Monthly Archives: April 2013

promising spring

Standard

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.  ~ Proverb

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.  ~ Hal Borland

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. ~ Anne Bradstreet

The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. ~ Byron Caldwell Smith

my plum tree in blossoms

After what seemed like an endless winter, I dare say spring has finally dawned upon me in my little corner of the world. I wake up to the birds chirping happily all day long, a clear blue sky and the sun shining brightly. On a not so good spring day, I still hear the birds’ melodies but I see cloudy skies instead and feel the chill from the winds. A season of cold and flu, but it’s welcoming nonetheless after several months of winter gloom! To feel the light heat from the sun on my skin is such a blessing. For someone who’s always taken the blazing sun for granted, having born and bred in all year round sunny Malaysia, the past 17 years in England have certainly changed something in me. I feel more connected to nature, I appreciate the changing seasons and the different moods it brings me. I am more aware of how nature’s cycle mirrors our own life’s ups and downs, like the turning wheels of a bicycle.

Spring to me is a season of hope and recovery, where one finds the strength and energy to rise again after feeling melancholy in winter. Spring is also a season of joy, one cannot help feeling happy seeing new blooms sprouting everywhere. Plants that I thought were dead suddenly spring to life. There is hope after despair, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Such is our life; there are moments when we feel very low indeed, for whatever reason. It doesn’t even take much for some. But light is always there; with patience, perseverance, hard work and prayers, that glimmer of hope will become a reality. We will be at the top of the bicycle wheel again. Never lose hope. Without misery we have no reason to hope, without hope we cannot move forward and achieve greater things in life. Without winter, we would not anticipate spring, and without spring, we cannot enjoy those glorious summer days to come. Sweet promising spring, my hopes and dreams are with you, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), you are here at last!!!

little girl

Standard

IMG_1903

IMG_0663_2There is something about the father-daughter relationship which warms my heart. A man who is tender and loving towards the women folk in his family is high on my list. As in my religion, Islam, it holds in high esteem those parents who nurture daughters. It was the practice of many societies (sadly still prevalent in some today) to discriminate against daughters; the announcement of the birth of a baby girl caused sorrow to many. Islam wiped that practice away, children should not be discriminate based on their gender. My late father didn’t have any sons, but he loved all his three daughters tremendously and showered us with lots of love and warmth. He gave us the best of everything, so much so that we were lost when he left us, now resting peacefully in a better place, InshaAllah.

These days I see my father in my husband; tender and loving towards his three daughters. The relationship he has with his only son is different from his daughters. His daughters are the ones who would automatically wound their arms around him and kiss him abundantly when he returns from work. They are the ones who would fuss over him all the time. Girls are very demonstrative that way. They bring out the best in him. Our youngest daughter, the baby of our family, is no exception. She just cannot be without her papa! She just turned 4 last week. Her birthday coincided with the week she started madrasa, the religious school majority of the British Muslim children attend in the evening. She is now learning the alphabets of the Arabic language, her quick progress amazes me! I felt a bit sad in the beginning when she was away from me, even though it’s only for a couple of hours during weekdays. No more babies in the house!

Anyway, this cheeky little bundle of joy of ours wanted me to write a blog post just about her, particularly after seeing the baby picture of her older sister in my earlier post! So this is especially for her, our little girl, may God bless you and protect you always, may He guide your steps forever. We love you very much, you are like the icing on the cake, a gift from God to add to the joy of having your dear brother and two sweet sisters. I always focus on my blessings, my children are definitely one of them! of Now let’s play that ‘soothing to the ears’ song, I just love this one! 😉

