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Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Cikgu' Again!

It has been a hectic couple of weeks... I've got myself a job! Having been 'unemployed' for the past year, we decided it's about time I become 'financially-independent' again... Also, it got kinda boring staying in a room all day with just the computer for company. Plus, sitting around all day is certainly not good for one's cardiovascular's health. Anyway, I always have people calling me "cikgu" (teacher) even when I was a homemaker and had never considered a teaching career. Even later, when I found out what my actual life's calling is, teaching still gives me deep satisfaction... Thus, here I am, teaching again, only this time the students don't call me "cikgu" but "puan(g-local accent, lol)" or sometimes, "madam".. It's quite a convenient arrangement actually: the hubby's workplace is just almost across the street from the college; we go out and come back together - less than 10 minutes drive from 'home' and no traffic jams at all (utter bliss!). We are even considering staying in the 'homestay' for the duration of our stay in KT; after the exhausting weeks of work and not having the energy to do much housekeeping and cooking...! Here's a picture I took of one of my classes:
By the way, it's the first of Muharram tomorrow - start of the new year of the Hijriah calendar. So, Happy New Year and may the new year brings Hidayah and Peace to everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rainy Days...and TTI

It has been raining and raining and raining these past few days. Actually the rainy season started about a month ago and we do have sunny days once in a while; like on Eidul Adha, Alhamdulillah. Some people may find rainy days like these depressing but some like me may find it 'invigorating' somewhat. The days are cooler and refreshing to the senses. Of course, too much rain bring floods and destruction but curiously enough, people in the East Coast deem the monsoon season as a time for festivities and actually look forward to it! Hard to believe, but there you are.
Anyway, about 2 weeks ago the daughter came to KT as she had completed her 5th semester and wanted to spend sometime with us before she commerce with her practical early December (which is today actually). It is fortunate that the Friday when we took her to the Taman Tamaddun Islam (Islamic Heritage Park) the day started clear although rather cloudy. However, after about an hour there it started to drizzle and pour... Nevertheless, the Park is quite a remarkable place to visit actually. There are replicas of mosques from all over the world, including the Taj Mahal... Very impressive. Here are some pics, although we didn't manage to look at all of them in detail (due to the rain):

This is the Kubbah As-Sakhrah of Baitul Muqqaddis, Palestin (from afar)...
You can even enter it and see the 'hanging rock'...
Another view of the Dome
I think this is the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan
Front view of the Badshahi Mosque
Another view?
This one is Al-Haram Mosque from afar:

The Taj Mahal...
Kudus Minar, Central Java, Indonesia
Another view of the above...
Of course there are many more to see in the park, so if you ever come to KT, you must come for a visit. I think it's worth the RM10 entrance fee (of course try to come when it's not the monsoon season and you may enjoy it even more!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Close Encounters of the Furry Kind...

Our home in Klang is breeding squirrels... Yup, that's what we found out when we went home for the Eidul Adha last Thursday. Of course we have had our fair share of resident rodents/creatures sharing our home for the last 13 years or so. Let see, we have had the occasional rats, bats, snakes and adding to the list - squirrels! Encounters with rats are usual - only you'd find me jumping on the the nearest table and commanding their disposal from there... As for bats: believe me, nothing is more terrifying than having a furry squeaking creature suddenly swooping down from the attic (yes, we have an attic unfortunately...that's one of the reasons we have so many little tenants...) and scaring the daylights out of you! Fortunately we haven't had bats for ages now. Don't get me started on snakes (it's either rats or snakes; one is the predator of the other?). I remember the one that curled up on the book-shelf which I thought at first was a toy snake propped there by one of my sons to play a joke on me.. Anyway we called up the fire-station and got some firemen to come and take it away. There was another one where the hubby found on the undercarriage of our car and he drove the kids to school with it (it was morning rush hour) hoping it will drop somewhere en route. Unfortunately it hanged on for dear life and so the hubby drove it to the fire-station (to the amusement of the firemen over there). So, anyway, squirrels are breeding in drawers and vases and we don't really know how to chase them away... Looks like they'll be staying when we are not...(sigh) Pictured below are not the squirrels we have in our home but I bet that's what they do when we're not around..lol!

