Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our Brunei story!

For our yearly holiday this year, we went to Brunei.

"Why would you want to go to Brunei for a holiday?" We received that a lot. Haha!

I've always loved Borneo. I love Kundasang so so much, I could stay there. And Kuching, I would always want to go there again. So, I thought why not Brunei?

Brunei was nothing fancy, not the best place for a holiday but I've no regrets going there at all. Travelling for me is about learning the culture rather than exploring their attractions. I am more amazed at how they have Jawi signage everywhere, "Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akhbar" signs by the highway; similar to the road signs we have in Malaysia, their super friendly people that are super proud of their Sultan and government and of course, their food!

First day.

We arrived on Friday afternoon, checked in at Palm Hotel, Kianggeh and had a good rest. That night, we went to Pasar Malam Gadong. Opens every night, variety of food as cheap as BND 1 (RM 3.20) for Nasi bungkus with ayam and sambal (tasted like Nasi Ayam Penyet).

Afterwards, we went for souvenirs hunting and just walked around Gadong, there are quite a number of shopping malls nearby. Surprisingly, you could see fabric shops and tailors everywhere in Brunei!

Second day.

Woke up early morning to Pantai Tungku.

It was very dirty, so I wouldn't suggest this place.

Afterwards to Kampung Ayer and boyyyy!!! This one is a must. Breathtaking view! They have schools, lots of schools above the river, it was one hugeeee beautiful village, suka sangat!

We tried the Ambuyat, Brunei's national dish made from the inside of Sago palm and eaten similarly like rice with all sorts of dishes. Not to my liking, but just have got to try!

We went for souvenir hunting again, omg so hard to find a souvenir shop here!!! Found one finally so I have just got to share the business card in case you were looking for a souvenir shop in Brunei.

Walk around their beautiful town that night, from South to East to Center of Brunei but this caught our eyes specifically ♥

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Third day.

Surprised with the road closure around the city area, apparently on Sunday morning they closed the road as it is their family day. But on our third day at Brunei particularly, it was their National Family Day, so there was a huge celebration. The biggest in that year.

We started of our day at Kianggeh Market, where I fell in love with the vibrant colours of the mengkuang bags, sounds of live Gamelan (mostly playing the late P. Ramlee's song), lots of antiques Keris and coins, I belong here..

Then we joined in the fun at their Family Day. There were birds singing competition, lots of rides, bubbles, shows, omg just lotssss of fun here!!!

Look who we met here? #proudMalaysian

Afterwards we headed to Royal Regalia Museum. Too bad they didn't allow any photos taken, it was amazing! A must visit, free entry and definitely I would say your visit is incomplete without visiting this museum.

Wrapped up our visit by performing Zohor at Jame Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, such beautiful mosque.

Then, it was time to go home. Returned the Vios that we rented for about RM560 3D2N at Hertz via Expedia, and 2.5 hours journey back to KL.

Brunei is a peaceful laid back country. The people there are not only humble, but also very modest. Although Brunei doesn't have much attractions, I am really happy there. :) I feel at peace, I feel safe, I feel very convenient. Thank you, Bruneians. And Alhamdulillah. I was reluctant to fly a week before our scheduled trip, but thank you Allah for making everything a smooth sailing journey for us.

2 months from now, I will be going to Bangkok pulak! Yay, will keep you guys updated.

Also, I am sorry for deactivating my blog for quite a while.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Playing tourist at KL and Putrajaya

Hi everyone!! What have you guys been up to this school holiday?

Alhamdulillah, I don't have teaching load this time around but actually am saving for our next trip, Holla Bruneiii!! Haha so Bangi-Putrajaya Hotel je lah ya kids.

The best coffee guys!

Anyhow, syukur to the Almighty that I am more free this time around because long holiday last December had been really hectic for me. Not only I was rushing to finish up the syllabus as it was the final quarter of the semester, on top of that, I was scheduled to Japan for a week. *cries a river* But Alhamdulillah after much discussion, the trainer agreed to come to UNITEN instead.

However, I was still all over Malaysia, a couple of days in Bersia and Janda Baik for our consultancy and research projects *cries* Hectic hectic month. So how do I entertain the kids?

Goodbye to all the theme parks I wish to visit. We play tourists around here instead. It was fun! Every weekend we brought the girls to places, so I thought of sharing with you guys!

National Art Gallery

*yawn* I know I know. But my girls loveeee art, so why not?

Taman Titiwangsa and Taman Layang-Layang, Kepong

Our first time flying a kite ever in our life, all of us.

Aquaria, KLCC

Because they were so into the Baby Shark song.

Taman Wetland, Putrajaya

Breathtaking view! Especially at the top of Menara Tinjau.

Taman Astaka Morocco, Putrajaya

Loving this so much! Don't mind the Japanese guy, I'm bringing my Sensei from Japan along!

Dondang Sayang Ride at Putrajaya

Taman China-Malaysia

And last but not least..

Bubbles and Beans Putrajaya Fun Ride!!

Not bad, right? I hope you have some ideas where to bring your kids with the leftover cuti we have. Have fun, everyone!! I'm definitely having fun this holiday break with my loved ones :)

And baby girls, sorry for not able to bring you theme parks this round. But tomorrow, I'm on leave and it will be a day just for the two of you exclusively. Excited!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

K at Globalart

Omg I'm so behind in updating my blog! February has been a super hectic month, but I will try to catch up in my writing in shaa Allah.

