Worn out shoes worth 200K Swiss Francs

My Kevin's Chef Shoes, worn out but stayed on for 3 years.
My Kevin’s Chef Shoes, worn out but stayed on for 3 years.
Roll your eyes and raised your eyebrow!


I jumped and raised my hands with a full smile and tears in my eyes..


this is the dream that we chased and owned and will continue to do so


Term 7 is finally done! Waiting for September to seal the degree of Bachelor of Culinary Arts and off to Santa Catalina Island Company , USA as Culinary Arts Management Trainee.

Wow! My emotion is soaring high, I won’t tell you how many times I edited and deleted my words because I know my Chef Kevin doesn’t like drama and flares, he rather take in, all the positivity and let the negativity inspires him to move on. But I would like to share with you that it wasn’t an easy ride for both of us.

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them. and you will have them. ” Mark 11:24 

My budget was only for two years and I told him, if in any case I can’t send you anymore to finish your Bachelors degree, please find a job and continue to pursue your dream. There’s no point of stopping! We tightened our belt, closed our eyes to the things that we don’t need and can afford to do without. I borrowed money from here to there. While others are building their mansions and buying properties,acquiring signature bags and jewelries..I am working hard, saving every amount I can. Every salaries ,it only took seconds in my hand, it goes to pay bills and debt. Kevin was able to adjust to the standard of living and not to the luxuries of other students who has both parents to pay the bills. It was not only financial problem but also adjusting to the new environment, to the new system ,meeting and dealing with different people with a different culture. Being alone in a foreign land without a family to run to every time a mishap happens was a difficult if not the saddest part of being by yourself. I won’t bore you to go on details the low and high moments of what happened in three years but I can share a few :-)..I know..i can hear MOM!!! hahaha

Look at this shoes..this is love..this is hard work..this is the future..

200K tuition fees for 3 years, living expenses, ticket fares etc
200K tuition fees for 3 years, living expenses, ticket fares etc
– going to College at a tender age of 17, knowing the budget is only for two years, the uncertainty..the pressure of finishing on time doubled or even more..

– finishing the full 7 terms in three years, leading to Bachelors Degree is an incredible journey and an awesome accomplishment. My eldest son quotes that stayed on my mind when he was giving his advise to my youngest son.

“Make your own mistake and learn from it , DON”T COPY OURs “

– getting sick all alone by yourself especially the car accident, losing money to bad people, travelling alone with only less than 20 Swiss franc or sometimes only 20 Saudi riyal 🙂  unfortunately at times, we blamed credit cards that doesn’t work!

– working hard on the job training, sometimes you don’t share because you know the weight on my shoulder are already too heavy to carry by one person only.

– and on top of all the difficulties, there was also Dad’s infidelity rumours, those sharp tongue came like sword lashing every strength I have (gossips of mindless people). With your pale lips, trying to smile and gave me comfort, I saw a brave man mightier than I thought; you gave me an extra boots to let it go.  There were also people who were so envious of sending you to Switzerland and made an obnoxious remarks of where will I get money? Are you serious? duh! am I committing a sin?  Switzerland? If a normal office clerk man can send his son in UK what about a Cosmetic Dentist mom? Does this make sense?

With all the adversity….you took it with profound sanity..pound by pound,moment by moment..

My son, Kevin, I am proud of the young man you’ve become, finishing College at age 20! You showed courage ,confidence and dignity that every parent would like to see in their young adult son or daughter. I am honoured to be a part of your journey and I know in every chapter of your life there is always a new beginning. And this is it!  another country, another culture, another experience and I wish you all the happiness and good luck to a new adventure; my nomadic Chef! Explore the world, gather all the spices, make a fusion of each continents’ dishes and make your own signature dish, your own secret spice and conquer the world’s cuisine! Whoa! dream BIG! its free 🙂

This is how you begin your journey at a age 17.
This is how you begun your journey at a age 17. One day will come that you will be standing in front of your own restaurant or bistro 🙂
Ladies, did your eyebrow dropped and your mouth opened with an “O”?, don’t worry I won’t take it against you, because I took it as a challenge and not an obstacle and I can assure you, slowly and surely we will hit the goal!

” I rather spent my money in my son’s education and see a good future ahead of them..than spent It in a beautiful house with an empty mind.”

To my real friends and my special friend..Thank you for all your support,drying my tears and joining my craziness  đŸ™‚ to my 2 brothers here in Jeddah, my boss and staff, thank you for always standing by and to my princess patient who always give a good tip 😉 for my Chef Kevin.

