Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hectic Weekend!

How hectic can a weekend get...

Every Friday morning I am gearing myself for the weekend ahead...this gets even worse towards the end of a term.

This is a gist of how hectic a weekend can get!

On Friday, the girls go to StageCoach classes...so of we hit the road at 4:30pm and they are back home at 8:30pm just to relax with their "Disney Channel"...

On Saturday morning its a lavish breakfast which by the way means Dosa and Curry/Sambhar( but I just think its a lot of work) and off the girls to Mandarin class.....Well yes we try very hard to keep up their mandarin skills....so while we are off to the class the girls have to revise their spelling tests...which often we do in the car.....

Now this particular weekend...I dashed them back home for lunch...you must remember the lunch has to be prepared too and they are off to a Chess Competition....they had five rounds of play and I was very proud that R could manage to go and actually play...needless to say she won none but I think had a couple of draws....For T it was not the first time and she won one game out of five...they were happy receiving their participation medals and off we had to rush Tanya for her "Swimming Gala" which by the way she too part in all 5 events listed.


I managed to reach in time and then take S for his tennis match at the local racquets club...and rushed back to pick T from her Swimming event.

Then we all crashed for a well deserved sleep...only to get up and go to Church...( luckily R didnt have her Communion Preparation class...After Church we yet again a lavish breakfast(thats what the girls like best), then catch up on all homework...followed by T's regular swimming session of one hour....

Please note all meals have to be made and that doesnt end our weekend...the girls have to practise piano so that they are prepared for Monday lessons...they have a long day follwed by chess for an hour after school to be followed at home for Mandarin HW tutor....so by the end of Monday we draw our "Hectic weekend" to a close.

And enjoy the rest of the week!

From my window!




Nov views from my window!

Autumn

Its my first hand experience of Autumn....

It was a great feeling to enjoy this season as it is neither hot nor cold.....as long as it remained dry and not raining it was great!



Friday, November 13, 2009

Trip to Scotland



Outside Edinburg Castle

We set off on a Sunday morning to Scotland.

Our destinations was Glenrothes.This is where we had booked our stay.

We drove to Derby to visit an artist friend and went on to drive till the hotel stopping for essential breaks for fuel and meals!

Day 1

We were all charged up and decided to go to Ben Nevis our first stop for the cable car ride.!

The cable car ride was enjoyable and the view was spectacular.

Our next stop was LOCH NESS

We did a cruise in the Loch Ness and saw the famous 13th century - Urquart Castle...

A personal view on Loch Ness....it was a lot hyped .We had expected more picturesque surroundings!
We had an excellent guide though and we enjoyed hearing the stories of Loch Ness Monster!

Day 2

The next day we went to Edinburgh Castle.
We walked around the streets of Edinburgh and great city with a lot of buzz.
We had a great Thai meal as all of us got tired of our old fish and chips!
We went to a weaving shop that sold a lot of Scottish made articles.

Day 3

We drove to Argyll hoping to go to a sea kingdom.
We ended up in the Oban and went around the town.
We ate great Indian food around Glenrothes.
Check out these links the food was awesome....the last thing you would expect to do in Scotland -have Indian buffets every evening!




Day 4
We went to a Safari Park and the girls had a great time watching the animals.

The sea lions show was outstanding!and was well worth the time and wait!
We visited the famous William Wallace monument and went to St Andrews - the home of Golf!St Andrews seemed a town we would have liked to spend more time but glad we did go there!

We had another fabulous Indian buffet at Red Fort - an Indian restaurant!
Day 5

We headed back home to London.
We started at 8 AM and was able to reach home by 6 inspite of delays on M25!

For more photos - Scotland October 2009 and a few more Scotland II

Encounter with Blogger - Artist!




It was one of my desires to see how Niall worked....I had started reading his blog and admiring his work after my friend Preeti had mentioned it....

I finally got to see him personally and his wonderful work at his home.
He was kind enough to show my daughters how he made his wonderful pictures!and we were very lucky to have been gifted one of his prints!


Hope you enjoy the small video clipping!

Pantomime

T sings very well and her desire at 9 years is that she wants to be an actress.

I have a philiosophy when it comes to such desires...try to give them an opportunity....and then they understand is it worth aspring for! Well you can't make her fly a fighter jet if her ambition is to be fighter jet pilot but you can show her movies or expose her to lives/stories of fighter pilots.

So when the church we attend announced for auditions we promptly took her and she got selected for a small role...

It was all fun and she enjoyed all the way.

Most of our Sundays for two months went in 4 to 6 hours of rehearsals and practise, that meant a stop to a lot of academic pursuits I would have liked her to do like preparing for her 11+ entrance exams etc.

The show was fantastic and all those who attended loved it.....

Well, at the end of it T also realised "acting" is not her cup of tea and she rather stick to her singing!

Here is a few photos and a videos



T is in green and yellow in the photo!

This was the finale for the last show ( they had 4 shows!)


T is the slitheryslime in the middle of the three!




I am happy she realised it herself and chose to focus on her singing than acting!

First Day of School!



The two girls finally get to go to the same school!

Thats T's 6th school in the 4th country and R's 5th in the 3rd country!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seven Secrets of




It’s a privilege to be tagged (it’s the third time) and awarded (first time ever) by a famous blogger and author so I couldn’t refuse attempting:-

Seven Things that no one knows about me:

That’s not true but I will state facts that I think most people don’t know about me.

1. I like to help others and will go out of the way….That’s not the thing that no one knows about me but these days I try very hard not to go out of the way to help! And by the way its been very hard…..to do that as it not my nature….

2. I love to read the letters written by my husband before we got married (about a dozen of them)…I usually end up reading it when he is away for a long business trip and keeps wondering “what a gamble he took?” in deciding to marry me!

3. If you ever wanted to convince yourself not to buy something you badly “wanted” and not needed….give me a call….I will always tell you the worst things first……and I can assure you , you will reevaluate the decision to buy!

4. I am a licensed insurance agent ….don’t run ….I sell only to myself! When I wanted to buy insurance as a savings option I talked to over a dozen agents and figured out how little they knew so I finally did the IRDA licensing course and became one ….but the fact (Point 3)that I can tell you the worst things about every plan and policy almost nobody ever bought ( to tell you the truth I didn’t even try!)

5. I always admired people who can sell things and always wished my children can acquire that skill……

6. I want to make a million dollars in my life time to buy a home of my dreams. It’s my desire to make that money sitting at home and doing options trading. If you are thinking I have some Godfather who will give me the money…no I have USD 300( my capital )at the moment but still believe it’s possible.

7. I graduated (Bachelors Degree) before I was 20 and chose my life partner before I turned 21!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Brighton Beach



Summer was coming to an end.

It was the last weekend before the school began....

The girls have been wanting to go to a beach or water park....and so finally we set out to Brighton Beach a sunny morning!

As any other destination in UK....if you are wondering "What to see in Brighton" they have a wonderful website.

Although we did the needed research there was no sandy beaches in sight!....and their dreams to build sand castles could not be met!

For more photos click here! Brighton and Hastings

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fireworks - Acrostic Poem

A poem written by Tanya ( ofcourse with a little help from her Mom!)


