Zara’s Writing – Day 3 Starter Camp At Radiant Retreat

August 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Continues from here. (Typed out as per how Zara wrote it.)

Today, after a wonderful breakfast, we went to an animal farm. On the drive there, I started to feel dizzy and I’m telling you that ride was worse than a roller coaster. When we reached, I thanked God that ride was over.

We saw deers and rabbits at the farm. I wanted to pet a deer but I was afraid the deer might kick me, so I decided to pet a rabbit insted. I saw a cute rabbit and started chasing it around. When it stoped I pated it and fed it a leaf. Surprisingly the rabbit liked it so I gave it more.

When we got back, we had lunch and played more archary. I met a Malay boy there and he teached taught me how to aim even better. We played and chatted for one hour, then I went back to my room. I chatted with my friends and each of us had to tell a joke and a ghost story. Before I (k)new it the transport was here.

(no photos from the camp host Radiant Retreat as most photos taken were of the group playing paintball)

Zara’s Writing – Day 2 Starter Camp At Radiant Retreat

August 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

Continues from here. (Typed out as per how Zara wrote it.)

Today, after a delicious breakfast, we went for archary and I always hit the target. After the archary, we studied the fish that we caught. The teacher fliped it around and I started to have goose pimples.

We ate a gourmet lunch. Then we went to a men made forest. It looked more like a pinetree farm.

When we came back, we went fishing, we could dig up worms to fish, but the girls preferd to use bread. Some boys fell into the river and had to dismiss fishing.

For dinner, we BBQed the fish we caught and ate it. In the night we had a safety talk. Before we went to bed we told each other jokes, and they laughed so loudly and they stomped on the floor. And when I went down I heard the thumping of elephants. By the time I went to our room, all my roommates were asleep.

(Here are some photos taken by the camp organiser for Day 2 by Radiant Retreat)

Continues here.

Zara’s Writing – Day 1 Starter Camp At Radiant Retreat

August 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Zara went to her very first camp during the holidays. I asked her to write about the trip in her journal so I know what she did during the whole 3 days there. I typed this out just like how she’s written it (even the spelling).

On Tuesday, when we arrived at camp, I was so hungry I had to eat some curry puffs (wich I don’t really like to eat.) Then they announced our rooms : the boys had to sleep in the lobby (poor things), and the girls slept in the bunggalo. I was like ok where’s the bunggalo? Then I heard a girl say “The bunggalo’s up stairs.” Then I thought it’s no big deal it’s just a few steps up. But when we started to go up the stairs, I thought they were taking us to the top of Mount Everest. The moment we reached, I fell on the ground and looked up, there I saw a sofa and a DVD player. I saw a little kitchen with flask of boiling water and our own little fridge. Then I saw a staircase and I started climbing it. When I went to the top, I saw a door. I decided to open the door, and inside I saw a sofa, a huge king sized bed and five mattresses. I saw a glass sliding door and there was a(n) outdoor bath tub, but I didn’t use it because I was afraid that a monkey might take a photo of me being naked.

The rest of the day was just lessons about nature. We ate lunch and I had heaps of it. We went river swimming. The moment I stepped into the water I couldn’t feel my legs because the water was so cold. Leeches were about to feast on my blood but I just flicked them away like dust.

While we were swimming, the teachers caught a few fishes for studying. When we went back, dinner was on the table, and when I saw the dinner, I started to dribble, then I ate until my stomach was as big as a mountain. We had a karaoke, and when I started to sing, all the people turned to look at me.

Before we went to bed, we got to watch a movie. I watched until I fell asleep on the sofa, and before I (k)new it, it was day.

(Here are some photos taken by the camp organiser, Radiant Retreat)

The Boys’ dorm isn’t that bad.

Children being briefed and having lessons about nature.

The scrumptious lunch.

The children walking to the stream for a swim.

Cool dip in the stream.

Continues here.

Zaria Missing Her Sister

August 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm

We sent Zara off to a holiday camp meant for 8yrs and above.
How fast they are growing up. Sigh.
I asked her if she was fine on our drive to the pick up point, and she told me she’s a bit scared (scared not being near us) but at the same time excited with what she would be doing, and the people she would be meeting.

It was with mixed feelings I saw her carrying her overnight bag climbing into the car that would transport her to camp. Zaria’s face turned gloom when she saw her jiejie closing the car door.

