Friday, September 14, 2012

Will & Kate in Malaysia!

yes, many Malaysians are excited that the world's most beloved royal couple are in Malaysia. I, for one, am one of those, but I wasn't at KLCC nor was I invited to the tea party *sigh*. So I settled for just some photos that I saw on Yahoo news. 

Some might be perplexed as to why such a fascination over these royals. Last year, a teacher was amused to see that I went through a lot of hassle to watch the royal wedding live on the net. I told her, "you haven't met my sister who can name all the royals be it Malay or British".

So why such a fascination? may be it's because they are the closest we have to fairy tale figures. and let's face it, we need that dose of fairy tales once in awhile. and when one talks about Prince William, one will surely mention his most glamorous mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. I watched her wedding to Prince Charles way back in 1981 and I thought that fairy tales do come true. I was 8 then.

31 years later, i m still a hopeless romantic who believes in fairy tales, because Kate Middleton found her Prince Charming, and her Prince Charming put that famous sapphire engagement ring onto her finger...

okay so where's my Prince Charming?

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Breaking the Fast with Friends

last week, I broke fast with some friends. one was with my Seri Puteri friends, and that was a nice one. Shidah and I went to Haslam near Tawakkal hospital and met with Yeen and Diani who were waiting for us at the other side of the road. and after hugging we made our way up to the air-conditioned room and started chatting. then came Milia and Mas (who I call Claire Daines, as she looks like the actress) and we started gossiping. yes we have been friends for so long, since our Form 1 hostel days of crying due to homesickness and white bedsheets and locker spotchecks. 

the food at Haslam was okay, if you don't like a long buffet spread that costs a bomb. it's just nice for a cosy buka puasa. we were there until 9.something, and a few minutes before we parted, June dropped by.

yesterday, my TESL friend Sazi came to buka puasa at the house, after postponing it last week. i made lemon meringue pie but the lemon curd was still runny and i had to do some adjustments. sedih. we went to pasar ramadhan in Taman Melawati. it was my first time there this year, and though it was exciting with some stalls selling novelty dishes like Chinese dumplings and Italian pastas, i realised that nothing beats homecooked dishes - because i bought nasi tomato and the ayam masak merah was too spicy and sweet. the nasi arab that i had for buka puasa was okay but it set me back by rm10 since the seller used extra long basmathi rice. 

oh well...

after this I've to start rummaging my fridge and think about what to cook for today.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My La Dolce Vita tour

i finally took that trip that i planned some 5 years ago. it was a blast! i longed to to see Venice and take a gondola ride and stroll along the river of Florence, which is the centre of Rennaissance during the reign of de Medicis. and i did!

somebody told me that you don't just "insert" an Italian city in a European tour itinerary. Italy is a destination that should be enjoyed and discovered slowly, and not in a hurry.

K.Nan and I went to 5 cities - Milan, Verona, Venice, Rome and Pisa - in that order. after a 16 hour flight with a brief stopover at Abu Dhabi, we arrived in Milan in the morning. something happened to our group. because of a possibly contaminated food served on flight, someone in our group suffered a food poisoning and, threw up at the windscreen of the bus, of all places. our designated bus driver, Bruno started jabbering in Italian, and i guessed the words weren't complimentary. our tour manager, Leon (who is the tauke's son) told us not to worry about Bruno and said that it's the Italian thing. he proceeded to tell us that pickpocketing is notorious not only in Milan,but throughout Italy. oh great! i thought drily.

that morning we went to Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele which is a building with glass topped roof and houses world renowned brands such as Prada (which is Milan's own product) and Louis Vuitton. there were a few restaurants and gelateria and i had my first Italian pizza and gelato here. we went to snap pics at Piazza Duomo but later quickly went back to the galleria as there were some unsavoury looking men looking at us. we felt safer at the galleria as the police made regular rounds there. 

after Milan, we went to Verona. there s a well-preserved stadium there which is called the Roman Arena and still in use.

 we heard Pink Floyd was going to perform there. of course, the main attraction is the Giuletta's balcony, or Juliet to you and me. obviously it's not really Juliet's balcony.

after Verona we made our way to Venice. Venice, we discovered, is an island.  of all the Italian cities that we visited, Venice is the most beautiful, with palaces and other grand buildings. i'm reminded of Heath Ledger's movie in which he played Giacomo Casanova and the setting was in Venice.  of course, no trip to Venice is complete without the gondola ride, so we paid 25 euros each. we were told that for a sum of money the gondolier would sing. our gondolier refused to sing, but switched on his radio instead. we also went to Murano glass factory. very nice pieces but i was very nervous all the time we were there. delicate goblets and vases... could you imagine what would happen if that was my clumsy day and i knocked the pieces down? in Venice, i purchased some Venetian lace and masks that the Italians wear during the Carnivale.