(picture: courtesy of 6dependents.wordpress.com)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

27th Anniversary

Yesterday (11/11) was our wedding anniversary; our 27th year together... Praise be to Allah, we are blessed with a happy marriage and 4 wonderful children. Of course, we went through the ups and downs of married life but with the Grace of Allah we are still in one piece (or two pieces...). What can I say about the hubby... he has always supported me in anything I do, never a harsh word and is always there for me or the children (God, there's a lump in my throat now...) As we usually do annually on this special day, we went out to dinner to a fancy restaurant...well, what can one expect in KT...we decided to try out the cafe' of a new hotel in town (Sumai). We usually order Western Cuisine; something I'm not usually inclined to cook at home. Unfortunately, the food is nothing to write home about... On the bright side, we didn't leave hungry and the dessert was lovely - fried ice cream. Ever had one of those? Absolutely yummy! However, I made the hubby promise to take me out again when we go back to Klang for a proper fancy restaurant food! Anyway, our most memorable anniversary dinner was the one we had for our 25th anniversary which was in Beirut. It was a belated one because we weren't together for the exact date so we had it the next year... well it was only 3 months later. The food was... different. The hubby loves Lebanese food, well anything Middle Eastern, actually. Here are some pics of the dinner date:






May the rest of our days together be blessed by Allah, always... love you hubby!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home for two days...

Two days off for Deepavali found us on our way home to Klang after about a month leaving the old place. We were expecting the rambutan trees to be ready for picking but the fruits are not quite ready yet... The fish in the pond greeted us happily enough, though our good neighbour Kak Nab probably has overfed them. Look at them...they're Tilapias - not too troublesome to take care, breeds easily and what's important... they're good to eat.. In fact two of them ended as lunch, yummy!




One of the rambutan trees; though heavy with fruits, are not quite ripe yet to be picked...

However, ripe ones peeked here and there... this is the yellow variety - sweet, even when they're still green...
After picking, there you are, we gathered more than a basketful! The red ones are less sweet, I think, and they still need a week or two to really ripen but since we're not coming home until Eidul Adha, we picked them anyway. After distributing them to the neighbours, we still had plenty so we took a full basket to a good friend's open house on Saturday night and even the greenish ones were quickly gone!

Now, here's a picture of our lone dragon fruit just waiting for us to come home! We have only the one tree and for the past 3 years has borne us only about 3 or 4 fruits! Pathetic, I know, but it has been pretty neglected for much of the time...

The pic above was taken on Friday, the day we arrived home and the one below, the next day, the day we returned to Kuala Terengganu... isn't it amazing, how quickly it ripens? Just right for the picking!


The mangoes are still not quite ready yet - probabaly by Eidul Adha we'll be able to pick them, InsyAllah...
I simply love 'balik kampung'...*sigh*..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eid Feasts!

It's been quite a while since this blog is updated. I've not been that busy really, but not having much to do tends to make one not want to do anything...if that makes sense to you! Anyway, we're still in the month of Syawal which means the Eid celebrations are still going strong. By the way, today is our last day of our non-obligatory 6 days of after-Ramadhan fasting. We've left them a bit too late, due to unforeseen circumstances... One of them being having to attend Eid feasts. Like the one we went to last Monday; it was held by PERMINT for its employees. It was quite a grand affair, located at the Taman Tamaddun Islam (I have yet to explore this interesting ground). Here are some pics from the event:

The cendol stall..
Riverside views...
One of my favourite; the tapai (or fermented glutainous rice - God, that sounds scary..)

The amazing way the tapai is wrapped - must be only in Terengganu...

Not one of my favourites - the jala emas (literally golden net?). Made from egg yolks; tastes too 'eggy' and of course laden with cholestrol (no offence Terengganuans and Kelantaneses!)



Some of the 'food-stalls' - they have nasi beriani, nasi dagang, nasi minyak (no nasi kerabu..aargh!), lemang, ketupat, bla,bla...


Now, this is another feast we attended - by accident! Last Friday we went for our usual exercise at the park, and lo and behold, everyone there is invited to an Eid feast organised by the park's Recreational Society! As the saying goes 'Rezeki jangan di tolak...' No wonder there was an extraodinary number of people at the park that day! However, we made sure that we cover an extra round of walking to get rid of the unexpected calories we were about to consume...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eid Mubaraq!

