Friday, July 30, 2010

Miss Blues??

I couldn't find a title really. But the story has nothing to do with anything blue except perhaps for Mia's mengaji costume.

This week is the start of the mengaji ("Quran recitation") class for all the children of our little Community here.  5 of the spouses of the students here kindly volunteered to teach/guide the children - Thank you kindly to them! Bless their kind hearts. And just a nice coincidence to the coming fasting month. Most of the classes started on Monday. Danish was assigned under Ustazah Zulaikha (she is an Ustazah back in Malaysia accompanying her husband doing his PhD in hmmm.... I am not quite sure what but whatever it is it is something to do with Biology & Chemistry sort of thing... ) and Mia under Cikgu Ina (a teacher back home - Mia normally call her Auntie Ina but for the mengaji session, conveniently change it to Cikgu Ina). Hakim has yet to start his class - his Ustaz Mahiz (a Lecturer back home) has yet to set a schedule. Anyway, so far, only Danish has faithfully went to class since Monday. Mia, though excited - not only for the trip to Auntie Ina's house but more importantly, she will be seeing her beloved friend Balqis - cannot make it on Monday as she is scheduled for a dental appointment (which she is also excited about as there will be stickers afterward!)  Imagine how frustrated she became when a  her appointment was brought forward to the next day!

Anyway, she was so excited to go to her mengaji session on Wednesday. I have never got the chance to start her yet. So, that morning there was just enough time to print some Arabic letters and briefly went through the letters with her once before Dina (another beloved friend) knocked at the door - it was time to go.

She was so excited when she came back. Yesterday, I asked her to get ready early. And so we have time to take some snaps of her in her mengaji gear.  :-D

Excuse the big head scarf (as she called it)! It's Mum's

Waiting by the window so she can see when Dina arrived to go Mengaji together

A little message to my family : To Arifah, congratulation on the offer. Hopefully things will go smoothly and you will be here in no time! :-D And to Marhamah, Fatanah & Ain - take great care of yourselves, ya :-D Do send me photos of Muaz & Mikhail! And to Farihan, have you decided yet? And Aie! Are you coming over for the presentation? And Alfi, you sure you don't want to sample the landscape & the gardens here? Prayers to Allah always! :-D 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Day Out Part 1

Well, it has been quite some time now before I update my blog. Well, if anything it is my dissertation which is at fault (???). Anyway, since my husband took leave from his part-time job last Saturday, we managed a family day out. Our destination? Aberdeen.

Based on our earlier trip to Stonehaven we followed the Angus Coastal Route to Aberdeen. However, we made a number of detours. We thought of stopping at Stonehaven for lunch. But first, since we dropped by at the town of Montrose we decided to go strawberry picking at Charleton Fruit Farm before continuing our journey. Some photos to share. Enjoy! :-D

Though it is still quite early, the parking area is nearly full. We made our way to the farm shop, picked our baskets and off to the strawberry area.

A pretty start

Getting there...

Three Farm workers who rather spend the morning sleeping!

The Happy Pickers - Satisfied with the harvest!!!

Farmers Beware!!!

A basketful of strawberries

Now, to the raspberry patch

A depressed Barley farmer

Drunk in the barley field???

Beautiful isn't it?

Closer look - That's barley for you

The National Flower of Scotland - Purple Thistle

Have to stop here. Hopefully I can continue with the next part soon. Cheers! :-D

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing Craze & Baju Raya

As I entered the living room this morning Mia came and hug me and handed me a handmade card. Well, she is into making cards these days. There will always be a card for me - everyday since she started her craze of card making. But anyway, that's one headache gone - she can make all the cards she wants during this break.
She is also into 'writing' now! It has developed from list writing to card writing :

See what I mean? Translate : Dear Mum I love you very much and you take care of me. And taking me to the library and buying me things and you are the Bestest Mum.

Hmmm...perhaps once I completed my dissertation my motive should be to get her practice her spelling.

So, after hugging her back a few times and saying thank you for the card I started preparing breakfast.

Mia : What's for breakfast?

Me : Burgers

Mia : Mmmm... Yummy!
and she left the kitchen. Just as I thought she had left me alone to rule my kitchen, she came back announcing that she had taken the orders from the others and she put the list right beside the hob.

Translate : acaim (Akim) plain burger

                Danish - burger and all of the things in the kitchen

                aqail (Aqil) just burger

                Damia - burger with bread

Hmmm... kids... you just cannot live without them!

And for Along, if you are reading this, I append below the photos of Mia & Aqil in their respective baju raya which you sent along with Danish & Hakim recently. Thank you Along - We love you! :-D

My Little Lady

My Wee Boy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oh Dear Aqil....

Mia loves to do art & crafts in her spare time. She loves to draw, paint, sew, making simple books, making hats - almost anything she can think of. I am not sure how it begins when Aqil thought his sister is good enough to draw a portrait of himself.

Aqil : Draw me, Mia

Mia : I don't know how

Aqil : Just draw me, please....

Mia : But I don't know how!

Aqil : Draw ME!!!

Mia : Oh Alright then!!!

So, Aqil happily went to stand in front of the fireplace smiling at his sister's direction. And Mia tried to draw him murmuring "...I don't know how...." under her breath.

Finally, she announced "OK Aqil. It's ready!" And Aqil came running to her and...Not a second longer that he saw how Mia had "captured" him that he cried his poor heart out.

"I told you I don't know how!" said Mia defensively. I took a look at the picture and make my way slowly out of the living room where they were, suppressing my smile. Well, I better not say anything. Let them settle it themselves.

So, you want to see Mia's expression of Aqil? Here goes...

Ten minutes later, after I can trust myself not to laugh at the drawing I came back to the living room and this time, I am relieved to see that harmony has been restored.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thank you Teacher

I am so... looking forward for the school holidays. Not that I have any plan or anything like that, it is just that I can wake up a little later than usual. Oh yes! You have that right.

I slept at around 3.40 in the morning - you see, it is summer now and our Subuh prayer starts at 3.30-ish. So, I don't dare to sleep before I perform my prayer. And during school term, I normally wake up at 6.30 a.m. Or the most at 7.30. (But there are times when I overslept and both Mia & Aqil will be late for school!) It was quite embarrassing really to appear sheepishly at the door and explained that, "Sorry Mrs Ross. I overslept!" No way am I going to put the blame on my children when it was my fault! And Mrs Ross will be like "Oppsy!" and suppressed a smile. Anyway, let's stop  talking about me and my sleeping habit.

Last Thursday morning, I asked Damia & Aqil if they would like to give a Thank you card to their teachers. Since I am getting a few cards on behalf on Danish & Hakim for their teachers I might as well get some for Damia & Aqil too.

So, that Thursday both Aqil & me took a bus to go to the town centre. And what a long process it was! Aqil seemed to like almost every Thank You cards on display. He could not make his mind of which to choose. It took us about an hour and the half (including two trips to the cashier and back again to the cards as he was not satisfied!), I finally managed to get him to agree to getting the same cards for all the teachers. How glad was I when he gave in. At least that part is over. I cannot recall my if my older children are as fussy as Aqil!!! I am not going to ask him to choose any card again until he is at least 16!!!

And now, let me just share with you what Damia wrote on her card. Well, three cards altogether but I only have the photo taken for one. Do you think you understand what she wrote?

Translation : Dear Mrs McCaib (Mrs McCabe - one of the Classroom Assistants), Thank you for giving me presents and taking care of me. Phooh! That's her spelling for you!

She wrote two others for her Class Teacher Mrs Young and Mrs DiPonio, the Class Assistant which was a bit more lengthy. But, too bad I do not know what she wrote for them. Since she started schooling in November, Mrs Young & Mrs DiPonio have always been there for her. So, I guess perhaps she gets a little bit sentimental when writing to them. Anyway, I caught a glimpse of the last sentence before she glue off - "And thank you for helping me with my work." Aaahhh... that's more like it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

End of Term

It's End of Term. Meaning :

i. I have both Mia & Aqil with me full time effective tomorrow (July 2, 2010) until August 17, 2010;
ii. I will have to arrange to send them somewhere where there is adult supervision when I want to go the library; or
iii. I have to drag them along if I need to get some data from Datastream at the University (I do dragged Aqil to my workshops and classes too last time!);
iv. Things will get better & better after July 10 as Danish & Hakim will be arriving from Malaysia. Alhamdulillah their visas were approved - thanks to everyone who have been praying for them. Thank you very much. This means that instead of dragging two children to School I have to drag four children along. When we walk in single file I do sometimes feel like a mother duck! But, Alhamdulillah as we are soon going to be reunited. We thought we can managed to secure tickets for this Saturday but as they are going to travel as Unaccompanied Minors, there are certain arrangements to be made, such they need at least a day to do so with the Dubai office (they are flying Emirates), that, and my husband can't guarantee that he can take leave next week (we have to fetch them at Gatwick which is about 380++ miles from Dundee), left us with no choice but to opt for next Saturday.

Hmm... let me continue with the "end-of-term" story. With end-of-term came the Progress Report . I was quite touched with what written by both Danish & Hakim's Teachers and their Head Teacher in their comments. Danish & Hakim have just started schooling in January and have to leave for Malaysia on May 1. They are considered new and have not been there long but they have managed to become welcome members at school. Below are the comments but please, I do not intend to show off or anything near that. Nor do I intend to open any can of worms, I just would like to share how the teachers' comments are compared to back home.

Danish's comments from the teacher :Quote "Danish has a very happy nature and he gets on well with his peers.  He is a very caring and helpful child who is sensitive to the feelings of others.

Danish is a hard working and conscientious pupil who has made excellent progress in all areas. He always tries his best. Danish appreciates the importance of completing homework to help with his learning,

Danish should continue to make good progress at High School if he can maintain this session's hard work. All the very best for the future Danish.

Remember always to "Be The Best You Can Be"Unquote.

And the Head Teacher's comments : Quote. "Danish has not been with us for very long. However, I have been impressed by his attitude and motivation towards learning. Danish is an extremely capable pupil who wants to do well and achieve high goals.

He is an enthusiastic pupil and gives 100% commitment to all his tasks.

I am confident that Danish will meet all the challenges of High School and that he will make excellent progress. Good luck, Danish." Unquote. Oh yes, Danish will be in High School next August. He will not be at the current school any more. When I told his Teacher that he can only make it back next week, she said that she will be meeting him at the High School at the beginning of the new term. "I want to see him." she said. "At least I want to say a proper good bye. I miss him."

Hakim's Teacher's Comments : Quote."Luqman has settled really well into his class and has become a key member of the class. He is a hard working and conscientious pupil who has made excellent progress in all areas. Luqman is a very able pupil who always tries his best and he is always eager to learn. He is supportive and sensitive to others when working in a group and he is a friendly and popular member of the class. Luqman has a happy nature and a good sense of humour and has a very positive attitude to all aspects of school life. He has only been part of the class for a few months but already he has a great impact on all of us. Luqman is very confident and is a good role model for other children with his attitude to learning and school. I have really enjoyed getting to know Luqman and seeing him develop over the past few months. Good luck in primary 6.

Head Teacher's Comments : Quote. "This is a very positive report, Luqman. In a short time you have become a valuable member of the class by your commitment and attitude to education. I am impressed by your enthusiasm for learning. Well done, Luqman!"Unquote.

Very different from the "Sangat Baik. Usaha lagi. (Very good. Work harder.) " or just "Baik. (Good) or the most "Baik. Usaha lagi supaya lebih cemerlang. (Good. Work harder to be better) which we normally get from their Report Cards back home.  No, I do not have anything against teachers or our education system back home. I am what I am today as a result from that system. However, with just a little more caring attitude towards the pupil, and a little bit more words of motivation and supports it could go a long way. And that does not just go for the younger children. Even as old as I am when my Supervisor commented something like "... the method that you are going to do are well written..." I am already over the moon and give me some sort of the extra strength to do better and better in my analysis. Though at times looking at the amount of work to churn my data I already feel like shooting myself, but, that's beside the point! Words of encouragement do makes the world go round! Honest!

(Sources of images : school's out from; mother duck & ducklings from