Monday, November 29, 2010

Have Fun Wardah!

I published a post on Wardah last October about a camp she was selected in & today is the first day of the camp. Well technically it was the second day... We were late. Some students had already registered yesterday or even on Saturday itself. The course started today & my Wardah sort of missed half a day.

I was at first disappointed with the misunderstanding. We were amongst the very few parents who registered late that morning. When I noticed the other children were already in their respective classes & Wardah had just gotten there, I felt this slight guilt for not reading the offered letter comprehensively. Only then I remembered the "Early Registration" & "Late Registration" stated in the letter which I ignored & didn't feel the need to inquire. My fault...

Once after we registered, she was given her room key. I was quite familiar with the hostel. Used to be a resident there 15 years ago :-) Her room was cosy. Sharing with another student but she registered yesterday. Only her belongings welcomed us.

In her new room

After I unpacked her stuff & instructed her of a few trivial things, we left for her class. She was in MSA 2. A Science class & most of her time will be in a Biology Lab.

The lab. She was nervous which is so obvious.

We parted wearing a smile. No tears. Frankly, I wasn't worried of her tears. Mine that I was more concern of. I lost when packing for her. Defeated again when I put her to bed last night. Today, I was one cool mom! Tearless ;-) Perhaps it was what she said to me. I was sobbing & hugging her the night before but she comforted me with a smile... & said,

"Seminggu je mama. Will see you again on Sunday."

Yes. Students are allowed to have visitors on Sundays. The curfew is at 7pm. I have made plans of course ;-)

Seeing her so calm like that made me feel way better. It seems that she has grown up overnight. Seriously... she didn't drop a single tear! Well, just not yet!

Received her call this evening. The minute I heard her voice, I knew something was wrong. Tried to ignore it & instead I asked her of her day. She said she made new friends, the instructors were good to her but it was all tiring. At this point her voice started cracking & she broke down...

"Mama, Wardah nak balik... Penat mama..."

At the other end of the line I was doing my best to control my voice. Today was only a half day activity for her & what about a full day activity of the following days? Can she handle it? Of course I have to be positive for her. Gave her encouragements. Told her how proud we were of her. It calmed her a bit. When she told me that even her room mate was crying too, it made me feel better. I guess it is a phase of adjusting.

HB agreed. This is part of the process of her being independent. I had always been there for her. Guess this time I have to trust others. I know it's best for her. Still, I look forward to her response tomorrow. If it is still negative, I will make the call.

Both HB & I knew this was coming once we found out from one of the staff that the children need to walk to the Faculty from the hostel & from the Faculty back to the hostel . Walking, especially in a hot day is not what Wardah does best.

InsyaAllah, tomorrow will be a better day... Will update. We miss you home darling. Have fun there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Balqis Here & There

My Balqis will turn 6 in 2 days time & last Saturday was her Induction Day of her new journey to primary school. Yes, she will be in Year 1 next year. How time flies!

Frankly, it was a hectic day last weekend. Very tiring indeed! HB was away. It was a one woman show for me.... :-)

My girls have piano lessons every Saturday. The centre allows replacement classes but the week before, all 3 did not attend class since the elder girls had Brownies Day Camp at school. Skipping class that week as well will make it almost impossible for more replacement classes. I had no choice but to send Yasmin & Wardah for piano that day as well.

So, the plan. Her elder sisters will join Balqis in school that morning & once I get Balqis settled with her teacher I need to send off both Yasmin & Wardah for piano & rush back to school. Pheww!

Can you spot Balqis? This was during the assembly of the new pupils before they were led to their respective classrooms to sit for a placement test.

She was in 1B. I was merely a day late for Year 1 certification & it pushed Balqis to a B class. But after the tests, the classes will be reshuffled.