To my eldest son, Edgie thank you so much, I couldn’t do it easier and better without you on my side, thank you for being a confidante and an arbiter between us 🙂

and to all the people around the world who in one way or another  my Nomadic Chef Kevin have had share moments, thank you for  the experience !

Thank you Cesar Ritz College ( Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland)

God bless.



My Switzerland Escapades 2012 -Lucerne (Luzern) part 1

Lucerne is referred to as “City of Lights”,centrally located at the heart of Europe. It was raining when I arrived with my son who will be  studying at Cesar Ritz College of Switzerland taking up BS in Culinary Arts.

Lucerne is also know as the ” Tourist Capital”  of Switzerland. 

The first thing that caught my eyes when we were walking was “the Chapel bridge” built in 1333, it features a number of gable paintings. Along the side is an octagonal water tower also built-in 13th century.The bridge are lined with flowers , ducks and swans floats around the water.

Samples of paintings

at night

worker in action


a view from the bridge in black and white

©Copy rights protected

More summits to climb

dinner date at see-restaurant,Luzern lake Switzerland

Eighteen years ago, I could not imagine how my life would be without you on my side. Since you were born, you gave us the moments, the high points, it doesn’t matter how you make me cry, how you gave me that expressions of “knowing it all”, how you utter those words, “of being alone most of the time, of not being there when you needed me”, I knew it was just a transition of adolescence to an independent young adult (somehow, a mixed emotions) and how you always differ or argue to my views.. you always get away with your antics of “hit and miss” but in my heart I knew, you are the person who always stick to what you believes in and not easily be persuaded unless the circumstances has been patiently explained. You are the kindest person that a friend could ever have, always supportive and caring.

I always remember the first: first time you look at us and smile, first time to roll, walk and run, first time to talk, first time to go to school, first baseball game, first dance, and first girlfriend. How about the last time? Yes, I also remember the last time: last time you gave me flowers and b-day notes, last time you slept in my room, last time you were in the honor roll, last time you hug and kissed me in front of your classmates. If I am going to write all the first and last time, words are not enough, because I remember all the moments and highlights of your existence.


We have experienced a roller coaster of emotions, the ups and downs of life
the transitions of growing up, of being a family of different addresses and now you are embarking to another chapter, another highlight, another summit  and I know, the path is not as easy as it may seem. But hey! I trust you and it’s always proven when Kevin wants Kevin gets! (Wink)When Kevin said he will do it, he will with flying colors(another wink).

Letting go is not always easy but I know your new-found independence is a bittersweet moments for me, believe it or not, I haven’t visited your empty room yet, I don’t want to feel your absence. You know how happy I am for you to be in that position; this is the most significance steps in your life that I don’t want to miss and rest assured you will always be on my thoughts and prayers.

my kevs at the lobby of Cesar Ritz College of Switzerland

So my dear Kevin, I wish you good health and may you have more birthdays to come and more summits to climb, WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH, Happy happy birthday!








©Copy rights protected

My Switzerland escapades: Bouveret to Brig (Day 5)

Here  we go again…From Bouveret to Brig, transferring to another platform to another train with our luggage, tsug, tsug, tsug, hahaha… that’s not the sound of the train, it’s the sound of our luggage going down the stairs:-(

Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland (Brig Campus)

We’ re visiting the University center of Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland. We were greeted by  two equally beautiful ladies (Ms. Jenai and Ms. Laure) thanks goodness! we don’t have to pull our luggages again going to Hotel du Pont.

At Lounge (Campus accommodation)

Brig is located close to the Swiss- Italian border but they refer it as the German side of the Campus.True, people speaks more of German than French though it’s about one and half train ride to Milan, Italy.

Hotel du Pont

It is a nice town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Hotel du Pont is in central town strategically located along the shopping stores, train station and different cafe restaurant. Pedestrian friendly place!

From the Bouveret campus, students transfer to University center to continue their Bachelor degree in International Business Management. Here, students, teachers and staff are all in Business suits. Though there is one charity day that they allow them to wear casual dress and pays 3/CHF . Students accommodation is like a deluxe Hotel complete with bar, cinema,storage, kitchen and Gym.Kevin also attended one class” Global Tourism” , everything was already thoroughly explained to him in Bouveret, our campus tour was brief but positive. We had sumptuous lunch and Kevin also joined them at Indian dinner, I wonder if he gonna trim down when he join them next year. 🙂

Fondue-melted cheese serve in communal pot over a spirit lamp, dipping bread using long-stemmed fork
Parfait mocca flambe - i call it as " flaming ice cream"

And of course we, will not leave Switzerland without tasting “Fondue” and parfait Mocca Flambe , had fine dine in at hotel du Pont. Great day!

