Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Want to Learn Arabic in the UAE..or Will I????

I am so desperate to learn Arabic and it would be such a waste to be living here and know nothing about this language.  But just imagine if you had the purest of intention to learn it, upon entering your favorite grocery shop, you are greeted with this:


Grocer: Assalamualaikum..mau beli apa?  Apa khabar?


Whatlaaaa....?????? So, tell me please..HOW THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO LEARN ARABIC?????





Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lah.

You know us Malaysians and our habit of saying the word 'lah' at the end of every sentences..yes, almost everybody, and yes, in almost every sentences lah...It just sputters out from the mouth unintentionally and seems quite difficult to control.   Everything, regardless or which part of speech would end with 'lah'..yes'lah', no'lah', eat'lah', sleep'lah'..go'lah', cooking'lah', out'lah', beautifu'lah', school'lah', in front of it 'lah'..and the list can go on and on and on.  Count me in! I am guilty as charged as I am one of those Malaysians who would use 'lah' as if my lifeline depended on it!

And so, the story goes.., just last week, I went to the market to get some fish. I saw this beautiful and fresh sea-bream and chose three for my weeks ration.  I handed it over to the fish monger and after weighing the fish, quoting me the price and my agreement to it, the fish monger asked if I wanted it to be cleaned.  "Yes, please."  After that, he asked again if I wanted it to be sliced.  Wahey!  Who would resist? After all, he was doing all the dirty job for me! 

So I said, "Please..slice'lah'. Can..can.."  
To which he answered, "You want me to slice, I slicing for you, if you not, I not."
I said," Slice'laaa'..into half for each fish."  Flashed him a smile.
He said. " You want slice or no slice madam? I do want you want!"
I replied, "Slice'lah'.  One fish into two, okay."
He then said with an irritated tone " SLICE or NO, Madam?"
I wanted to yell so hard but I kept my cool.." Slice, please! Two."
"Okay", he said, now more relaxed and there was smiling with it.

As I was waiting for my fish to be cleaned and sliced, I was replaying the whole thing back.  What was so hard to understand with my instruction?  It wasn't like I was giving him an explanation on something trivial..it was all very straight forward..Slicelah..Slicelah..Slicelah please..The conversation kept repeating itself, over and over again.   Still, I just couldn't gather what might have been particularly difficult to fathom!

And then, it dawned on to me that my word itself was the reason for the confusion!  You see, when we say 'lah', it sounds nearly like 'laa' which in Arabic means..."NO".. So while I was saying Slice'lah', it registered in his mind that I did not want it to be sliced...No wonder why he got so confused.  No need to slice but I wanted it in two pieces each..Hahahah...Funny eh? Surely he must have thought that this Malayzian woman is a moron!! So, now..I have to try super hard to refrain from saying 'lah' to avoid another unnecessary confusion.  Wish me luck!

There you go, another tale of my life in the UAE.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hari Raya 2011

Nothing much happened this year with the few Malaysian families left who also had to work on the morning of Hari Raya, this supposedly festive day/holiday was nothing but a great excuse to either sleep or become a couch potato.

Our building was awfully quiet unlike back home in Sg Tua where the morning of Raya would leave you breathless.  There would be that constant rushing for the bathroom, waiting for your turn to get into it especially if we were home because I would be hogging it with my little terrors who would be taking their turns in their own sweet time.  Then, the preparation for the men to go for the prayers while we women are busy in the kitchen preparing the food to give to our neighbors, getting ready for the forgiveness session, visiting whoever etc etc etc...and not to forget, the blaring music from our neighbor's house..it was all too festive compared to what we had here in Ruwais. 

Hmm..for us ..it was cereal!  Plain old Cheerios with full fat milk..Then, it was time for Skype in our day clothes.  That was the only highlight of that day, being able to see my parents and siblings.  Good thing for technology! 

Things took to a different turn by noon as I had to enslave myself in the kitchen for the makan-makan session at our humble abode that night.   Luckily, I have the best husband in the world who volunteered to become my kitchen assistant..I mean he asked willingly without me asking for help..Gosh, I am so blessed to have him. ( Yeah, I know everyone else's husband is like that too but hey, can't a girl be happy for hers)  If it weren't for him, I would have been lost in the piles and piles and piles of unwashed pots and pans. 

By dinner time, the spirit of Raya finally percolated when we had donned our Raya clothes and had this massive amount of food all neatly laid out on the table.  And while waiting for the guests to arrive, that was when we had our minta maaf session.  If my parents knew, they would go ballistics for us to go against the tradition. Hahahah....call it the modern style.  By midnight, as everyone had left, that was when the exhaustion came seeping through.  At last, Raya had made its way to our new home! 





Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nasi Ayam

I have never made chicken rice on my own before having my mother instructing me all the time. And because she was always around, I never thought of taking her recipe.  So, when I got bored of the normal meals we had, I decided to make Chicken Rice and went scouring for a chicken rice recipe on the net.  I stumbled into this site http://fiqah99.blogspot.com/ and decided to try out the recipe she had.  I say, it turned out well.   She takes great picture of her food too!  

Nasi Ayam Chef Wan

Ingredients for the rice:
1/2 cup margarine ( I used butter)
2 onions, chopped  ( I blended this)
2 cm ginger, sliced thinly (Blended)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly ( blended)
1 cm cinnamon
4 cloves
2 strand of screwpine leaves, tear it in the middle and tie it in a knot.
4 cups of rice
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
salt to taste

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a pan.  Saute the blended items with the cloves, cinnamon and screwpine leaves.
  2. Add the rice and saute this too for a while.
  3. Add the chicken stock and salt and simmer for a minute or two.
  4. Then, I put the whole thing in a rice cooker and let tit continue to cook.


The chicken:
1 whole chicken, halved
1 inch ginger
2 cloves of garlic ( I used 4)
A generous amount of black pepper 
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp margarine ( I used butter and more than 3 tbsp)
salt to taste

Method:

  1. Blend the garlic and ginger. Not too fine.
  2. Mix the garlic and ginger in the butter to make a paste.
  3. Then, rub the butter mixture underneath the skin of the bird.
  4. On the skin of the chicken, rub it with the soy sauce, salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes.



Chilli sauce:
10 red chilies 
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp vinegar ( depending on your preference)

Method:
  1. Put the chilies, ginger and garlic in a blender with half of the chicken stock.  Blitz until it is fine.  
  2. If the mixture is too thick add in the rest of the stock.  
  3. Add in the vinegar one tbsp at a time and mix well.  


Soy sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
sesame oil ( I used the toasted one)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Oil drippings from the roasted chicken

Method:
  1. Heat the oil dripping in a saucepan and saute the garlic.
  2. Add the soy sauce and chicken stock, leave it to simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and dash some sesame oil into the sauce.


Chicken Broth  
(This is also used to make the rice and sauces)
2 chicken carcasses
1 cinnamon stick
cardamom, cloves and star anise
1 tsp each of fennel, cumin and coriander seeds.  
1 carrot stick, chopped
Cabbage, sliced ( amount is entirely up to you, just balance it with the amount of carrot)
1 ltr water
2 onions, each cut into 4
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt

Method:
  1. Simmer the chicken carcass in the water with everything .  Add in salt to taste.







French Yoghurt Cake

I got this recipe from a French girl named Annelise back in Edinburgh.  We were working as part-time floor executives then.. (cleaner) and she brought this cake for our tea break.  It is a very simple recipe and after 12 years, I found this in one of the boxes when I was cleaning up.  Never made it before so I decided to try it to serve for the breaking of fast.  However, I did not make it but my little girl, Iman did. We made a little adjustments though by adding sliced apple on the top as a garnish.  It turned out perfect! 

NOTE: Use the yoghurt pot as your measuring cup.


Ingredients:
1 pot yoghurt
2 pots sugar
2.5 pots flour
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 pot oil
a dash of salt
1 green apple
2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Method:
  1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.
  2. Beat the yogurt and sugar until creamy.  
  3. Add in eggs.
  4. Put in the flour and mix them together.  Add the oil and mix it well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking tin.
  6. Bake at 180 degree Celsius until the cake is ready. (My oven took me 1 hr)
For the garnish:
  1. Cut the apple in half and slice both parts.  Thinly or not, it is up to you.
  2. Add the sugar to the apples and mix them well.  
  3. Arrange the sliced apples in your baking tin.  This will become the top part of the cake.
And this..is the princess at work...I am so proud of her!




Friday, August 19, 2011

I want to go home !!!!!!

Period. Full stop. I just wanna go home to my Mum!!!! 

No, I am not in a cold war with my hubby..hish..I just want to go home to take care of my mum...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Darn..

My father in law opened an FB account..hooray for Ayah..but he just had to add me! Not that I have anything against him..but to have your Dad on your friend list is somehow weird for me. ( NOTE: FOR ME..not for you or Ali or Nana or any John or Jane Doe..Hal2 FB nih boleh buat ramai orang ..hmm..sentap)

This is my FIL for heaven's sake and not my real one who has seen the weirdest side of me and still loves me for who I am...?? Ye ker?. Like FB is the place where I go nuts and all without having to worry about upsetting my parents kan..(my POV, again) So, I just left it there, unaccepted, thinking that, okay, since he is already friends with all my kids and hubby, what more does he need from me kan..??.