Notice Balqis was the only one in navy blue & was wearing a pair of black sports shoes? Well, it was clearly written that students needed to wear white T-shirts or may purchase the school T-shirts at the bookstore. But I remembered Wardah bought a school T-shirt with one size smaller (it was way in 2007) ;-). It was still in a good condition & I purposely saved it for Balqis :-)

We parents were not allowed to go upstairs & be with our children. Which I think was a brilliant rule because if such regulation was not implemented, I would be the first mom ascending the stairs together with my child! :-)

Parents were to see the class teacher & produce the documents needed as mentioned in the offered letter. I don't know about you but I am this kind of mom who loves to fill up the forms, the files given & even writing the names on the exercise books! It's a pleasure doing it. Hahaha... Oh dear! I need a life!!

I stopped with Yasmin & Wardah because they were embarrassed to have my handwriting jotting on their names. Looked forward to fill up the forms for Balqis but Wardah offered her handwriting. I wanted to decline but I didn't. It was good to know that she was all excited about her sister's big day just as I was. So it was Wardah's neat writing that filled up Balqis's particulars.

The day I presented the documents... it was incomplete. Grr!! Still it was not really a big deal since I had Wardah with me & she could complete them for me. But she was using a blue ink pen & I had two pens in my handbag but both were in black. Hah! Bookshop was closed. Erggh.. how ugly Balqis's file was with blue & black writings. Still the teacher didn't accept her file because it was photoless! Really I don't blame the teacher. Neither Wardah... It was my fault. How could I missed that? Remembered having her photo somewhere at home. A recent one. The one we took for India visa application.

I drove home with Yasmin & Wardah & found those photos in record time. The time was already 9am. Piano would start in an hour time. Made that 20 minutes drive to the centre & rushed back to get Balqis for I knew, 10am would be recess time.

I had a close friend sending her son for Induction Day at the same school. Balqis is OK with her. I could just wait until the elder girls completed their one hour piano lesson & get Balqis afterward. But the thought of her having her first recess at the school canteen without her own parent disturbed me. Don't get it wrong... It's not that I don't trust you Fiza but how would Balqis feel when she saw other kids with their moms but she was with another person's mom.

Made it just in time for her. Found her searching for me & once she saw me, a happy smile welcomed me. Told me she made new friends. 3 of them! As I was ushering her to an empty table, she asked me..

"Mama, bunga N,G,A, kan? Bukan N,Y,A,?"(Oh you might want to read here about her spelling)

Answered yes & she said the test was too easy. Hahaha! Well, I guess it was a piece of cake to all kids. The teachers highlighted that the main purpose of the test was to search for students who have difficulties with reading & counting. Not to stream the children.

Recess time. She brought from home some sausages.

After the half an hour break, the children had a tour of the school with their respective teachers & parents had a session with the headmaster. I joined for merely an hour & decided to get Yasmin & Wardah. On my way back to the school, Fiza called to inform that she had Balqis with her & the event was over. I was only 5 minutes late to get her & she was still wearing the same smile when I left her.

You must have in mind that I worry too much about her. Well, it was not it. That day was another milestone of Balqis & I sure didn't want to miss that. I managed wonderfully. Alhamdulillah..

At 3pm, I had to send Wardah to school. Her Ustazah was treating her & friends & the meeting point was the school entrance. Another round of chauffering! Good to know that the Ustazah would send her home, instead of me fetching her at school.

By 5pm, somebody was way too excited to bathe. Balqis had to be at her kindergarten before 545pm to get ready for her big night - the Annual Concert. Applied a light make up & she was ready for the show ;-)

A pose on the empty stage.

I went home after that. It was made understood from Balqis's Memo Book that parents were not needed in the kindi compound before the event. Or else, I'd love to play the photographer! Hehehe...

The show started at 7.30pm. We were there quarter past seven, hoping to get good seats but as expected others were already there ahead of us. We settled down somewhere in the middle but were separated. As long as we had the good view of the stage, it was good enough.