after walking for so long until our feet couldnt walk anymore, we arrived in Florence to have dinner. bus tours arent allowed to enter tourist spots, so we had to walk for half an hour to the restaurant. it was a muslim owned restaurant, and it was a nice change to be able to eat pastas and pizzas without worrying and asking the waiter about the ingredients and the halalness.we didn't tour Florence that day, we proceeded to
Rome. oh, before that i have to tell you about Tuscan countryside, because Florence sits in Tuscany. it was all that i dreamed of, only that i wished we had stopped at one of the villages and learned how to make fresh pasta. the Tuscan country always have villas on green rolling hills with vineyards or olive or cypress trees completing the picture.

Rome was very warm. we reached there mid-morning and spent hours lepaking as some of our groupmates went to the Vatican City. we then went to take pics near the piazza vittori emmanuele, the Coliseum,
 the Forum. theres a sense of thousands years of antiquity and civilisation when you see all these ruins. i half expected to see Julius Caesar speaking at the Forum.  after the ruins we went to take pics  at the Spanish steps (though i don't know the significance of the steps) and then the Trevi fountain (where people always toss the coins hoping that they will return there). that evening we had dinner at another Muslim owned restaurant. splendid chicken curry.

after Rome, we retraced our steps to Florence or Firenze as the Italians call it. just imagine this is the city where Michelangelo, da Vinci and a lot other sculptors, painters, thinkers, writers and poets stayed. we were given a tour by a local guide named Francesca, who brought us to the bridge which was owned by de Medicis.

 that evening Bruno brought us to Pisa. the hotel that we stayed in was not familiar with Asians, especially Muslims so dinner wasn't that great. we had a choice of minestrone and basic pasta with olive oil for starter and baked fish as the main course. i had maggi afterwards. the next day we went to Pisa Leaning Tower. it was amazing to see that it's still standing tall.

on the last day we went to Serravalle which is in Milan. this wasnt sightseeing, this is for those serious shoppers who want to shop at outlet malls.

after 5 days of tour we returned to Malaysia. i must say that Italy is a must go to place for any avid traveller. still have a few places left in my list.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Moral of the Story is....

assalamualaikum n hello again. i havent written in a long time, probably  for almost 6 months now. there are many things to write about, many things to share. it's just the matter of finding the right time to write - as all writers will tell you. when you write, you must find the right moment to do so. you don't simply barge in and start uttering pure nonsense because writing is an art.

the last time i wrote must be the time when i just moved into the new house. well, here i am some 6 months later. the house is full of feline hairs everywhere. not to forget the ubiquitous scratching posts, cat trees and cat beds. on the day i change the cat litter the house will smell of apples. on the day before i change the cat litter though, well.... you don't want to be anywhere near the cats' room.

something happened to me earlier this year. the previous owner conveniently forgot to mention that the area is "keras". i kept hearing furniture being moved upstairs (my neighbours') at ungodly hours and the final straw was the few times i had nightmares. a lady bomoh came and started spewing hocus pocus and left me confused. she said there's something wrong with me and nothing wrong with the house. i spent the days feeling so dejected and low. but i kept praying to Allah to send me help and after awhile i began to see that the bomoh tried to mislead me. later an ustaz from Darul Syifa' came to cleanse the house. i felt better then and think this was a test for me. 

after the incident, i began to enrol in a tafsir class at Little Khalifah Shop and met this wonderful kakak who introduced me to various classes. i remember telling her that i love going to majlis ilmu and suddenly the next thing i knew my schedule was packed! Aqidah class on mondays, 2 tafsir classes, 3 hadith classes and once a month i will attend Ust Roslan Mohamad's class. it is hectic, and in the first week i was exhausted what with school and tuition classes and all. but i'm surviving now, and i really love going to the classes. it's not like when i went for M.A. classes years ago. then, it was all about recognition. now there's an inner joy whenever i attend these majlis ilmu.what is important is to lead my life according to Al quran and sunnah (hadiths). i believe that when we ask to be given hidayah and to continue be given hidayah, Allah will grant us so. i believe in signs and divine intervention because they happened to me. sceptics may snigger, but then, only a person who has been granted hidayah will understand me.

in matters of career, well, despite my whines about the students in my school, i realised that i'm placed there for a reason. in SS i pursued recognition and and gained satisfaction in teaching the good students.of course, it was a total shock when i came to Padang Tembak. that doesn't lessen this year despite being my 3rd year there because i'm teaching the last class (the scoobydoos managed to raise my blood pressure) but i guess i'm supposed to learn that material and worldly gains don't matter.

well, that's about it, folks. hope to write again about my next trip in june.