Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trivia Tuesday #1 - Van Gogh Museum

We are ardent fans of art galleries and museums. When we travel, we try to make a point to visit one or two famous ones around. 

I find museums very intriguing; a place where you can see things you have never seen before and these things hold a lot of history in them. They also tell you about the about the country and its people and culture too. 

Some museums and art galleries allow photography as long as it is done without the flash. However, there are many that prohibit any form of photo taking and video recording. 

During my recent trip to Amsterdam, I visited the Van Gogh Museum - an art museum in Amsterdam dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. It is located at the Museum Square. 

Before going I had checked online if photography was allowed. There was nothing official on its website but some forums have reported that it is allowed to snap pictures in the museum as long as you take extra caution on the usage of the camera flash. 

Excited to see great masterpieces of Van Gogh, I was all set with my cameras. I went in happily snapping away - one picture after the other whilst being extra cautious with my flash function. Unfortunately, after a couple of captures of the paintings, the museum officials came to me and informed me that photography is not allowed in the museum. I was disappointed of course! 

Vincent Willem van Gogh the Post-Impressionist painter

However, I did manage to snap some before the warning. I guess those will suffice to help me remember the greatness of Van Gogh's works. 

And here are some of them.....

3 in a row of Van Gogh's flower paintings

The Iris

The almond blossom


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Marhaban Ya Ramadhan

Allahumma Sallimnee Li Ramadhaan Wa Sallim Ramadhaana Lee Wa Sallimhu Lee Mutaqabbala (Kanz-ul-ummal)

“O Allah! Safeguard me for the Month of Ramadhaan (by making me see the Month of Ramadhan healthy and fit),and safeguard the Month of Ramadhan for me (by making the conditions in it such that I can take maximum benefit from it) and accept it from me.”

Wordless Wednesday - Pot Consumption


Thursday, June 4, 2015

#throwback Thursday - Pompeii on My Mind Still

This is the continuation of my earlier #throwback entry.

So we lost Abe at the train station. And what were we supposed to do now?

At Napoli Station...before we lost him

The train was packed with people heading for Pompeii. I tried looking up - trying to search for stops on the train line. I saw the line had many stops but somehow the stop we were heading to was not there. 

My next question was...did we get onto a wrong train? Couldn't be; I was very sure we were on the correct platform. I tried calling Abe again on his mobile phone. It rang continuously and Abe wasn't picking up. Double whammy! Darn....

In that packed train, standing next to us were a group of Chinese students. They too had that lost look on their faces. Then suddenly we heard two ladies explaining to them, "No...no Pompeii. Wrong train. Get down next station." 

Ahhh...that explained why our stop was no where found on the train line map!

We got down at the next station and was told to take Napoli - Sorrento train. I tried calling Abe again. Still no answer. Told Nissa to send him a text saying we took the wrong train and now waiting for the next train to take us to Pompeii. 

I was concerned if Abe knew which stop was for Pompeii. Nissa said, "Let's just keep our fingers crossed." 

Every morning before we kickstart our adventure, Nissa would run the day's itinerary with her dad. I know at times her old man would just doze off before she could finish her briefing. She complained to me but I told her she had to be more creative at capturing her dad's attention. 

Luck had it when the next train arrived, it too was packed to the brim. There was no way we could squeeze in. So we had to wait still.... in the cold. 

Pompeii Scavi Station
The next train didn't arrive in another 15 minutes. And when it did, we were glad to be on it. It took us about 30 minutes to get to our stop - Pompeii Scavi.

Nissa asked me what's my plan B. What if Daddy wasn't there? I had no answer to her question. Told her to keep walking to the entrance of the archeological site and to look out for her dad.

As we came out of the station, we scouted around the area to see if Abe was there. Still no sign of him.

Told myself to keep calm. Abe could be totally oblivious when he's with us, but we knew that when he's on his own, he's pretty sharp and independent. 

It was a good 10 minutes walk till we spotted someone waving at us. All so calm and composed, he wore his usual smile. It was Abe alright. He had arrived earlier than us for he was on the train which we didn't manage to get in.

Nissa asked her dad how come he didn't pick up our call or return our call. 

Smilingly he said.......

Guess lah apa jawapan dia.......

She could smile again after the lost & found adventure
Some adventure that was. Anyway, it was a big relief when all ended well and we were so glad to be reunited again!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - The Eye Catcher

Cool riders in the street of Ghent Belgium caught on speed lens. Don't you wish for a low tricycle like this? Saves you the gas money and helps to keep you fit too!


Love Locks No More

City officials in Paris have dismantle the wire mesh panels on Pont des Art on which hundreds of thousands padlocks of expressed love and affections latched by lovers from all over. Authorities say these statements of love have gotten a tad too heavy for its elegant ironwork.

