Monday, December 29, 2008

My Hijrah

"Hijrah" means migrate. Maal Hijrah is the new year in Islamic calendar. 29th December 2008 is the first day of the Hijriah year 1430 or 1st of Muharram (the first month of the Islamic year). I will not go deeper into the history in fear of misleading or wrong facts. But Hijrah usually mean migrating from one phase of life to another.. well.. kindof if you read the actual meaning from the history. So let's take it from there. It's a new year, a new beginning.

Apparently, this year is definitely a GREAT hijrah for me. It is a great sacrifice on my part to let go what has been with me for the past 15 years. And a great change of life routine altogether. I myself couldn't believe it! But it is real and it's already happening. And to face these changes, I have to make a lot of changes in:-
1) the way I think
2) the way I do things
3) the way I spend my time, money, energy
4) the way I dress... oh yeah.. I fear for this one as I tend to get really sloppy and sluggish if I'm not dressed for office (this is very wrong.. and worrying!)

I've made some researches and get my mental ready for the changes. But being me, not a very well-planned person.. even with all the info I have, it kinda get stuck in my head just for a while. The tendency to just pass by it is just enormous!

So, to actually overcome this, perhaps I need to list down all the things that I need to do, big goals, small goals, deadlines and all the works. I have it all in my head but when it comes to writing it down.. and actually doing it.. it may take ages. That's me allright!

Perhaps.. I should start now. OK. Goal number one : List down all my goals and target by end of this week. Too ambitious? We'll see.

And now.. my hijrah begins ..

Christmas memories

I don't celebrate Christmas as I am a Muslim but we always have special feast on this day simply because it is a public holiday, at my place or any other relative's house. Furthermore, it'll be too packed everywhere you go! I also hold this day as special as it is the day that we moved into our own house 6 years ago. I also looked forward to this day as I would get re-acquainted with those long lost friends who celebrate Christmas. I have many many happy memories of Christmas that I will not bore you with but will keep close it to my heart. I've had cold white Christmas, rainy Christmas as well very hot ones.

This year we had roast chicken, ratatouille (spell? it's a type of salad), shepherd's pie, as well as custard pudding and bubur kacang for dessert. The kids had fun at the pool. It was really great! It was held at my niece's apartment. Last year we had it at my sister's place. Perhaps next year I could have a bbq at my place!

The boys had their own first Christmas party at our porch on our wooden swing two days after Xmas. A boy named Remy whom they just befriended at the early school holidays brought "the party" to our home. He had two bottles of soda (complete with plastic cups!) and a container of Christmas cookies to be shared with his friends. This, I thought is SO sweet. Well, he could have invited his friends over to his house but instead he carried all those to his friend's house. My kids were very excited about it. We then took out some fried chicken (leftover from lunch) and some freshly homemade steamed chocolate cake. There are 6 8-10 year old boys.. and they finished up everything! I made sure the boys said thank you to Remy and I personally thanked him and wished him and his family Merry Xmas.
I sure hoped my boys learned the spirits of muhibbah!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Top of the world

I'm now officially a stay-at-home mom. This morning I walked my last steps out of the office. Said good-byes to whoever in the office (very few of them since they are mostly on leave), took the last few of my belongings and returned my laptop. Trying to paint the last moments in my head with good final pictures. A bit sad to leave the familiar faces, to face a new beginning.

But as I made my exit, I felt relieved, free, happy.. and a little bit nervous. But the sense of freedom buried my nervousness.

Went to a malll nearby the office to get something with a smile on my face and light shoulder. Had lunch with the kids at home. Just had my afternoon nap with my baby (well .. still a baby at 2.5 years old) and will bring him out for a walk after this. What a nice afternoon to start with.

I'm feeling on top of the world!

Monday, December 22, 2008

THE day is coming!

The time is coming nearer. Too near. I'm busy packing my things, backing up personal files, contacting the ever efficient HR for some last minute clearence, attending farewell lunches and of course thinking and thinking of what it would be like. I'm getting all the questions from friends and colleuges of my plans after THE day. Questions that I myself not sure how to answer. I've got things in my mind but very lack of confidence on whether it will work. I really am not focused!

One minute, I'm all for it.. feel so sure that it would work, the next minute I feel so scared. What if the worst happened?