Then one fine day..one fine day, I saw that he was already on my friends list!!!! GDI..GDI..who was the culprit behind this??? I suspect my hubby or my son who both have access to my account! Can I strangle them both???? Can I unfriend my FIL...?(moronic question) Darn..darn..darn it!

Well..okler..so from today onwards, have got to watch my language on FB!! Have to really really think carefully on what I choose to paste on my status too. Grr.. Ada gak hikmahnyer tuh kan..

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tiramisu.

This is a simple recipe I got from a magazine by a Malaysian director's daughter Syanie, some 4 years ago.  It is easy and quick and less the ingredients than a normal Tiramisu would call for.  This recipe deviates from the traditional ones as it does not call for any eggs (which is a good thing because the taste and smell of the raw eggs can be quite overwhelming for us), alcohol and mascarpone cheese which is a key ingredient to produce a Zabaglione.  However, you will still get that rich and smooth taste that a classic Tiramisu will serve.

Tiramisu
Ingredients:
1 ltr whipping cream
250 gm Philly (cream cheese)
1 - 1.5 cups of icing sugar 
lady fingers 
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp of Nescafe with 2 cups of water. 


Method:
  1. Beat the cheese until  it becomes soft.  Add in the vanilla. Then, pour the whipping cream in bit by bit  folding the mixture each time until you get the consistency that you like.  For a 250gm Philly, I would use around 3/4 ltr of the whipping cream. 
  2. Add 1 cup of the icing sugar and mix it in the cheese mixture.  At this point, you might want to taste it if it is too sweet.  If you feel it lacks the sweetness, add in some more icing sugar until you get the desired taste.  Set it aside in a fridge.
  3. Take a bowl large enough for the lady fingers to fit for dipping later on.  Dilute the instant coffee powder with warm water and if you like, you can add in some sugar.  I prefer mine strong to balance the sweetness from the cream cheese mixture.
To assemble:

  1. Get ready the cream cheese mixture, coffee and lady fingers.
  2. Dip both sides of the lady fingers in the coffee and lay it side by side in a Pyrex.  This will form your first layer.  (See pictures below)
  3. Once the base is prepared, scoop the cream cheese mixture and spoon it over the lady fingers evenly making sure that is is completely covered. (See picture below)
  4. Repeat the same steps until you get about 3 layers.
  5. Chill it in the refrigerator until you want to gobble it up!  Just before serving, dust some cocoa powder on top.
  6. If you want, you could also cover the top layer with melted chocolate and it will taste heavenly with the pairing of cheese and coffee.  ( I got this when I watched Bob Blumer in Surreal Gourmet).
Dipping the fingers.

Layering.


Enjoy...I know I did!





Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chocolate milk or milk?

I was never considered to be fair by anyone for as long as I can remember. People always thought that I was either an Indian convert, Indian Muslim/Mamak or of mixed parentage.  

When I was growing up, I used to hang out with my cousin who is the most beautifulest (I know this word does not exist) child on earth having long black hair and skin as fair as snow.  So, when we were at parks people would often go gaga over her saying things like 'Comelnyer', 'E..ee..you are such a doll' etc etc..the rest are just to blah for me to remember (Note the envious tone)  As a teenager, same o..same o with people noticing my fairer friends over me and as a teenager at that time, getting attention from boys was necessary, right?  It didn't dent my self-esteem however..yelah..I'm lying..I was TOTALLY wrapped in self-pity choosing Fair 'N' Lovely as my bestfriend with the intention that over years of loyalty and commitment to this love affair, I would become fair..but as you guessed..it never happened. 

As you grow older, you think that it will surpass with people looking deep into you instead of being recognized for your skin.  I can't deny  that having a fair skin can make you look more fresh, radiating and more presentable as compared to having a skin as dark as mine but is it what makes you, you?  Are you lesser than everyone else who are Snow Whites?  Would you be less successful  being chocolate? 

Even as an adult, it is a hard pang when people talk about being fair, however, I am stronger now to repel myself from having any inferiority complexes but have you ever thought of the implications that it might pose on a girl as big as 3 and 6 years old?  Have some justice to them!   Take a look at a child's face when you compliment her sibling to be cute or beautiful and you emphasize how this other sibling's skin is 'different' or fairer than the other.  Have you? No, because we are too busy looking at the fairer one.  Have you ever heard of a child say that she will look better in an orange light setting because it will make her 'lighter'?  No, because only her parents will have to endure that. So, before you decide to say your friends' children are comel/cute, make sure it stops at that.  There is no need to make a point of whether they have a darker or fairer skin.  No one can ever predict what damage a simple line like that might cause.

Ironically, people prefer chocolates over white ones eh..hahaha..ayat penyedap hati..

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rough time for me..

My mother suffered from a mild stroke just two weeks after we relocated to Ruwais.  This to me is the first trial in my life here.