Flickering lights almost blinded me as I watched

Illuminating lights over the Niagara Falls

Rare display of Fireworks I witnessed

Engraving lasting memories in my heart

Wondering how lucky I have been

Observing shimmering flashes frolicking in the sky

Rainbow sequenced colours that let you hallucinate

Kindling thoughts in mind that visualizes fantasies

Spectacular sights that lasts forever!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Determination

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Gail Devers


I loved this quote but thats not why I chose to write on determination.

I have a friend who lived by this quote!.....

We have been friends for over 20 years....while at college....over the years we lived in different cities and had only once a chance to live in the same city in the late 90's...Today we live about 3 hours apart and haven't seen each other since 2000.

about 3 years ago when we chatted both of us had discovered blogging recently....
I had just moved to Taipei and wanted to do something to keep myself occupied...while my friend anyways loved writing....so it was a great find....

Today she is a published author...and have over 100,000 hits....read her post for more details....and I have in comparison over 3500 hits...the difference is she stayed focused and determined to succeed...I love such people and admire them for their self discipline....

When I read her last post I was tempted to go and check her first few posts...
Today At the click of submit ...she gets dozens of responses....
Her first post

And this was the post I remember reading first though!

And now she had over 300 great pieces of writing and 100,000 hits.

As I said these individuals are living examples of determination and will to succeed!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Independent Homemaker: A Perspective!

The Independent Homemaker: A Perspective!

The Dependant Housewife

A quick read of this article posted on face book be a friend prompted me to write how different lives can be yet lot of similarities…..

The similarities being I bring home no paycheck, I have no deadlines (that is more serious than my daughters home work) and presentations (to convince my daughters why they should be self motivated!) and also I have a dependant visa!

I grew up with no career ambitions. Having brought up in family where it was not the norm for women to work out of home so I had no big ambition or dream…..but circumstances and life turned out in such a way that I had to work to maintain a respectable standard of living in my view….so I worked very hard about 50 – 60 hours over a decade in MNC’s.

The decade also included the fact that I got married and had my two children and was really struggling to cope with career aspirations, a demanding husband and two kids aged 4 and 2 that definitely needed their mother ……It was at this time that my husband’s company decided to move him to Singapore. Although it was a painful decision to leave what I called the best job I had in my life so far and I was doing well. I still took the challenge and we moved with the hope that I would quickly find something to do and get back to a working mother.

But things were different……I landed in Singapore with a dependant visa which allows you to work with written permission if somebody did offer you a job. It was a chicken and egg situation. No company wanted to do that- so you ended up not getting a job. Then the Head hunters would say we could find you a job if you have a PR status(Permanent Resident)…so as any one would do we got that done and realized the only jobs I was getting was not even paying me what I was earning in India and then the question arises is it worth it when you have a 4 year old and 2 year old at home…so I slowly, reluctantly gave up my dreams of continuing to work…..

I tried several courses, wrote some exams, tried teaching kids "money sense" but nothing gave me the satisfaction that I hoped to achieve. On the brighter side of things I did a lot with my 5 year old. I took her to several classes and exposed her to everything that was possible. But the test of your dependency on your spouse comes when we moved to Taiwan. Here I am in a country I don’t speak the language, drive on the left hand side and no domestic help and no Indian groceries.

On the positive side it made me make the best of what life has to offer. I began blogging for memories. Even I won’t believe some of the queer things I had to do.

I had to learn to cook and host dinners (never did I think I would need to do this!),
having to plan even sourcing from different countries for Indian groceries!

I had to drive the car on the left hand side everyday to take the kids. The girls went to totally different schools with different curriculums. I can write a thesis on pros and cons on any major curriculum offered in primary school. Just as I got a hang of everything and led a hectic life with lots of extra curricular activities for girls it was time to move on..

This time we moved to UK. Never have I been to UK other than a transit through Heathrow. I had to be on the road in UK searching for a home to live and for a school for my children to go to literally from Day 1 at freezing temperatures!.I must say my husbands contribution and knowledge was limited to buying me an “Oyster Card”, so I had to be independent to get going!

I would say these are bare essentials (home and schooling then car). My husband having take up a new job couldn’t do that other than weekends which means we would be homeless and the children stay longer out of school…and I must say I had to hold fort while he travelled even before we moved to our new home.

I must say these changes have made me ever so independent (hence the title!) yet I am dependant completely on my husband, as I said I bring no paycheck. Today, I am confident to move to newer places and settle into unknown cultures even with a foreign language.

Today I have friends from all over the world. Yet I find it strange people who have lived only in their home country know so little and have a narrower perspective in spite of internet and globalization. This is true be it India, New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada or anywhere else. People always tell you the great conveniences and wonder how I cope with these moves!

I have a need and have no choice but to raise my children as Third Culture Kids (“A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture.") I can’t but agree with David Pollock, sociologist that TCK’s are "The prototype citizens of the future." I spent a significant amount of time attending to my children. I understand their needs are different than my times.

We have traveled to several countries and cities as a family. And yet I know they (the children) are with you another ten years or so before they move to college and build their own independent lives. So may be it is worth giving up that job and travel all over the world and raise TCK’s with an Indian edge,.. , be a cook, maid, driver (possess over three driving licenses etc), handyman, secretary ( to my family, sometimes friends too) etc…

That does not mean I don’t long to work.
I still would love to put on that formal suit and commute to Central London for that Corporate Job….if some one did offer me one!
Even if that doesn’t happen I am happy being The Independent Homemaker.

But for now I am happy meeting new people, making friends, blogging , chatting with friends all over the world. Unlike Meeti don’t have all the time in the world which I long for! My “to do” lists are never ending I still have a lot to do and lots to catch up.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Riona turns seven

This is what I imagine Riona will be telling her children....in comparision I dont remember anywhere my parents had taken me except my grandparents while we grew up....we lived in the same home from the time I was seven...where my parents still live in contrast Riona lives in her 4th home in the 4th country.Call it Globalisation or progress!

==============================================================================
When you read these photos will help you imagine what I am trying to communicate!


When I was six I used to live in a country called Taiwan……and in a city called Taipei…( I am imagining and assuming she is not in Taipei)

We lived in a lovely “Big Home”.And for me that was home.my mum says if I get upset I would say I want to go back to Taipei!

I went to Taipei European School at 7:15 AM in the morning in a school bus….My mum really wanted me to play Tennis I whined so much so she decided to give it up….

I could not relate to Indian festivals so wearing Indian clothes was a lot of work…I did very well in my first very short piano recital….I took part in a swimming competition and swam 25 mts……

We played with sparkles on Diwali day in Taipei.I was a Daisy in Girl Scouts….My mum persisted so I went for children’s choir in the Church…
We loved to put up the X’mas tree…

Then we went visited our grandparents in Kerala for Christmas…

When we arrived back mum told us we are leaving Taiwan and going to a new country…

I did not understand but packers came and packed everything when I was in school and all my class mates said Good bye to me…We took a long flight and came to a cold country called United Kingdom….We were put up in a small apt….in Docklands….We had to go everywhere by walking and by trains….The only thing tht excited us was we had heavy snow for three days….It was the first time we saw a snowfall…Then my mum and Dad looked around and we went to see several houses over 50 of them I think until we found our present home….we were put in a new school and we had new uniform…..

