it wasn’t intentional but her fifth birthday too was rainbow-filled…
well, ok, this was technically the weekend before her birthday, and we happened to be in damansara, KL (again!), on a mission to conquer Publika, where a certain Wondermilk cafe holds residence.
we could not resist the perfect opportunity to buy one of their famous colourful Lola cakes, the sight of which in itself is so delightfully vibrant and joyful, it could make unicorns cry happy, sparkly tears.
the actual day of her birthday, i travelled many kilometres, to the other side of the island, to fulfil her wish. yes, she wanted not one pony, but many ponies, and ponies she got – on her cake.
so for those of you who know me or have been reading this blog, i’ve been on sabbatical (or just call it no-pay-leave) since last august. yes, the time is almost up for me to get back on the saddle and re-enter the workforce.
it makes me feel guilty for saying this, but… i’ve really had such a great time away from work these past few months. yes, guilty, because i got to do this with the blessing of my employers, colleagues, husband – something not everyone would have the luxury of obtaining; and i got to fulfil that much-coveted status, the SAHM – albeit impermanently.
do i look forward to going back to work? well… yes and no, for various reasons. but i’ve been given the opportunity to go back on part-time, to job-share with another colleague, which means reduced hours, reduced pay, but on the flipside, more time, precious precious time, for the kids and for myself.
a win-win situation, right?
speaking of jobs and work, the kids had a peek into working life themselves earlier in March when we went to Kidzania in KL.
i went not knowing what KidZania was all about, just that our friend Jai was now working with the company, and that it promised a fun yet educational experience for the kids.
well, i was duly impressed!
so basically, KidZania is an indoor theme park (but without the crazy rides!) that provides children between ages 4 to 12 with an environment to explore a variety of occupations, by allowing them to learn new skills, role-play, earn their ‘pay’ and choose how they want to save/spend it. imagine little people doing adult jobs, like a judge in a courthouse, a surgeon in an operation room, a flight attendant or a pilot in a simulated airplane… the list goes on!
mommies and daddies, sorry but you’re not allowed in while they’re working or making important transactions in the bank… (we mostly hovered around.)
yes, banks! they are given a start-up amount to open up a bank account. with their debit cards, they can draw out their money at any point, or deposit their ‘hard-earned’ money at the ATM. whatever they save can be used to pay for goods and services within the KidZania city. (if they’re nice, mommy and daddy might just get a treat at the sushi shop.)
the kids have to queue up at the work stations and be ‘trained’ in batches, before they go into the job. after completion of the job, they’re paid with money in the form of KidZos currency – the higher level the job, the more they are paid. same as in real life, yeah? but sorry, no CEO or Minister jobs available here. i looked.
what they DID have though, are:
firefighters and fast-food workers…
chocolate and ice-cream factory workers…
notebook and nail specialists…
window-cleaners and supermarket cashiers…
and aniq declared this his favourite ‘job’ of all: television talk-show host.
oh look, his sister is also part of the tv crew. as a producer! the moment the boys were done with their monotonous delivery of the script from the teleprompter, she and hayley came out of the production room and exclaimed with unbridled enthusiasm, “great job guys!!” complete with tiny thumbs up. i’m guessing cheerleading is part of the tv producer’s job scope…?
so yeah, overall it was a damn tiring day (for them and for the parents stalking after them) but it taught them so much values (hard work, financial responsibility, independence, social participation, confidence… gawd, i could go on and risk sounding like an early childhood brochure) – it was well worth the time and experience.
see how tiring it is after a day’s work, kids?
no joke! why do you think mummy needed a whole year’s sabbatical?!
heh ok ok, so i know the june holidays are coming up, and with damansara just a few hours away, well, you know what to do… (ps: be prepared for long queues though. we went during a weekday on an off-peak period so queues were a breeze.)
thanks goes once again to the awesome Jai & family for personally bringing us around KidZania and their new home away from home, damansara.
one of the most satisfying things i’ve ever achieved – finding balance.
and i’m so happy i made more than a few friends get on the mat and start stretching and doing things with their bodies they never thought possible too! going on the journey together with them makes practising more meaningful and waaaay more fun for me. thank you, you guys. :)
and to the rest of you still hesitating – why?!
