Wednesday, September 22, 2021

On yet?

When i was 6, in Kindergarten, i have vivid memory of the nun (although not her face) who scolded me for not being able to read. Told me repeatedly to ask help from anyone older at home to guide me reading. I went home that day wondering why i couldn't read. I was so certain had read the word clearly; s-a sa, y-a ya. But it just didn't come out from my mouth. I did seek help from my older brothers but words that went in my head just stuck there, didn't want to come out eloquently like how it supposed to. I finished kinder school as under performer. At least, that's what implanted in my childhood memories.

A year later, Primary One, from no word at all to being able to read simple sentences better. All thanks to a fiery English teacher and a smart friend who was able to teach me to spell and read all in span of just a few lessons...or perhaps days but definitely able to read soon after.

Our English teacher was furious i wasn't able to read. She assigned a friend, who was the top student in class, to be my mentor. The catch was, if she's not able to pass me, both of us will kena. I don't know how she did it but she did. I CAN READ. And i am forever thankful to her. Hence this story that i still ponder until this very day.

I deduced, everyone has a 'switch' when it comes to learning (anything). It's just a matter of time this switch will be triggered taking in all possible variables. In my case, the two people (and notably the consequences of not being able to read) i mentioned earlier triggered my learning switch to read. Arm with this in mind, i always tell myself whenever faced with students with difficulty in learning, that there will be time that they too, will have their learning switch triggered. Whatever that switch leads them to considering all the surrounding factors. Of course, this is all easier said than done if you are pressed for expectations and results. But that's another story for another time.

Leticia by the way, has been showing improvement on her reading ability (English lah, BM is still disastrous). As a teacher, i'm fully aware that she is a quick learner and to which I'm thankful to God. We have expectations for her but we are also reminded that she is just 5. I want her to be able to read and count by 7 cos that's the expectation in our education system. Yet at the same time, we want her to learn with the flow. We don't do academic schooling on daily basis. Sometimes we skipped homework (OMG, teacher?!) because I also believe in non-academic learning. But when we do focus on the first, we try to put in as much and at the same time learning to press the Stop button when things get too loaded aka emotions interfere. Ha.

I nudge myself that the key to learning and instigate motivation to learn is not pushing the limit. Not yet. Not at her age. Not at this circumstance.


And patience, as simple as the word seems to be, is not all easy especially to parents. I realised, whenever i lose my patience during our learning session, there is nothing much she learns except the fact that 'mummy is angry' or 'mummy is upset'. Vice versa.

I am actually amazed at the rate she's able to read sight words taking into account our inconsistent reading time. But just by being there, participating with her fully has indeed encourage her more. Again, i know, she's a quick learner with less to worry about learning disability. And again, a blessing i will never cease to be grateful.

However, if one day i am to face with her learning switch that is tough and demanding, may i find this entry today a reminder to be patient more than ever.

Teacher Joyce Sutili, my Primary One English teacher.
Amilia Petrus, the friend who I am indebted to forever.
...and i bear no grudge with the nun. I have even forgotten her name.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Hello Twenty 21

As always, annual New Year blog post.
First thing first, to update Lifetime List and ST Goals.

2020 was a roller coaster ride to most people due to the pandemic especially to those directly affected. Wouldn't dare say i understood the feeling cos even if i did, what's not being able to go out freely be terribly upsetting compared to those who have to witness loved ones gone because of Covid-19?
So, no. Not going to touch on that.

I put up the same short term goals for this year, adding health and specific saving as priority goal. That should always come first, right? But i didn't in the previous year. However, things that happened in 2020 concerning to health and money had shaken my conscious about these two. So, yeah.

24 books? Who am I kidding?
But even if I didn't get to finish 24, FIVE reads to be exact, it shouldn't press me up.
To read that amount without solid motivation and ehem, when Kdrama fever finally hit me (hard)...let's just take this as a more fun goal to look forward to in life. To be able to read 5 is better than none at all.

Over to my List of a lifetime...
I managed to tick THREE off!

1. I decided to put a little contribution to UNICEF.
Well, no asking why i chose this cause lah kan.

2. Diving checked! Well, more like a spontaneous decision. Carpe Diem.
The experience though is not something i would say i want more. Perhaps not very soon.
I kind of had a hard time especially when submerging into the water. Fear. Trauma. 
BUT! I'm proud i did not back off. Thanks to SIL and the young but experienced dive master who wouldn't let me give up.