Our home had very little things as our things took over a two months to come…Slowly my mum set up the house. We had bunk beds for Tanya and me. I used to sleep on top…

When all our things came…we began to go cycling in the evening around the compound.
We made friends…around the area…

I visted Wales and several castles in England…

We went to Paris and New York during summer holidays..
My mum said “you are a very lucky girl”
You have seen “London, Paris, NewYork and Singapore all in one year”

The Alpha World Cities in those days were
• New York City, London
Alpha World Cities +:
• Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo,Shanghai and Beijing

I had already been to all except Sydney,Shanghai and Beijing.

I always wanted to go to Australia as my teachers often happened to be from Australia …

My mum showed me a list of 50 most visited attractions and said …” we have taken you to lots of places…now you need to study hard and be a nice all rounded individual”

She often told us if we dont study and put in our very best the only jobs we will get is to serve burgers in McDonalds and she would be buying them from us....Hearing that used to make me feel upset and angry....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Family Values

Family Values

Six months ago

When I landed in UK the first friend /acquaintance I took to happened to be a lady from where my children got enrolled. She had a daughter who had in the recent past received admissions to a prestigious grammar school in the locality. On her visit home….(this is even before my shipment arrived from Taipei and I am just about learning to survive in a new country that I have never been before.), she had a huge bag of so called books she is passing onto a friend who intends to pursue the 11+ exams( which I am now familiar with).

She told me in several ways on why and how I should prepare my 9 year old as soon as possible for these tests….finally since I had another dozen priority things in my mind…I took out a new note pad and said let me take points from one what you are saying. So I diligently wrote down all the pointers she said also wrote the name of every book she had with her. I had no clue then why but I just thought it may become handy.

Now...

I am fully aware that my nine year old will have to sit for her 11+ exams next year that’s a way of ensuring a good secondary school for her unless you can afford private schooling. When I began to research I found most people are quite tight lipped on what they do currently for their kids and not “Very helpful” to give me more insights..since its a competitive exam and every one will not get a seat in these so called “Good schools”

So one Friday morning I recalled the 11+ conversation I had and remembered how I had taken a note pad an jotted all that I heard…However after unpacking 200 boxes I cant recall where I would have left the “notepad” I had written. So after dropping the girls for their Drama lessons I searched my entire home for the “notepad”There was no sight of it and I had no clue if I even threw it out by mistake.

On our way home I asked the girls by any chance did they have a notepad in which I had written about 2 pages very neatly…This is because I did not check their drawers not that they are locked but I like them to be incharge so don’t really open them unless very necessary .They prompty said no and the conversation was forgotten..

When we got home being Friday all that they do is watch TV and probably have a small pizza or snack…I was surprised they are not down watching television started calling out. While I knew Riona wanted to play computer games as she did not get access to a PC in the ICT club that afternoon but was very surprised why Tanya is not back…So after 10 minutes I went upstairs and I saw her going though every pile of books…we still have several I need to sort…So I told her don’t bother “Its not worth wasting your time on it…I will look for it”But she insisted "I know what you are talking of I will help you look for it".She even said it was a notepad you had offered me to use it but I decided not to…and suggested a few more places to look for and I found it in less than 10 minutes.. Even though I had searched for over an hour in the same places before….

Then she comes and says

“You know why you found it I was praying even in the car so that you find it”also “ Why didn’t you pray about it?”

I couldn’t do anything but hug her and thank her and was very happy that she would forego her TV for an “insignificant notepad” which she hardly knew if it had any value other than her Mom was looking for it

I am thankful that this showed she has inculcated two values:

There is a God and he is always there for me.An important value I want them to have.

She was considerate enough to look for something that was not important to her but to some one else foregoing her earned TV time on a Friday evening after a full day of school and three hours of drama/singing/Jazz classes.


Sorry if the story was long but really if I had lost that notepad forever it wouldn’t have mattered at all….but this made me realize so my daughter is indeed developing into her own unique being with some great values I want them to have!All that matters is that they grow to be good human beings! really!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Empire State Building

This was a really bad day...unlike our outing to Statue of Liberty!

We wanted to take the girls so that they can see the skyline of Manhattan but we got stuck in horrid weather and visibility was very low.

Anyways the girls enjoyed the NEW YORK sky ride.

We also took them to Museum of Natual History.

It was a great Museum and the shows outstanding.

Their spectacular SPACE show in the planetarium was fantastic.

Photos!

Performance

My sisters family had hosted a party and all the children were expected to put up a performance .

We were very proud of the performance the girls put up.



And Tanya sang "A Whole new World"

What to see in Washington DC?

We headed to Washington DC next morning ....Its a great city .....Its a must see.
It looked very different from all the other cities we had seen so far.

We took a HOP ON HOP OFF TOUR.
It was a fabulous tour every 15 minutes and we saw as many things we could.

If we had more time we would have spent a whole day at Smithsonian museums but with limited time we just browsed through the museum and didnt do any of the regulars events they had.

Photos

We took AMTrack train back to Baltimore from where we headed back to New Jersey.

The girls enjoyed it too and it was a pity we could not spent more time at the museums...

Family Day

After 4 days of sight seeing we decided to go slow as it was my nieces birthday.

The girls did "build a bear workshop "and we went back to Manhattan to do Circle Line Tours which gives a sightseeing cruise on Hudson.

We also walked through Wall Street and surrounding in Downtown Manhattan.

We went to the Grand Central Terminus too.

We headed back to go to TGIF for a birthday dinner..

What to see in Niagara Falls?

Well we took a tour bus and went and in retrospect I dont think it was good idea at all.

If I had researched more...we would have hired a car and driven down and possibly visited Totonto which is an hour away on the Canadian side.

As we had not planned there is only so much you can do with a group.
Its a great experience.

Its best to take a pass.

Enroute we also visited Thousand Islands which is part of a package bus tour.

On our way back they also take you to the Corning Glass Museum- one of its kind in the world.

Photos

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

A bright sunny Saturday morning we set out to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty...

As expected thanks to the great weather there were large crowds...

One tip to the furture traveller ..always books your tickets in advance.
Only advance tickets allow you to go up the monument...

Since it was a clear day we got an awesome view of Manhattan Skyline..

The photos will reveal how clear the day was

Her is the link

Friday, August 21, 2009

New York City Pass

Once we were up next morning, we knew we had to get going and decide what we can do in terms of sight seeing!

So we were dropped at the nearest bus stop to take our bus to Manhattan....
We did not realise that it is going to cost 15 USD for one return trip so if four of us have to travel to Manhattan where all the sight seing is its going to cost us USD 60...well we bought the tickets and headed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art...

Here we decided to pick up a New York City Pass for USD 79 per adult!

The card gave us access to

Empire State Building Observatory
American Museum of Natural History & Rose Center
Guggenheim Museum
The Museum of Modern Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and
The Cloisters Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
OR
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

It also enable us to avoid queues at the entrance...so it well worth taking it at one go....


So our first visit was to The Metropolitan Museum of Art..

Having seen the Lourve a week ago...I must say it was too much of museums on our way...but it had a great representation from the world over...
Here is a link to the photos!

Destination USA

Like I always say.....there are two reasons I write about where we go as a family....

Reason 1
========
I know children will forget as their encounter newer facets of fast changing life...
so I want my notes to remind them what we did as a family together...also what the world looked like when they were children....