This is the very first occasion where Zara is away from home, without her parents (it’s always either the hubs or me will be with the girls; only once we had to leave the girls at their aunt’s house because both of us had to travel for work); this is also the first time Zaria won’t get to sleep with Zara.

So how are the girls doing?

We called Zara at camp yesterday night.
Me : Are you ok?
Zara : Yes ma. We are having so much fun.
Me : Everything is alright then?
Zara : Yeah.. I’m having so much fun.
(sounding impatient, like she couldn’t wait for the conversation to end to get back to whatever she was doing)
Me : Anyway, just wanted to tell you, Zaria missed you.
Zara : Oh… (2 seconds) But ma, I’m having so much fun. The river swim was so fun.. We got leeches all over our hands.
Me : Ewww… but aren’t you afraid of leeches? (I had a leech clinging on to me once in Sri Lanka, and the girls were all screaming like they had seen ghost.)
Zara : No, I just flicked them off my hands.
Me : Oh wow. Alright. You have fun then..Bye. Love you.
Zara : Ok ma, love you. (put the phone down real fast).

I told Zaria about our conversation, and Zaria asked, “Huh? She doesn’t miss me?”

And this morning, she woke up asking me “What bed did jiejie sleep on?” “What do you think she ate for breakfast?”

Per the usual holiday routine, Zaria did some homework from me, and then did her journal writing in the morning (and painted her nails in between doing these.)

And this was what she wrote and drew in her journal (she always like drawing first, then writing, as though planning out the scene).

My sweet sweet girl, missing her sister badly.

Kissy Kissy

July 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Do you talk to your children about your ex boyfriends or the relationship you have before you were married?

For me, since my girls and I talked about anything under the sun (the boys they like in school or enrichment class, who they or I thought is 帅 or handsome etc) they knew how many ex boyfriends I’d had before their dad came along.

Tonight before bed time, they wanted to question me about my past. Guess who did the interrogation? Zaria, the chili padi, but of course.
The interesting bits I’d captured :
Zaria : So did you hold Mr Chineeeese Man’s hands?
Me : Yeah.
Zaria : What else did you do with Mr Chineeeese Man?
Me : We kissed.
Zaria : Ptui! Buek! You kissed him? I’m not going to let you kiss me any more. Ptui!
o.O”
…..
Zaria : Where did you kiss him? In the restaurant?? In the toilet? In the shopping mall? Ptui.. UEK!
Me : We don’t kiss in public, Zaria.
Zara : That’s why ma, you shouldn’t kiss me in school too. It’s embarrassing.
Me : *roll eyes*
Zaria : Ptui! Buek.
Me : Why can’t I kiss my boy friend?
Zaria : Ptui! His salivAAAAA. EWWWW… UEK! *scrunching her face up*
Me : Then, can I kiss you dad?
Zaria : At least he’s your husband! Boy friend, girl friend, no kissy kissy! It’s HORRID, PUTRID and DISGRACEFUL. And the least I want to say is, it’s DISGUSTING!
o.O”
(I have to remember to show her this in future, and remind her Girl friend, boy friend, no kissy kissy!)

Penang Trip 2013 P1 – Kuala Sepetang, St Anne’s Church

July 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

♥June 1st♥

We made our annual trip to Penang during the school holidays, as with every year, to visit St Anne’s church and give our thanks for another blessed year.

This year, the hubs wanted a detour to Kuala Sepetang, formerly known as Port Weld, which is famous for mangrove swamp and charcoal factories. As it was not a planned stop, (the hubs just thought we still have time, and exited the highway at Changkat Jering before informing us where we’re heading), we’d done no research and don’t know what to expect. We just parked our car, and walked about. As we just had lunch (if he’d told us where we were going first, we could have saved our stomach for later), we didn’t even have room for the famous mee udang (Malay: prawn noodle), where a few restaurants were serving.

At one of the houses next to the river, we bumped into another family who was trying to gather enough people to hire a boat for a river cruise, and we agreed to join. The river cruise cost about RM60 for 4 of us (adult RM20/head, children RM20/head) for a 30 minutes cruise.

Poooh-weee! We had to put on the stinky safety vests which probably never got washed/cleaned since the first day the boat started operating.

Even with the smell bothering us, it was still quite a pleasant ride. We cruised past the fishing village.

Saw fishing boats anchored at the back of the houses.

And also went pass mangrove forest, with monkeys playing at the banks.

When we were done with the cruise, and walked back to the car, we saw some salted fish being dried. So we bought some as well. It’s very tasty by the way, should you visit this place, don’t forget to buy some of these long salted fish home.

And then we drove just a KM or 2 to get to the charcoal factories. We were told Kuala Sepetang charcoal is considered one of the best in Asia and it’s in high demand in the international market.

Just so happened we arrived at the famous Mr Chuah’s charcoal factory, Mr Chuah was about to end a guided tour to a bus load of tourists, so we joined in as well (tour is free, and to avoid disappointment, best to give Mr Chuah a call before going).

In the factory, there are domes like this which are the kilns where the de-barked mangrove trunks will be ‘baked’ and dried.
Once dried, the ‘door’ to the kiln will be sealed off for the charcoal to cool down for a further 8 days.

There were pile high of mangrove branches/trunks awaiting to be turned into charcoal.

Who, but the foreign workers, would want to work in a smokey environment? They are the ones who toiled for us so we could have our good quality charcoals!

Charcoal are broken into smaller pieces and bagged up to be sold.
We bought a big charcoal log to be placed in the house as deodoriser, as well as a pack of charcoal. 2/3 of it has already been used up since we got home. Verdict : super fragrant barbecue! So don’t forget to buy some home if you visited this place.

(Mr Chuah’s charcoal factory, 34650 Taiping, Perak. Tel: 012-573 9563)

Then it was back to the NKVE and to Bukit Mertajam. The hubs have to drive a bit faster because St Anne’s Church closes at about 7pm.

The ambiance in the old chapel is always very serene and quiet. That’s where we’ll always go to for our thanks giving.

9th year in a row… our yearly tradition of going to give our thanks, and also taking a shot at the front of the old chapel.

And we always wash ourselves at the St Anne’s water, and fill up a bottle with the water to bring home.

We’d never seemed to be able to find a good eating place in Bukit Mertajam. One year, we were looking for this highly rated place Yoong Kee which is located near the Bukit Mertajam market for lunch, but it was closed. This year, we managed to find it after asking around at the market.

The restaurant has been operating for more than 60 years. It’s at a shabby shop lot which you probably won’t notice except for the crowd gathered there.

We ordered 1 fried fish for the girls, and 1 steam fish with plum for us, and a mix vege. The vege, fried with a pork sauce, was very homely. The fish were both very good, very fresh, and well prepared.

The hubs claimed this is the best steam fish with plum he’s ever tasted.

It was a cheap and satisfying dinner (if you didn’t mind the occasional rats zooming under the table).

(Resturant Yoong Kee, Jalan Pasar, Penang, Bukit Mertajam, 14000. Phone: 04-539 8764)

Continues here.

姐妹情深

July 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I’m a morbid person. I like to talk about death with the children, just so they know it’s not something to be afraid of, and that everyone goes through it.

Yesterday is one of the rare moment where Zaria has to go for a class that Zara doesn’t attend. Alone in the car with Zaria, we had this conversation.
Me : One day, if daddy and mummy died, of all the aunties and uncles, kuma (姑妈), yeeyee (阿姨) that you have, who do you think you would want to ask to be your parents?
Zaria : You and daddy both died?
Me : Yeah.
Zaria (thought a while) : Hmmm. I want jiejie to be my mummy. o.O”

Today over lunch. I told Zaria to keep quiet because I want to ask Zara the same question.
Me : One day, if daddy and mummy died, of all the aunties and uncles, kuma (姑妈), yeeyee (阿姨), ah kim (婶婶) that you have, who do you think you would want to ask to adopt you? Zaria has given me her answer, but I want to hear what you say.
Zara : Who did Zaria pick?
Me : Can’t tell you now. You tell me your answer first.
Zara : (thought a while with her finger tapping her chin) I want to live alone with Zaria. We’ll take care of each other. o.O”

I want to cry just knowing how close these 2 are.

The girls do almost everything together. I’m lucky to be able to arrange that they attend the same morning session in school, go for almost all their extra-curicular activities together. Although they annoy or irritate each other sometimes, most of the time, they get along very well and have a lot of fun together.

