Friday, September 21, 2007

Talking About God

I have never been very good at talking about God and Islam with children.

Heck, I used to find talking to them about ANYTHING at all to be difficult, simply because one needs to put everything in a 'simplified' and at the same time correct and direct manner, to be easily understood by their young minds. But I think I have improved a lot in that department since we first arrived here and I started being a full time carer of my children and of course, they have also grown a little since, thus the reason why I find it easier to talk and explain things to my boys nowadays.

It is not always easy to explain any theological concepts to mere adults, so you can imagine how one needs to be creative and prepared for attacks from all fronts when children are involved! One doesn't want to make up stories that are in principle wrong although God knows that I am no expert in the subject.

And thus I sought refuge in the form of a book (pic above), which I found in a shop along the 'Curry Mile' in Manchester, during our trip there in August.

It's amazing how interested the boys were to listen to my reading the book to them outloud. They questioned everything and made their own examples from their understanding.

The book asks (and answers), amongst others;

Who made us?
Allah made us.

Who is Allah?
Allah is our Maker.
He is the Maker of everything.

Can we see Allah?
No we can't.

Can Allah see us?
Yes, he can see us all the time. He can see everything.

After the reading, Big H concluded; "Allah made my mother and father and brother!"

And Little H, not to be left out, concluded; "Allah has very, VERY BIG eyes so that he can see everything!"

Of course, one still needs to explain a little bit more with one's own words to make them understand even better.

That aside, I do recommend this book. So far it has been very helpful to me in teaching my children about my religion.

Monday, September 17, 2007

First Day

Today, 17th of September 2007, is Little H's first day of school.

That is, nursery 'school'.

After helping him to settle down in the play area and playing Legos and doing some drawings with him for about half an hour, I said, "Okay, H*****, I'm going now...ok?"

Little H looked up at me and said without any concern whatsoever, "alright...and you'll come back later to pick me up..."

I sent him to one of the nursery helpers who quickly involved him in a sorting game with another child, using little animal figures of different sizes - he was supposed to sort them out according to their sizes. Little H sat down shyly and I quickly made for the door.

As I reached for the door handle, I turned around to give him one last wave for encouragement but he was already talking and picking up the animal figures, giving the nursery helper in front of him his full attention...

My little baby is all grown now.


I walked back home alone feeling a little bit sad and lonely...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Summer 2007 Holiday

As promised, everyone... pics!

The first day in Scotland we went to Edinburgh - took a train from Glasgow coz it's more convenient rather than to drive. The building behind the boys is the Glasgow Central Station. We were walking to The Queen St. Station to take the train to Edinburgh. It was wet in Scotland, as usual!

A pic taken at the Royal Mile. Edinburgh was full of people as it was the last day of 'The Fringe' i.e. the Edinburgh Festival! Lots of street shows about. There were tattoos and fireworks later in the evening but we didn't stay to watch.

There were even some Korean kids performing dances and playing their traditional instruments there!

The beautiful Edinburgh Castle.

At the back of the pic: The medieval part of town near the castle - pic taken from Princess Street, Edinburgh's high street.

The next day we started for the Highlands, a long journey to Inverness.
We made stop overs to take pics of rivers,

of valleys,

of lochs (the above pic is of Loch Linnhe),

and pics of all of them together as well!

There were castles too!
This one is Castle Urquhart and the Loch behind it is Loch Ness
(no monsters seen about, to the disappointment of the boys!).

We arrived at Inverness near sunset and that night we slept like logs in the Travelodge there. The next day, we drove back down another way, to Perth.

On the way there, we stopped to take a walk in the forest.

And visited a series of waterfalls (The Bruar Falls).

I saw a red toadstool along the forest path that I have only seen on the cover of Enid Blyton books and took a picture of that too!

We spent the night at another Travelodge in Perth and the next day, went to visit Mr S's Alma mater and mine, Morrison's Academy in Crieff, Perthshire.

The entrance to our old school.
(Will inshaAllah post more about the school and our visit later!)

Later that evening, we arrived back in Glasgow and spent the night at our cousin's again.
The next day, our cousin, who was on leave from her busy hospital schedule, had kindly volunteered to take care of the boys while Mr S and I went to shop for a few stuff in Argyle Street in the centre of Glasgow City. What fun it was for us to be relieved of the boys for a few hours!