Reason 2
========
I also hope some soul will find my tips useful and can avoid some pitfalls we make on our trips...

Unlike other holdiays...I did no research on this trip....for once both of us had visited the US on official trips and also we were staying with family.
Needless to say after our hectic trip to Paris...there was no time to breathe...so here we take a flight on July 30th,2009 to NEWARK....

The girls were told just days earlier and they were too excited about "going to America" and also for getting to spend time with their cousins...

So here they are off to dream "Destination USA"

This is a list I maintain to tell them they have travelled widely!

1.India,(Bangalore,Kochi,Ooty,Kodaikanal,Goa)
2.Singapore,
3.SriLanka ( Colombo),
4.Malaysia ( Kualalumpur, Johor,Miri,Genting Highlands),
5.Brunei,(Bandar Seri Begawan)
6.Japan ( Tokyo,Hakone)
7.Hong Kong
8.Taiwan( Taipei,Kaoshing)
9.New Zealand ( Auckland, Taupo, Napier,Paihia almost all of of North Island except for capital city Wellington)
10.United Kingdom (Wales, London)
11.France( Paris, Versailles)
12.United States


We arrived past midnight local time to be picked up by my brother in law and 8 year old niece( I believe she was too excited and insisted on coming)...We had an elaborate dinner home cooked by my sister. The girls continued to play for a couple of hours because of sheer excitement..... till just exhaustion led them to their beds..

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Behind the scene

This video was taken at Walt Disney Studios Paris! We loved the experience!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Louvre




This is a museum.... I can't really explain the beauty and intricacies...of all that is displayed there... Its a huge collection and some of the size of paintings are larger than the floor area of my home...and it has over 35000 pieces of art...and you really cant do justice in 2 or 3 hours....

but as I said earlier...I am glad we went and saw the rich heritage of France....

Here is the link to few photos we managed to take.

We had lunch after wards...and was disappointed that we could not do any shopping as most shopping centres are close don Sunday...then we headed off to hotel to catch our train back...Needless to say we were really tired and was glad to be back on our own beds!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Notre Dame Cathedral



We took the Batobus service and went to Notre Dame...

What a Church and what architecture....

It allows you free entry and a mass was going on at that time....

A link to its history!

We had dinner overlooking the Cathedral before we headed to the hotel after a walk in illuminated Paris!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eiffel Tower


We headed off to Eiffel Tower....The crowds were unbeleivable...so if you are visitng Paris on a weekend in Summer give yourself an hour to queue apart from the travel time!

They were also all kinds of people begging , touts selling souveniers...

It reminded me of any tourist destination in India....

I was several times approached by ladies who ask you for money ...the first question they ask is "Do you speak English?"Then they show you a written "Sob story" and start pestering you for money....I learnt my lesson soon and started saying NO..I don't speak English and it worked..atleast they didnt pester!

Even the toilets had a queue and you needed half hour to access one...

Was quite disillusioned by all this....but the view from top of the Eiffel tower was out of the world...we had clear skies...and the enginering marvel cannot be but admired....
A slice of the view from the Top Tower

Eiffel Tower at night!

We have so far done:
Day 1
Disney Parks -both
Day 2
Versailles
Eiffel Tower

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Versailles


Day 2 Morning

We set off to Versailles and reached before 10 AM as planned

The queue was long and we ended up queuing in for tickets then for entry and security...

The palace itself was well worth a visit...

The only foolish thing I ended up doing was buying a ticket for the palace and the gardens....but we really didnt have time for both...so if you have less than 4 hours buy a ticket only for the palace....

In case you are as ignorant as I am -It is one of the world's heritage sites and represent the finest and most accomplished achievement of 17th century French Art!
King Louis XIV installed his court and government there.

We never had time beyond the palace...

There was indeed a lot of crowd not sure if this was a regular weekend phenomenon!
The palace is well worth a visit...and the size and magnitude will surprise any one of modern times!

I am grateful to my cousin who had insisted that we do this if we visit Paris...atleast you have an idea of whats there!

Here is the link to photos

Versailles and Eiffel Tower

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paris - Disney Land Park

Paris - Day 1

We had consciously chosen to do the DisneyLand Park - the first day so that the kids find the trip fun.

One of the tips I can offer is buy the tickets before hand online its cheaper and you save the pain of standing in one queue.
At the gate do not forget to ask for a Fast Pass....it really helps if you know what u want to cover...I did not do much home work on this as it was not my first Disney Park....so kind of knew what to expect.

It was crowded( perhaps because of summer holidays) although most activities could be done within an hour or so..

Anyways it was divided into

Adventure Land
==============
Only activity we managed to do is the Pirates of the Caribbean (Activity 1)

FrontierLand
============
We actually never ended up doing any ride there...although we managed to take Fast Pass tickets for Big Thunder Mountain - (the wait time was 180 minutes)

Main Street
===========
We roamed around in a lot of shops...and had Pop Corn at 7 Euros that is around Rs.500/-...although Candy Floss was half the price of a pop corn!!
It did rain....I had brought raincoats for the girls...so it didn't disturb our plans...and so make sure u check the weather for the day...

Fantasy Island
==============
We did all the rides - Peter Pan's Flight,Mad Hatters Tea Cups and Its a small World!
(activities 2,3,4)
Adventure Land
==============
This is where we spent most of our time and the girls enjoyed these the most!
Buzz Light Year LAser Blast ( 2 times) (Activity 5 and 6)...
Videopolis- We had bothe lunch and dinner watching disney movies here!
Star Tours - Riona loved this and was her favourite ( Did that twice! ) ( Activity 7 and 8)-a spaceflight simulator
We did Autopia (Activity 9)

Then we still needed to cover the second Park
Walt Disney Studios Park

We did Armageddon Special effect (Activity 10)
Cine Magique - (Activity 11)
Stitch Live (Activity 12)
Studio Tram Tour (Activity 13)- This was just fantastic....

We also went on disny train...(Activuty 14)

All in all it was a hectic and fun day for kids...
We did not wait for the fireworks as it was at 5 past 11pm...was jsut not sure if the girls can take more than 12 hours of non stop activity,,so we finally left at 10 pm to head back to the hotel for a well dessrved sleep!



Here are the photos taken - Disney Photos!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paris by Eurostar

It was the first time any of us have been on the Eurostar.

There was a sense of excitement and apprehension on what would be the procedures.

Once you reach St Pancras International you first clear security check in and swipe through with your ticket.

Then you have immigration by French authorities and then the boarding.The whole process does take about half hour so it makes sense to be there an hour prior to departure.

If you are a group travelling like we were it makes a lot of sense to have a tables style seating where you face each other...else its like a flight - row of seats.
It has two coaches selling some basic food sandwiches and snacks.

The Eurostar experience was nothing "out of the world".Although when you read the history you can help but appreciate the wonders of "engineering" behind it

It was just another train journey.

We felt it was faster after crossing the Channel in France.




We arrived in Paris and decided to take a ticket on the Metro to the hotel!

We also bought a 3 day Metro Pass that will allow us to use all trains in the six zones in and around Paris.It saves a lot of time other than buying tickets each time you board the train.

The Metro journey was not as pleasant as I perceived it to be.
It was crowded even at that time of night.Trains were not vry clean and all the glasses had writings of several types on it.