First was the Graduation ceremony. It was short & sweet. No long speeches. No unnecessary protocol. I was of course vanished from my seat & ready in front for the moment.

You see, I wanted to make things as vivid as possible especially for HB. He missed Balqis's 3 important events that day. Induction Day, Graduation Day & Annual Concert. I of course had informed her of her dad's duty but her response was merely..

"Mama kan ada..."

Hehehe... So there I was with a cam & a handycam. I had no tripod & the task seemed impossible. Had no other choice but to delegate the job to Wardah (Yasmin refused. She had never liked photography. Both in front & behind the cam.) Wardah could handle the dslr yes, but for night shots, even I still have problems. What more when the flash battery was getting weak! Hence the decision of Wardah handling the handycam.

My concern was her not able to handle the handycam for a long time. But she had a friend whom she discussed to pass the handycam whenever her arm got tired (which explains the 'earthquake' in the video ;-)).

With Mr Robert

With a friend. Look at the shadow! My shots were not too good that night!

The Grizzly Class 2010

They started singing "Congratulations & Celebration..." but Balqis was no where to be seen. I of course found my way to get to her ;-)

Even called out for her ;-)

The Graduate

Balqis was really responding to my lens but was pushed inside by her teacher. Hmm..

Graduation Video

Next was the performance. The younger classes performed first. Mostly were dancing to the music tunes but Grizzly Class presented a short play. It was very entertaining.

It was during the Japanese Era. How savage the soldiers were. But of course the only cruelty portrayed was when they attacked & fired the villagers with guns. There was a part when one of the soldiers carried one of the girls away from the others. It concerned me. How far was the children's understanding of the play?

Balqis as one of the villagers

The Japs

I had a talk with Balqis. Kind of pretended that I didn't know much of the play & all. She went something about the Japanese used to love being violent. They attacked villagers & killed them. (At this point I started to worry..) But she continued. That was a long time ago. Now, they have become good people. Every time we see a Japanese, they will bow to you & say.. something which she forgot. Hehehe! According to her it was the principal who elaborated on that. I wanted to find out about the girl who was kidnapped. She said it was a mother. The Japs did not like mother & father to be together. They liked to separate them. OK. I let that be. Wondered whether that came from her own understanding or from the teachers' elaboration :-)

Anyhow, I did not agree to this part. You see the 3 boys in baju melayu? They were Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat & Hang Kasturi. Helllllooo..! Be more realistic teachers. Get your history right please...

Overall it was a good show. Way to go children!

Balqis anyhow had another performance. Imitating the Wonder Girls... The truth, I was hoping they had put more efforts for a longer plot on the play instead. The dancing was rather too long & with the same steps over & over again ... it shouldn't come from a 6-years-old class.

Balqis in action, second from left

A close up

In the end of the show there were a few shufflers dancing together with the girls. Audience enjoyed that beat. After the WG show there was another performance of those shufflers plus 2 of the WG who were now called Sexy Girls. Come on!! Teachers you can do a lot better than that! It was too much. Well at least for me... I didn't like it. Especially the ending when the shufflers & the 2 girls sort of crawling from the centre of the stage to the front. And it was how the show ended with all children lying flat on the chest. Sad to say, the applause was softer.

The Shufflers with the WG. Sorry no photo of the Shufflers with SG

It was then followed with the Grand Finale. The children were again introduced class by class together with their class teachers. They all sang "Standing In The Eyes Of The World" & by this time both cam & handycam were with me.

Wardah (in pony tail, off stage) was right in front of Balqis.

I realised that Wardah managed to control the video cam but the angle from where she shot did not capture Balqis too well. I decided to have Yasmin with me. Her height was an advantage. I got her the angle & she would record.

During the Grand Finale, I couldn't really capture Balqis. She was right in the middle. I tried to sneak in front, the side but there was no Balqis. I found Yasmin busy with the new task given to her. Didn't want to disturb her so I simply enjoyed the show without snapping any photos.

Yasmin not by choice, with the handycam to capture the Grand Finale performance

After that, I got busy again. The children were led to their classes before allowed to go home. My lens was searching for Balqis & found her.

Parents were not allowed to get them from stage due to safety purposes. The Principal would hand the kids personally to parents. Hence, the long wait :-)

Finally, Balqis was out. During the show, Nadeen watched tentatively with my maid & according to her they got a good view. She shared that at the point when Balqis was dancing to Nobody But U tune, Nadeen wanted to get on stage. She had always been around when Balqis practised at home & sort of memorised the steps. Good that my maid was able to control the situation :-)

Balqis with her no 1 fan :-)

Admiring her sister's costume which she wore the very next day after it was washed ;-)

Balqis with her sisters

We went home after that. In the car the elder girls were discussing the show & to my surprise SG was the topic. Hahaha! I thought it was due to my age that disapproved of such performance. My young girls too? In fact 2 of my neighbours' children tagged along for the concert & they too were on my side. Well, OK... I think I will have a talk with the Principal. I hope she would take it positively.

Balqis was well educated in this kindi. She started reading at 5. Anyhow, most of the good teachers have left. I think I change my mind to sending Nadeen to this kindergarten. There is a new franchised kindergarten in my area. I might put that in consideration.

All in all, this year's annual concert was not as good as before. You may want to read here to view Balqis's show when she was 4 and here when she was 5. Enjoy the video...

Balqis at the back row, 2nd from left

When the Shufflers made an entree

The play

Remember the video Yasmin recorded? Well... I got her the angle & pressed the record button & when she got the handycam she repressed the same button. And yes.. it was back on stand by mode! Hahaha... Didn't blame Yasmin at all. It was a good thing that she wanted to help though it was never her passion.

Congratulations Balqis! You have completed the 1st stage. Next will be the Primary School. You will enjoy yourself. Trust me. Love you darling... Muahh!!

Her Graduation Photo

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tamil Nadu, India - Day 4

No! Don't scroll down yet. You have not missed a post. I made a mistake with the days sequence (didn't realise I used parts instead of days at my day 3...). Edited the title to the other posts & here we are at day .

We slept like a log. It was a refreshing morning but for our troop of 6 to be on time for breakfast with everyone else was like a miracle ;-) 6 persons taking turns using 1 bathroom is time consuming indeed! Though the elder girls opted for their grandparents' bathroom, we were still late... OK! OK! Woke up late. Our fault... Hehehe!

Had breakfast. How excited the girls were to have koko krunch, sausages & toast that morning. Even I enjoyed my continental breakfast.

Us having breakfast

Well... I can spot Kak Yasmin, Kak Wardah & Hadi in this picture. So this must be your hand Balqis!! Too big to be Nadeen's...

An attempt to swallow all the rock sugar on the tray!

Cousin Riaz (Aunt Mumtaz's & Uncle Ibrahim's son) dropped by the hotel right after we were done with breakfast. He was working in Chennai & took the day off to spend sometime with us.

The itinerary of the day was not other than shopping!! Woohoo.. I like! Uncle was taking us to a textile shop. I was trying my best to cover my excitement but I guess this shot by Balqis gave it away... :-D

Yes, Balqis had shown interests to use the bulky cam! The problem was... once Balqis had gotten hold of something, her little sis would want the same. Glad that Nadeen agreed to have the point & shoot instead...

These shots were taken when Yasmin had the possession of the dslr. I didn't even realised when she snapped these.

Yasmin's shot..

Since Yasmin is in the picture, who made this shot? It was Uncle! Good Job... :-)

We boarded the same mini bus to take all of us shopping. Everyone was really in a good mood. I managed to capture these on our way to the shops.

Our destination was at.....

I love this place! It housed varieties in one roof. Almost all the things I planned to get I got them here. Air-conditioned, prices were fixed (no ridiculous prices for us tourists) & guaranteed for qualities...