3. An apartment of our own.
Thanks to the Pan Borneo project that affected our current inherited house, we were forced to find a new place to stay while the project is on going. We came upon my eldest brother's apartment for sale. With the help of FIL, we managed to seal the deal despite the pandemic. We haven't move in yet but praying 2021 will be a good time to be at a new home. Amen.

For this year, I am looking at three more things to strike. Semoga dipermudahkan.

As for the rest of 2020, quite a few new things learned or rather forced to learn and adapt. 
Most things going online including education. Tough year but we gotta do what we gotta do. 
On the fun part, i managed to learn how to grow bean sprouts and mushroom as well as (again, Carpe Diem) enrolled myself for a Pole Dance class. I couldn't finish the 2nd level class full term but i had so much fun learning and discovering my own body during the weekly class. Until i carpe diem again lah then i go continue finding my way upside down on the pole like a pro. Ha!

Overall, it was quite a year, that 2020.
Looked short; March to Dec...but looking back at my Facebook 2020 album, there were hefty activities going on that kept us busy whole year round. Of course, things that taught us some lessons to be more wiser and prudent.

THANK YOU Lord for the year that passed.
TOAST to another year to live life.

May God's grace and mercy shower us all in the next 363 days.


Some things to refocus and calibrate
Some things to just let blur in the background


Monday, July 20, 2020

to School, or Not?

JULY 20, 2020

School has gradually reopened...with new normal definitely. And this coming Wednesday is another batch of pupils to complete the back-to-school announcement while still fighting this deadly pandemic Covid 19. Parents are definitely worried about sending their children to school especially those smaller kids age 10 and below. As a parent myself, with statistics of new cases still persist daily, I too worry about her health safety. But sending her to school is our best option to get her academically schooled as the husband and I are required to be back full time at work.

Speaking of being academically schooled, @amydangin did an online chat with some mommies regarding homeschooling their children. Will not go in details of the chat but head over Amy’s profile and you’ll get the link to her Youtube channel for the said conversation.

Amy highlighted that by week 3 after MCO started, she was already stressed out by the amount of online homework that kept coming for her two sons to complete and later decided not to bother to keep up. As long as she knows her children are still being ‘schooled’ without needing to comply with homework and all.

I feel the same...especially when I have to keep up with giving out online classwork to my students as well. I only started giving out Online Classroom by 2nd week after the 1st mid term break. At the same time, my daughter’s kindie has also started giving out some work to be done at home. So, I thought ok easy peasy, kasi kerja online to my students and at the same time attending to my anak’s school work. Tetttt! So wrong.

It was a disaster. My teaching time with her only ended up stressing the both of us and this prolonged for about 2 weeks. She wanted me there, teach her and argue with her. But this mom couldn't handle the arguing part too much as my own online classroom was demanding and overwhelming.

So, I stopped.
I stopped forcing Ticia to do her schoolwork. Of course I showed her the teaching videos that her teacher sent but as for worksheets, I went with the flow. If she’s up for it, she’ll finish it. Vice versa. 

What she did then during that supposedly class session?
Watching her Netflix show on TV, Youtube on mummy’s laptop, cycling around the house either on her tricycle or the scooter, feed the kittens, play with them, chase butterflies and sometimes tree lizard at nearby bush, swim in her mini indoor pool, role play with her dollies and plushies, play dressing up and makeup, singing, dancing, drawing, coloring and all those filled her days at home.

Yet, with all these activities that seem to be just play and play, she still knows her ABCs and their sounds, count numbers to 20 and knows quantity, write her name and some alphabets. Perhaps not reading yet but we’ll go through this eventually before she gets to Primary 1. I know she’s learning well, so...yeah.

I did worry that her teacher would think i’m a lazy mother but i realized, my sanity and the quality of my relationship with my daughter as well as my husband are more important than wanting to make sure all homework is done and submitted to the school.

But, you are a teacher! You surely must know that you need feedback and the easiest way is to get students to do homework and submit them. Yes, I know. But no, i don’t force them to submit for a lot of different reasons that they might be having while trying to catch up with the new learning norm. Of course, this would be different if we are not facing this difficult time.

Some parents did ask the school if they can homeschool their children especially during this pandemic. Yes, you can. Parents are required to write a formal letter to the school that they are not ready to send their children. However, parents must also be aware that after 22nd of July, there will be NO MORE online learning i.e. teachers giving out teaching and learning materials via Google Classroom or other medium of online learning. Hence, parents must ensure that they are able to provide home-based learning for their kids so that once the kids are back in school, they will not be clueless on what has been going on in school. That is temporary homeschooling.

As for permanently homeschooling your children, well, while our education policy has made it compulsory that all children aged 7 to 12 are required to be sent to school, you can still opt for not sending your children for formal school. Of course, this requires formal application to the ministry. No details here but if you seriously looking into this option, drop by at the local Education Department to forward your enquiry.

All points taken (hopefully), you know your children better. School is a learning place for children when parents aren’t able to do so, mostly because we are working ourselves. If you reckon keeping them at home and teaching them on your own is your best option, then by all means do it. It’s not for everyone but yes, it’s doable.

Whatever it is, we just want the best for our future generation. And we also pray that this pandemic will be over very soon.

Stay safe, kita jaga kita.

PS: This is my personal POV as a mother of a 4 year old and a teacher. Scenario could be different for parents with children of various age.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Lover vs Book Worm

Growing up, I do not have much memories of wanting or loving books. I don't even remember being a young reader, passionate about books. In short, I didn't read much growing up.

But I remember Hensel and Gretel.

That was the first story book I received as present from my late father. Can't remember now why I got it as present. But I treasured the book. I kept it for years however lost it while in transition to being adult.


That's how (technically, where) I get to love reading.

I was sixteen.
During the days when we didn't have extra curricular activities after school, dad would sent me to the library and spent my time there waiting for him to finish work and collect me two and half hours later.
It was burdening in the beginning cos I was supposed to go there and study.
So to kill time, I would study the first half to an hour and do shelves browsing the remaining time. Most of the time, I ended up chilling on the sofa at the magazine section.

Then came the final term before the big exam.
Spent more time at the library of course. With a twist. A guy in the picture. One that I had crush with. He loved browsing the novel section which eventually led yours truly wandering at the same section. Ha! Kerja buduh.

There's good in that.
And you guessed correctly.
I started to read books. Well, novels precisely.

That guy is history.
But the reading continues.

Bagus juga kan pigi library?

My reading habit keep growing as I enrolled in Uni. Apa lagi bila ada room mate that was crazily in love with reading. Every night mesti baca buku before bed. Lucky thing, it impacted on me so much.
I would borrowed her books at first. It then escalated to me borrowing books from the library. I remember doing a book literature review on Danielle Steel's The Ring that I borrowed from the Uni library. It got me an A! Not because it was a best seller book nor my grammar was perfect. I believe, it's the way the story absorbed into my mind that I was able to deliver the review in such a way, my lecturer loved it. Mangkali lah...

Back to present time...
I am picking up reading again.
I only read THREE books last year. Much better compared to the year before; one.

Why the need to accomplish a certain quantity of books?
Why read?

This is funny, but I find my imagination is getting dull in recent years.

I find myself rolled eyes at love stories.
I feel my ears blocked at sad songs.
I sense my heart froze listening to happy endings.
I feel myself getting cold to the many emotions around me except the one i have for my daughter.

Despite the many things that have been happening, i'm sensing my soul is slowly emptied. Ok that's too personal to dig in for now. But yeah, i feel the need to read to fill up that hollowness. I need someone's colorful narratives to fill up my head. I want someone's perspective on life to water my drying soul. I just need to feel again. Anything.

And then the final bell came when one day I realized how I could sorta listen to books calling out to me whenever I see postings of book/s on Instagram.

So i set a target.
Twelve books at the end of this year. At least.
Currently finishing my 6th book.

How has 6 books changed me in span of three months?

I thirst for more.
More stories. More varieties. More characters. More colors. More emotions.

Not much.
But it is better than before 6 books read.

List revised.

Here I go again.
Blowing cobweb off my blog site.
After the last post...almost a year ago to be exact, in which I promised myself to regularly blog. Andddd obviously, did not.


Here again to revise my List.

Now, where have I gotten myself in that list?
To start, I had almost strike one last year;to pursue my Masters Degree. Would have been my third term now had I agreed to pursue 'there'. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Circumstances. If only 'here' has a green to go, I would proudly chime the bell already. secretive aye, Carol? Yalah, in short, I am yet to strike that 'Pursue my Masters Degree' list. Belum sampai masanya...

I have keep the 'become a certified Yoga Instructor' on hold until further notice. Priority, priority. But in terms of practice, the light has never dimmed. Glad yoga stumbled on my door few years back. Aiseh. This is one of two form of exercises I have not given up although the rate did slow down.
While becoming a certified instructor is on hold, I look forward to turn my home practice (and perhaps going to class) up a notch or two. My stamina is seriously at stake. Age does play role in there. But surely, not doing much about exercising is the major culprit to my stamina yang jatuh di gaung.