When we were in Paris a few years back, we didn't make it to this Bridge of Love. But we saw similar locks on Pont Alexandre III - the bridge that connects the Grand and Petit Palais on the right bank with the Hôtel des Invalides on the left bank. 

Pont Alexandre III

Padlocks found on the lamp post on Pont Alexandre III
I must agree that these love locks kinda spoil the beauty and ecstatic state of the place. Some have even labelled it as vandalism as it damages the looks of the city and at times tarnishing the image of its heritage sites.

  As a visitor we must think about being sympathetic and respectful of the country's cultural heritage....so "love locking" should be done else where or in a different way.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#throwback Thursday - Pompeii on My Mind

Hiatus again.

Life as a freelance is picking up again. Been to a couple of back to back meetings over the past few days. I can feel my bones cranking up again. It's been a while...heh heh

Browsing my picture folder, amongst the many pictures taken during our trip to Italy last year, this particular one has a pretty good story to tell.

It was our second last day in Italy and we decided to go to Pompeii. Got our tickets and from Roma Termini we boarded the Intercity train to Naples. From Naples we had to take a commuter like train to Pompeii.

Train ride was smooth all the way. Seats were comfortable and the two hours journey from Rome to Naples was certainly a pleasant one. 

After arriving at the Napoli Centrale station, we headed to the Circumvesuviana train ticket window and got tickets for Pompeii Scavi - the stop for Pompeii. We were told to take our train at the lower level platform. So with the rest of the eager crowd who were also heading for Pompeii, we headed to where we were directed.

There was a bit of a wait for the train and it later became pretty crowded at the platform. We heard the announcement of a train arriving, but it was in Italian and as it was very noisy and crowded, I wasn't too sure what was said.

Then came the train. The crowd rushed forward towards the door. Both Nissa and I were pushed in together with the rest of the people. Unfortunately, Abe was pushed out from the crowd and by the time he got to the door, it closed right before he could step in.

And the train moved.....

Both Nissa and I could only stare at each other in that crowded coach. Nissa remark was, "Mom we lost our banker..."

I replied, "Ohh gosh.."

to be continued.....

TELEPASS - yup that's what happened to us. TERLEPAS keretapi!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blessed Friday

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

All praise is to Allah, the Lord Of The Creation.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Al-Hamdu Lil laahi Rabbil 'Aalameen was Salaatu was- Salaamu 'Alaa Saiyyidinaa Muhammadin wa Aa layhee wa As-haabee hee Ajma 'een ".

Thank you Allah for another beautiful day. Thank you for giving us good health, for blessing us with much happiness, love and goodness. 

It's Friday again; a day among the seven days of the week when Allah's Special mercies are granted. Also a day of gathering for all Muslims and rewards are increased.

Still embracing the topic of "fernweh". The feeling comes and it subsides after a while. Sometimes we are able fulfill that internal desire to just drop everything and be free. But many atimes it's not. Contraints there are many; money, time, commitments, health to name a few.

Minaret at the Mosque de Roma

But the feeling of "fernweh" is not a bad feeling. Reminisce, looking back to the time spent traveling be it with our loved ones, family, friends or even complete strangers have significant impacts on our present daily on goings. Happy thoughts provide us ideas to strive better and motivated to accept the challenge and make significant improvements. 

Mochea de Roma - Mosque in Rome
And "fernweh" too will allow us to relate and share our stories with others. Be led in a journey seen through the eyes of the traveler, as if we are there with them though descriptive and pictorial displays. Learn from their miss calculations and wrong turns as well as celebrate their jubilation.

Alhamdulillah, in the last few years we have done a significant bit of traveling; witnessing the greatness of the Creator and the greatness of Islam our religion.  I have promised many that I will share my "fernweh" experiences. Don't quite know where to start actually; each place we saw has its own history, beauty and personal impressions to share. And it may take a while for me to compile these stories as well, but I promise I will.

So...just a bit of a wait there, InshaAllah this sharing and chronicling of the trips will be out soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Fern" What?

"Fernweh" is a word I learnt from Elle a young team member in the office. This bubbly girl, kinda tomboyish was bursting with enthusiasm, and would just disappear to some remote country some where the very moment she was able to get time off.

Equipped with a bag pack full with DSRLs and accessories, she'd return with photos that were so captivating. After working with us for a few years, Elle decided to leave. She didn't say where she was going nor what she her plans were. She just said she needed to take a break.

Not long after Elle left, we saw pictures of her, backpacking around Europe with her travel buddies and checking in at popular B&Bs from different corners of the world on FB. And I went...oh wow!!

I asked her one day, what "fernweh" means and she said it's a German word and asked me to look up its meaning. 

According to Google, “fernweh” is the feeling when you feel like you have to leave your familiar surroundings to discover new places. The need for distance, the wish to experience something far away from home and the urge to escape from your everyday life by traveling. It is basically the opposite of homesickness "Heimweh".