Zara has numerous times stood up for Zaria when Zaria got punished. She’s blocked the cane (coming down) that was meant for Zaria, told us off when we scolded Zaria too much and threatened to send her to boarding school (the little one can be a tyrant at times, if you’d been following me on Facebook or my blog), “She’s your daughter too you know.” And it shows by this question, that they do love each other very much.

It warms my heart knowing that their bond is so strong. *wipe tears away* 死也无遗憾咯.

Here is a piece of writing in Zaria’s journal (written end last year). I made her write about her sister, and think about how it would be if Zara is no longer living with us, after they had a big fight, and she said Zara was a rotten sister and asked us to send Zara away.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

2 Children, 2 Reactions

July 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

We got home from watching Coppelia Ballet very late on Saturday.

The girls fell asleep in the car on our way home. When they got home, both of them have to take a shower before they went to bed. Of course, both were in a foul mood. I helped them by quickly soaping them and rinsing them. While Zara cooperated, Zaria was throwing a tantrum, spitting toothpaste all over the shower cubicle as a form of protest.

After I’d finished rinsing Zaria, when I wanted to get out of the shower cubicle, I slipped and fall. BANG! I was sprawl on the ground. My left upper arm, abdomen, and right thigh hit the threshold of the shower screen, and I lay like that for a couple of seconds. Zara, who was brushing her teeth at the sink, rushed over and tried to pull me up. “Are you ok mom? Can you still walk?”
Although in pain, I stood up and moaned. Zara asked, “Can you still go to work?”
I asked her why she was asking me this sort of questions.
She replied, “Oh, because if you can no longer go to work, we’ll be poorer.” o.O”
She then helped me out of the bathroom.

Now, all these while, Zaria stood frozen in the shower cubicle. When I turned to her and glared at her (I probably slipped on the tooth paste she spat out). She glared back and me, “What? It’s not my fault wut.” and stomped out of the bathroom. o.O”

No apologies, no asking if I was ok from this girl. This girl has very little compassion. *shake head*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And how was the ballet?

Throughout the ballet the girls were talking with their friends (who sat on the same row) and occasionally exchanging seats (until someone at the back went SHHHHH).

While Zaria was interested in the whole 3 acts, Zara at act 3 was getting bored (guess it was getting really late). Making remarks like “When are they going to stop?” (when 2 guys danced). And when they finally did she went “YEAH!!!” and cheered so loud like she was in a football match and her favourite team scored a goal. R-U-D-E!

As for Zaria, when the lead dancer put on white tights and came out dancing she said, “Now I can see his butt which are like two paos and his giant penis.” o.O”

Malaysia Haze

June 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

The last couple of days, all we Malaysians (and Singaporeans) talked about was the haze! Facebook friends including myself were reporting on API, where to get masks, what was the visibility outside, how the haze was affecting us (itchy skin/eyes, smokey, choking feeling etc).

People were wearing masks, and my girls out of fun, put on theirs as well.

The girls didn’t go to school for 3 days, and were locked up together with me in the study, with ironiser and aircon turned on and doors and windows all shut. Pity them as they are the outdoor type who likes to cycle and runaround at the park.

I made them write about the haze when we were under house arrest, reluctantly they did (hence the sloppy writing) or they won’t get to use the iPad or start their playing session.

Now that the skies are clear and blue, and the fluffy clouds are back, we hope we’d seen the last of the haze.

Putting Things Into Perspective

May 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The girls were making Teachers’ Day cards for their teachers.

Zara wrote on her card “Happy Teacher’s Day“ instead of “Happy Teachers’ Day” that I wrote for her.
Zaria wrote on her card, “Dear, Teacher, Belinda” instead of “Dear Teacher Belinda,”
Zara wanted to write “And” but instead wrote “Ad”

I got irritated. So I lectured them.
“Yada yada, so many mistakes on your cards… AND also you can spell wrongly… Don’t even know how to use punctuation… Can’t even plan your writing properly. Yada yada.”

Both girls corrected their mistakes by putting stickers over mistakes, drawing over wrong punctuation etc etc, while I was yakking away.

When Zara was done, she looked at me and told me calmly, “We are children. You are an adult. When children do things.. there’ll be some imperfection, it cannot be as perfect as an adult.”

o.O”

Then added, “Do you think if I did it so perfectly, teacher Casandra will think it’s my work or your work?”

o.O”

Ok. She’s putting things into perspective.

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