Take a deep breathe.. focus.. take one thing at a time. This is the time I should study again all the tips and guides I received in my mailbox and take action.

Breathe in.. breathe out...!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Of language and communications

I went to the boys's school this morning to buy their workbook and exercise books. In Year 5 list of books for Irsyad, there's this optional revision set of books that you can buy. I was interested to buy at first until I see the contents. The Science and Math books which are in English have translation after every para and every question! I checked every page to be sure. Of course, I decided not to purchase the set. How are they going to learn in English if they have translation all the way? It will only confuse them.

While the English/Malay medium for Math and Science debate is still hot in the air, and even long before that, I have taken my stand. I'm for the English medium. I believe kids should be exposed to another language other than their mother tounge. It's essential since we live an a multicultural society and it would be a preparation for them to go global. There's nothing wrong learning. It does not make you less Malay/ Chinese/ Indian if you learn another language. And it doesn't mean that you are abondoning your mother tongue! It is best to teach a language at an early learning stage while their grasp of the language is still at a basic level. So their ability to absorb is better.

So I strongly believe teaching Math and Science in English one great way for them to learn the English language. Not necessarily to master it. After all, once they got to colege, most of the resources will be in English, even in local colleges. And most of the materials they search on the net will be in English. It will make a vast different once they got out of school.

Some narrow minded people think that learning/ mastering English makes you another person altogether, straying you away from your own people. What piece of crap! And there's also another group who thinks so highly of themselves just because they can only speak English and stuttered in their own mother tongue. And these I would call morons!

There's also another point that we should look into while talking about language. Instead of emphasizing just the language, what they should look into is communication itself. They should introduce communications subject to teach kids how to communicate, not just speak or being spoken to. They should be taught public speaking to boost their confidence, to be brave enough to speak up and thus to be able to interact to other people.

There're a lot of things that we have to do to improve the language and communication skills of our kids. In school, there should be a better curriculum than it has now, to emphasize more on the development of the chidlren in all aspects.. not just passing the academic subject! At home, parents have to be more involved with their children, communicate with them not simply instruct them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beach break in December

Geez! It seemed to be ages since I last wrote an entry. It's been quite a busy 2 weeks with work and the holiday season! And it was wet holiday season too. I was lucky to head north where the weather was surprisingly beautiful, sunny but not so hot! The kids had a blast at the beach and the swimming pool. It was even merrier when a family friend from Perak joined us on the second day.

Holidaying with kids has its tests! Tests of your patience to entertain their "wants", test of your energy and stamina level because they have all the energy and stamina in the world to jump and dive into the pool and move to the beach the very next minute. By the this time, you know how unfit you are to go back and forth from the pool to the beach! They have the appetite too, so you must always make sure food/ titbits/ snacks are always around. In terms of clothings, all you need is swimming/ beach gear! Extras would be nice if you plan to go out from the hotel and venture other things in town or have nice dinner with friends.

I notice our trends of holidaying have started to change since there was no baby in the house. Now we can easily include outdoor activities such as the beach or maybe jungle trekking next. Not that we cannot do all these if there's a baby around, but being me, a very particular mom ;}, I would avoid bringing baby out under the sun especially the beach! Yeap.. me very conservative one! I know one great lady who went up to Mount Kinabalu with a six-month old baby on her back. No thank you, not me.

Back to our holiday, my dream holiday sort of coming near. OK so this is what I really want to do with the kids: camping at the beach with campfire and all. No luxury of a hotel room. Or camping in the jungle near a waterfall. It would be perfect! The idea is, the get the kids (and perhaps daddy too!) to love the nature, appreciating God's creation. I have succeeded to make them love the beach (I think!) since they are no longer afraid of the splash of the tiny little waves (let's introduce them to the "safe" beach first!). Except for little Omar who at first so scared to even step on the sand... he only step down after nearly one hour clinging on daddy! Must go to the beach more often. Will wait for Omar to turn at least 5 or 6.. then the camping trip will be planned ...

Now the kids are back to the modern world... back to computer games, PSP and PS2!! And I was down for two days with low blood pressure... too stressed and tired perhaps!! I wish we can stay longer and really get them hooked to the nature. Perhaps some other time, longer time spent at the beach. And I will make sure to be fit first before I'm out there with them!!