Saturday, February 28, 2009

A challenge of being an educator

After trying to convince students from a course to come and see me to have one-to-one sessions, I finally received some emails. Was surprised as I hardly get emails from undergraduate students. I don't prefer to discuss via email, and never encouraged them to do it. Seeing one another face to face is more effective, I think. Anyway here's what I got:

I received an email dated 25th Feb, 20:53



rock boundries tu outcrop keww dr

and at 21:00

assalamualiakumm drr

exercise 7 practical 4

b)give the compas directionn
tuu tulis kat map kew mcm ni kew

I got a little irritated even at the first one. He could just make an effort to look up the dictionary. Had the take a deep breath in when I looked at the second one. He was expecting me to dig that particular worksheet to answer him.

Anyway on 26 Feb, 16:04 I replied

Come and see me at my room around 2.30 pm tomorrow.


I saw another email from him, sent at 20:45

im sorry dr...tak leh dtg

cozz tak dapat tiket awll

in jat bee noww

may be

i see u selase petang

I just hate it when I have to take even a few moments to understand what he wrote. And he actually put "maybe" as if he was the one who set the time for us.

My reply on 27 Feb, 16:32

Won't be in Tuesday afternoon. Why don't you stop emailing me and just come whenever you like. If I'm not in, just slip a note under my door, we will fix another date.


This never happened during my time. Maybe internet was still not a big thing yet, then. I admit I didn't see lecturers much, but whenever I did, I waited at the door if I had to.

We complain a lot about our graduates. We, the relatively young lecturers had to attend courses for effective teaching to tackle the problems of the quality of the graduate these days.
But to me even communicating with them is already challenging, like the example I show above. I might further drive the student away from seeing me personally. I found it very hard to even implement what had been taught in the courses.

I had a foreign student that has the gut, despite of being provided notes and reading material, to ask me to summarise them for him according to what's going to be out in the test. I told him he had been asking me too much, "That's your work!" (Hubby said I should just said "Why don't you ask me to give you a degree right away!";)). I could not believe what he did later. He sulked, turned his back, packed his stuffs and left the lab while he still had over an 1 hour of revision. He didn't bother to sit for the test later.

And we are supposed to provide reasons if they do not perform well. Well, that sucks and that's one thing that I don't like about my job. Ok, enough rambling on saturday morning;).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maternity wear - now and then

I'm 24 weeks now. The only thing that I hate about being at this stage is I'm too big for my normal clothes but too small for my maternity clothes. Think a lot of moms experience this, maybe at different stages.

At this stage I still don't look pregnant to a lot of people. Upon observation, I do look like a skinny woman with a tummy 'problem'. So wearing my normal clothes does not seem comfortable. I hate those pants with elastic bands too. Even when I pull the band it its maximum, I still have 'air' in between the pants and my tummy.

Psstt...before I move on, the lady who did the scan two weeks ago even said I have a cute tummy for a 22-week pregnant mom. Most docs I see say my tummy is small, but never cute...hehe.

I spent about RM500 when I was preggie with Bea1 in 2002. That's a lot of money for a student (was doing PhD that time) and I only felt comfortable in them in the last month. I was not really particular about the size (I just went for S all the time though) as being a first-timer, I didn't know how big I would get. I recycled when I had Bea2. I have two of those like the overall-kind of thing. One nasty male colleague said I did look like "Doraemon". That was painful and I stopped wearing them both.

I remember maternity clothes used to be BIG. Why must they made thin woman big and big woman bigger. And what I got was on I figured they were old stock with the old fashion.

I was reluctant to spend more for something that I would wear for only a short time (I didn't know we would multiply this fast, anyway). And yes, I'm kedekut as well. With less proper maternity clothes when I had Bea3, I just took whatever that hubby thought was too small for him. But I got easily tired of them.

So I went to Jusco in search for cheaper versions. What I got was things that really looked cheap, I don't like that either. Ok, ok you may say a begger can't be choosy. I bought one that I was only comfortable in during my 8th month onwards.

Then I observed the changes on the fashion...they made woman think they are sexy (or even sexier) when they are pregnant. Bums are supposed to be flaunt not hidden under pleats. So as the cleavage that comes with the increase of breast size. Then we see tight-fitting maternity dress everywhere, or tops with streatched cloth material with low neckline.

