Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ramadhan. Raya. Road trip. Raya detox.

Ramadhan this year has been very quick to me. It came and it went. Just like that. And I am still struggling to conquer the same demon. I wish I could have been more productive. I wish I could have done certain things more. I wish I could read more Quran...bla...bla...bla...but then, we all have those long wish list, ain't we? To be fair, as a family, we did make some progress. Albeit a tiny weeny progress.

We tried to eat more healthily.
And I have managed to cut down on carbo so much. Kids have been hydrating and pumping up their fruit intakes with the smoothies and juices. The Shimono blender has been working hard during Ramadhan. The bad news is it died on the last day of our Ramadhan at home. Let's hope the warranty is valid.
We do splurge on good food. Occasionally. But I try my best to teach the kids Ramadhan is not about food. And definitely not food wastage. We tried. Not fully successful coz there's only a limit to how much I can recycle the food, but we try our best.
Kids have been very diligent with their tarawih prayers. And I am very proud of them. It's not smooth sailing. But they persevere. And I get exceptionally grateful when they push themselves to do more on their own will. It might be the little2 things, like stretching the tarawih to 20 rakaat, or doing more qiyam, or doing more sunat rawatib prayers...but it's important for them to do it with the right intention. To please the Creator. Not because ummi said so. And to be able to be consistent doing it. Let's hope they can keep the momentum going post-Ramadhan.
Somebody is still getting the hang of the concept of Ramadhan. And technically, she turned 5 on 1st Ramadhan 1433 Hijrah ;-) She think fasting will make her hungry. Hmmmppphh....
And she think she will start fasting next year. I am in no hurry. Take your time Missy. She has been praying regularly with us. And behaving very well in the mosque. So hopefully she can pray 5 times a day soon. Then we will move on to fasting.

Ramadhan also means baking raya cookies. I am not really a fan. Especially when u have to do the cleaning up. So tedious. So much work. But the girls love it. So I obliged. I mixed the dough in advance and keep them in the fridge.
The girls would bake in stages. Whenever they feel like it.  Bit by bit until they finish the dough. I found it's more practical that way. Less hassle for me coz usually the mess and the cleaning up is worst during the preparation of the dough.
Their hard work. Aesthetically, it might not look perfect but they are not bad actually ;-) And it's a good confidence booster for the girls.
Apart from the raya cookies, raya also means long road trip. And long really means loooooooooongggg. Like 13,14 hours road trip. And it's not fun at all. I dread the long crawling snail pace raya road trip back to Kota Bharu. And Terengganu. It happened every year. It's part of Raya.
So this year, we split the road trip to 2 days. instead of going the usual boring Gua Musang route, we took the KL-Cherating-KB way. Over 2 days. We spent 1 night in Cherating. My dad was not happy. Coz that means more time on the road. And less time for him with the grandchildrens. Sigh. But really, it's much2 better for all of us. It's definitely much2 better. To the driver and to everybody else. It's definitely less taxing. And kids have more opportunity to explore and learn. And enjoy the trip.

Chilling in Cherating.

Musang King by the road side. Never mind that my afternoon nap was abruptly disturbed. This thing ain't cheap, and it's more expensive in KL. So I shall enjoy my durian fix ;-)
We stopped by in Lata Lentang in Bentong. Kiddos had a blast with the water battle.
 The best things in life are always free ;-)
Her best part of the day. Found a frog.
And we found this cool couple from KL fishing. Apparently, u can get quite good catch here. His wife caught a 2 feet baung fish. There were also tengas and sebarau. (Ehemmm.....like I know what fish is that lah kan??...hahaha).
According to the uncle, his wife is the hard core fishing fan. They have been there since noon. And will usually stay until dark. They only use bread for the bait. The girls were bugging me to bring them here again for fishing. Hmmmmppphh...we'll see. BTW, is it legal to fish here?
Raya means family, forgiveness, friends and food. Lots of happiness. My side of the family. And I noticed at 15yo, my young man is taller than all the uncles now.
Just us. For those who are wondering why I am not as yellow as the rest...it's just a mother thingy.
Raya shopping ain't fun. It's very tiring. Especially if u r shopping for a family of 6. By the time I am done with the kids clothes and move on to mine, I just want to get it done with. Under the bright light in the shop that fabric look pretty yellow to me. In reality, not so. But then, what the heck!! At least we have a decent family picture this time....hahaha ;-)

Glorious food.
Family & friends.
But Raya is not all happy and merry. It also means too much of calorie-laden foods, food poisoning, awkwardness, expectations, unnecessary heated family conversations etc etc. I mean, it's a package right? I don't think there is a perfect family. That's what family is anyway. You love your family for the good and the not so good stuffs.

So after 5 days of Raya, I am so ready for my raya detox. Again, I don't think my dad was very happy that his grand childrens are scooting off to an island on Raya holiday. But I so badly need to be away and destress. And kids have been asking for a return trip to Bubbles.

So here we were. Again.
I cannot tell u how good it feels to be here. We love this place to bits. It's so laid back. No TV. No internet. And the kids ain't complaining. Well, what is there to complain when u have loads of stuffs to explore right?
Somebody is getting more comfortable with snorkeling.
We found new creatures and new stuffs. Sea anemone.
Having fun with sea cucumber.
 Turtles came up and laid eggs.
The volunteers. I love how they do things in Bubbles. They really try their best to respect nature. Which is how tourism should be.
Their hatchery is expanding.
The tide was low and the wave was strong. Not the best time to snorkel. But we made the best out of it. We found out loads of this single cell jelly fish like thingy. Anybody knows what is this? Is it crystal jellyfish?
Clown fishes.

More fishes.
 Black tip shark.
But it's really sad that most corals are dead. I am not sure whether there will be any left in 10,20 years time. Do your bit to save the island.
It's so good to just chill. Especially after few days of hecticness. My dad didn't get it why I need to scoot off with my kids to some remote places. But it's important to me. It's spiritual. Kids learn so much through exploring nature. And u can only respect the nature once u have the knowledge.

Exploring nature makes u think.

Tell Me! The water that you drink. Is it you who cause it from the rainclouds to come down, or are We the Causer of it to come down? If We willed, We verily could make it salt (and undrinkable), why then do you not give thanks (to Allah)?

Tell Me! The fire which you kindle. Is it you who made the tree thereof to grow, or are We the Grower? We have made it a Reminder (for the Hell-fire, in the Hereafter); and an article of use for the travellers (and all the others, in this world). Then glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great. 
(Al-Waqiah; 68-74)

Malaysians are so blessed to live in a country with rich biodiversity. But many are ignorant and had no
idea how lucky they are. Not to mention greedy. My kids can get really frustrated and emotional with ignorance of the public. Oh well, we can always do our bit.

Anyway, it was a good Raya holiday for us. OK, back to work now ;-)

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