“allow yourself to be a beginner. no one starts off being an expert.”
so i didn’t post this earlier because… well, okay i admit, i was selfish and didn’t want to lessen my chances of getting into the venue they were performing in tonight, seeing as it was first-come-first-serve, and i was sure that if you watch them here, you’d probably fall in love with them too just as i did, and would join the long queue to watch them live. (it did turn out to be a long line and they had to turn away those at the back – we got there early.)
so who are they? ohhh, just a girl and a guy who happen to have the same last name, same racial mix, same interest in spoken word poetry… and who will never, ever date each other, because theirs is one of those rare friendships.
I will always see you for the alley-oop.
I will always save you a seat.
I will always pick you to be my partner even though you are terrible at handball.
When the fire takes all you have, my home will be your home.
When you are old and can no longer remember my face, I will meet you for the first time again and again.
When they make fun of your accent, I will take you swimming because we all sound the same underwater…
They could tell you how rare this is.
But they could tell you how rare friendship always is.
The chances are slim.
The cards are always stacked against you, the odds are always low.
But I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
I want to share every single one of your sunshines and save some for later.
I will tuck them into my pockets so I can give them back to you when the rains fall hard…
Love is not who you were expecting, love is not who you can predict.
Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep, and you are in California, Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone, maybe love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for love.
Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce, love is older now, but just as beautiful as you remembered.
Maybe love is only there for a month.
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit.
Maybe love stays – maybe love can’t.
Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, and love leaves exactly when love must.
When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet, whisper, “Thank you. Thank you for stopping by.”
and this, one of my favorites phil performed. (this boy is SO awww-inducing, i swear.)
they made us laugh and cry throughout the evening. SO GOOD. definitely the best $15 i ever spent.
(i promise next time they come, i’ll tell… and y’all have to go.)
my lovely next-block neighbour and long-time friend made a beautiful rainbow cake for her first-born’s 7th birthday, and she inspired me to try out something called an ombré cake, which was totally alien to me until she showed me a gorgeous example from google. well, i was quite certain it’ll look nothing like the picture, knowing me and my fumbling, bumbling ways in the kitchen, but i was game anyway, especially since we decided to make it an afternoon playdate for ourselves (and the kids).
at first i thought making ombré cupcakes would be easier, so ok, let’s do purple… but we might have overdone it with the violet coloring and somehow, the gradient colours refused to show up in the cupcakes, looking more like marbling, plus the purple looked weird after baking, soooo we whipped up another batch, this time using a white batter recipe that eliminates the egg yolks which we theorised interfered with the colour, and decided to do a cake instead and bake the layers separately.
the result didn’t look much like the original picture (i didn’t even hope!), and we didn’t want to bother whipping up the cream to stick the layers together (though it’d look better), so out came my jar of strawberry jam from the fridge, and some leftover cream cheese frosting for some cinnamon rolls i made last week. and my dear friend had to shake her head at me when i picked out the colours from the bag of rainbow sprinkles, just because.
fun as this was, i doubt i’ll attempt this myself again, unless i cheat and just use a Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix (but sorry, my first-born, mummy’ll just buy you a stress-free cake on your 7th birthday, can?!).
as for what to do with the colourings i have left, hmm… pink and purple pizza, anyone? (i bet auni will approve.)
been missing a few things. like this ten-dollar salad lunch, the office crowd-watching, my favourite lunch buddy. whipped up a sweet treat for her in the morning, lovingly tied it with a ribbon, just to take her through the rest of the day, slogging away, hunched at the desk. well, that part i don’t miss… :)
it’d been a somewhat emotional parting, over at (not Fifty Shades of) Greyville. i’m still overwhelmed by the generous words, gestures, and gifts…
i’ll miss the wonderful bunch i consider friends more than colleagues, and our many lunchtime conversations that often veer and careen from vapid nothingness to pseudo intellectualism to sheer hilarity, from propounding the hotness of Englishmen from hugh dancy to hugh grant, to sussing out suitable matches among the lunchtime crowds for the singletons, to coming up with fantasy thesis papers and nicknames for shared nemeses. we’ve reveled in each other’s individual quirks and idiosyncrasies, shared frustrations and aspirations, lent assurances and listening ears, showed solidarity and support. i’ll miss the caring cups of hot tea in the afternoons, the “we miss you” post-it notes on the computer screen after a vacation leave, the popping heads over cubicles at random times for a hushed chat. they’re my beacons of light in a rubble of grey.
but this sabbatical is a move that i needed to make. to finally do other things – or maybe even nothing – just for a while, until the next door opens up.
and so, with admittedly a little trepidation, my status as (temporary) Desperate Destitute Housewife begins…
what do grown up men do when they are hungry and have lots of free time on their hand?