No international departure (again) this year. That kinda travel have to wait. And I need to really bersabar for that time to come. Perhaps a blessing in disguise; so I have ample time to fill up my Botol Not Hijau. Ha! But at least, we get to bring my daughter to the Land of Hornbill last year. Sarawak is seriously a no play-play state to enter oukay. I mean, sure I have known this way before when I was still there to study. However considering my anak's unsettled documentation issue, traveling to Sarawak in the future is something that I will want to avoid if anything.

Sometime towards the third quarter of last year, some bunch of friends and I were eager to plan another Mt Kinabalu hike for 2019. Punya excited. Another climb down and 3 to go before I can finally strike 10 climbs in my List. Konon. Thought we could secure slot somewhere around now. We can only plan, God does the rest. A bunch of school teachers from the same work place wanting to go on a mountain hike on a school holiday? Well, mimpi saja lah. School holiday lah paling peak! And for us to get a non-school holiday dates, pun terima kasih sajalah. Ampai-ampai tidak kena approve our Cuti Rehat Khas. Baru dua orang colleague sama - sama mau CRK pun kena beliak mata, apa lagi a group of more than 5 colleagues. Tutup sekolah terus. Aaah well...let's just keep the tab open. Gunung tidak ke mana. Unless, the government decided to close the mountain for hiking. Touch wood.

The rest of the list... masih K.I.V.
Will be revised from time to time.

I am adding another list though...ha, more list. Dream on urang bilang kan.

Become (an almost) MINIMALIST.

Ok, i laugh inside.
I mean, hey...saya, mau jadi minimalist?
Mau ikut-ikut trend saja kau ini Kayul.
Barang - barang pun masih berlambak.

But, but, but.
Something has to start somewhere.

I know I have started a few steps if not many.
Like getting rid (and have them sold at school family day) of my clothes and shoes that no longer serve purpose to my life. (You know where this is going at when you read 'purpose' right? Next thing i'm gonna say 'spark'). I rearranged and reorganized our humble abode. (Thanks to parents in-law who moved out to a new home and flood. Yes, flood). Threw out some small stuffs, big stuffs and all this sparks joy! (See what i mean?)

Since then, words such as declutter,  planning, organized, clean, neat, zen, purpose, clear mind, happy dan yang sewaktu dengannya have slowly become my frequent vocab. I am yet all these words. Not yet. But i am trying to be part of it, become of it. I noticed some things (in my life) have eventually make way for me to see the path clearer. Or at least, I kinda know how and where my life trajectory is pointing at. It's exciting, really. Like seeing many doors opening up in front of me and the only thing I need to do is CHOOSE. Ok, perhaps the need to choose is already something difficult to act upon but one needs to choose before one can find what difficulty (or otherwise) lies beyond the door. And maybe, there is more door to choose while one is already in that room. Right?

Cut my yadda, yadda.

Basically, getting rid things that don't belong teach me detachment from stuffs, matters, people. Allows a clean slate of mind (that shouts happy heart) to focus only on what I need thus leads me to better planning skill. Of course, it is much easier to detach from something that you have not made connection for quite some time. Vice versa. But it'll get easier in time. And consistent practice. I know this even if I have not come to this length, fully. In time.

So yeah, an almost minimalist?
Why not?

For now, baby steps lah.
I said an almost minimalist, didn't I?

Wait, have I told you how did this triggered?

Having a child.
Having someone to give your life to in return of nothing.

I am just like any mothers, wanting the best for my child.

And how does having a child strings together to being a minimalist?
Lain kali punya cerita lagi ok?

Till next time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dreaded Phase

Someone asked me not too long ago if Ticia has already stepped into the Terrible Two phase since she is... urm... two.

No, I said confidently.

Yes, she had been putting up tantrums and all that but I somehow felt they weren't that phase yet. I felt she was manageable. Easy peasy konon.

Well, until she got sick recently (and the daddy suspected she had growth spurt), she has since been terribly difficult to predict. One minute she was all angelic looking, flashing smile that melts the heart you just want to hug and kiss her all the time. Then all of sudden, a simple "Ticia, please wait" when she wanted something while my hands were occupied sent her lying on the floor, screaming crazily her voice so sharp it could break my ear-drum. Even a simple decline to being carried will make her furious. Lucky this only happens at home so far.

It has gotten too frequent in a day that this time I am so sure Terrible Twos has FINALLY making a show. Late by three months but yeah, here. However, deep down I know this phase does not acquired its name cos simply.

"There must be reasons to all this happenings. Reasons why she was unhappy,"

I sound like I am in denial of having a toddler who is acting exactly like how her age should be. But, if I know what gets her upset and frustrated, I can avoid all this drama, right?