Last October, after being somewhat numb as my firstborn turned 5 (how time flies!) followed by being all hormonal looking at her drawings, she just got better and better, Subhanallah, I started to question myself. More stories of her drawings here.

K's simple drawing at 4
A's drawing at 2, also cantik what

Me, being the left brainer as always have never been really encouraging her with all these artsy stuff. She must have gotten that from my dad. I mean, I did not stop her, but the best I did was, "Look at your drawing, so pretttyyyy!" I couldn't imagine doing that for the rest of my life, it would get lame one day.

So that October evening, after I did my research, alone I traveled near my housing area to survey for an art class for her and I fell in love with Globalart immediately. Attended trial class, she loved it and just like that, my Saturday morning started early, no more lazing around the bed.

My worry is just one though, her social skills. Alhamdulillah, she has always been coping well academically, but at 4 she had a traumatized first day at kindy, so it was not easy for her to trust strangers. That was the difficulties we had with her previous swimming classes. Even more, she was the only Malay in her Globalart class. So, I talked to her class teacher and Globalart handled her really well. *salute*

She started with something simple..

To a bit more challenging..

Using crayons and water colour as well..

She made friends with other races, which I am so happy about since in her Kindy, they are only Malays there.

This one particular girl in Globalart caught my girls' attentions most..

K: "Ibu what are you doing in my art class with that monkey?"
A: "Ibu, why are you playing in Kakak's school?"

That is not me (T_T)

Although, in all seriousness, she does look like me at home, with her hair like that (T_T)

All was fun in her Globalart class, she joined for months, and we even participated her in colouring contest and so on. Only recently to discover that..

She doesn't really fancy colouring guys!! She likes drawing :'( In Globalart, they have to master colouring first before drawing, haha! Sorry, baby, noob mommy here!

But, she was still psyched learning something new. This was K, on her first day at 9am on Saturday morning. I looked the exact opposite with my pyjama still, thanks for asking.

After 3 months in Art class, did her colouring improve?

I would say they are pretty much the same.

3 months in Art class was quite pricey. It costs us around RM800, BUT.. it is a skill not me and Love can teach her. We are simply not art people.

To look beyond, it is not just the colouring skills we hope she would pick up.

It's the social skills of mingling with other races, the discipline of listening to instructions, the patience of colouring, the thoroughness of not leaving white space, etc.

Did she become more creative on her drawings or other artsy stuff? Oh yes.

This was what she did for me, a few days ago.. (no reference whatsoever, a quiz and bear in mind she was just 5y4m).

Was it worth it?

For us yes, because I did not spend on her reading, mental arithmetic or mengaji class, those are skills I could teach her at home, and I have been doing that everyday since she was 1. But, not arts or colouring. Let her stimulate her right brain. And if I could spend that much for my facial or car or house etc, why not for my biggest amanah in the world.

Khaira, Aisha, may you grow up well, contributing something to the ummah and aim for jannah. Much love, baby girls!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A wonderful end of 2016

Bismillah and hello 2017! ♥

Alhamdulillah I have achieved  most of my wishlist in 2016.

1. Umrah
2. Kuching
3. Get CEng
4. Write a book
5. Wean off Aisha at 2
6. K 30 surahs
7. Save 60k
8. Copyright
9. Gold any exhibition

I started the year with us performing umrah, I miss Makkah and Madinah everyday. Everyday for the rest of my life now.

Then, I spent about a week in Kuching.

I managed to wean off lil Aisha at 2y2m

Managed to get gold in ITEX and SIIF 2016, Alhamdulillah.

Filed one copyright for my Master student.

Recently, I officially obtained my Chartered Engineer, the ones I worked for since end of 2014.

And a couple of days before 2016 ended, my book is launched.

Just when I thought wishlist number 4 is yet to be achieved for 2016, I got an offer to publish one.

A reminder for me to always ask from Him. Nothing is impossible for Him. Ask and have faith.

Alhamdulillah, I am so blessed. I hope 2017 will be an even better year. And I hope I get the chance to be in the place where my heart belongs and the ones that I long to be again this year, in shaa Allah!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bukit Tinggi

It has been a while since we went on a holiday, so for Christmas, we spent ours in Bukit Tinggi,

I stayed in Meranti Park Suites I rented via AirBnB. RM450 per night. On the way, I dropped by to my old neighbor's wedding. Say hello to my childhood friend, Athirah!

First day

I loveee our apartment a lot, and Nicole was very helpful!

View outside our apartment

We headed first to Animal Farm, RM5 per entry. The kids had fun.

We had barbecue outside the apartment that night, food was super expensive here.

Second day

Started our day early, which was lucky as the traffic got heavier later on. Paid RM15 per pax to get at the top of Bukit Tinggi.

Colmar Tropicale, so breathtaking.

Watch out for the performance time, some dancing and at the end, the kids can dance with the dancers as well.

Hiked further up, you will find a Japanese Village.

There is also organic farm and botanical garden in the middle of jungle. And adventure park. All muka so tired already, so no pics worth uploaded, heh!

Barbecue again at night.

Third day.

Woke up with a misty morning!

Went to see the horses but joyride was too expensive. 7 times more expensive than here. So, no joyride and K was a bit cranky.

Of course, this girl couldn't care less. Sibuk cari kucing while orang tengok kuda.

At the club house, there were all sorts of entertainment.

Played two rounds of bowling and archery and we headed home to a busy week. So many things to update! Happy new year everyone!