The boys had fun too with their Auntie, playing 'rolling' (?) amongst other games!

Later in the afternoon, we quickly made a move on back to England.
The children said, "Bye-bye Scotland!" and "Hello England!" :)

We spent the night in Manchester and Mr S decided that first thing he wanted to do the next morning was to visit Liverpool instead!

It was a 40 minutes journey to Liverpool from Manchester and the only reason we went there was to visit Anfield Stadium - home of Mr S's favourite football team!

The children weren't really into football but they 'feigned' (see pic) cheerfulness anyway.
I, however, could not for the life of me see the reason why the people there wanted to take pics with trophies they didn't themselves should see the pics Mr S asked me to snap of him and them trophies!

"But...Why? Why? Why?!!", I had asked him...he he he..just to annoy him, really...

But I got something from the trip anyway.
A yummy bar of White Chocolate (Actually 4 bars..)!
And it tasted really good too!

Later that day, Mr S and I left the boys at our host's and went to the laundrette to get some washing done. We were out of clean clothes by that time, especially the boys'!

The next day, we finally went to Manchester City centre. Took a ride on the big wheel that every city worth its salt (??) seems to have now...The queue was short so we quickly joined the line.
After the ride we did some shopping and later started our journey down to Coventry!

While we were driving in the car, Mr S's mobile vibrated and we both looked at each other for a few seconds because we knew that it was the text message of Mr S's final exam results. We had been anxious the whole day about the results - we knew that a message was going to be sent at 5 pm that day to all candidates who had taken the exams in July. I tried to persuade Mr S to not read the message yet, for concern that he might feel down after reading it but Mr S went on ahead to read it and suddenly yelled "YES!"

Of course, I knew what that meant!

Needless to say, we were quite over the moon after that!

We didn't get much sleep that night because I stayed up to watch CSI but ended up chatting with D instead. All the children played together until quite late too and poor Mr S couldn't sleep because of the coffee in D's lovely tiramisu!

The next day, D and family took us to Coombe Abbey. Had a light lunch there and played some games before adjourning to a halal Thai restaurant - Mr S belanja due to his exam passes!

Alhamdulillah...Burp! :)

And finally, here are some pics of our trip to Coventry...

The Abbey itself, now restored and a hotel, with a wonderful garden in front..

D and the children after feeding the ducks.

D is a very efficient woman, I would let you know...In a trice, after breakfast of roti jala and kari ayam which she made that very morning, she had prepared and packed a light lunch of sandwiches, popiah goreng and the roti jala left overs and also packed some bread crusts to be fed to the ducks at the abbey as an activity for the kids!

Mr S, D and Mr D with the children walking slowly, looking for a place to picnic.

Our children playing in a very interesting play area in the abbey grounds.

A solitary bench for us to rest by the trees..

At the Thai restaurant - D's youngest son taking a picture of my eldest while he was trying to take a picture of him!

Monday, September 03, 2007

I Have Been Away...

Embarked on a long journey to Scotland last Friday.

It was supposed to be an 8 hour journey but due to jams, traffic disruptions and stops, the journey lasted for 12 hours instead and by the time we reached Glasgow at Mr S's cousin, Mrs Cey's place, we were, as you can imagine, limp and near to collapsing in utter exhaustion.

That explains the bags under my eyes in our holiday pics although I have to say the kids and Mr S look well enough and cheerful as normal in all of them.


Spent 4 nights in Scotland driving around and visiting various places which really, I have been to before during my school days, but all the same, visited again for the sake of the kids and for the sake of our holiday.

On the way back to London, we spent two nights in a friend's house in Manchester (our ex-housemate, Serigala London) and then one night in blogger D's house in Coventry! By the way, I have never met D before, except of course on the internet and Mr S said sceptically, "Betul ke kita nak tidur rumah orang yg kita tak kenal ni?"

He he he...

But it turned out to be a wonderful visit and we had fun getting to know each other and most importantly, our kids had fun too, playing together!

Thanks and multiple gratitudes to our cousins in Glasgow, Serigala London and family in Manchester and D and family in Coventry for their generous hospitality during our sleepover at their respective abodes. You all made our holiday really wonderful and an experience that we will inshaAllah remember for a long time to come!

In the next entry I will post some pics of our Summer 2007 holiday.