And they get more and more expensive. Anyway, I was determined to do away with my out-dated clothes. I went to 9 Months, got myself 3 tops that cost about a little over RM100 each. The staff convinced me that those could still be worn after pregnancy. I apologised to my boy and tried to inhale and made my tummy as flat as it could...hehe. Well, I agreed with her. I started wearing them last week and it was like finally shouting to the world that "YES...I'M PREGNANT AGAIN!". Haha...I just love looking at the expression of some of the staffs in my office.

I surveyed Modernmom and the other famous brand (forgot the name) in MidValley. Most tops are within the same price range, yeah what do I expect. I still don't like what I saw in Jusco.

I plan to buy a few pieces more. So moms, tell me what's your favourite, preferebly cheaper ones (if possible). I may have missed some good deals out there.

BTW, this is a pic of my tummy. Bea1 snapped a pic last night. It's nice to have a bigger kid who is observant and commented that the baby really grows (I mean by looking at my tummy). And that's not my new top, it is a dress that has a cutting that makes it possible for me to wear till I pop, I think. And I'm so grateful for that!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a BOY...yay!!!

I knew it! The movement is exactly like Adel's. First movements of the girls were "wiggles". I have "kicks" from boys right away. Anyway, that's what I experienced only not something to be taken as the signs. I'm not serious about that either;). Bea1 is happy as she said she wants to have a "Hi-5" team! I can't get enogh of girls but I think Adel needs a playmate after being 'neglected' during girly playtime by the girls haha.

So that's the latest scan shows. Never had such a thorough scan even I've done a few times with a sonographer in UMMC. I was even given an image, with a previous one I was told they didn't give out prints when asked. Also a report print-out.

Ok, it's not very clear. On the left is his face, I don't know what's the circle in the middle. His hand maybe, as earlier he has one hand on his face all the time. The right pic shows the spine.

Everything looks good BUT, one kidney is swollen. The lady said at this stage I should not worry but another scan is scheduled next month. In a lot of cases it resolves by itself, but to be sure another scan is needed. We would be referred to a specialist if thing does not look good.

I digged up the net right away, from there I know it could be due to blockage of the 'link' from kidney to urethra, or caused by 'lazy' muscle tha does not transfer the urine efficiently. In a lot of cases, the swell resolves itself, others lead to some problem that need treatments after birth. There are too much info for me to digest and till the next scan it is too early to tell. A little worried but I must wait patiently. In the meantime I must enjoy this pregnancy, of having a being inside me as much as I can, be grateful that everything else is fine and pray the kidney will be good in the next check-up.

Friday, February 06, 2009

In a dilemma

Be prepared for a long one or do something more worthwhile;). I will selit-selit more pics from the trip as not to bore anyone to death.

Our current routine
On normal working/schooling day, we leave the house at 0740 to first send Bea1 to KAFA, later hubby to office, the youngest two to the babysitter’s. I have ample time to have proper breakfast with Bea2 before sending her to kindy.

I start working at 9, left the office at around 10.30 to fetch Bea3. Me and a colleague whose kid goes to the same KAFA take turns to do it. So that’s not everyday. Both girls play either in my or colleague’s room, depending who is in charge, we get the girls to have lunch and send them to school. I fetch Bea2, send her to babysitter and the youngest two get normal lunchtime smooching from me. I normally stay for one hour. I spend the rest of the afternoon working.

Depending the time Bea1 finishes her class, we arrive home at around 6.15 or 6.40. We get a little late when I need to do pasar malam shopping.

Though I’m the one that spend the most time moving around, I’m happy with this routine. Maybe seeing the kids in between work makes working day goes by faster.

Relatively peaceful breakfast in Victoria Hotel in Anglesey.

The tiny space we’re living in

It’s only close to 1000sqft. 3 minutes to KAFA, 5 to my office, 15-20 to hubby’s office and from there 10 to babysitter’s on normal days.

It has 2 +1 rooms. That +1 room does not even have 4 walls, we must make a partitioning to make it a proper room. But that deceives our first-time guests well. They all say we have a big apartment before we tell them the truth.

Anyway I’m grateful for it, we still have available space ever ready to be filled with more Ikea stuffs hehe. But I try to have minimal furniture, to have more space for the kids to run, roll, cycle or whatever kids their age do.

Hubby says he loves living in an apartment. No need to worry about maybe a snake or tiger hiding in the bushes in the backyard, he says. Obviously I can't hope he would maintain any extra tiny land that we may have in the future. I love it too, easier to manage, with the security I feel safe whenever hubby is not around.

BUT we made a point that we won’t stay there for too long. We know we somehow need more space. We need an upgrade to preferably a landed home but must be around the same area.

Just few weeks ago, the owner of the next door unit put it on sale. We were thinking to buy and hack a wall. But upon inquiring for advises, people said better buy landed home for proper stay for a big family. Now the apartment is taken already.

Walking happily towards a playground in Nottingham University campus (not very sure of the exact name)

Landed houses nearby

Being in PJ, a double-storey around 22x75 ft costs around RM400-500k. We don’t dream about the bungalows. Most land is leasehold with around 50 years left, that is an issue to me for various reasons and they are VERY old! We may need around RM100k for renovation.
I heard crimes are rampant in areas around here. But I maybe just paranoid. I don’t think I would feel save living in any of the area when we drove around looking for place to consider.

Bea showing a map to Adel in Windsor

Colleagues cum neighbours

One used to stay in Sri Damansara, the other nearby Damansara Damai. Both have kids schooling near the office. The one from SD said the family went out of the house at 6.45 am, managed to reach home at 7.45 pm on good days. A little rain would get them stranded for another maybe 1 hour. When she heard that I was about to move into the new apartment, she pleaded the husband to get one unit. She moved in shortly after we did. The house in SD was first a weekend house, then they only went back once a month, now it is almost abandoned.

The second colleague moved nearby just before we did, also cannot tahan the traffic from DD.

Playing with Little Ponies on Hadrian's Wall.

And now the temptation

I read about a new development in neighborhood of the 2 places I mentioned above. Since I goyang kaki a lot last week, I went to the showhouse for fun. Nice design, they make full use of space, huge guestroom downstairs, got one little room for maid (but to me for storage of junks, maybe), natural light abundant even for intermediate unit, guarded and fenced (previously thought Gated and Guarded community but it is not. Anyway I would feel safer with fence all over and guards patrolling than nothing at all). Only a few km from Ikea hehe. Price in the range 470k is a bit high but still affordable. By comparison it is the cheapest in that vicinity (but don’t compare with SD as they are older development). Most houses of similar type with similar concept of development around that area go up to 700k already. Distance-wise, it is still closer to work/school compared to others. 99 years leasehold but I don’t really mind that, but not 50 years in PJ. Closer to hubby’s kampung, near a highway that bring us straight to more highways to my kampung;).

I got tempted bit by bit, went again with a friend the next day just for a reason to have her giving me more encouragement. But she was neutral. Hubby tried hard not to layan, but I managed to get the whole family there. I was there 3 times on 3 days in a row!

The ONLY killer factor is the traffic. The 3 visits done through different route but traffic can be deceiving that time as a lot of people were still on holiday.
Am I happy with an approximate additional 1 hour on the road daily, ½ hour each way?. That does not include the stress of looking at a sea of almost static cars ahead. Kids may suffer even though Bea1 said she is ok with the travelling, more expense for petrol and toll.

After putting all this down in writing, it is even clearer to me that this one is not for us. And now we are left with no other choice. I’m still grateful for the tiny apartment, of course.

What I’m going to do now is trying to finally face the reality, I should just forget about it. Yes, I must do it BUT I have to return to the showhouse to fetch Adel’s shoes that we left there on Saturday…arghhhh! I hope I would feel better after a trip to Ikea after that. I hope with the girls with me, it won’t be that hard. Off to fetch them now.

Pssst…anyway, if you think you can give me more encouraging advices, I would take that. I can do a flip-flop…I don’t think I’m ready to let this one go!

Ok the last pic for baby trying to keep warm from the strong winds at the Land's End.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pics from the trip that deserve a place on the wall

Hubby found these pics worth a place on our wall. I'm glad that I found quite a number matches my own selection. But of course we have not found the time to do it...or we are just plain lazy.

So I decided to share them here first. Here they are but not in particular order...

Hadrian's Wall...North England on the left, Scotland right.

Adel's getting some loving from Bea1 somewhere near the castle in Windsor.

Struggling to stay 'cool' for some photography in very windy weather at the Land's End.

Bea3 trying to be a fierce tiger in Bristol Zoo.

Bea3 again alone at the last row of the rented Zafira. That's our luggage, people commented that's light travelling considering the number of kids we have.

Bristol Zoo again!

In front of the flat that I used to stay in, in 2000. I returned for the sake of the good memories there.

Having breakfast in Anglesey, Adel with a tiny piece of banana...and er, that's not a middle finger.

Will share more if I have the mood.