liebster award

Standard

leibster-blog-award

Back in January, I received the Liebster Award from a lovely Japanese blogger, Happy Yuan. This award is given by bloggers to other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. I had less followers back then, but now I’m close to having 200! Quite frankly, I’m not really bothered by the numbers, I know there are people out there who read my blog regularly without actually signing up as a follower. But the more the merrier as they say, always happy to see my blog hits escalate steadily! This blog serves as an outlet for me to note down my emotions, feelings and experiences, to a certain extent that is. I am no professional writer nor photographer; I am a simple Easterner who’s now living permanently in the West, a devoted wife and mother, a dear daughter and sister, a loyal friend to those precious few. That’s me in a nutshell, and my blog themes normally revolve around my roles in life as mentioned. Those interested or curious are welcome to read! Anyway, amidst the hustle and bustle of life which keeps me forever busy, I suddenly realised that I haven’t kept my promise to Happy Yuan, to answer the 11 questions which she posed to all the bloggers she nominated. I hope she will forgive me for the long delay, here they are finally as listed below. As usual blog awards come with many rules and require some work. But I have bent the rules (I did go the whole hog with my first blog award!) and just focused on those 11 golden questions!

  1. What is your New Year’s resolution? To live simply, to be grateful for every little happiness that comes my way, to appreciate everyone and everything around me that lifts my spirits up.
  2.  What time do you go to bed? Depends on the season; around 8-9pm in the winter months, 10-11pm in the summer months.
  3. What foods do you like? Malay followed very closely by Indian. Click on the two words for a huge variety of samples!
  4. Which celebrities do you like? I used to like quite a few in the past but I don’t really see the point anymore. I would rather admire the everyday people around me who exude positive energy into my life.
  5. When is your happy time in your life? I have many happy moments throughout my life; the main ones however are my wedding day, the birth of each of my 4 children and the present, I feel truly blessed.
  6. What is your favorite color to wear? I used to love purple alone but now anything goes. Burgundy suits me well at the moment.
  7. Do you collect anything? Not really. Unless you include those coins that’s always lying around everywhere, I make sure they go into containers/bags. And those fridge magnets that’s covering my white fridge door, if that counts!
  8. What kind of music do you like? Those soothing to the ears.
  9. If you were given USD 10,000 and had to spend in a few days, what would you spend for? That’s £6,500 for me to spend; probably book a luxurious family holiday, buy expensive presents for my loved ones and myself, donate to charity/orphanage/needy.
  10. What do you think of your blog? I think highly of my blog; my very own space to jot down my ramblings, a place for me to reflect and think aloud, an escapism from the daily grind.
  11. What do you think of my blog? Interesting; a great insight into Japan and Japanese way of life through the eyes and mind of a wonderful blogger. Do read her blog, Happy Yuan Fun Life.

That’s all for now folks. Over and out. Wishing all my readers a great weekend and a productive week ahead! I shall be chilling indoors, as the April showers are well and truly here! I also take this opportunity to welcome all my new readers and followers, welcome aboard! Read and you shall learn. To all my dear regulars, thank you so much for sticking around! 🙂

wordless wednesday

Standard

I’ve just discovered that many bloggers publish a single photo without any description on Wednesdays. The idea is that the picture tells its own story, no explanation needed. This image came straight to mind as a result, since I’m currently at a loss for words anyway, after my previous lengthy post. Perhaps you too share a similar memory at some point in your life!

my 3rd child, crying away in the car during our Andalucia trip, 2007

yorkshire break

Standard

Hello all! I feel as if I’ve been away for ages, I couldn’t wait to get back to my blogging world somehow even though its only been a week. We’ve just had a long weekend here, with it being Easter holidays (Friday-Monday). And despite the cold snap (still cold, spring put to a halt), my family and I drove up for 3 hours up north to Yorkshire over the Easter break. First we took the opportunity to visit my hubby’s best friend from University, his wife whom I’m very fond of has not been too well, so it was good to have been able to visit them again. We were only popping by for a brief visit, but they had prepared the most delicious roasted chicken with all the trimmings (including Yorkshire pudding) for us. Such is their nature, always so warm and hospitable, I was truly moved. Our children get on really well too, so it’s always a real pleasure to catch up with them. A couple of hours seemed very brief when we are with them! I’ve always loved the view from their garden, this time it was especially lovely all covered with thick snow! I pray my dear friend recovers fully soon, my prayers are with her, InshaAllah (God willing). An illness is a test from God to make you a better stronger person, she’ll come through this I pray.