It has been three weeks now and she is still in the hospital.  At first, things looked brighter with her being able to walk and stand even though assistance was required but when I called her this morning, she told me that 4 days ago she bumped her knee on a sink and now she is unable to stand let alone walk. I called my brother and he told me the MRI results have not come through yet ..it has been three weeks!!! What is taking them so long??

I did suggest to my mother to be transferred to a private hospital but she was reluctant being confident with the government ones, not that I have any doubts but the tardiness is killing me.  I know that her main concern is money, not wanting to burden us with the bills but who cares about that..money can be earned, savings are there for rainy days and being in debt for this is something I would not have a second thought about.  She still refuses saying that her friends: the doctors and nurses who were once her colleagues are around to which I agree. 

I want to go home to tend to her needs but one leg is pinned here.  I do have to consider my husband.  My kids have to register for school in two weeks time, I can just take the youngest one with me but then I fear that I might not want to come back..I don't know..I don't know..  My siblings are all working and when she is discharged who will take care of her? She will be alone at home until the others return!  And my father, his health is also one thing that I worry about.  At times he is okay but then at times he goes down with a fever. I know he misses my mum..

If only I were closer..God, render me your strength and wisdom to go through the days with this predicament in my chest..




Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting my ID card.

I made my Emirates ID a couple of weeks ago.  My husband informed me the night before that we had to leave home and reach the registration office by 6, register our name with the security guard, go back home and come back at 9 am when the office is opened. 

The Ruwais office it seems, would only take in at most a number of twenty applicants per day hence the booking as early as 6 am.  Can you just imagine these people working from 9 to 12 something, come back after lunch and sit on their bottom some more until 4, doing nothing because they would only take in 20 applications for an EIDA card and that made me instantly remember how I had constantly ranted about the poor government service in Malaysia..how I wish I had not!  Arriving the office at 600 without them kids, there was already a long queue but counting, we were still safe being placed at number 15.  After waiting for almost an hour, the security finally decided to come for duty and informed us that the branch does not provide any typing services for the forms. It is a requirement, I was told, that forms have to be typewritten and only an agent could  do that for you..hampeh.

As our children were left behind, sleeping soundly at home under the supervision of my eldest, we decided to head straight for Gayathi, a town about 30 minutes away.   We went to the registration office and were told that they too did not provide typing services.  Thence, we had to scour the town..well...it wasn't big anyways and there we managed to find a typing office that was opened as early as 730.  When typing was done, we made our way to the registration office to proceed with matters but were frustrated when told that the only lady officer to handle female applicants was away that day. Whaattt??? Does that mean in the whole town of Gayathi, they had only allocated ONE lady officer..grrr..there goes my precious time. 

Since we were already in Gayathi, we went to the hospital to take my medical report that I did earlier and there it was, standing alone in the middle of the hospital, so desolate, so empty, another registration branch!  Trying my luck, I entered the building and was given great  news that I was able to do my eida (ID) card application there! Hooraaayyy...

I realized that I was the only applicant in an office of about 10 officers all on their blackberries. WOW..this is a dream place..to get paid salary for being on my blackberry..(hey, that rhymes!) gaji buta eh..? I was called to process my application and had to scan all ten of my fingers for prints. I knew there would be problems pertaining this.  Suffering from excema specifically on my fingers, there was no way in heavens were they going to get a decent print of my fingers.  


What normally would take a normal person with silky smooth henna painted fingers less than 20 minutes, took me a whooping one hour!  Out of the ten fingers I have, only two prints were accepted.  The officer tried and tried and tried relentlessly despite me telling her of my "disorder" but she chose to ignore me and kept giving me creamler, sanitizerla, told me to wipe my fingers dryler..and kept on telling me to relax, just relax..just relax..just relax..Now, how could I relax when I felt so violated with her pushing and pressing my fingers against that scanning thingy in so many different positions???  Since she was a nice lady with a pair of beautiful eyes, I decided to act stupid.  Naam..naam or hasana..hasana was my only reply.

After many many attempts failed with the fingerprints projected on the computer rejected, a senior officer decided to bypass the system and my excemaed fingers were finally given recognition.  She then decided to joke around and called me the one without fingerprints...hahaha. funny Arab! To which I retorted, " I could get away with crimes coz you wont be able to identify me, hahahah"  I was the only one laughing...not funny, Malayzian!

The last process was to take a picture of me for the card and I was bewildered. I thought that we had to provide a picture of ourselves..  Amat apiz never told me anything about taking a picture..I went barefaced..no makeup at all and to think of wearing the shirt I slept in..I looked so ..so..yucks !!! That is almost as big a crime as being blasphemous... relaying this concern to the ladies, I managed to make them laugh..funny afterall Malayzian..no??  They took a picture of me anyways with a goofed up looking face. Wouldn't you be if you had no makeup and for the fact that your fingers were tortured?  The damage was done.