©Copyrights protected

My Switzerland escapades:Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland- a parent view (day4)

Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland (Le Bouveret campus)
multi -cultural environment

This is it! August 30, 2011, the reason why we’re here? To visit the prospective college Kevin is interested to join, opppps… i would say, I am more enthusiastic than him because he wanted to go to Florida, USA instead. When Kevin was in the middle school, I asked him what he wanted to be, He said with pride” I want to be a chef and open a restaurant for my dad” Although, he loves food and helps me in the kitchen, I did not take it seriously. He loves to play piano when he was small and now he loves to play guitar (he is passionate with music), I was thinking he might change his mind too, about being a chef. One of his passions too is Art, he is good in drawing, photography and recently attended an ID Tech Camp and took a short course in video editing. My eldest son was telling him to get a course that he is passionate about so  he would enjoy his profession afterward.

Yes, I believe that passion creates vision…a beginning to follow our endeavor but sometimes it just doesn’t pay the bills. As the sayings goes, “make a business from your passion and money will follow”.Well, I am not a firm believer of this ,otherwise a lot of people who is passionate about playing tennis,baking, writing will all be rich but we all knew that it doesn’t happened all the time. Having a profession that gives you a leeway financially and at the same time being passionate about it is a bonus in itself.

As a parent, it is also my duty to guide and help him to decide what path of studies he will be following, once he finishes his High School in 2012. So, My research begins, in Arts and Culinary. While Kevin is busy doing his” thing” in the kitchen, experimenting dishes, playing guitar and thinking to get a career in Film (documentary) huh! Sounds confusing… me too! Oh well, mostly of teens are not so sure ; a lot things in their mind, I want to get this, I want to be this..so on and so forth.

Lets break it, 123 passion; 1.Music,2.Chef,3.Film making.Where to study?1. Philippines, 2.Switzerland, 3.USA. We’ve been to Philippines and USA many times but never been to Switzerland. I asked him again, are you still interested in Culinary? Well, mom why do you think, I am always in the Kitchen cooking? Because you love food and want to eat!*wink* :-)Nice try mom! I want to know if I really enjoy doing it! Alright Kevin..I got it!

As I goggle the best Culinary School in Switzerland, Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland, pops up…I read their curriculum and I found that on the 1st year, a student will earn a Swiss advanced certificate and will have 6 months paid internship, 2nd year Swiss higher diploma and another 6 months internship until they graduate on the 3rd year of Bachelors degree in Culinary arts, a total of 7 terms. Or you can take up Bachelor in International Business Management (Hotel and Tourism Management). They have  two campuses, Le Bouveret (Swiss-French border) and the German side (Brig). To find out more, please visit www.RITZ.EDU

On my point of view, this is a well planned curriculum, I am already 52 years old, I will never know if anything happens to me, will Kevin be able to earn his Bachelor degree? At least if he got his first year certificate and internship, he has something in his CV to start with. But of course, as long as I am able, I will continue to support him until he gets his Bachelor degree or even until Master degree, God willing. 🙂

After discussing it with Kevin, I sent an e-mail and I immediately got a response from Ms. Laure Parfaite (International Admission Councilor) and received an invitation to visit from Ms. Jenai Oliveira (Area Manager) with outlined schedule of campus tour, classes and complimentary accommodation for him to have a better feel of how student life in both campuses.

along the road
walking from La Lagune rive bleu

Day 4,of  Switzerland escapades; walk…walk… with Kevin’s luggage from the Hotel to Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland; It took us around 20 minutes, I was dressed white with blue blazer (2 years ago my most comfortable attire is shirt and jeans, Kevin would comment on some occasions “dress like a mom”) there you go, I am dressed like a mom 🙂 another request from him, NO PICTURE pls!

good day!
overlooking lake Geneva

As we entered, we were greeted with a smiling front desk officer, he took Kevin’s luggage and we were ushered to their bar lounge (they are after all..a Hotel School). Miss Laure, is a very young lovely lady who toured us around the campus, along the way, we met a lot of Professors, students, staff, executive chef who are all very hospitable and accommodating. Each one gave Kevin some pointers and advises on how to choose his path to success. What I noticed most , students are coming from different culture (Arab, Asian,Europeans etc) which is a  real practical experiences for students on culinary, academic and hospitality.

The kitchens are super, neat and clean; we had the chance to dine in, which was prepared by the students like we were in the real setting with real chef! Kevin was able to attend a class (Baking) with complete uniform, he really enjoyed the day and hang out with Korean students and stayed one night before we move in to another Campus in Brig.

Lunch with Ms. Laure and Kevin
chairs for unwinding thoughts

PS…Students takes 3 levels of French Language to pass the term! :-))

©Copyrights protected