Sunday, December 27, 2009
But for us, the snow was like a dream come true. That Sunday morning, my dear husband had promised to bring a new Malaysian family to the Turkish market in Beverwijk, a smaller town north of Amsterdam. So, off he went driving slowly in the snow with a promise to come home early. By midday, more and more snow had fallen and its a shame that Ilham didn't have anybody else to enjoy and play in the snow. I persuaded my dear husband to shorten his trip and bring the family to our home instead, so the kids can play together, which he did. We had a wonderful time taking pictures around the area, making snowman and joining the kids in the snow fights. Walking slowly back home, Ilham was suddenly hit by a snowball thrown by a Dutch kid. The startled children rallied back and all signs of tiredness disappeared as they vigorously attacked the 2 kids. Of course the Dutch kids were outnumbered, it was five, including the mothers :) against two.
It was truly a beautiful day and it was certainly the bestest day for Ilham.....
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Each year, we Malaysians actually enjoy 3 different new years Maal Hijrah, The New Year and The Lunar New Year. Whether we celebrate them or not is another matter, but I'm sure we look forward to the new years simply because they are all public holidays!!
So, what does a new year mean to me? I have to admit that except for The New Year, I rarely keep tracks of the other 2. When The New Year approaches, I sometimes have a certain feeling of regrets, regret that another year has gone by and I have yet to become a better person. As for Maal Hijrah, even though I do not normally count how many more days to Hijrah, I make it a point to call my mother a few days before to remind her. By doing that, I remind myself as well.
I never really think of what these new years mean to my son. Not until I received this present from him on the last day of school last week. Of course I knew that I was going to get a card from him, you see 2 days before he had accidentally blurted that he was making a present for me, that it's supposed to be a secret (can't keep a secret from your mum!) . What else a 7 year old would be making, of course a card, a Christmas card perhaps because Christmas was just around the corner.
So, this is what I received from him....
Friday, December 18, 2009
After a quick breakfast, we both went out to the nearby field to fulfill our own agendas: me - to get some pictures and Ilham - to play with the snow :) Ohh... it's so beautiful. The snow was not as thick as I wanted it to be but it's still serene and beautiful. My mood was spoiled by the fact that the battery was exhausted :( and I couldn't capture the scenic view but I promised myself to come back, afterall it's only walking distance from the house.
But Ilham had fun cycling and kicking the snow at the same time, he even pretended to slip and fall on the slippery snow a few times. As if I didn't know the tactic :) It's a pity that we didn't have a sleigh, he had to make do by sliding using his shoes.
When we got home, Ilham was greeted by a snow ball thrown by our neighbour. That started the snow fight and it went on for quite a while. Our Dutch neighbour was a very nice person. The fact that he couldn't speak English and my own Dutch was limited to "Goede morgen, hoe gaat het met je ?", never stopped him from greeting me every time we met.
It's been a wonderful day, it's even more special for the fact that Maal Hijrah 1431 is on Friday 18th. What a nice way to greet the new year. I just hope that the year ahead will be as pure and as white and unblemished as the white snow for our family, InsyaAllah.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
So that Sunday, my dear husband and son were buzy browsing in the internet, looking for interesting designs to copy. We had never done it, so it's important that we did it nicely the first time. Having chosen the design that they wanted, both of them started their most important job of all for that day. It's not easy mind you, we did not have the sharp knife and tools that a fruit carver normally has.....
Monday, December 7, 2009
Dat mijn lichtje
Dat mijn lichtje
Elf November is de dag
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag
Sunday, December 6, 2009
But my dear husband said that some kids did come to the house last year, so he bought some on Saturday morning. "We don't want to disappoint them when they come". He even bought a vampire cape when Ilham asked for it. "This is just for fun...we do not celebrate Halloween, it's not our culture, but you can wear the cape to greet the kids when they come" he reminded our son
So that evening, Ilham waited anxiously wearing his cape complete with face painting, for the kids, any kid, to come. He even took out the pumpkin that both of them had carved the week before and put it outside next to the door.