they drive up all the way north for makan!
with just a trusty gps and an empty stomach, we began our journey…..
the plan was to travel all the way up to melaka and take the road less travel. forget about the northsouth expressway, just sticking to the road that passes the sleepy towns and kampungs.
it was revisiting the small towns like ayer hitam and muar that made the drive to melaka enjoyable where we got to experience local food fare first hand while enjoying the scenery.
our first stop was ayer hitam. the town was a huge hit way back in the 90s with singaporeans going to melaka or KL, stopping at the town as a rest stop before the opening of the northsouth expressway which took most of the travellers straight up, bypassing the town totally.
we noticed that there were many food stalls selling putu bambu by the roadside. we tried the delicacy and thoroughly enjoyed the sweet and rich taste with the generous amount of gula melaka in it. all of that for just RM$2 for 6 pieces!
we had our breakfast there and tried the soto since we saw many of the customers there eating it. and boy, were we really surprised at how good the soto was. the soup was not so thick and the taste didn’t have the overpowering spice taste, just nice.
next we checked out the market there, with shops selling an assortment of foodstuff, we bought a couple of kerepoks before proceeding to our next destination, muar.
along the way to muar, we stopped at a nice family-owned snack stall. with their piping hot pisang goreng and crispy kerepok lekor, we could not resist taking a bite before continuing our drive to muar.
lunch at muar was at a little foodstall selling asam pedas. with a side dish of rendang chicken plus the killer sambal belachan, the stingray version of the asam pedas with tehO ice just cost us a princely sum of RM$8 for 2.
we were supposed to check out the famous mee bandung muar stall but because it started to rain suddenly, didn’t really have the chance to venture further. we managed to do a bit of sightseeing around town before moving on.
from muar, we drove on the sultan ismail bridge, crossing over the muar river, from there we took the lebuh AMJ which stands for alor gajah-melaka tengah-jasin expressway and onward towards our destination – melaka!
the last we had a baby shower was almost two years ago, and we predicted back then that the next in the group to have a baby would be lydia, and the theme would be ‘Lady Gaga’.
both came true….
the DELICIOUS treats and FABULOUS details on the dessert isle were lovingly planned and executed by Ola Lola! dayyym, we have such talented friends.
we wish our Lady, lydia, all the best for the last leg of her pregnancy, and we know baby LH will be showered with as much joy and love as her mummy is. here’s to a wonderful start to being a mum, indeed… (and thank you for the awesome party, at st. regis no less. best!)
and i’m afraid the rest of the pictures are a liiiittle too risque, as you would imagine a theme centred around a woman who’s perpetually half-naked would turn out. ;)
but i’ll leave you with this visual:
the talented esah who did the gaga makeup for some of the girls, AND came up with her very own gaga get-up, which won her Best Dressed. wanna see?
owls often symbolise intelligence, wisdom, knowledge – plus, they’re REALLY cute. (and ok yeah, there’s a literary reference too: Owl Babies is one of my favourite children’s books, makes me teary every time, sniff.)
pink (her favourite) and black (my favourite) hoot loot. well, i had to compromise.
treated the kids to a stay at royal plaza on scotts over the weekend, and had close family members over for high tea at carousel.
just a commoner… ;p
cake compliment of Carousel.
the brother who still refers to his sister as “my baby”.
the coincidentally colour-coordinated grandparents, heh.
many eligible princes.
yes, even he likes to squeeeeeze her. a lot.
the royal plaza people were so kind as to help set up some chairs and a table at the pool side for a small party in the evening.
sleeping beauty was forced to wake up from her slumber power nap to blow out the candles…
and pose for insufferably many pictures.
kate middleton she may not be, but marry a prince… who knows?? :D
happy turning terrible terrific three, my owl baby.
so the eldest in our clan reached 34… yeah, we’re not ashamed to claim our age. we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we’re loving our 30s! we were saying how we’d occasionally look through old photos of us together.. how fun it is to see how we’ve evolved over the years…
(77clan, est. Dec 03)
so what do we possess now, more… confidence? maturity? wisdom? grace?
(well, i guess you qualify for all that when you go around with a koyok plastered on yourself and *still* have someone ask if you’re a model, and have a tube of tiger balm handy in your gucci bag for random moments of muscle aches… :D)
“all u need is effort to keep the friendship going… best is to have friends who are easy going.. and no feelings of trying to outdo one another” – wise words from back-then 30-yr-old esah, dec 2007 (from an old blog post)