Good bye Ramadhan - let us hope and pray that we will be able to greet you again next year, God willing... With the end of the fasting month, it's a time for joy and celebrations - actually only for those who had succeeded the tests of Ramadhan (not many, I bet!).
Same as last year, there are only 3 of our immediate family celebrating the Eid-ul-fitr in Malaysia; the hubby, the daughter (Kak Lang) and I. The eldest son (Bang Long) and his family are in Adelaide, the second son (Bang Ngah), in Melbourne and the baby (Adik) in Cairo. Friends used to ask me whether I'll be sad with most of my children so far away, especially on this special day... to tell you the truth, watching the tearjerkers they usually air on tv during the Eid-ul-fitr weeks had me crying my heart out more! I supposed with the advance of the communication technologies, the world has become smaller, so to speak. The boys telephone (don't know why it's cheaper to call from Australia to Malaysia than vice-versa) most of the time apart from text-messaging and we have a family yahoo-group to keep up with what's everyone up to, not to mention facebooks and blogs... and to think I used to count the pennies just to make a long-distance call from UK to Malaysia as a student during the holiday seasons 30 years ago! There was only another means of communication at that time, and that was writing a letter. (I actually begin to question the point of teaching how to write an informal letter at school when people usually never bother to write or send one). The art of letter-writing is gone, extinct...(just like some of the vowels in the English alphabet, some say - if u knw wht i mn...)
A couple of pics taken at the hubby's family home in Bukit Mertajam:
The whole clan - well, probably missing a few nieces and nephews..
Hubby and daughter
Anyway, here's wishing my Muslim readers Eid Mubarak and may Allah bless us on this happy occasion! (tried to download a video-clip of eid nasheed a few times but...never mind, just don't ask..it seems I'm still stuggling with technology..*sigh*)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

'Musafirs' in Ramadhan

Last friday we were back in Klang for the day just to check on the old house which we left about a month ago. The hubby's day off is just the Friday so the trip back home had to be planned carefully so that we didn't miss tarawih prayers and still managed to have the energy to drive the 500 or so kilometres from KT to Klang and back again.. We left KT about 6 pm on Thursday and around Dungun we broke fast in the car. We didn't stop for maghrib prayers because as 'musafirs' (traveler), we could do the prayer with isyak. In perfect timing (Alhamdulillah) we arrived at a mosque somewhere in Kemaman (Masjid Geliga) in time for isyak and tarawih. After the usual 8 rakaah and a simple meal we continued our journey south. I took the wheel as we entered the highway from Kuantan to KL as the hubby was already squirming about in his seat trying to fight off his drowsiness. Since I had napped during part of the trip, I felt quite refreshed and after drinking some coffee, I was ready to drive, I thought, until Genting Sempah and then the hubby would take over. Anyway, the traffic wasn't heavy and with the coffee taking its effect, I asked the hubby if I could continue driving after GS and he said 'ok' (sleepily, I think!). And that was when I realised I got more than I bargained for... I don't think I've driven that part of the highway before, not in night-time anyway... Those who are used to it are ok I guess but I was having my heart in my mouth as I maneuvered the treacherous bends and at the same time handling the very steep inclines and what with the blinking arrows (you know, the arrows that make sure you don't fall off the cliff or something; they do blink..) trying to distract you and all the while the hubby slept like a baby... what a trusting man! We did arrive safely though, around 2 am Friday morning, greeted by a very dusty home and an almost overgrown garden...(Home, sweet home!) We started back on our return journey after tarawih prayers on Friday night and in perfect timing again (Alhamdulillah) we reached Masjid Geliga (yeah, the same mosque) about half hour before the dawn prayer... and arrived at our 'homestay' at about 9 am (because we stopped many times - I was too sleepy to drive) Saturday morning. What a tiring 'weekend'...*sigh*...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
And look down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay,
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

'Choice is inevitable but you will never know what your choice will mean until you lived it...'

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ramadhan in KT

It is 4 days into Ramadhan now and I have got myself into a routine. This is the first Ramadhan that I don't need to stressed myself out deciding on what to cook for the breaking of fast (yeay..!). The kids are not around anymore (the reason I used to spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing favourite dishes around the fasting month), so it's about time we get the most out of this holy month. This year the hubby and I decided we'll break fast at the mosque and the one which we have been to, these past few days is the 'Masjid Putih' or the White Mosque (and why it is named so? because it's painted err.. white?) in the town centre. The meal served there is nothing extravagant, in fact it's very simple; rice, a protein dish, vegetables, a 'kuih' and dates. (reminded me of the meal I used to have when I was in boarding school - SMSNS Kuala Pilah). Here's one that we had yesterday:

It's ok by us though we supplement it by buying around RM3 worth of 'desserts' that we have after the tarawih prayers (they're sooo.. much cheaper than Klang!). Well, after the 'iftar' we pray maghrib and then stay in until isyak and tarawih. They have an 'imported' imam to lead the tarawih prayer; from Egypt. He recites one (back-breaking..) juzuk of the Quran per night. I have got used to it by now but shame on me... there are 'makciks' older than me who got through the whole thing and the hubby and I only do 8 raka'ats!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Free

Yesterday, a Friday, was the hubby's day off. So early in the morning (well, not so early), we drove around looking for a recreational area for our much needed exercise. And not 3 minutes from our homestay, we came upon a Park; couldn't remember the name though, but it was in the area called Pantai Batu Buruk (literally: 'Beach of the Ugly Stone'!). Anyway, many people were already hard at jogging and stretching and there was even a large group of people following an aerobic instructor. Here are some pictures of the Park:




The first and last pictures showed the aerobic activity already in full swing when we got there. Maybe next week, I'll join in the fun (they even had a lucky draw at the end of the session..!). We noticed that most of the participators were Malay ladies, with their colourful headscarves, kicking and swaying to the beat of the music.. By the way, what I find quite amazing in the East Coast, particularly the state of Terengganu and Kelantan is the number of Muslim women who wear the headscarves compared to some other places in Malaysia. The headscarves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, in a myriad of shades and colours and some could be tied in numerous ways that you can't imagine.. (pin it up, let it down and around it goes..my daughter is an expert on this). True, Islam ordains that Muslim women should cover themselves up at puberty and seeing the number of Muslim women in Malaysia doing just that is encouraging but sad to say not many of them actually abide by the exact law.. We see a lot of girls these days wearing short headscarves with short-sleeved T-shirts that are sometimes quite tight and revealing, too.. The T-shirts are usually short and then they wear tight jeans which of course show their curves. Not to mention those who wear see-through headscarves which do not cover anything at all! If you are going to cover yourself up then you need to do it properly - no showing of arms or feet, scarves covering the chest and loose clothing... I leave with a video-clip of the song Free, by my favourite singer, Sami Yusuf. It is about the wearing of Hijab for Muslim women..Happy listening!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kuala Terengganu Here We Come!

We have been here for 4 days now. The hubby has accepted the post as Resident Engineer for a PERMINT (I tend to imagine the word 'peppermint' whenever I see the sign) project in the town. As for right now we are staying in a 'homestay' just 5 minutes from the project site. We live in a little room - air-conditioned, attached bathroom (with hot water), wi-fi, a tv set... There's a shared kitchen but no stove or 'fridge or washing machine. I'm not complaining - I don't have to do any cooking or a lot of cleaning! (only have to hand-wash our laundry - sigh..) However, I'm not sure how long we can stand take-aways. Breakfast is quite cheap, though these East Coast people eat a lot of rice even in the morning. They have nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, nasi minyak...in addition to nasi lemak. Not healthy, not healthy (apart from nasi kerabu..). We'll have to start eating home-cooked meals soon or else someone is going to put on some extra kilos...Well, we might be staying at the 'homestay' for the duration of the hubby's job - it could be for 3 years or erm... 3 months! (sigh...) It seems like a good deal. We don't need to bring a lot of furniture - just a simple cooker and a small 'fridge will do. The rent is RM500 a month; inclusive of everything (electricity, water, internet). And it's so near the town and where the hubby works. Anyway, let's see how things go after a month of homestay-living. I will either love it or hate it! (It's actually quite difficult to get a house for rent over here. I suppose it's more profitable to turn an unoccupied house into a 'homestay' rather than rent it out on a monthly basis). No pictures this time; next post, I hope.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quarantined!


Not to worry, it was a self-imposed one... The daughter returned from Melbourne after nearly two months in Adelaide and a few days in Melbourne visiting her brothers there. A day before her flight home, to our horror, she caught a fever and what with the frequency of people returning from Melbourne, particularly, contacting the deadly Swine Flu, we were sick with worry! However, she did assure us over the phone that it was nothing serious, but the day before her arrival, we were already busy buying foodstuffs to last us for a week in case we were quarantined... Waiting for her at the airport, I envisioned her being escorted out through the arrival lounge with masked nurses but there she was, smiling away as she went through the arrival door (without even a mask!):