I understand now why Elle asked me to search its meaning on my own.  It was a word that describes me so well; a word that expresses my eagerness to explore places, connect with the locals, try out their dishes, push my boundaries and more often than not take selfies at the weirdest spot I could find.

I asked Elle once what has she learnt from her extensive travels. She said, if she look back at who she was before she began traveling and compare that to who she is now, she'd have to say that travel has made her a better and more well-rounded person. According to Elle, her travel has taught her how to be happy, become more relaxed, more confident, and see the world as a brighter place.

And she said, how can you not be happy about life after all of that? She ended our conversation with her last line, "Fernweh Madam...it's all about fernweh" :) 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Answers Not Found

Cringe I would when at weddings I get questions like these.

"Ehh...anak you kerja apa ya?"
"Kawin dah anak-anak you?"
"You still staying at the same place? Tak upgrade ke?"

I know at times these are questions of genuine concern due to the long absence, thus I take them open heartedly. Orang tanya cara baik, kita jawap pun cara berhemah. However, it's those posed with sacrastic funny intonations that would dilute your interest on the yummeh nasi minyak and lauk pauk kenduri (and make you wanna spill that sirap bandung on that rm300 per meter Prada lace baju!)

Ohhh...pleaseeeee lah!!

Gone are the days as parents where we dictate what our children MUST become. Yes, we can't help but wish that at least one of them would follow our footsteps. But if they don't want to, and should they suddenly in their 2nd year decide to change major from civil engineering to rehabilitation psychology, kita mak-mak ni bagi restu and pray for their success lah kannn (dan makan hati jap for 2 - 3 days)

To me, what is most important is how wise and savvy the children are at utilizing the resources and knowledge acquired towards their own advantage. After all it's them who are entrusted the responsibilities and to deliver their best. Kerja apa pun lah...kalau minat tu tiada, banyak lah madah berhelah yang akan diberikan. As long as they want to strive their best, we bullet them with all our doas and blessings.

Seriously, I do not understand why people must make that comparison whose anak works where and as what. I hope by now some people know that they should not come close to me and start making such comparisons. I am the worst person as your sparring partner coz there's nothing to compare. Move...go pick on someone else. You won't get that kind of fun with me ;)

Same goes with abode upgrade thingy. Someone from my past life met me at dhuha class and started asking me if I had a new address to report to her. Err...sorry maam I don't and I really hope the fact that I have not bought a-million-or-two-million-ringgit-property will not upset you...heh heh. And I don't really care if half of people from my past life have gotten themselves new sprawling abodes in the more prestigious corner of the city.

I pity orang-orang yang macam ni, really! They take your business as their serious business. And they get genuinely upset when we give no hoots at theirs.

Tapi bak kata pepatah nya, kita jaga tepi kain kita sendiri je lah yea. You are happy, I am happy....let's make this world a happy place, can? So tak mau kecoh-kecoh hal orang lain ya ;)  #remindertomyselftoo

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cerita WhatsApp

Don't really know how I ended up having more than 10 WhatsApp groups. There's one of the old office folks, one for the immediate family, one for the surau ladies, one for the mommies group. Yes, the list goes on and keeps growing. And this is not yet taking into account the personal WAs; with a dear friend, the husband, siblings and others.

Macam dah kerja typist dah. Always on the mobile touch pad typing away. And if you look around you, there is probably just 2 persons out of 20 who is not typing away.

We hardly make phone calls these days. Instead, we talk and listen with our finger - that's how sophisticated we have become now. For better or for worst, looks like such mobile messaging apps are here to stay.

Fancy having to scroll and read hundred of messages that just came in while you took a nap. And when you forget to turn off the notification function, the poor phone could go into epileptic seizure! I learned it the hard way after the screen of my mobile suddenly froze and refused to cooperate. Nowadays, I mute all notifications (for a year!). 

WhatsApping can be fun and at the same time it can cause serious problems. Selalu nya case tersilap post to different groups. Dah beriya-iya menaip, tekan the send button and you took one last peek. That's when you realised the big blunder you have done. Too late...by now everyone has read the message you sent. Mulalah gabrah...alamak-alamak...how larr??!!

Someone in the house (cer teka siapa...cer teka..) recently joined the WA group of his PRIMARY school friends. And I tell you this group is one very active group. In a day there'll be hundreds of WA messages that come in. I asked that someone if he read ALL those messages, and he said yes! Ohh my....bak kata orang neghori Juasseh mali, "osah okkap eh!!" (in BM you could say amat bersemangat lah) And on top of that all the pictures sent via WA are auto stored and now that someone has like 3000 plus WA pix!! Ini case tak reti nak mendelete lah kan. It really irks me is some of the pictures tu ada sampai 5 duplicates. Buang memory space je.

So from time to time I'd do spring cleaning of his phone gallery. Bukan bertujuan nak men-check, it's just that I cannot stand the ignorance in the existance of the delete button. When the number of pictures is down to a few hundreds rasa macam baru hantar phone tu for 3 hours of spa - scrub, lulur, pilis, wax...the whole works :P

Itu cerita that someone punya WA group.

I have this one interesting WA group whose members are folks from all over who have the common interest on how to perform umrah independently. I was made one of the moderators by the person who initiated the group. Yang ini pun sama. If in a day tak tengok messages, at times sampai beribu plus messages! And when you have all sorts of people in the group, macam-macam gelagat yang ada. Many are observers but some of the vocal ones tu jenuh gak moderator nak control.

Tapi group yang paling best is the one of Nissa's primary school mommies. Group yang paling harmonis even though our children are no longer studying in the same school anymore. Really like sisters we are.

It's actually much fun sharing in messenger groups ni. News is communicated fast. Kelakar ada, sedih ada, shocking ada, gossips ada dan nasihat pun ada. Seronok but have to exercise extra tact and diplomacy coz at times sans that face to face interaction messages could easily be misinterpreted.

Itu yang at times even group admin pun boleh sentap and left group.....

Oppsss....members nak kata apa lagi...terkebil-kebil post emoticons je lah lepas itu :P

My take senang je....tak perlu lah nak sentap. If you really can't stand it no more and need to leave group, a short message telling others of you intention will suffice. I am sure even in mobile messaging ada adap tata susilanya. It's just that we don't bother observing them.

So stay connected, peace....and happy WAppsping ya'all. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Making It Happen #blogreviveday

A long time ago, I was involved in a project where one of its objectives was to spur Internet savviness amongst its stakeholders. The project which was specially sponsored for children from rural schools in the country was to also introduce a new approach to inculcate collaborative and continuous learning.  

It was a big task for my team and I. Expectation was very high. And our proposal to the client was to be attractive enough for them to have confidence in our capabilities delivering the project. 

My team of researches did extensive groundwork at coming up with a comprehensive design and implementation plan for the project. The content team proposed blogging as one of the important learning component. It was the “in thing” according to the team. Everyone has a blog. Everyone is publishing on the Internet they added. I had my reservations but I didn’t want to totally dismiss the team’s enthusiasm.  

So I decided to do my own research - my own trial run at blogging. Created a blogspot account and posted an entry. And followed by the next one and the next one.....

And that was how it started; how blogging changed my life. How it connected me with new friends in cyberspace. How suddenly you become overly excited, chuckles et all seeing trails of comments over a posting you wrote about your daily encounter and how you wait for others to post in their blogs too. 

That seemed so long ago however. Then slowly blogsphere became quiet. Less zest, fewer people were into it. Traffic became slow and then there was complete silence.

Other platforms of social media took over. Facebooking was THE thing. Posting tweets had slowly taken over the fame from blogging. And Instagram was the new online mall!

But once in a while I still miss the honesty, friendliness and fun in blogging. And when this Revive Blogging idea came about, I was fast at agreeing (and now at wits end trying to come up with a posting that’s at least worthwhile for others to spend time reading....) 


So...how’s everyone? I know we see each other like a whole lot of the time on FB. Daily (sometimes hourly...yes I am guilty for spamming my own FB wall at times) updates, news links, notifications of birthdays and anniversaries have become so convenient and efficient. 

Hence, what else is still not an open secret since my last entry? 

The kids? Alhamdullillah...they are doing okay. Getting along just fine. The elder two - Faris & Farah are already working and my youngest girl Nissa is now in a boarding school in Melaka. (and mommy is still struggling at finding recent pix of them...UPDATE Mommy finally did it today!!)

Abe & I....ohhh well. We both hit the 50++ mark. Abe is still braving the horrendous KL traffic each morning. I have decided to take it easy. Have stopped working full time. I freelance and take up job assignments as I see fit. 

Dah menantu? Belum....am not pushing the kids. They are always in my prayers. May Allah guide them in their choice of life partners. May they find someone who will always be their best friend, love them and them giving love to. And lead each other to the straight path to Jannah. 

Bibik ada lagi ke? Nope...I’m the bibik now. Tumirah is the name..heh heh.

So...now that I have no meetings to attend, no clients to haggle with, no killer deadlines to meet, how do I keep myself occupied? Surprisingly, my time is very occupied. I kick start my day by doing laps in the pool. Then there’s mengaji class which is followed by dhuha classes till about noon. I figured I gotta catch up in that department from now on.

Oh ada lah travel here there sikit-sikit. Will blog about it...(fingers crossed...)

Will there be follow up entries after this revive project?
I sure hope so!! Till the next entry, keep the blog-flame burning everyone :) :) :) 

 #blogreviveday #bringthesexyback #6May