Well heck, even if I were beautiful at all but being Asian, these Arabs could not care about you..beautiful or not, funny looking with distorted fingerprints, I managed to get my EIDA card. Now..just waiting for it to reach my doorsteps..! Syukran.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Meltdown...

I was busy scrubbing the stove when this faint scent of burnt plastic came seeping through my nostrils.  I headed outside to check the computer as my kids were there accessing their FB. I had thought that the smell came from somewhere around that area but nothing was wrong with the computer or the plugs surrounding it.

I went back to the kitchen to resume my task of scrubbing and cleaning but the moment I passed the dining room, this burning odor had become stronger so I dashed to the kitchen.  And there it was, the moment I stepped into the kitchen I could see that the air-cond control unit was on fire!  Not fire like a real firelah...not the kind of fire worthy of the fire brigade's attention with the kabooooom effect but it was enough to make my already small heart smaller!  The fire was like one coming from a lighted match but because it was inside the aircond unit with its little wires and the fact that smoke had already welcomed its own presence in my kitchen,  mere thoughts of my house exploding like those you see on the television were rushing through my head.

Instantly I called my husband who was on night shift and told him, "Babes, the kitchen is on fire..".   Whatla... the kitchen is on fire and what am I doing calling him when I am supposed to be a messed up lunatic!  Of course he went frantic, no ler..he was digesting what he had just heard..wouldn't you when your loonie wife calls to say the kitchen is on fire but you could hear your kids giggling behind?  Eventually, I brought down the drama and told him what was happening.  Yes, there was a small spark and just soooooome smoke coming out from the thermostat, not to forget the plastic was melting..yessiree..m.e.l.t.i.n.g.. and of course, the temperature on the screen was showing at 56 deg cel.. Therefore, it is reasonably justified to act all freaked out, right..???  

Five minutes later..Mr Wong,  a fellow Malaysian who lives three buildings away comes to check up on the house.  Upon seeing the so-called burning thingy, he was pretty worried!  (Yeah..tell me about it...all my Maggi mee, Malaysian curry powder, my sos tiram and chilli sauce, my TUPPERWARE..oh my TUPPERWARE...all blown up into tiny particles...) He, in turn, helped me by calling the emergency unit and reported our situation.  Bless that man.  Five minutes after that, came a tall handsome Arab man who claims to be security. It seems that during emergency situations after office hours, security would come to check and confirm how pressing one's situation is..  The man looks at the thing and calls maintenance who come 10 minutes afterwards.  Haiya...All this calling here and there...if the sparks were as active as a cancer cell, my whole house would have been blown to pieces!

Maintenance came but were not all too worried.  Since this happened on a Thursday night, they couldn't replace the thermostat as shops have already closed.  Hence to ease my worries, they turned off the main switch for that particular thermostat.  Well, since the house is already like an icebox itself,  to have the kitchen air-cond down wasn't a big deal.  Pheeeeeewww....what a relief!  There it is...my first crisis in Ruwais.

Off limits..you see the melted spot?? You see it...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marhaba.

We all reached Abu Dhabi safe and sound.  Thank goodness the children were all well behaved on the plane. Thanks to Etihad for the on-board entertainment, if it were not for the selection of shows, I guess Khalida would have thrown a tantrum.  Q and Iman were very pleased too making Amat Apis and myself fly in peace.

We stayed in Abu Dhabi a night as we landed at 11 pm (4 am Malaysian time).  The next day, it was off to Ruwais.  The journey was okay with the kids looking out the car window most of the journey.  I guess they were put to awe at the sight of the dessert.  But along the way, Khalida gave us a welcome gift by puking on me!! I was covered from waist down in vomit so we stopped by the roadside to change.  Yes, stark naked..nope..only in my undergarments..in the middle of the dessert to change into clothes I worn for bed the previous night.  Well, in the middle of the blazing heat, no one was there so you gotta do what you have to do!  The dessert was all mine...

We resumed our journey and reached Ruwais before dark.  The children were once again engulfed in amazement with the surrounding area..no lah..just lying..they were excited by the children's playground and even started making plans to go pronto!  We managed to lure them into our apartment and the moment they entered, they started running literally around the house.  Our unit is arranged in such manner ..in a circle beginning with the living room to the dining to the TV room, bedrooms, guest WC back to the front door.  So you can imagine what ruckus they were up to that we were constantly telling them to control themselves in fear that it might upset the downstairs people! Iman has now taken to a liking to use her scooter to bring her around in the house.