Apparently she got through the body heat scanner... However, as she was still having a cold and sneezing now and then, we thought we'll just stay indoors for a couple of days until she's well enough. It's not difficult for me to stay indoors... but for the other two; the daughter wanted desperately to go and register for her new semester and also meet her friends whom she hasn't seen for 2 months (as if they haven't YMed through the holidays..), the hubby had to go out and buy durians because his daughter was craving for one... Anyway, she is just fine now (Praise be to Allah), and let's hope and pray that we are all spared from this terrible disease...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Like Father, Like Son



I got a phone call from my daughter a few days back; she is on vacation in Adelaide, visiting her brother. She was describing to me her nephew's antics (the cute and adorable grandson featured a few posts back), always on the go, cannot sit still, overall making everyone constantly on their feet going after him! Well, it reminds me of HIS father when he was around that age. We were in Cardiff, UK, then. One day, a friend, Hanim who just came from Malaysia came for a visit with her 5-year-old daughter (I think she was around that age, then). My son, Umar was, as usual running around, climbing on the furniture, grabbing the tea-set and doing all sorts of thing a toddler would do. And as the little girl was eyeing him with interest, I was going: "Umar, stop it! Umar, stop it!". Later on, Hanim told me that when they got home, she was telling her husband about the visit and saying that our baby son's name was Umar Faruq. But her daughter interrupted: "No ummi, you got it wrong, the baby's name is not Umar Faruq, it's Umar Stoppit!". Whenever I meet Hanim, we always have a good laugh over it! Here are two scanned pictures of Umar Faruq from the good old days..

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hazy Days...

I think I ought to change the title of my blog since we've been in Malaysia for like, ages now...well actually nearly 2 months. The hubby is still waiting to be called back to Iran to commence with the project but it seems like we'll be in Malaysia for another month or so.. However, at the moment we're not too anxious to go back to Iran, though - what with the political turmoil going on over there. We wouldn't like to be caught in the clashes between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi supporters! Anyway, I hope we'll manage to get back to Iran before summer ends or else we'll be greeted with a dreary wintry landscape! Although.. I'm not terribly excited about the hot, scorching weather we're having in Malaysia at the moment. (Praise be to Allah..but O God, please give us some rain..) It was quite hazy, too a few days back. I caught some pictures then, while we went jogging.. er.. walking.. in the Setia Alam Park. You can see how hazy it was that day. I thought it was silly to be going out for some exercise if you're going to breathe in some foul gasses, but there you are...the hubby said I need the exercise. (anyway, I always manage to get him buy me breakfast; thosei today, nasi kerabu next...hey, those are healthy breakfast you know!) By the way, for all fathers out there: Happy Father's Day! Check out Luther Vandross' 'Dance With My Father Again' - lovely song..




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Monday, June 8, 2009

Weddings

It's school break time.. and that means wedding invitations! Last weekend, we attended two weddings. On Saturday it was the wedding ceremony of my good friend Ainon's son Ahmad Zubair. The couple looked lovely in blue... It was also a delightful surprise to meet our daughter-in-law's parents there as well! They came down from Sungai Petani to visit their eldest daughter for the school holidays. We stayed for sometime catching up on the latest news...
The next day, we attended another wedding. The father of the bride is a cook and he cooked for our son's wedding three years ago. And naturally the menu was quite extensive... although they were mostly Javanese-oriented. Anyway, here are two pictures from Ahmad Zubair's wedding and one from the other one (I wanted to take more from the second wedding but my phone camera suddenly refused to cooperate after the first pic - darn!)




Monday, June 1, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I haven't been writing these past few weeks - caught the lazy bug! No.., I was actually a little bit busy with housekeeping; tidying up the old house which has been accumulating junk over the years. The primary school which my children used to go when they were young holds a jumble sale about twice a year for school report day and it is a good opportunity to get rid of stuff and donate to the school as well. So, I have been quite ruthless and got rid of most of the childrens' clothings which I suppose they wouldn't need now that they are not living here anymore.. Except for the daughter who accumulates clothes and shoes and insists she needs all of them even if every inch of her wardrobe and drawers are filled to bursting point! Anyway, the attic certainly looks much tidier and spacious now.. with a little help from the hubby of course.
By the way, thank you Nur Diyanah for the suggestion on yogurt making. I'm sure the hubby will find the tip useful indeed!
I'm posting some lovely pictures of my cute and adorable grandson (any grandmother will say that about her grandchild..). Here they are: