however, that many works has been done in these areas to restore basic food and health to many developing and developed countries.
see with more clarity, that we need to bring more people to build a communities that can make a difference in providing the basic necessity in life and to revised the impact of our daily activities or tasks to the earth and human life. It is not enough just to focus on improving food safety; we need to build responsible and ethical communities that are actively engage in food issues such as food safety, food availability, food fraud and food sustainability.
These existence of such communities will enable interactive communications between consumers, food industries and the regulatory authorities that may facilitate development and implementation of food regulation, in addition to meet consumer needs.
Life is about love and sharing love, where they need to be. Sometime, we make hard decision in life and never knew how that decision influence our life. I am glad that I have returned home for a year to be with my family before I go after my career -that year was one of the well spend time with my mum.
I am glad that I took every employment, I had for the experience made me who I am now. I have worked in stressful environment long enough that I remembered clearly that one of my ideal employer of choice told me, I never be able to make it since I am in marketing at that time. I have proved that I can do it. I am glad that I found genuine passion for food science, that helps me go through many of the challenge that I faced.
I am glad that I opened up myself, meeting new people where I met a group of good friends in Vancouver and started to enjoy nature and photography -that bring meaning to my life and turned my dull life into a lively one. Sometimes, you just can't find me during the weekend :) My friend just gave up on finding me during the weekend.
I decided to take on another opportunities to learn more about my passion and to spend time with my family because time never turn back. Every goodbye that I had to say sheared my heart but yet, I hold my tears as I know we will meet again.
I hold myself against the future to build capacity to learn about the world of food science and to build a global communities focusing on food topics and health.
I haven't been writing blog articles for so long because I can't share my thoughts. There were that one period of my life that I was down and I don't know what to do because people around me told me that I am not good enough as a person. Nevertheless that I knew that it was a test for me to became a stronger person that I am today.
It was a negative experience that I hope that no one ever experience what I have. Neither I will see anyone as a person that is not good enough as a person themselves because I value diversity in people. People are what makes things happen in different settings : workplace, volunteer setting and in our daily life. We need to be able to accept others as they are because that is their true self. Don't make anyone change because you want to; instead let them explore themselves and what they want to do.
I may not have many friends but the one that I have are my bestie -which truly understand me as a person and who accept me as a person. To my best friends, I am glad to have you as my friend and thank you for being with me when I need you the most.
I am blessed that I am able to stand up today as a confident person that I feel I am capable in many different aspects and I don't need to be an all-rounder person to know everything on my finger tips as I know I am supported by many others in the community.
Thank you for your help, wherever you are and have a great 2017.
Felicia Loo is a food science graduate from UBC. With an interest in food marketing, she explores how food products are created, marketed, and distributed toward an end users. Blogging about food became a must when she encounters interesting ideas about food products. She seeks for ideas and opportunities to work together.