Before Amat Apis came to fetch us, he managed to clear some of the boxes but having brought 99 I was left with almost half, in which all those boxes were in my domain.  Now, in the middle of unpacking, I have decided to take some time off to blog!  Selfish eh..heheheh..Today, I am supposed to clear the clothes and arrange them in the wardrobe.  The china and kitchen stuffs have been put to a halt until we manage to buy some extra storage.  Bit by bit..that is what hubby dearie is telling me.  Alhamdulillah, he is supportive of me and my slow progress.  Pictures would be up soon, once everything is ready.  I have to attend to Khalida now as she has learnt how to turn on the bathroom tap  making a swimming pool out of the bathtub.  That is all she does now... deliberately dirtying herself so she can have a shower swim.  I better make a move now before my whole house is drenched with water..

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being a Housemum is One Heck of a Job!!!

It has been 5 weeks now since I last put on my show as a teacher resuming my role as a housewife and I have to tell you, it needs quite an adjustment.  When I was still making my own RMs, my friends and  I used to talk about how life would be simpler if we were a stay at home mom instead of working our buttocks off just  to get little respect and money.  If I could turn back the hands of time, I would go back to that period of my life and say quite the reverse!  It ain't easy being a MOM!

Not that I am complaining, nothing of that sort but at this moment I am racing to get everything settled before dawn breaks and still not completely lose my mind.. I realize how much Nining my helper has helped me a lot, now that I have taken her role.  Since I am not an early sleeper, I do not wake up early too.  Therefore , all the mopping and sweeping is done before I go to bed so that I can wake up to a clean house...NOT!!!  The kids wake up earlier so by the time I am awake, the house is already in the state of lunacy with toys and crumbs and water and Nutella scattered everywhere and anywhere.  Then, I have to hang the clothes to dry and cook lunch before 1 pm, clean the kitchen as well as the other parts of the house that has been terrorized by these monstrous children I sired..and see, there goes, I forgot to bathe them!  Feed them lunch, wash little Jem's toosh (Khalida is now Jem..and sometimes she is Aja from Jem and the Holograms), watch the two elder ones perform their prayers as well as doing mine, check my FB status, play Happy Hospital to distract me from being a mad woman, sweep again, go and buy stuffs from the market or grocer's and the list goes on and on and on until 9 pm when that is the time I holler the loudest to force them to bed.  But do they go to bed..yes they do but sleep they do not...you will hear gigglings and cackles and singing and bombs exploding and by the time all this is over, it is already 10.30 pm. It doesn't stop here..remember I still have to re-sweep and mop the house!

Let's go down to 2 months ago when I was still a teacher (I am still one technically but on my UAE residence visa, it says that I am a housewife so let's go by that occupation) my days would end at 4 and that is when I would fetch my boy from school, Princess Iman from the mosque and head straight home to the comfort of my sanctuary..my closet.  Other than that, it was all done my Nining except for putting them kids to bed.  So, whoever say's that being a housemum is easy peasy with lotsa cherries on top can really kiss my big fat black hairy cat!  IT ISN'T EASY!  To me, these housemums are the unsung heroes because they put up with a "job" that is never ending!  Maintaining a house is a task on its own, but to be added with the child rearing is already taking too much.  So to all housemums out there,who are still sane and live and kicking (unlike me)  I salute you!  

It has to be said that I am fortunate enough that my mother has always been my backbone ever since my husband left to work abroad.  I am accustomizing myself to this new role and if it were not for her, I guess I would have already crumbled and failed at being a Mum. Gosh.. my mum is the greatest!  As I am typing away all these thoughts I have, there my three angels are sleeping soundly beside me..and for me, being able to be with them at anytime of the day without having to think about 'would it be okay if I were to take a leave', 'would my colleagues be pissed off for having to relief me again'..is already a reward.  I may not earn my RMs anymore,  but I have earned my children back!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

To Ruwais.

After two days of being entertained in Dubai, the day finally came for me to pave my way to Ruwais, a place I shall call home for the next 10 years of my life..perhaps.  As we departed the region of Dubai, the journey left me with nothing to describe as we went through  what was mostly the desert and barren lands.  Yet, as insipid as it may be for some, I was awed by the vastness of the land that kept on repeating its view throughout the entire journey!  This was my very first time seeing the desert in its physical form as compared to the many millions of times I've viewed it through my computer screen and I can assure you..the feeling is tremendously different.  Masyaallah..God is indeed great!





The sun being our companion
 


It took us three hours to reach Ruwais..at last..after 12  treacherous months of waiting, I have set my sail.  As I was passing under the arch which seemed to be welcoming only me , I was speechless.  It seemed so surreal to me!! I was actually there..breathing the Ruwaisian (duh..is there such a thing) air.  And all this time..looking at the view of this place through my husband's eye, I am seeing and looking at Ruwais with my own.  It may not be Dubai and all its glory, far away from it..it is even more under developed compared to Kerteh, but I can see myself there..and I can see myself enjoying it there but most of all,  I know for sure that the children will have a blast here, and that is more important than having skyscrapers as the view from our balcony.  

