Thursday, September 25, 2014

quick notes on the Malaysia trip: Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Penang-Langkawi-Singapore in 6 days

So M&D were here for a visit and we finally made that trip to Malaysia, alhamdulillah. I never thought I'd get the chance to vacation with them again post-wedding but so happy we were able to. And while I was really stressed about the whole trip, it turned out pretty decently. I mean I was afraid that in all the bookings I'd made I'd screw up or pull a Zari, but two train bookings, four flight bookings and three hotel bookings later, I did pretty well. Of course I kinda did badly selecting the Chulia Heritage Hotel in Georgetown. It had 'shared bathrooms' which means bathrooms were outside the room! Ugh. Bad decision but because the hotel was pretty clean, I think it was okay.

So quickly... some highlights

1. The confusion at Woodlands. Oh yeah, major confusion at this point. We pass immigration and everything and then realize instead of reaching the train platform, we're at the coach platform! Alhamdulillah for some smooth action by the officials. Next time must keep my eyes peeled for the signs. All the drama just because of one wrong turn.
2. In the train Sarah has a lot of fun playing with an older boy, perhaps 6 years old. They giggled, she couldn't talk to him much but kept making noises and shared her crayons and colouring book. When the family left, the boy's mother put 15 SGD in Sarah's hand!
3. We reach KL late in the night. I really could have done a better job selecting hotels for the whole trip. But everything was so last minute, now I know you really have to comb through reviews on TripAdvisor, especially the room tips. And never, ever go by the hearts on So we get off the train, and reach Little India (or one of the three Little Indias in KL) and search for 'My Hotel'. While we're searching, a helpful young man tells us, there are three My Hotels in this area, so why don't you go to the nearest one over there and find out which you're booked at. Didn't need that confusion after the drama at Woodlands. 
4. We go on a KL tour with some highly reviewed private tour at TripAdvisor. Pretty decent. Loved KL. Had expected it to look like SGP but wasn't. Much more beautiful.
5. Catch a train to Penang. Parents are like hyperparanoid at this point. Everything goes okay, we reach Butterworth early in the morning, and catch a ferry to the island. Beautiful ride with the sky still dark. Reach the hotel, no checkin until 2. Get down at a mosque and realize Sarah's stroller's still in the cab that just left. Baba and I track down the stroller. Whew. Get to check in early thanks to some nice staff member. Sleep. Wake up and go to Penang Hill via the funicular train. Just amazing! A straight steep climb by train! Come back, walk a bit around Georgetown and have dinner at Danish. Amazing again.
6. Next day we take the Penang Round Island tour with Tour Incentive. Great value for money. Beautiful trip and learn a lot about Malaysia. Many thanks to Mr. Chua. Eat at Danish again, had 3 meals there in total. Also had Nasi Kandar.
7. Catch the flight to Langkawi. Husband arrives. Reach Bayview. Major shock there as husband tells me of some $250 charge on his card that was with me. (Now we know it was only an earlier transaction and the message was late). We go to Pantai Cenang beach after a visit to Geopark (awesome and awesome!). Husband urges me to parasail. I want to but am chickening out. Tell Baba to do it and he agrees. I go next. Ah, just unforgettable. Felt like a bird, buffeted by the wind over a beautiful blue-green sea. Sigh. It was so beautiful. Dinner at the nearby Thai restaurant. Great food.
8. Langkawi cable car. Huge lines that make everyone extremely pissed off. If you plan to go, DO NOT go late in the day, go early and get in the line asap. We wasted some time having Sarah feed rabbits. The ride was amazing though. We went up really, really high and it was actually scary to look down. Just like the funicular train, the pressure at that altitude made our ears pop? click? Whatever, too sleepy to think right now. Came back and husband left for airport. After some chai, we went to another beach finally with a driver who could speak English. Dinner again at the Thai restaurant -- amazing food!
9. Flight back to Singapore.

I hate that I'm not writing about Sarah. It's so much fun to be around her , most of the time. Some of the English words she's picked up since joining playschool on August 1st: no moar!, gothere, Lookathis, Whatisthisth, justaminit. All her classmates and teachers call her Serah, you know like the Christian pronunciation. Not bothered though, they're both the same person, just  different pronunciation. She loves going to school alhamdulillah and her enthusiasm is really appreciated by the teachers, alhamdulillah again. She's obsessed with rhymes so it's no wonder she enjoys going to school. Okay, I have a test tomorrow and I can't write anymore.