We were happy to be in the hotel by about 11 PM all set to start a early morning the next day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paris

We are all excited about our Paris trip.

There is so much to plan for a trip to another country.

The girls are busy catching up their Kumon worksheets for the days we will be away....

And for the first time my 9 year old started working on her homework sheets without being told....hmmm!...I am really wondering if that happens everyday a lot of my checking on her work will stop!....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mandarin

I am quite happy we finally found a Mandarin Tutor for Tanya after extensive search.
As parents we have not been very succcessful in teaching our children other languages.So when they had to learn Mandarin in Taipei we made it a point to pursue it with full vigour.

Its a great language and I would say one of the emost difficult to learn.

So the holidays started with her first Mandarin class in UK.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I am learning English

I was told by my friend we must go "punting" in Cambridge and for some reason I thought it sounded lie "ponding" and kept wondering what it is all about.

The "Punter" I was used to is more a trading with a gambling mentality and so had no clue what the word meant.

Here is what I have discovered about it.

punt as a noun
A kick in which the ball is dropped from the hands and kicked before it touches the ground.
as a verb
To propel (a ball) by means of a punt.

as a verbal interjection

1. To execute a punt.
2. Informal To cease doing something; give up: Let's punt on this and try something else.

Other meanings

1. Games To lay a bet against the bank, as in roulette.
2. Chiefly British Slang To gamble.
3.The indentation in the bottom of a champagne or wine bottle.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cambridge

We had friends over from Taipei who was living in Cambridge.
We decided th visit the Boyden's in Cambridge which is a good two hour drive from Croydon.

There is so much to do in Cambridge although our purpose was to meet with friends!

The best site for info on Cambridge


Here is a link to photos!

We ofcourse went "punting"( not gambling as I understood till I reached Cambridge!) in River CAM!

We had a lovely time!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wasabi


Somethings that I love about UK.

I started eating Sushi a few years back.The reason I never ate earlier,I just didn't know what was invloved in terms of eating it right!

One day a good friend took me to a high end supermarket in Taipei and gave me all the details of how to eat it and how to pick up,,,,, ....from then on I always had Sushi...but it never struck me what is WASBABI in terms of its contents!

Then I come to UK and see Sushi in every supemarket...and what impressed me is the contents of Wasabi written on every packet in English!

So finally I know it is made out of "Horse Radish"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kenilworth Castle

We had to be on the road to join a family for lunch in Milton Keynes, we thought we might as well visit one of the castles in the area.
While the Warwick Castle in the area is very famous , we chose not to as you would need a full day to do justice and also to get the money's worth.
so we chose the less famous Kenilworth Castle.

Here are a few pictures!

Its a castle in ruins.Its amazing to know that it served as a royal residence for five centuries.I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you want to have a quiet time admiring nature's wonders!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Best Piece of Writing I have Received!

I am still unpacking though not daily and I have about the last 10 boxes to go....
This was the highlight of my unpacking...Ever since I started blogging - 3 years ago ... I wanted to share a piece of writing I treasured very dearly! but somehow I had misplaced it in some file to make sure I dont lose it.....I came across it today! and thought let me scan it immediately

Here is the scanned copy.





I have typed the words below incase the copy if not readable.....It was written on
11th March 1987 ...twenty two years ago.....



It read


Vinoo

Remembering you woth love, and
Everyday shall think of you with joy!
May your future be one of fulfilment,
Every enterprise enabling you to grow.
May persons whom you encounter meet you at your
Beautiful personality level.
Even when friendship is challenging take risks,to
Respecting,reflecting and responding to others.
A rare person you are a special one Vinoo
None have I found so steady, a firm stand-by to truth.
Clarity of mind in so young a lass, has been, shall be
Ever a cause of pride and delight to me.

Offering you Love
and
Friendship always!

Let love level differences for you
Often allow forgiveness to flow from you
Vinoo
Eyes that speak your soul. evoking peace and joy in others too

Thanks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chess



This was T's first Chess Tournament!

Well she was not amused at all as they need to play 6 Games one after the other...

I felt it was a good experience to have and did not matter what the results are!

4:L 8:L 9:L 10:D 12:D 3:L

Her result- 2 draws and 4 losses....

She wasn't too pleased about it as evident from the photos!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer 2009

This is my letter for my 6 year old who turns 7 in Summer.

If you are thinking can she read all this...I have to write one else she would be very upset her sister received one.Also by personality she likes to see the end result before she starts doing anything...so we may have three /four printouts because there will be time she will get frustrated and will try to colour all the boxes at one go...so to get her TV time....we'll see...after summer I will definitely post if we achieved anything...its not that we will achieve everything but it will help in getting some things done!And thats considered GREAT! than not planning at all...

Here is a her letter!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Holidays

One of the things I have tried to do last few summers is write a letter to my daughters on what summer plans we have for them.

They are dated 17th July purposely and I may add afew thing till the holidiys begin

=================================================================================

17th July 2009

Dear Tanya,

We are all set to begin another summer holidays. This time we have 6 weeks in all so if we leave weekends out we have 30 days of no school.

You have had a fantastic academic year this year starting from Taipei where you did great in Grade 4 till December. Your Class teacher had great things to talk of you…
You actively participated in swimming; Actors Workshop and singing through out the semester and your winter performance for Chanterelles was outstanding.

You also worked very hard and took your Test of Proficiency in Mandarin for beginners .We were happy that you manged a score of 58 out of 80 although you missed the pass mark of 62 by 4 marks .Its still a great achievement for an eight year old.

In 2009 you moved to a new country which was as unfamiliar to you as it was to us..
You have settled down beautifully to 2 schools. The first school which you attended less than 15 days you had three friends giving you friendship notes and it was brilliant that you can adapt so easily.

Then you joined yet another school where you were in school merit book in the week one itself for settling down fast.

We are very proud the way you have adapted and enjoying your new schools.
You have had excellent report this year including the fact you are significantly ahead of your peers in English, Science and Math’s. You were also thrilled you are one of the best swimmers in your Year group….how different from the peers you had in Taipei.
Great going and we want you to keep up the good work in all the areas.

You also participated in an outreach dance session during your mid term break and performed a minor role in a musical.

We started going to a new Catholic Church regularly and you worked really hard at your First Holy Communion classes and is enjoying the Pantomime Practice.

You began to attend Chess after school for the first time and took part in a tournament where you had 2 draws and 4 losses. Remarkable for the first time!. You presumed Choir and Piano classes and was confident to have a piano recital after the second class.

The most significant change in you in 2009 your sudden interest in reading which was not there till now. We are very happy now that you can read for long period s of time and enjoy reading fiction…we need to start reading some non-fiction too…Great going so far!


Papa and Mamma has planned two holidays for you….

We will take you to Paris….for 3 days the highlight of the trip being a day at the Disney Land. This would be your second Disney Park that you have been lucky to visit. And we think you really deserve this treat and to top it we will be planning it with your friend Neha.

The next holiday we are planning is going to be a big surprise but we promise you its going to be a lot of fun! And that will be for two weeks….so these holidays are going to be very different from last year you spent in Kochi and Singapore.

So we are left with other 15 days at home (about 3 weeks) to work on all that you need to achieve ……


Here are the things we plan to do.