The arch as you enter the housing complex

Glenag International School


Welcome!

A view of the playground from our living room.

This is from the masterbedroom.
A morning view...this was at 6 am!!!!

And now, I am getting down to business.  For the next few days, I will be on my feet setting up our apartment.  Alhamdulillah,  God..thank you time and time again for your grace upon our family!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting to Dubai

Alhamdulillah..after a boring 7 hour journey from KL, on the 29th of April, I managed to reach Dubai safe and sound..my sanity is still intact and that is most important..I hate long flights..totally loathe them but if it needs to be done then it needs to be done.  

 As I got off the plane, I was quite worried as I did not have a visa.  Some said that it was imperative while some others said that I would get one upon arrival and a minimal fee of 100 Dhs was all that it took.  Yeah..easy as it may seem but for a little lamb like me in a lion's world, it was pretty terrifying. All the fear vanished when a fellow Malaysian living in Dubai assured me that I had nothing to worry about..my visa would be stamped at the custom officer's booth.  Phew..that was one hassle down.

Yes, the custom officer..now that is another lion to be feared..a tall Arab man in his kandora looking viciously at you and turning away in an instant as if I were a speck of dust annoying the heck out of him.  So unlike the Malaysian custom officers who would greet you with a heart-warming smile and reply to your salam in a friendly manner.  But hey.. I am merely a Malaysian visiting this land that belongs to him, so I guess he has every right to be cold, don't you say?

Passport stamped, said my 'thank you' and got the hell out of there in the speed of light..authorities really give me the creeps..they are as creepy as Reagan the possessed girl in Exorcist..so made sure I steered away from trouble..Went to baggage claim, the MAS officials were nice indeed to take my bag for me from the conveyor belt, and off I went to meet my husband..There he was waiting for me and my heart skipped a beat..and as I went out from the airport I was more excited to see the Dubai I have heard of many many times as compared to seeing him...hahaha..what a wife..!  And masyaallah...as we got near the town, there I was welcomed by the buildings fiercely scraping the skies right before me..I was amazed..and even more so when I saw the the tallest building in the world..the mesmerizing Burj Khalifa!


Then after a few rounds around town, we headed to the hotel..the London Suites, a 3 star hotel residing in the middle of a stadium.  A cheap hotel but extremely comfortable!  For 190 dhs per night, the room was more than it worthed!  Being disappointed by this cheap hotel was out of the question..I was purely satisfied by the warmth that it exuded..it may not be a Hyatt but it was just as comfortable.  Yes..comfort comes first before prestige!

The morning after, hubby brought me to one of the largest shopping centre in Dubai where the LVs and Guccis and Christian Diors are to die for..hmm..okay..I know I am some shopping addict but before I came I constantly prayed to God that he protected my heart from wanting this and that during my visit here..Alhamdulillah..my prayers were answered!  There was nothing that I wanted (to Amat Apiz's surprise) except for some blouses which I could not find as they were either short sleeved ones or long-sleeved but very sheer!  Guess an Abaya would settle my problem! We then went round and round the massively huge building and I found a shop selling macaroons..so we bought them as I wanted to try it to see why it is such a crave back home in KL..my say is that it was nothing all that it is hyped to be..Whatla..all this macaroon craze for something that was nothing close to being extraordinary. 


For dinner it was at an Indian Restaurant called Najaf..we had the butter naan, fried mutton, Chicken 65 and an okra massala...How was the food???? DELECTABLE!!!  It satisfied my tummy and I was an extremely happy girl for the night. One thing though..I still cannot manage to find the authentic Arab food.  Indian cuisines come aplenty and western outlets as well as fastfood restaurants but nothing Arab there! 


Then off we went to the Gold Souk..and people kept on calling us 'Pare', a word to refer to the Phillipines..but it means 'friend'.  There we were looking at all these gold jewelleries from one shop to the other and all I bought was a Abaya..hahaha..ironic eh..buying an Abaya at the Gold Souk!  

My say of Dubai is, if you love shopping, you will love Dubai but why go to Dubai when Pavillion in KL is there to fulfill all your shopping desires. However, you will be awed by the beauty of its modern architechture.  Frankly, I did not get the umphh feeling..maybe because I did not go to the recreational places yet..So , Altlantis and Ski Dubai is surely a point to visit the next time I go there..but of course with the children..



Good Night Dubai...zzzzzz

And now..off to Ruwais..


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kuih Bakar Kak Sal



Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of sugar (granulated sugar)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 cups of coconut cream (the thick one, usually from the first pressing) mixed with pandan juice.  (Blend 10 pandan leaves in the coconut cream, then strain the juice and make sure you get 4 cups of liquid.)
  • a pinch of salt
Method:
  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz them together until they have mixed well.
  2. Strain the batter for lumps.
  3. In a round metal pan, smear oil all over the inside of it and heat it over a fire.
  4. When the pan is hot, pour in the mixture and you can hear it sizzle.
  5. Put it in the oven at 170 celcius for 45 minutes.
  6. When it is cooked, take it out from the oven and let it cool.

Voila!!  It was utterly delicious and my colleagues approved of this first attempt.  However, I still need to master the art of pressing coconut milk so that the amount of water I pour in is just enough to produce a nice thick cream. Never thought that this favorite kuih of mine is extremely simple to make.  Now I have found a new addiction and forgotten about my previous ones..Handbags..you are welcomed to leave because as of today, I am turning into an avid fan of "resipi kuih Melayu"!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1st Phase.

I will be leaving for Dubai on the 29th, for a week only to set up our house in Ruwais.  There are sooooooooooooooo many things to do but soooooooooooooooooooo little time!!!  

Over there, I am not sure how I would manage as dearest hubby still hasn't applied for his leave.  We need to set up the store room with its shelves, buy bedroom sets for the children's room, the kitchen needs to be sorted, kids registration at school, checking out the nearest hospital and its facilities, buying our car etc etc etc and all these need to be done in 7 days.

Then here, I have only 5 days left to put aside things I am bringing and things I am leaving behind.  The packers are coming this Friday and I still haven't done much!  Just this afternoon I confirmed with the supermarket the foodstuffs we plan to bring and out of the many hundred things I need to settle, I managed on that one first.  Now, the car and the house is on sale..so whoever is interested to purchase an Estima and a house in Kerteh, do drop a note.  My helper is leaving for good on the 23rd and I will be down without my right-hand woman.  Gosh I will miss her dearly..!!!!  I need to go to the hospitals to get all the medical history for both Khalida and Qayyum..and that is from two different hospitals.  I need my medical history too..I plan to get pregnant again..and my medical history comes from two different hospitals in two different states..gosh..so many things to do and I am all alone!

Waa...hopefully..none of them kids go down with any illnesses until forever and ever..let me catch my breath first before they get me on my toes again!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giving Them the Benefit of the Doubt.

When you teach the last class..or to be precise, the weakest class which rooms handfuls of students who are not only weak.(obviously) but whom are also VERY rowdy, at times laziness would come knocking on your door.   It isn't easy teaching this group of students for it takes a lot of hard work. 

You must come extremely prepared mentally and physically, engaging them with activities that would fill up their time and that would arouse their interest.  You would also need to bring along an extra bag of patience to get you going when the students seem to ask all sorts of 'stupid' questions and being silly and idiotic at times.  Even at 17, they can act more childish than a 13 year old would and at times, they want all the attention being all "manja" and wanting all the praises that they could have.  It is definitely tiring..talking to them softly and gently, making sure that when you reprimand them, you go back to win their hearts giving them the reason for being scolded just before and not only that, imagine repeating a simple instruction many many times to have another asking you what you should do, hmmmpppphhh ... it isn't an easy job!!!!

Today was my lazy day, with the rain falling like a bursting dam it didn't help much to refrain myself from going into my 'sloth mode'.  I have much to do but just could not do it so I decided to bring them into the hall to watch a story-telling competition that would begin exactly at the same time their class with me would, .  But one question there was...Would they behave themselves???  If they didn't, I would be in deep trouble because it could distract the contestants' concentration, the judges would be disrupted too because hearing would be impaired and teachers would point their fingers at me which would dent my reputation (not that I have one).  

I decided to take that as a challenge and took the risk.  If anyone wants to be upset, so be it.  I would take in all the angry responses from them.  Not that I was that lazy today, but I wanted these 5 Baihaqi students to learn how to behave themselves accordingly and to just listen instead of being heard all the time.  I seated them in the hall and pleaded with all my might for them to save my face by being well behaved.  Other than that, I gave them all a task to jot down only 5 words that they don't understand from the story and who ever managed to impress me would be given RM3 (they wanted RM10 so it could buy whoever a pack of ciggies) 

And so the competition began..and were they noisy and did they drive me up the wall????  NO..not a bit!!!  Not a single teeny weeny bit. They were all manageable! :)  Well... yeah..some chatted all the way and giggled and fooled around but not to the extend that it would upset me.  I was so proud of them and it just deepens my love for these rowdy students!!!    They fooled around quietly and it were the Form 1 and 3 students who I had to quieten down.  I

It doesn't hurt to give someone a break once a while although they are infamous for certain things.  You never know how they could surprise you.!! I did just that today, giving these students the benefit of the doubt, and I have this new found respect towards the students.  Yeah, they might be good at being bad but they aren't bad at all in being good!  
Thank you 5 Al-Baihaqi for teaching me something new about you today.