Friday, July 18, 2014

updates from July 2014

Tired. Drained. Sleepy. Had a spot of work last night. Work as in work work not what I do or don't do :| all the time. I don't have the time to elaborate but if I could, this is what I would write about:

- Zafar mama, then Nanima. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun.
- Mariyakishadi
- Daura e quran and what a blessing the Quran is. Sabr and shukr
- Sarah turning two. 
- Laptop trips to Harbourfront and time at Vivocity and Bugis
- Horror at Gaza and rapes in India
- Wanting to be better, hoping for better times in sha Allah

Also, school hunting begins. Yayy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Alhamdulillah 3laa kulli haal

What I was cribbing about has now turned itself into a blessing. Or so I hope. In that respect, the blessings have been pouring on me since yesterday. But two days ago, we lost z mama. I don't want to continue in that vein because then I will stop working. This is my first experience with grief and I pray my last one, and it is odd how it comes in waves. You're fine and your brain is busy warding off any thoughts that want to 'disturb' its peace. And then when you're alone, it HITS. Ya Allah, pour sabr on us.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


This shouldn't be a pich-pich post, but I feel very pich-pichy. If you don't know what pich-pich is, well I'm too pichy to tell you, sorry :P

I'm lost basically. Yeah, great English! Sigh. I know what my problem is: I want instant gratification without any introspection or hard work. I'm avoiding the tasks that will make me introspect. And I'm feeling high or low depending on what the day brings. This should not be happening! It's funny what's bringing this on. So first there was happiness/satisfaction, then this became some form of unrest, and then action, and more unrest. Aarr! I'm also feeling very half-baked. And the solution or at least the path to a solution is right here apparently. Just within a few clicks and some hours of silence which I don't know I'll get and when I'll get them.

There are great things I can do altruistically but no, I want to do stupid things and be paid for them. Or be smart enough to do something great, but that's where all the half-baked doubts start coming in. Also, most importantly, I need to sleep better. Maybe I should just chuck all of this. It's becoming an addiction. YES! That's what it is. An addiction.That should explain the volatility. 

Sigh. I need some time off but I'm sure when I get it, I'll probably indulge in more instant gratification. 

Such as this post. When there is SO much to write about Sarah. Like her saying thank you on my behalf, or frowning at me to say sorry, or all the words she mispronounces (gop (godh), gavash (giraffe), katora (kotala), fondan (sabun). havash (high five), meemee/dishonaur (dinosaur)), libyayi), the cute things she says: "this is mumma chappal", no no, "don't do that", "Daddy I llav you", "husha beebee make a shond" (hush little baby, don't make a sound (current book and song obsession)), all the actions of the 'Wheels on the bus' song, bishbilla ameen (bismillah, ameen), her praying in front of me on the prayer mat, hugging my legs when I'm in the kitchen, extra laad with the daddy, her imitation of Ammaarah didi's videos, "nunu sogi, nanu sogi, Sarah sogi", playing with the Malay aunty next door and the things that irritate me: throwing her shoes away while we're out, randomly dropping anything that's in her hands, pulling my hair .. actually there's very little apart from these things that she does that *really* irritates me. Oh yeah, she makes calls with my phone. I'm trying to put a stop to that.

Okay, feeling less pichier. Time to wake up the baybee. Alhamdulillah for baby.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

18 things about a 17 month old

Sarah baby,

I'm sorry I've missed so many months and itty-bitty milestones over here. I don't want to get into excuses because you might wake up any time now... so here goes:

1. you're now toddling away, it was very penguin-like just a few days ago but it's getting better
2. You're picking up new words everyday. some of the words you mispronounce are just so  cute: bibbit (rabbit), beeps (grapes), mee mee (dinosaur (!!!)), phips (chips), laice (rice), pheesh (fish), phoos (phone), daddis (daddy)
3. You love to say 'anda' and nowadays your way of asking for breakfast has become: "Mamma!" "Anda?" "Sheesh? (cheese)", all done very quickly accompanied by vigorous nodding of the head. You also use these words to try to get out of naps, so I'll take you to the kitchen and you can start playing (See? I'm on to you!)
4. Like any other kid from your generation, you love screens and I'm trying to keep you away from them. But you still point to the ipad and go 'Bow bow? Bow bow?" over and over again. 
5. You can recognize most shapes and put the shape blocks in their correct places (yes, very nerdy achievement)
6. You recognize numbers too but not individually. Every number is called 'choo' (two)
7. You love reading books and recognize so many things. You LOVE the yellow rubber ducky and you even held the picture of one such ducky to your cheek and hugged it!
8. We took you to the zoo but couldn't spend enough time there :( Hopefully another time. Waiting to go to the bird park, think you'll go crazy with excitement 
9. You like to brush your teeth or rather chew on it. And you call it "chooshush"
10. You recognize the doctor and the salon lady
11. You love donuts and chips just like your mom. I wish I loved vegetables more :|
12. You love playing with older kids and will spontaneously hug them. Is there some way I could get you an older sibling? Maybe ask Blister to send Ammaarah over :D
13. Your favourite rhyme is 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', and your favourite books are  'Tim's Birthday' and 'Miss Polly Had A Dolly'
14. You MUST chat with your nanu and baba everyday. And you get very excited when you see them and seem to want to go through the screen and into their arms. Makes me sad-happy
15. You love sitting in your high chair and reading. I think it gives you a good view of what your parents are up to and makes you feel more included
16. You love seeing cats and dogs when we go downstairs and are pretty good with saying hi to people too
17. You sleep between 11 and 12 at night and wake up around 10. If I get into bed with you at 10, you sleep longer. But then your naps get cut short. You're waking up about two times per night but  I"m more or less used to it now
18. Your first words in the morning are still either "Yeh kya hai?" pointing to things around the room or jabbing your finger in my eyes or yours and saying "Aaiss"

Okay, I've miraculously managed to type more than half of this post with you in my lap, alhamdulillah! And alhamdulilllah for you and your cuteness, my admiration for the human capacity to learn and the natural wonders around us has grown so much because of you. Glory be to Him who created us and everything around us.

I love you my little monster (you pull my hair and threaten to bite me :( )

Monday, October 7, 2013

First impressions

- it's like being in Manhattan, only greener.
- I thought the weather would be horrible, it's not. There are shady lanes and a decent breeze blowing 
- Coffee shops are occupied by 10th class type kids drinking coffees while studying! Of course some of them are more busy on their gigantic cellphones
- Everything is so organized. RB said yesterday that he thought even the fish were traveling in straight lines 
- Everyone is so stylish and SO slim. I feel like a fat hag
- The Indian area was disgustingly crowded. Kept veering away from people keeping in mind earlier experiences back home. Thankfully, it was all safe.
- I wish everything wasn't so expensive though. 
- I wish I wasn't a foreigner here, but a local. Why can't India be so nice that you feel proud to be a local :(
- A lady at the supermarket seemed very disappointed that I was Indian and not Saudi as she had thought earlier
- The Indian-looking attendant at the hotel lobby only today realized that I was Indian when I asked him about a nearby Muslim restaurant. And he kept saying, 'You're Indian Muslim? You want to go to Indian Muslim restaurant?' 
- I want to explore this place a lot more, but there's Sarah and there's fasting. 
- We should be checking out some apartments today.
- Nothing like a new place to get the blogging juices flowing again :)

Friday, September 27, 2013


It's been a bit of a whirlwind over here. We hardly settled down and now we're packing up the house, home for the last 3 years, 4 for M. Loved this house, it was my first own house (meaning free to run it however I liked), it had great storage, my first ever modular kitchen, it gave us our "relaxed weekends", and most importantly to me, over the past year, the parks were right next door and was what looked forward to the most, even in the sultry Chennai weather.

We made a second trip to Pondicherry this time, and because we stayed at a resort with its own private beach, we really loved ithe visit. Sarah, however, was too scared by the crashing waves and kept crying the whole time. She did love the pool though and we had to drag her out.

Nothing much has happened except for being in a state of limbo wondering where and when we were headed next. Well, the packers will arrive in a couple of hours and tomorrow evening we make our way to Hyderabad so both sets of grandparents can say goodbye to Sarah for the time being in sha Allah.

Of course, Sarah is definitely happening, alhamdulillah has put on the weight she'd lost when she fell sick and looks rounder again. We got her ears pierced too but her bangs still need to grow out to look like a girl. A couple of neighbours thought she was a boy :< .

She took her first steps a few days ago (finally) and yesterday walked from her dad towards me (about 4 steps) while we were busy talking to each other, ma sha Allah Just like Baba said, she feels extremely elated and proud of her accomplishments, it's so cute to watch.

She understands a lot of what we say and her vocabulary's growing pretty fast too. Most recently, she was attempting shoes and cheese on her own, both without being prompted and both sounding like: chshhh and shhh. Like her dad said, I think making sounds using the tongue and teeth is much more difficult, so when she says her name too, it's Sasa, and that's like a lispy s.

She points out things in her books too. Also loves looking at dogs, cows, etc. And everything is bhow-bhow (always accompanied by eyes wide open), including a crow!

She has a couple of toys that play the ABC and she turns her head to the sides rather laboriously showing her enjoyment. It's so strange!

She's easily scared by other kids and will begin bawling if they scream at her. She probably needs to be exposed to their company much more often to become a toughie.

She loves: cheese, dahi no meal is complete without dahi, playing with bunches of things like the coloured plastic stones we have or emptying pens, etc. From a pen holder (all items are handed to mamma without which there is no fun), pushing the pushtoy we got her from Hamley's, pulling stuff and throwing it on the floor wherever and whenever possible, playing inside open suitcases, climbing into cupboards and narrow spaces, splashing water around amd playing with the teddy bear during "bushy-bushy time", asking "yeh ta(kya) hai" a million times a day, making dramatic shocked faces upon seeing things on the floor even if she was the one who threw them there, sliding down the slide (did that make me happy or what! I always loved the pisal bandas and was so looking forward to Sarah enjoying them, wasn't a bit disappointed alhamdulillah :) ), holding on to and pulling my hair (the most annoying thing anyone has done to me EVER) when she's sleepy, and of course still thumb-sucking away... That's about all I can remember.

Time to wake her up now...