Mandarin:

You have completely lost touch as we had no time and interaction in Mandarin. You will need to catch up Book 1 in 5 days to be ready for Level 2 classes come September. We just completed class one and the teacher is really confident that you are capable of catching up and more.

ICT
We think its time for you to spend more time on computer at least an hour a day.
We will divide that 15 minutes of Typing , 15 minutes of some ICT related assignments and tasks which Mamma will figure out, 15 minutes of mathletics and 15 minutes of other items which we will soon plan out!

Hindi and Malayalam

We had made significant progress in writing and reading these languages which you have not gone back for over an year. We hope you do at least one session a week so that you are in touch. We can’t but keep emphasizing that any language acquisition is going to assist you immensely through life.

11+ exams

We are yet to research and find out although your placement tests except spelling were below average. So it is important we work an hour a day to improve these scores.




Writing

We will work with some books we have that enable better writing. We will try to take a type of writing and do one piece a week.
So at the end of your holidays the target is 4 well written pieces you can be proud of.

Reading

You will continue to read and we will pick up some of the books you want to read from the library.You have so far mentioned these:

The Incredible Journey
The Wizard of OZ

Kumon

We will continue to have Kumon sheets during holidays as you have resumed after a long break. That will be an hours commitment daily and we are hoping you will be self motivated to do it without much prompting from our side.


So all in all we hope you will have a great summer holidays with lots of new things to learn and great experiences.

With lots of love

Mamma and Papa

Sunday, July 12, 2009

SATs

If you are doing National Curriculum in englan you are likely to hear "LEVELS" all the time

I got this some forum but thought would be useful as a guide for parents.

In terms of levels a general guide at the end of the year they should be -

year 2 - 2b
year 3 - 3c
year 4 - 3a
year 5 - 4c
Year 6 - 4a

This is only a rough guide - some will be above, some below.

(each level they start at c then move to b, then a before moving to next level)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When should my child have a mobile phone?

Mobile Phones is a very sensitive topic in our home.It is because my 9 year old finds even 6 year olds have a phone ....so her question is "Isnt it obvious I need one?"

Now I meet different kinds of parents from varied back grounds....

-One type who just gave in because the child pestered for too long!

-One type who thinks its the coolest thing to do - so the exact conversation goes "We are waiting for her to be in first Grade so that we can give her a phone"

-One type who says"We gave a phone .....because atleast we know where they are at all times" - Little do they know the child/teenager can always tell them what they want and not tell them where they are!

-One type who thinks the child becomes independent if they have phone!

It was interesting to read this article in the UK newspapers!


On Sale soon, The mobile aimed at four year olds
==============================================================================
My first reaction they will soon market a device that the child in the womb will be pressing so the Doctor in the hospital knows to be ready and Mom knows that the child is arriving in this world finally!
==============================================================================

Well its good to know if you are a parent when do you thing your child needs to be given a mobile phone?

Any thoughts out there!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spelling Age

As I continue to read and understand the 11+exams...one of the things I was supposed to find out is what is my child's spelling age!

Well it wasn't as bad as I thought they had given a list of words and you had to take a spelling test.

Since I had to take the test for T, I decided might as well take for R...the earlier you know where you need to improves it save every one a lot of trouble.

So one morning I kept both of them at the different ends of their table and gave the test.

My results:

T is 9 years and 7 months and has a spelling age of 14 years.
R is 6 years and 10 months and has a spelling age of 6 years and 6 months.

To be very fair I was not focusing at all at R and she was getting a little too distracted as a vast majority of words was way beyond her age...so I concluded she is probably just where her age requirement is....

The spelling age is arrived at the following formula:

Add up the total out of 50
Double the score
Divide this number by 10
Add on 5

So if T got 45 correct ,then double that is 90 divide by 10 is 9 and add 5 is 14 years - spelling age.
And if R got 8 correct, then double that is 16 divide by 10 is 1.6 and add 5 is 6.6 which is read as 6 years and 6 months.

So if you want to try here is a list of words

Choose any row out of the each pair of words...

Do let me know if you found this useful.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

11 Plus Exams

If you are wondering what that is ...I too was till I arrived in UK.
Having a 9 year old....one of the free advice I have received so far.....even without my asking initially is start preparing your child for the 11+ ....


So as usual I am well on my way to research and needless to say there is an information overload on the Internet...

So I have no choice but to design my plan and devise sensible strategies....so that my daughters can give their best and get to better schools when they are 11+...( meaning 11 years and older!


What have I done so far....read a Stress Free Guide of 96 pages....not sure how they called it stress free but I am fully stressed at the mammoth tasks ahead of undertanding what to do and preparing my execution plan!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What to see in Paris in one day?

One of the trips we plan to do these Summer Holidays is visit Paris!

As costly as it can get, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the World..so the trip will be short and we need to cover as much as possible.....yet after London it is the next best city percieved to be a "Must see" in the continent of Europe!

I have managed to short list a few places we must see finally...as usual after our trip you will get all the photos....meanwhile if you have any suggestions I will be really happy to hear!

Eiffel Tower

==Considered the lighthouse of Paris.
==identified as the absolute ssymbol of the city
==Built in 1889 for a Universal Exposition celebrating the centenary of the French Revolution of 1789.

Musee d orsay paris

A museum in a station

The history of the museum, of its building is quite unusual. In the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. So the building itself could be seen as the first "work of art" in the Musee d'Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.

Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Details of this can be seen under this link

Notre Dam

Jardin Des Plantes

Champs elysees

The Louvre Museum

Hotel De Ville

This is what I have researched so far?

Will keep you updated...finally what we manage.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Schengen Visa

What delayed my daily postings ?

It was Schengen Visa application

I was standing in the queue for a day after an appontment.
Then I was send back for additional documentation.
Then I spent another day to obtain the visa...

=========================================================


What is Schengen Visa

It is a visitor visa for travelling to 15 European Countries for citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa.

I believe these are the 15 countries but please do check before you travel!

Austria
Germany
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
France
Greece
Iceland
Italy
Luxemburg
Norway
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
The Netherlands

Monday, July 06, 2009

Annual Report

My girls received their report cards last week...it was the first time Tanya had to give her comments on the report card...

I was very proud of what she wrote spontaneously in less than 5 minutes.It may have been what she had heard us parents speaking here and there but I was just impressed what she had gathered and presented.

Here is what she wrote
"I think that I am capable of getting a better report but I am pleased with the report too because my general behaviour in class is great and I cooperate well with others"

Pupils comments on Annual Report

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Birthday

19th June 2009

Its been ages I feel since my birthday came and went.

I just wanted to jot down how it went so that I can recall when I get older.

Since hubby was away on business I was woken up by his call to wish me for the day at about 6 AM....since he would be on a flight rest of the day he just wanted to make sure I have been called and wished...just as I decided to lie down again my Mom calls to wish...she too "before I forget let me wish you"....thanks to the Time Zone diff they have all been waiting to wish me...followed by a call from my sister and brother from Goa..they were having a happy family meet ......

After drooping off the girls I decided to dedicate the day doing something for myself so I worked on redoing my resume for the UK maret...yes I still want to get back to work...its going to be a good long 5 years...but I am still waiting for the day.....

Had over two dozen wishes over facebook....from facebook friends....so much so I got couple of comments that said you must be very popular.

I had a college friend who took the trouble of calling me and another friend in UK.

The rest of the evening was packed with picking up girls , feeding them and taking them for their drama classes and to top it all had to watch a discney movie at 10PM - Princess Protection Program...They were unaware of the date and did not notice after all it was their mom's birthday...I quite like it that way else they would miss their father and since he was away for another week it would be too many stories to tell and explanations to give.

So thats what I did on my birthday...sweet and simple day!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mommy Interview

Reflections tagged me on this so I had done this earlier..but never posted on my blog...

These questions were answered in March 2009

1.What is something mom always says to you?

Tanya: “behave yourself”
Riona:Do Kumon,Don’t watch TV too much


2. What makes mom happy?

Tanya:If I study everyday.
Riona:When I do my Kumon

Feels happy that they get the point that education is one of the top priorities after behaviour in our family!

3. What makes mom sad?

Tanya:If I whine
Riona:when I keep watching TV

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Tanya:By saying jokes
Riona:when you say jokes

Never knew I did that...

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Tanya:no you never told me oh she had long hair and she was very thin now she is a big fat lady.
Riona:you were one year old



6. How tall is your mom?

Tanya:I dont know because u never told me
Riona:60 cms

Look at nine yearl olds tone...its all " you never told me attitiude not her responsibilty"

7. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?

Tanya:I don’t know because u never tell me
Riona:NEWS


8. What does your mom do when you're not around?

Tanya:she works on the computer
Riona:watch TV


9. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Tanya:It will be for acting
Riona:I don’t know

10.Why?

Tanya:Thats what I want to do

11. What is your mom really good at?

Tanya:U are not good at anything
Riona:She is good at helping people !


12. What is your mom not very good at?

Tanya:ironing
Riona:working

13. What does your mom do for her job?

Tanya:I don’t know u didn’t tell me
Riona:go to office and work

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

Tanya:chammanthi with appam
Riona:ice cream

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

Tanya:that she doesn’t embarrass me in front of any one
Riona:that she works in office

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Tanya:Pinocchio
Riona:don’t know

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Tanya:we don’t do anything together ? Do we?
Riona:kumon and sleep

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Tanya:We both whine..
Riona:we both have noses and eyes and hair and everything

19. How are you and your mom different?

Tanya:I don’t know she is fat and I am thin
Riona:u have white skin and I have brown skin

20. How do you know your mom loves you

Tanya:because she always makes up with me.
Riona:because she help us with all our work

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

Tanya:That he is thin and he doesn’t have curly hair.
Riona:His hair cut

This was news to me too!I never really looked for men without curly hair!

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?

Tanya:Costco
Riona:Singapore

Friday, July 03, 2009

Routine III

So far not bad at all...I have been doing what I have been planning....but I must tell you another day and I will get bored of the routine.
But till my home is in order I think its well worth it keeps me going till I open the 183rd box....and find a place for each item in a home that is less than 1/3rd of our last home!

Here are a few photos of the shipment - arrival





Thursday, July 02, 2009

Routine - II

Well Day 1 of getting myself to routine was not a bad start at all....

Well my first task of updating bank account that should at the most take 15 minutes took me 2 hrs....well it was due over 8 months and technology changes....the banks keeps supposedly changing user interface and make things more complicated every time I log in ...thats another reason for me to get this to routine task every month.....

The kitchen cleaning had to be a quick one else the online Grocery ordering wont happen and will have to live without grocery for the weekend!
Those two mundane tasks were established....

Job well done!

Well my mood was good with a feeling of self accomplishment when I read about a good friends daughter been diagnosed with ALL

The facebook message read
" I will be 3 years this September 2009. On 26/6/09 I've been diagnosed with Leukemia (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ALL)."

My heart went out to the family the Mom and Dad...and their despair....one starts wondering Why this ?Its an awful feeling that I cant describe....I am just hoping and praying fervently she will be completely cured and will come out of the hospital....soon....


Like I said these things make me feel really low....a great reminder of how fragile our lives and lifestyles and routines can be....

My daughter Tanya had an important day today....she went on her first International Day trip to France....She came back safely and they were back few minutes ahead of 6 PM as promised.



=================================================================================
Monthly Routine
Day 1 Update Bank accounts to a spreadsheet (3)
Day 2 Check any payments Due/Expiring
( I dont know about others but I always have something due or expiring this is inspite of me making most things auto debit....I recently had an insurance payment missed saying the I had filled in the date as expiring in APril 2009 instead of April 2019..)
The only mantra is keep checking.

Weekly Routine
Wednesday
Clean and Tidy Kitchen
Order Online grocery

Thursday
Clear Guest Bed Room
Everything that I dont find a place in my house gets piled in the guest room...so every week there is definitely something to clear....from books the girls to pull out...to puzzles left unfinished....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

ROUTINE

1st July 2009

Well I am going to take up the challenge of blogging every day yet again!

It makes me think if not anything else!also it gets me into some rhythm to the chaotic July when holidays start!

Apart from blogging I am going to append a few routines I like to establish in my life at the end of each blog

Here is an acrostic Poem on ROUTINE


Routine is what I have been hoping for



Only to be found often stuck in chaos.



Undoing things and regretting



Times that I wasted in get going.



In and out of the daily chores



No amount of self-motivation is yet to



Embolden me to a level of ROUTINE I am
hoping for !









Thanks for reading my attempt at Poetry....long since I have written one.

==========================================================================
These are routines I am trying to establish in my life so may not hold much relevance in yours but if it does do leave a comment I will be really happy!
============================================================================
Monthly Routine:
1st day of every month : Update Bank accounts to a spreadsheet (3)

(I have been wanting to do this for the last 5 years and often ends in chaos having to update it or seek information in desperation...an absolute avoidable pitfall...but still lacks self discipline.and why 3 accounts thats the minimum I need to maintain as banks always dont provide all services!)

Weekly Routine:

Wednesdays:


Clean and Tidy Kitchen

(I dont know about you but my kitchen can get disorganised in a week.I am just not a good housekeeper putting things back at its place and give that extra shine each day.
Wednesday is good day in my area as all garbage gets collected.Also it helps me to make a decent list for Grocery shopping.)

Order Online grocery

(I like doing this on a Wednesday as I do it online and get it delivered on a Thursday or a Friday depending on urgency.I cannot get everything in one shop ...so an extra trip will still be needed to an Indian store)

Friday, June 05, 2009

NaBloPoMo

With great pain and effort, I managed topost 31 blogs in 31 days...


What went well

It kept me thinking and wanting to complete a post every day!

What I learned

Blogging is really hard daily....and if you have a large number of people who are regular readers its even harder....I concluded its not my cup of tea to blog daily also not capable of doing justice to a large audience.
At the same time I thank the dozen individuals who stopped by my blog and left comments...thanks from the bottom of my heart...

What could be done better?

Be more organised and may be follow a theme....

Yet another view I disliked the idea of keeping in touch with real people I know only through blogs..I rather make that call and make that time and have a chat!..but its great to keep up with people you havent really met and still gets a peep into their lives.