He waited and waited and waited, but no one came......
Friday, December 4, 2009
In The Netherlands, the feast is celebrated on the eve of the Feast Day on the 5th December and children will receive their presents on this evening. Since the Eve has become the main occassion for gift-giving, other family members shall also receive their presents on this day. The Dutch has a rather unique way of giving or making presents. Tradition demands that the presents be camouflaged in an imaginative and often unexpected way, accompanied by a fitting poem which could be an embarrassing incident, funny habit or well kept secret. This is the essence of Sinterklaas : lots of fun where people are expected to make fun of each other in a friendly way. The recipient often has to go on a treasure hunt all over the house to search for the gift and is expected to open it and read out aloud the poem. The real giver is supposed to remain anonymous and the recipient shall say out aloud "Thank you Sinterklaas!" even if he/she does not believe in him.
Now each year, Sinterklaas traditionally arrives from Spain by a steamboat in mid-November. Exactly why he does, remain a mystery because Saint Nicholas was originally a Bishop in Myra in present-day Turkey. Sinterklaas is accompanied by two Zwarte Piet assistants who help him give candy and "kruidnoten" or "pepernoten" cookies to the children. "Zwarte" in Dutch means black.
At the ISA, Sinterklaas had arrived this morning to the enjoyment of the Lower School children. They gathered and waited patiently for Sinterklaas and the two Piets. You can tell by the loud cheering and singing that the much awaited Sinterklaas had arrived.
"How are you children? Have you been bad in the past year? Maybe I should rephrase that, have you been good? " to the chorus of "Good!", "No!" and "Yes!". Sinterklaas would then visit each class to talk to the children and give out "pepernoten".
It were the Dutch settlers who brought Saint Nicholas to New Amsterdam, USA where it was later americanised into Santa Claus....
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Among the things that I like about life in The Netherlands is Ilham's school, the ISA. The system, the curriculum, the teachers and everything else are different . I'm still not sure whether the difference is good for Ilham in the long run, but for now, I certainly welcome it.
ISA is an International Baccalaureate (IB) School and offers the following programmes
- The Primary Years Programme (PYP)
- The Middle Years Programme (MYP)
- The Diploma Programme
The PYP programme is organised around 6 transdisciplinary themes which supposed to have global significance intended to help children engage with their world and the world around them. Students explore each theme through a "unit of inquiry".
The classes at ISA are very colourful, cheerful and decorated with the childrens' work. Apart from the two libraries (one for LS and another for MS & US), each class has its own mini library.
As a parent, I could go into the libraries and borrow books as well. How I love that... When I sent Ilham to school, I would sometimes go into LS library and spend time browsing. There were sooo many books for children... and I found myself wishing I had all these when I was small :) So, instead of reading books or novels, I read books on "ants", "bugs" and realised that there are so many things that I didn't know..........
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Kau Ilhamku..... my inspiration, my love, my son.
I have always wanted to write, to have a blog of my own, but never really feel that I have anything interesting to write or that I can write anything at all! There were times when I thought that I had so much ideas in my mind, so much that words seems to flow easily from nowhere but later, when I tried to pen them down, nothing...nothing at all! I couldn't even conjure up a single thought. How I wished that I could have some photographic gadgets that could perhaps capture what was on my mind at the time so later I could just transfer or transform them into writing....
Time goes by, life goes on, thoughts come and go... So maybe now is the right time to start writing... for myself, before old age creeps up and I forget all these wonderful and sometimes painful experiences. And also for Ilham, maybe one day when he reads these writings, he will truly understand how much his parents love and care for him. Maybe then he will become a better person, insyaAllah.
So, what to write...naturally it's about Ilham, he is my life and how I love him so much. Sometimes when I looked at him while he was sleeping, I would say a prayer of thanks that Allah has lent me such joy. How I wish I could remember every stages and every aspects of his growing up but alas, I am only human....
Thus, I decide to write down these experiences particularly his schooling and life in The Netherlands