the view from our friends’ garden in Yorkshire

We then headed to the wedding house. Which brings me to the main reason for our trip up North this time around, to attend the wedding of my hubby’s relative. Weddings are a big thing amongst the British Asian Muslim community here, this is the time when close families, relatives and friends gather to celebrate, a truly festive occasion indeed. Guests may vary from 10-1000 people, it all depends on the family and their connections and how much they are prepared to spend. Throughout my 15.5 years of married life in England I have attended countless of such weddings, and there will be more to come in the near future. My hubby’s relatives are all growing up really fast, those who were as young as 7 years old when I got married are now of the marrying age! Time sure does fly! We met all the relatives at the wedding house that evening before the big day, it was nice to see everyone again after a while. We had some delicious food before bunking in for the night, a very late night it was for me however, ironing and sorting out all the wedding attire and other paraphernalia for my family (6 of us) for the next 2 days! In the morning we all trooped down to the wedding house again, and a whole bus load of us then headed to the bride’s city, which was about half an hour away. All the men went straight to the mosque, this is where the marriage contract is normally solemnised for the Asian Muslim community in England. The turning point in a couple’s life; the man is now officially responsible for the woman he marries, as her father/guardian entrusts her into his care forever, as officiated by the Muslim Imam (religious head at the mosque) and witnessed by all the men present there.

the mosque where the marriage ceremony was held

The women would wait around elsewhere (not allowed or required in the mosque for this purpose) until this most significant ceremony ends (about half an hour usually) and then everyone goes to the hall or restaurant where the wedding celebration is being held. The groom’s family and relatives, laden with wedding gifts, will then escort him into the wedding hall where the bride and her family await and welcome everyone. This ceremony is usually hosted by the bride’s family. By this time everyone’s hungry anyway and it’s always nice to have some delicious wedding food. Then the newly weds will sit on the stage to receive their guests’ best wishes and gifts. More food is served as trays of biscuits and cakes and sweet milky tea appear. By the time the newlyweds exchanged rings and cut their wedding cake you realised several hours have passed by and it’s time for the groom to take the bride home, usually a teary affair as it signifies her leaving her family behind to join her husband’s family. A poignant moment in a young woman’s life! Marriage is not only about two people getting together, it is also the marriage of two families. So many new hearts and feelings to be handled with care. A new beginning indeed. As long as the bride knows how to guard her tongue, she’ll be able to deal with her new in-laws and manage her newly married life. That’s my little advice to all bride to bes, I’m afraid it’s not just about looking pretty, cooking and cleaning well or having a degree or a good job my dears! Which was what an enchanting 20-year-old girl I chatted with at the wedding seemed to think! I believe we wouldn’t have half the marriage problems we hear today if that was the case!

wedding stage

me, one of the gift bearers

my middle daughter in pink, soaking it all in

my youngest daughter, getting restless

symbolic gesture, may their marrriage be blessed Inshallah

wedding car, to take bride away

my family heading to our less glamorous car

The second day is the walimah celebration, this function is held by the groom’s side to welcome the bride into his family. The bride’s family is specially invited along with all the other wedding guests of the groom’s. Another festive and joyous affair; at another banqueting hall/restaurant, again with lots of delicious food, catching up with relatives and friends, whom you don’t have the chance to meet up often. This is also another day when everyone dresses to the nines, even those who don’t usually like to dress up, like my family. As nice as it had been over the past couple of days, attending this lovely wedding we were privileged to have been invited to, I am just glad to be back home now. There is no place like home as they say, home sweet home. All the wedding preparations and celebrations and travelling have drained me, physically and mentally! Until the next wedding, I pray the newlyweds will have a lasting blessed happy marriage, InshaAllah (God Willing). I strongly believe if a couple goes into a marriage with the right intention and for the right reasons, they will be forever blessed InshaAllah. They will stand the test of time, no great storm shall shake their holy matrimony. God knows best…

walimah day

delicious cakes and biscuits

seasoned couple, hubby and I, not the newly weds!

we want some chips papa! at the service station on the way home