Here is a summary of what I blogged about in 31 days


Wednesday, May 06, 2009 1 of 31 Blogging

Thursday, May 07, 2009 2 of 31 I am learning English

Friday, May 08, 2009 3 of 31 How long it took me to cancel a credit card

Saturday, May 09, 2009 4 of 31 Where is Taiwan

Sunday, May 10, 2009 5 of 31 Why do you read any one's blog

Monday, May 11, 2009 6 of 31 St Patricks and St Georges Day

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7 of 31 Bournemouth and Brown Sea Island

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8 of 31 Iam Learning English-2

Thursday, May 14, 2009 9 of 31 De-cluttering

Friday, May 15, 2009 10 of 31 Taipei 101

Saturday, May 16, 2009 11 of 31 Dosa Story

Sunday, May 17, 2009 12 of 31 Bank Holiday Weekend

Monday, May 18, 2009 13 of 31 The UK

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 14 of 31 Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 15 of 31 Plimsolls Iam Learning English-3

Thursday, May 21, 2009 16 of 31 NaBloPomo

Friday, May 22, 2009 17 of 31 Art Investment - I

Saturday, May 23, 2009 18 of 31 Box Files

Sunday, May 24, 2009 19 of 31 Art Investment - II

Monday, May 25, 2009 20 of 31 santhanam Krishnan

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 21 of 31 Wales Day 1

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 22 of 31 Art Investment - III

Thursday, May 28, 2009 23 of 31 Trip to Wales

Friday, May 29, 2009 24 of 31 Slate Slitting

Saturday, May 30, 2009 25 of 31 Things I ponder about

Sunday, May 31, 2009 26 of 31 SlumDog Millionnaire

Monday, June 01, 2009 27 of 31 Wales

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 28 of 31 I am Poem

Wednesda, June 03, 2009 29 of 31 Windsor Castle

Thursday, June 04, 2009 30 of 31 Camden Market

Friday, June 05, 2009 31 of 31 Blogging - 31 days

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Camden Market (30 of 31)



Camden Town overflows with a variety of colourful markets, shops, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas. The town attracts enormous crowds of Londoners and tourists ( a lot of Westerners I would say )alike.

I got to visit as my friend from Taipei had it in highly recommended list .If you have lived in India or anywhere in Asia these kind of markets are quite common....so I would give it a complete miss.....It was definitely crowded and buzzing with life...but not somthing I would like to do when in London!...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Windsor Castle (29 of 31)


We had a great trip to Windsor Castle with a friend visitng from Taipei....This is a "London - Must See" list for all my friends who like to visit London as a tourist.

Hiighlights were ofcourse The Queens Doll House, The State Apartments and The St George's Chapel!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I am Poem ( 28 of 31)

Here is a poem written by Tanya when she was 8 years old on a class assignment!

I am fun loving and clumsy

I wonder what I will be when I grow up
I hear rain pouring and filling the ground with puddles
I see Disney Channel original movies
I want a cell phone of my own
I am fun loving and clumsy

I pretend to be asleep
I feel like I need to increase weight
I touch the melting,slimy,unhealthy chocolate
I worry if I fail my exams
I cry when I am lonely
I am fun loving and clumsy

I understand that I am annoying to my sister
I say that someday I will see the Lord
I dream about wonderful things that happen to me
I try to be careful
I hope that I am perfect some day
I am fun loving and clumsy

Monday, June 01, 2009

Wales - Itinerary (27 of 31)

I think its always useful to have itinerary of a trip ...which will be helpful to future travellers.

If we had done some more research and detailed planning we could have covered one more attraction in the limited time.

Day 1 - 1 PM Arrival at Wales

King Arthurs Labyrinth
Corris Craft Centre
Dinner at Victoria Inn

Day 2

SnowDon Railway Adventure (book early to avail 50% discount - also it saves you waiting time)(If you have done some exotic rail trips like visiting Hakone..I would give this a skip do the electric Mountain.)
National Slate Museum
Harlech Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Beach ( very close to the castle and Royal St David Golf Club) cant remember the name they had on the sign board (Traech Beach)
Dinner at Castle Restaurant

Day 3

Slate LLechwood Caverns
Swallow Waterfall
Shopping at Anna Davies
Departure 1 PM

And for 100's of photos we took here is the link!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire (26 of 31)

I had an opportunity to view the movie recently and actually wanted to write a review.

Meanwhile I had a discussion with a good friend of mine who incidentaly told me that she had written a review.Just got a chance to read her review...it perfectly summarise my views on this....so decided to just link my blog to the article.

Also I loved the way she wrote and wanted to encourage her to do more such reviews.

Its in a magazine which becomes the living guide to you if you are an expat in Taipei.The Magazine Link

Here is the link...to her review.Once you open the magazine ..her review is on Page 16 and 17.
I would love to hear comments on the same.

And Anu...I hope this serves as an encouragement to kick start your writing career!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Things I ponder about (25 of 31)

These are things that make me wonder!...

This is a headline from Times of India.

First time in history, average Indian's income crosses Rs3000


If you are wondering how much that is Rs. 3124 is 66 US Dollars or 41 British Pouns or 95 Singapore Dollars or 46 Euros!

How much can an average Indian really do with 66 US Dollars of 41 GBP a month?....we have indeed a long way to go.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things that make you proud as a Mom! (24 of 31)

I never grew up as a very confident person and never belonged to the bubbly, daring sort if you understand what I mean?

I wanted my kids to be very confident though and be very sportive...Cant yet say if they have reached that yet..but this was one instance I felt proud...

This was in Slate Museum - the activity itself was not thrilling but when they asked for a volunteer my daughter promptly responded even before I could do the usual nudge....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trip to Wales (23 of 31)

The second day we set out to take the Sonwdonia Mountain Railway ..As the weather was really warm and sunny as expected there were crowds everywhere...Although we reached the venure before half past nine we got ticket only for 12:00 PM.So we went to National Slate Museum and a 12th century ruin before heading to catch our mountain train.

The mountain railway was not stunning as I had expected ....I was expecting it to be like a mountain trip to Hakone!

It had beautiful meadows and lots of people walking and biking along its different pathways.

We headed off to beach after lunch and had a great time before haeding off to dinner in the Harlech Castle Restaurant

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Art Investment - III (22 of 31)



This is another piece that caught our attention.Will write soon on the artist and his works.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trip to Wales (21 of 31)

Day 1

We set off on Saturday morning to Wales.Our destination was Snowdonia Mountains and Coast.You can read about all regions of Wales on this website.

We arrived around 1 PM....an hour later than our plan...but we did start late.... The drive was uneventful although last 20 minutes we struggled to find the location where had arranged accommodation.We stayed at a country guest house and they were wonderful. It was our first experience of a bed and breakfast(B&B) arrangement.

The other family arrived earlier so it felt good to be greeted with familiar faces. We quickly checked in and decided to King Arthurs Labyrinth We did the underground adventure tour and the girls had fun going around Bard's Nest, while the adults decided to shop at Corris Craft Centre. We loved the shop that I have linked here and was quick to pick up a pendulum Clock. If you go to Wales and are inclined to shopping this shop was well worth a visit. The shop is called Simply Leather Here is a picture of the variety we liked lifted from their website!



Then we had a relaxed dinner at Victoria Inn , highly recommeded by our host. Its a great place to relax and very kid friendly.


We did try to find the local beach and located too but was too tired to take the walk after a the long drive.So we decided to head to our rooms for a well deserved rest.