These security guards offered for their photos to be snapped ;-)

I managed to get cotton material... Isn't the best cotton come from India? So the theme next raya will be cotton, shades of orange & Porthys mari ;-) HB loves his Kurta. Yes, that one is in cotton as well. Even the Saree I fell in love with was in cotton silk!

I had in mind to get the girls some ready made blouses & long skirts for Yasmin. But dear Balqis had already set her mind of what to get. Obviously she had been admiring the attires her cousins put on & once she saw the one she loved, she didn't want to look at others. I am still not sure of what it's called.... Churidar is it? A long blouse worn in long pants. But it is really the shawl that captured her heart. She put it on & it looked great on her. Really! ;-)

When HB saw Balqis in the Indian attire, he told his other girls to choose one too. It surprised me that even Yasmin (who kind of picky of what she wears) didn't hesitate & started looking for the one she liked.

At the fitting room, we were the only customers there who were guarded with a personal security. Hahaha! It was either she was scared of us shop lifting or she was entertained by me handling those girls. In the end, apart from the blouses & skirts they chose we ended up with all the girls with a Churidar (right?). Nadeen, I got her a 2 pieces of blouse & skirt, heavy with beadings. It was her choice & she too looked good in her choice.

They came out from the fitting rooms wearing their new unpaid Indian clothing with their own clothes stuffed in the shopping bags ;-) Well... that should explain the security concerns. Once, I was done with the girls, I passed them to their grandparents & I continued what I had too ;-)

At this point, there were only the men babysitting the young ones. The ladies were still at it ;-) Look at Yasmin & her new attire. Great choice!

Nadeen, modeling hers :-)

My MIL had retired from her shopping & Balqis there was looking annoyed but I was still at it ;-)

At last with a heavy heart I had to bid farewell to Porthys. I could see my SIL was having trouble parting too :-) She was leaving for KUL that night but I still had another 2 days to spend in Chennai. But HB made it clear that it was the only day we were shopping... The day after would be sight seeing :-(

We stopped for lunch. It didn't thrill me much when the ride put a halt to this restaurant... Whenever I travel, I prefer to taste the local food.

A pose with Auntie Parween

My love affair with auntie continued ;-)

It was lunch time & the place was really a hit! Section closed girls...

Managed to get a table, 4 to be exact... & we had a feast. Little did I know how I missed home. After 5 days in India, nasi kandar really made my day!

... sirap limau too!

Tata entertaining his young grandchildren

HB with cousin Riaz

A family portrait

On the way back we stopped at a few small shops for souvenirs. Uncle was always around to guide us so our price was for the locals ;-) Everyone retired to their rooms to pack since they were catching the flight home & Uncle with Auntie were leaving for Thanjavur once they sent off the others to the airport.

I had a peaceful time re-admiring the stuff I bought because the girls were at Tata's room. Decided to join them & I found them snapping pictures using the point & shoot. They were loads but too bad we lost it on our way to the airport the day after...

When it was time, we all gathered at the lobby & here are the photos shot...

It was time for them to leave. We sent them to the mini bus. Auntie Parween was no longer talking at this point. It was hard for her to say goodbye & it was not easier for me.

Just look at her in this picture. I dropped a tear seeing her so devastating like that. When she asked "You, remember me?", it hit me. How will I forget you Auntie dear... You had been way too wonderful to us!

This was uncle playing translator again :-) See Nadeen aiming the cam at her Tata?

Once they left Nadeen was in a bad mood. She was tired... I tried to have a shot of all of them together in their Indian attire before they changed but Nadeen wanted to be the one taking photos, not the one posing..

Anyhow, I tried my luck again when we were in the room...

Hmmm... was crying for something which I can's recall

Managed to get her in the mood but Wardah & Balqis were distracted!

At last! Though Nadeen lost her posing charm :-)

*to be continued