Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marvelous Manado

It's been a loooong... week. Hubby and I came back from a diving trip to Manado, Indonesia, only last Friday, but it seems like ages ago! The reason being, we now have no domestic helper and we're taking care of all 4 kids by ourselves and working at the same time!

It's super tiring, obviously, but it also has it's plus points, can you believe? We now spend more time with the kids and they are also better behaved. The house, shop and car are all so much cleaner, as my standards of cleanliness are much higher than my maid's (bordering on 'obsessive-compulsiveness'). Daddy also has to be with the kids more and is not able to go for Happy Hour sessions! Muahaha!

But, I cannot neglect my shop for too long and hubby will have to go traveling sometime, so we are now on the hunt for a new maid before I pass out from exhaustion. All the maid service agencies I know do not have any maids available at the moment. And it doesn't help that Malaysia and Indonesia are at odds regarding Indonesian domestic workers' welfare; Indonesia has temporarily banned the 'importing' of their domestic workers to Malaysia... hip hip hooray... :(

So anyway, how did I end up 'maidless' you ask? Hubby and I got back from our diving trip to find that Paula our maid had been complaining of stomach pain, among other things, and had already seen the doctor twice (this includes a middle of the night trip to the emergency ward!)

After taking plenty of medication, she seemed to be getting worse and was in bed the whole day. We were genuinely concerned and ended up bringing her to the doctor another 2 times. By the last trip, the doctor confirmed that she was acting. That was when my concern turned into plain rage. She didn't care and was still moaning so loud at night, she almost woke the kids. I wanted to box her already that night! She said she was so very sick and wanted to go home, and if it wasn't a Sunday, hubby and I would've driven her straight to the agent.

Initially she was quite a good worker, but when she got a handphone, she started turning from bad to worse. We discovered a second handphone and found that she had been spending a lot of money reloading her phones. While we were away for only a week, she spent RM140 buying reloads from the shop next to mine! Obviously it was not her own money. Even though she was too sick to get up and bathe, she could still charge her phone and send text messages!

On Monday we sent her back to her agent and even though she was 'dying', she could dress herself up in her new t-shirt and shoes which I bought from our holiday! I'm just happy to be rid of her and do not want to know what else she was up to when she was living in our home.

Alright, enough about my disappointing 'side-kick'. Think happy thoughts...

Manado... Thank goodness she left after the trip and not before!! Otherwise we definitely would not have been able to go on the trip, and it was such a blast!

Feeding fish was way fun

Initially my fear of diving was caused by my fear of not knowing what is down there; underwater. My imagination would then go into overdrive and I would be half expecting something to grab my legs and pull me down into the deep blue... Don't ask me what, an evil octopus or a giant squid maybe? Hey, when you're scared, details don't matter.

Anyway, I was pretty much over that fear, having been down there and seen that; no, there are no evil octopi or giant squid living at 30m below water...but 50 m and more? Who knows what strange and fearsome creatures lurk in those depths?? :)

This time, it was a different kind of fear. The water there was crystal clear, so when you jumped into the water and looked down, it was like looking down from an 8 storey building! The only difference was that there was nothing solid under your feet! So this was more like a fear of heights!

However, this fear was quickly replaced by awe, as you find that you are not falling, but instead floating gracefully! It is indeed a wonderful feeling, to be 'flying' essentially, through the beautiful clear waters.

Waterproof camera casing

Oh, the coral reefs and amazing sea creatures were magnificent! Hubby bought me a waterproof camera casing, so now we could bring our trusty ol' camera down with us. We took many pictures of the colourful fish and cool sea life to show the kids. We saw rare and amazing sea-life, like Hairy Frogfish, Mimic Octopus, Flamboyant Cuttlefish and Pygmy Seahorse, to name a few.

The other 'monkeys' in our group.

We planned a total of 18 dives over the course of 6 days. This included three night dives, something I found really creepy! I managed to complete all but one day dive (I was too tired)! Night diving was made less scary because I had hubby with me and knew he would keep an eye on me. It helped that there were 8 of us and another 2 local dive masters. I just held on tight to my torch and made sure we didn't get left behind all alone in the dark!!

Simply stunning...

The part I love best about night dives are the spectacular sunsets before the dive and also riding back to the resort on the roof of the boat! The stars were amazingly brilliant and I wish I had brought my glasses so I could pick out shooting stars!

Local food. (they also eat dog and cat!)

Manado is a small and quaint place. Other than scuba diving there isn't much else to do. I find the people there very friendly and polite. They like to honk their car horns when driving, and their gentle honks mean, "Hello" or "Excuse me". Nothing like our angry honks here which usually mean, "Get the *&%# out of my way!"

Lunch on boat roof

Anyway, I think I've got the diving bug now. It's a great past time and a good reason to visit beautiful parts of our world. I can't wait till our next trip!

This is the life...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Siaran Tergendala...

ANNOUNCENMENT: Supermum is now 'side-kick'less... kicked her lying @## back to Indonesia! *Sigh* long story... shall report another time. Who doesn't have an Indon maid story eh?

Anyway, I shall now have no time to pee even, much less blog. So, till I can find another to fill the vacancy; it's "Adios!" (can't live with them, can't live without them...)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


11/06/2009 2pm

*Sigh* I already miss my Little Monsters 1, 2, 3 and 4.

We’re at the KL LCCT Terminal waiting for our connecting flight to Manado, on the Island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Hubby and I are off on a diving trip for 9 days, without the kids. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from them for such a long period of time.

We’ve flown 1hr 45mins west to KL and later, we’re going to fly 4hrs back the direction we came, to reach Manado, further east! So now, we’re killing time at a coffee place, called Chocolate, and I’m drinking a sublime dark chocolate drink, akin to sipping melted chocolate! Endorphine high… heavenly…

At least this place has nice fat comfy chairs, LCCT is sorely lacking in comfortable waiting areas. The other option would be to pay RM88 per 2hrs to use the Plaza Lounge! What do you get? WiFi, air-conditioning, comfortable seating and showers. No thanks, I’ll just pay RM14.90 for my cup of heaven and open my Facebook Restaurant some other time! (I do miss my restaurant though… can almost afford a castle roof now!)

I did bring a book to read. I just finished Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ last night. I stayed up late just to finish it cos I only had a few chapters left and I didn’t want to lug around the whole book only to finish it on the first day of the holiday. It was also getting very interesting. Anyway, I brought the other book to read and when I took it out just now, I found out Sis no.4 gave me the wrong book! It was Book 3 and I need Book 2! Just my luck, the bookstore here has Books 1, 3 and 4! No Book 2!!


The flight is a little delayed. But good news: there's WiFi here in the departure lounge and I found Book 2 at the bookstore here! Hooray!

The International departure lounge here is much, much nicer than the rest of the LCCT. I was rather repelled by the washroom at the domestic luggage collection area. I was already about to pee in my pants and the was a queue in front of all 5 stalls! I had to scan the 'customers' faces and predict who needed to do the big one, to guess which line would most likely move faster!!

I detest public loos, especially wet ones. Luckily the lady before me flushed and besides the wet floor and overflowing sanitary bin, it was not too bad.

On our Air Asia flight from Kuching to KL, they were frantically paging a passenger on the plane. Apparently, he had boarded the wrong plane! He was supposed to be headed for Macau instead. Fortunately they got him in time. I can imagine the poor guy’s disappointment if he landed to find traffic jams and smog, as opposed to Baccarat and Roulette!

My kids love to fly Air Asia for one reason; cup noodles. One of the highlights of holidays for them is having cup noodles on the plane! Poor deprived creatures… mum does not buy cup noodles :)

I always encounter one predicament when flying with the kids. For want of anything to do, they'll definitely browse through all the reading material tucked behind the seats. This will undoubtedly include the emergency procedure sheet. Then they'll ask me all sorts of questions which I dare not answer honestly for fear of introducing the idea of crashing planes and inducing unnecessary fear!

