I think the last time I competed in anything remotely serious was in the fourth year intramurals under the “WORD FACTORY” category. We had won gold, but only because my friend Annapat was amazing at word factory, like she could spot 50 words under a millisecond. I on the other hand, got eliminated in the first or second round I think, against probably a freshman or a sophomore. It was pretty cool getting gold medals for a category where you had to be intelligent and brain-wise skilled, but it was a rather unspectacular display of excellence on my part.
Previous medals include my first and third grade Quiz bee gold medals (I hadn’t won in a single Science quiz bee despite participating for four years straight), the medal I got from summer football (everyone got a medal I think), and that loyalty award medal for attending the same school for eleven years.
Don’t get the wrong idea; I did not get a medal these past few weeks. Though, I did try to get one, in a way that I would have never seen myself getting in to. I was trying to win a medal by decorating a cake. I used to look from the outside in, and thought to myself how ridiculous it was for people to spend countless hours making a cake pretty when it’s going to get eaten anyway.
It was an overwhelming experience: starting at 12 midnight two days before deadline, and not actually sleeping until 6pm after getting home from the competition, bringing in a three layer cake with no one but my parents with me, finding out that everyone’s cake was a million feet taller than mine, losing my phone five minutes before competition proper and wandering around a huge event space without any potential spots to take a nap at. It was obviously not the ideal situation for a winner.
It’s these moments where in I usually feel loved the most. My parents, who drove me all the way to Makati at 4am, and stayed with me until it was over, my sisters who helped in literally everyway way they could, their boyfriends who were both just as supportive, my friends Paolo and Justine, who went all the way to the events place just to support me even though they had already gone the previous day, and Nelson, Kim, DJ, Jacy and all the other people who let me have lunch with them. I was touched by my teachers’ support: one even hugged me as she said congratulations. These people made me feel like I had done something right, amidst the loss of confidence I felt as I stared at the table of towering cakes.
Calling that day ‘exhausting’ would be an understatement. My functional needs won over me bit by bit, and my friends could tell as I took the quickest nap on a shake bar’s plastic tables as we all awaited results. I never reached the final results; my father had arrived like your average everyday superhero, ready to take my cake and I home.
I only had found out that I had received a diploma for my cake in the morning, after my parents had sum up the experience as more of a life lesson rather than a fond memory to look back at. My mother had thought that it was best that I kept baking for my family and friends, for that was probably not the most pleasant experience for a first timer (I had lost my phone five minutes prior to the assembly of cakes, it was just horrible.), but her mind quickly changed.
If I hadn’t gotten that diploma, I’m not so sure if I would have competed again, so I’m glad how things worked out. It was a humbling and worthwhile experience, and it’s a pretty good way to get me working hard to actually get a medal next time.
(The pictures above, are what I made with the left over cake from my competition entry. It was a refreshing feeling making something that wasn’t going to be judged or compared to others.)
P.S. This was my competition cake entry: