Saturday, June 30, 2007


The final master piece

For records sake, this picture was done in 45 minutes guided by her instructor .
The canvas size is 16*10.5 inches.

The steps she followed with guidance are given below.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 29, 2007

Our loving Riona,

Your Summer Holidays

You begin your summer holidays on June 30th perhaps the longest and oddest time you’ve ever had holidays…one year back you had joined a new school in Singapore and you began to do so well that mama never thought I will have to prepare such an aggressive plan for you for Summer holidays…but so much has changed now you are in different country in a different school with different expectations so we have to work very hard to cope up. I hope this would be the only vacation we have such a strict timetable and I am sure 10 years from now when you read this you can appreciate how much mama worked at it and when mama sees how much you know after 2 months I will be glad we did this together.


We have 8 weeks of 5 days each if we leave weekends out. So in total we have 40 days in all. Each day let’s target to have 6 half hour sessions.

One session
Kumon sheets and daily dictation

Second Session
Reading Books and listening to phonics cd phonics CD

Third session
Hindi – writing alphabet and reading alphabet
Reading, rhyming words - poems
And writing numbers forward and backward

Fourth Session
Math’s plan for the week

Fifth Session
Reading and retelling story and answering questions

Sixth Session
Action plan for the next day…and revision

Daily Routine – Week 1

Write numbers 1 to 20 and progress to 100
Write numbers 20 to 1
Kumon sheets 10 pages in maths
Kumon sheets 10 pages in English
Numbers to twenty in word form – 3 a week
Learn to spell days of the week and month.( two a week)
Learn to spell common colors (two a week)
Learn to write home address and telephone number
45 words dictation and year 1 words learnt

Riona’s specific objectives
1. To continue practicing alphabet sounds and Reception Keywords
2. To continue practicing subtraction up to 10
3. To continue practicing vocabulary associated with
i. Animals and their habitats
ii. Geographical terms such as desert, ocean, Arctic and Rainforest

4. To take time to evaluate and improve her work.
5. To practice skipping with a hoop and rope.
6. To listen attentively for 10 minutes.
7. To sing loudly
8. To improve her mouse skills

Week 1

· Put the numbers 0 to 20 in order
· Use the words first, second, third….
· Given a number from 1 to 20, say the number that is 1 more or 1 less.
· Introduce the game of secret numbers.
· Time to the hour

· Write a to z
· Listen to jolly phonics cd
· Introduce 2 new words a day to read and spell and revise 45 key words dictation every day.
· Read 3 books a day and record what is done.


Learn 3 letters a week is being very ambitious but we are going to try very hard to read and write Hindi letters so that if we go back to Indian curriculum we will not struggle..

Other than studying,


It is my deep desire you start swimming lesson with a serious note this summer. We have to really hope we find a teacher and you can swim at least 2 to 3 times a week.


Mama will teach you how to play draughts by end of summer hols so that you can play with your sister. You now know tic tac toe and you need to still improve and follow rules.


We will draw a lot but mama is not sure if I can find a teacher for you. But we will get Tanya to teach you what ever she had done in Alpana Aunt’s class at least once a week.

Skating and Cycling
We can try to learn if we go to Singapore any time.
Miss Amy will start half hour sessions for you and see how it goes.

So this is summary

Monday Swimming
Tuesday Drought
Wednesday Art
Thursday Piano
Friday Art/Swimming

We love you lots

Your loving Mama and Papa.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oil Painting

Painting 3

The third painting

The simple steps she followed!

Oil Painting

Her second painting class .

I managed to get a few shots so that any one can use it to paint.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Oil Painting

Here are two shots of the same picture to give you a feel...please bear with my photography skills!

I was excited to blog a picture of my 7 year old daughter Tanya's first oil painting.
When I found a place that is willing to teach kids I said lets go for it. All materials are provided and the teacher painted the entire picture on a different canvas encouraging Tanya to follow.There was very little spoken as teacher knows no English.

Please post your comment. I thought it was wonderful. A great experience for a 7 year old.And guess I was more excited than she is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Expat Living

I completed 35 years of my existence today and one feels that somewhere you are half way through considering an average life expectancy of about 70 years.

I thought it would be a good time to look forward immediate and far beyond and review the past...

And I was lucky as a good neighbour of mine have taken the girls to play at her house with their daughter so that I can think and update my blog which I would definitely want to read when I am seventy hopefully Google keeps it free still....

When I looked back I have spent my life over in 5 places...I have considered only places where I lived at least a year.

Kochi - the place I grew up till I was 10 and went on to do 6 years of college and the city I met my wonderful husband.

Ooty - I spent a year in a boarding school.- really dont have too many memories..

Kodaikanal - most of my middle school and high school - yet another boarding school.

Bangalore - my entire working life( about 10 years) and first 8 years of married life.A city we would live in if we were to live in India....great memories... good friends....

Singapore - 2 years of my life - which I enjoyed - motherhood - and opened my eyes to beyond what India had to offer. - one of the most fulfilling experiences meeting different people with varied culture every day...I did every course I could lay hands on and tried every thing you can from home horizons of thought have definitely gone far and wide, and I have begun to understand a job is not all that life needs to be successful....people have been successful even working from home and I met atleast half of them while I was in Singapore...great inspirers!

Taipei - soon will be a year - fulltime home maker doubling up as maid too....and living in a land where no one understands your language and sometimes coping with challenges to how to get to a shop considering the taxi driver has to be told where to go in Chinese.Any little information helps here to get things done...

Life is now at a hardly matters....yet the innate urge to be successful beyond family matters still lies deep within my heart also I feel if I dont put in practice all the life skills I picked up at Singapore its just not right...My husband has indeed been a constant source of encouragement and shows immense faith something will come out of it all. I often wonder where he gets his deep conviction from...

Yet the priorities on family...bogs me down everyday and they look endless...
Getting Riona to read well is the top most at the moment...and its driving me crazy daily....I am not sure how I coped with Tanya but I think focusing on one child and having a helper may have the moment coping with two kids in an alien environment has been challenging and I keep consoling myself nothing else should take priority...
and getting Riona to where Tanya is at 7 is the real goal so I am doing what it takes as there is very little help you can find in Taipei in terms of classes and avenues to go for enrichment courses for kids...

I sometimes feel you may be assessed finally by your kids by what you did for them as a child....or I guess you will assess yourself where your kids are 20-30 years from now.

Today Tanya can fare decently in all her academic pursuits.
She can sing well , dance well , draw and paint well play piano to a limited extent , swim well, skate including ice skating. She can speak Malayalam and can read and write Hindi apart from English. She probalby can say about 100 words in Chinese too...These are some basic life skills and I am grateful to God every time I see my daughter doing any of these activities...I still know she needs to learn cycling and one sport, yet they are desires and things I want my daughters to know...but hopefully that will happen when we are in a English speaking environment.

So getting Riona to this level is top priority and the challege seems endless...2/3 years from now I hope I can see Riona do all of these.

Apart from that I remember countries we have seen as a family.


We have great memories of these trips and every time Sedj packs for a business trip these days you can hear a prompt question from the kids .." Papa are we going to another country to live?"

Moving places have already become a part of their life ...and they know they need to adapt....Tanya is already convinced that she has to make use of opportunities she gets...she often remembers and appreciates some of the classes like art / drama she attended and even says they were so good.....Riona is still lost but knows we wont be in Taipei for ever and keeps wondering which would be the next city.

So all in all I had a quiet day at home yet noisy with 3 kids ( my daughters and a friend's son ) all day playing at home and my husband thousands of miles away.....
Tanya wondered couple of times amidst her playing why Mama didnt cut a cake and Riona was "obviously oblivion" but they had a great time whole day blowing bubbles, playing with balloons, drawing sketches of tigers and boats....

I have learnt to thank my God for each wonderful day.....and to have these great relationships as a family...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Summer Holidays

Tanya's Summer Holidays

We are done with one week.
Tanya caught up her Kumon sheets till May 15th .
She painted a picture of Panda so her first painting is over for the hols.

We attended two birthday parties and enjoyed thoroughly.

Riona's dress up at the Birthday Party!

She started typing lessons online and just managed to master the first 4 letters fingering.
We went swimming and played basket ball too one day.
We visited the oil painting class and still wondering when to begin the class.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Summer Holidays

The best way to plan summer holidays I thought would be to write to my daughters the plans we have in mind so that they know and begin to understand how much thought we put into each of their days.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Our loving Tanya,

Your Summer Holidays

You begin your Summer Holidays tomorrow and perhaps one of the longest breaks you will have since you started going to school.

You are 7 years and 6 months now and this is what Mama has in mind for you to do this summer.

Fun Activities


You will focus on free style and backstroke and build stamina.
I think a good target will be 5 laps of 25 mts at a stretch of each stroke, so we are definitely going to swim a lot.


You need to continue to focus on chess so we will play at least one game every day and you must note down how many moves you took to win or lose.


We need to focus on one painting a week and be focused and work on it. May be Wednesdays are a good day to start and complete by Saturday.
I hope to see about six good paintings from you this summer. Mama will check out oil painting class and see we can go for at least 4 classes so that you can get an idea of how it is done.

Ice Skating and Skating

We should perhaps skate on every Tuesday in the compound and complete the one class you have left in ice-skating as soon as possible.

Miss Amy will continue to come and we need to get you theory upto the level you learned in Singapore lets dedicate Mondays for that. This will help you to be all set for your voice training class in fall. We also need to sing A Whole New World once a week so that you wont forget.

So this is summary

Monday- Focus on Piano/Sing a whole new world
Tuesday -Skating/Chinese/American Money
Wednesday -Art
Thursday- Hindi/Malyalam
Friday- Typing


Mama has a trip planned to Singapore and then we should perhaps learn cycling so that you can cycle without support.


Mama wants you to learn typing focusing on the right fingering. We will have to find this out somehow and perhaps get started these holidays so that you can type accurately without actually looking at the keyboard.


Life becomes meaningful when you overcome challenges.

Some of the challenges you need to overcome this summer is doing
1. atleast one side of Rubix Cube,
2. learning to play Taboo and
3. Scrabble with all the rules.

Now finally after all the fun the only thing we need to focus without choice is Academics

We have been sloppy in Kumon so we need to catch up.

Till June 15th we are going to focus on catching up so that we can be current and back to doing just the daily worksheets for 20 minutes everyday.


I want you by the end of Summer hols know all your multiplication tables till 16. You already know till 10 so we have another 6 to go.
So the target is week of
June 11 – 11 times table
June 18 – 12 times table
June 25- 13 times table
July 2 – 14 times table
July 9-15 times table
July 16- 16 times table

We need to do a page a day from Maths Ahead 3 so that by August 16th we are at page 45 at the least.

Also every Tuesday we will revise American money so that it is not a challenge for you in Grade 3


Every Thursday we will focus learning a lesson in Hindi. The objective is that you will not forget to read and write and in the due course pick up meanings of some words.

Although you knew all alphabets and it’s the the first time you are going to be away from India for more than 6 months you need to read and revise the little Malayalam you knew we will read the small books we have and familiarize with some words on Thursdays.


Every Tuesday we will revise one chapter Ms Hsia has taught else you will forget all that you have learned….

Mama has also put you for a 4 week fun course in Chinese where you will some learning in the morning and lost of fun activities after ward…. It is very important for us that you can read write and speak Chinese and this will always will be an advantage to you as an individual when you grow up.


Last of all we need to focus on English…

We need to brush up spellings and write journals.

The idea I have is

June 20th onwards we learn spellings and meanings of one letter so that in 4 weeks are done. I want you to be able to spell all words on your spell-write Steno book.

Also you will write a 200 word journal every Monday which we will type and email perhaps to mama and papa, to your best friends and also publish in your website on what you have been upto during these holidays.

Before I sign off you must have lots of fun and grow up to be a more beautiful lady after these 10 weeks of holidays…you must also help your sister Riona to begin to read so that you both can enjoy reading to each other by next summer holidays.

We love you lots

Your loving Mama and Papa.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Tanya's first singing performance.

Tokyo japan

My Japan Trip synopsis will not be complete if I dont write things that made a note to me while I visited Japan.

Every one used a Handphone that is foldable, or with a sliding screen. In the four days I spent in Tokyo I could not spot even one handphone which was not in this category.

It was easier to get around and most people could recognise the English words and what you are trying to refer to.

Smoking was rampant and even fast food joints had designated floors for smoking.

Food was good and tasty....we could actually eat any kind of food we tried.

Narita Airport was very impressive and one could get the pulse of a city that plans at least 20 years ahead just by its sheer size and capacity.