Truth is, I just want to be able to tackle and handle this phase better. Whenever she throws an unexplainable fit, I try to avoid lying hands on her. But when she kept wailing, unwilling to give in, I find myself either spanking her leg or arm. And then ended up regretting my doing.
At other times, when I have no energy to entertain her unpredictable storm, I would just let her be. Ignore her wails and act like I didn't hear a thing. But, that sent me feeling guilty as well. What lesson did I give her by ignoring her tantrum?

What did I do?
Menggoogle lah ini ibu.

Ok, firstly, I must admit that this phase is normal. No, of course I know it's normal and I know it's inevitable but I MUST ACCEPT that even if I know what to expect and what to do, at times, things will get worst that I can't expect myself to be in control ALL THE TIME. I must learn that I will be defeated sometimes. That's how it will go. And that is how I will rise back and learn from it. Sehmen! So dramatic lah kau Carol.

'The less invested and upset you get, the quicker the storm will pass' - Anne Davies

That's what I am currently doing.
Every time my little princess warrior tries to show her frustration in the form of wailing, throwing herself on the floor, throwing things or hitting I try not to participate in what she is doing. Oh, this is definitely NOT EASY. It is not easy to not get angry when your child screams her lung out, eyes staring daringly at you telling that she was upset. But I try. And like I mentioned, it's not always my game. I don't always win. I don't always manage to control my anger. Terlepas juga tangan mentapap kaki si Ticia yang sudah sedia banyak gandas.

In spite of all that above, trying to be calm, rational and not to take her tantrums personally do help me slowly in tackling her melt down. It does feel victorious if I get to distract her from being upset when I cannot let her play with the water pipe for half an hour.
"Come, we mandi in the bathroom. You can play water in the tub."

Or when I manage to avoid drama by limiting choices.
"When the bubbles all gone that means you must get up already."

Or when my calm but repeatedly stern 'No' finally gets to her without intimidating her.
Or simply ignoring her which eventually led her to coming back to me when she was much calmer.

It has only been roughly two weeks since I try being 'less invested' but I am already feeling less tortured by her drama. She still throw herself on the floor. Still screaming. Still trying to hit and throw stuffs. But key word here, LESSER.

And most important, I feel much happy dealing with my daughter's tantrums. Ha!
Jangan Carol...itu baru bunga-bunga. Bak kata my sister in-law, this is the phase where you practically don't have a manual. One thing might work today. But may not the next day.

Well until I cross that new level of bridge, let's just enjoy what I have gain today lah orang bilang kan.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

100 Things to-do

I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for ideas.
You know lah how Pinterest can aggravate your ideas from one tiny spark into fiery blaze.

So there I was, stumbling upon this pin about 100 Things To Do Before You Die.

Well honestly, I don't really fancy anything that says 'before you die'. Of course, death is certain to each and everyone of us. But, I always feel that it has some kind of negative connotation to the way I dictate my life. So, i rather think of it as something I want to do while I am STILL ALIVE. I feel the word alive alone already give a good vibration to how i want to live this life God wills on me. Power of word urang bilang bah.

Back to that list.
I do have my own Bucket List. And I list some of them in here.
Why do I have them?
Why do you have them (if you have)?

As my Zodiac and Almanac keeps pointing, I have an amount of positiveness in me that sometimes my husband thinks is absurd. Well, sampai kadang-kadang saya pun question juga kenapa baini telampau positip. But hey, that's what keep me ALIVE. That's what directs me in the paths God has laid upon me.

Keeping a list of to-do things, either long term or daily, gets me going. Never mind that I sometimes tend to ignore the list and at the beginning of next day, will still writing down the same list. Ha!
There was a particular year, I did not set any list. Not even a daily list. My intention was to go with the flow. Boy, that was really a gloomy year. I didn't look forward anything (cos I didn't know what to look forward to). I don't mind surprises (in life) but I rather something that I can plan at least properly if not perfect. Almost everyone loves having that feeling to be able to take charge of things, especially your own.

So I got back to writing a list.

Human nature; you want everything.
I want all!
But as I age, I realized that I can only do so much. Your mind is your limit, they say. But, to be fair lah, I BITE my limit, my absurd positivity to things that revolve around my family; my husband and daughter. And also, taking consideration my long time bad habit, PROCRASTINATION.

I anticipate two things to strike from my Bucket List this year. God willing.


On yet?

When i was 6, in Kindergarten, i have vivid memory of the nun (although not her face) who scolded me for not being able to read. Told me rep...