1. The life vest is for babies in case they want to go swimming.
2. The plane is really special; it can even land on water!
3. It is so special that it is even equipped with slides for us to play!!

Hooray! Flying is fun!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hugh's baptism

My nephew, Baby Hughie's baptism was held on Tuesday evening at the beautiful St. Peter's College Chapel.

Hugh Xavier Tien became a child of God when his uncle, Fr. Richard, poured the holy water over his forehead. I think he would've much preferred to take a dip in the Jordan river instead, because he was so hot and cranky! :)

He was much happier when mommy stripped him down to his nappies! Here he is with his godfather, uncle Dylan, and his cousins Annie and Claire.

This is the cake I made specially for Hughie...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Clowning around

On Sunday, I had a long anticipated lie-in, only to awake and find my three daughters looking like the creepy offspring resulting from the union of Bozo the Clown and It!!

Apparently, since mum was out cold and not entertaining them, big sister was giving out free makeovers! Make-up, pedicures, manicures... the works! Well, I thank my lucky stars that Eva wasn't staring me in the face when I first opened my eyes that morning! That might have been a bit traumatizing...

Monday, June 1, 2009

An evening with the stars

Annie performed in her school annual concert on Saturday night. It was entitled 'An Evening With the Stars'. It was a superb effort by all the students and teachers who guided them. There were rock bands, classical guitar and piano solos, modern and traditional dances, singing and a string orchestra.

There was also a very interesting orchestra made up of all sorts of instruments; traditional, modern, eastern and western. It's good to see that the children are also proud of their cultural heritage. They were playing instruments like the erhu and sape alongside keyboards and electric guitars!

I was very impressed with one particular boy who was around 12yrs old. He played the classical guitar solo and was simply amazing. He must come from a talented family, since his little brother who was 9yrs old also performed solo, strumming the guitar and singing the 'Shala Lalala' song. He was so cute, wearing a glittering gold shirt, and fearless, or at least very good at hiding his nervousness; a true performer. We are reminded of the limitless heights children can achieve, when provided with the right training, coupled with support and motivation.

Anyway, Annie was involved in a cultural dance item. She was dressed as an Orang Ulu, one of Sarawak's native tribes. She has been involed in rehearsals for months prior to this event. They all performed splendidly and I'm sure they felt very proud of themselves. I always make an effort to attend the children's performances and sport's days. I know it means a lot to them when we do and it boosts their confidence and pride. Daddy was away travelling, so I brought 3 of her cousins along to watch the show and show their support! I couldn't bring her sisters, because the show was too long and I was sure they would be cranky by, maybe, item no.2!

I'm glad we sent Annie to Lodge International School. I like their balance of academic and extra-curricular activities. It's amazing that my daughter is now studying at my old school, in the same hexagon-shaped classrooms where I used to sit in! I loved going to school then, and that is what I want for my children. Learning should be fun.

Most of the teachers during my time have already left. I still remember the day a new office boy, Stib started work, and he's still there now! The other day I aked him,"How come you have white hair already!" Haha.. he was still a young boy in my mind.

He replied "I'm old already ma, and so are you!" Talk about rude awakening! :)

Yes, it doesn't seem so long ago that I used to run in that same field and pick weed flowers and play stones with my best girlfriends (there were only 4 girls in our class). We used to learn silly songs in Brownies, like 'Ging gang gooli', while the boys playing football outside would make fun of us! Those were the days.

Well, now I'm a mother of four! Sometimes I still feel like a kid myself, and I think that's okay. It's good even, not to loose touch of the child within us. It's like keeping an old window open to let in some sunshine, don't you think?

Well, I hope to provide all my children with the same safe, privileged, happy childhood that I was fortunate enough to have had, thanks to mum and dad.

Here's Mary Kate, a Filipina girl who stays at our condo. She was rooting for her sister who was performing the Spanish dance! I found that so sweet.
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