Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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
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
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:
Disney Parks -both
Saturday, July 25, 2009
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
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
Only activity we managed to do is the Pirates of the Caribbean (Activity 1)
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)
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...
We did all the rides - Peter Pan's Flight,Mad Hatters Tea Cups and Its a small World!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.....
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
Let love level differences for you
Often allow forgiveness to flow from you
Eyes that speak your soul. evoking peace and joy in others too
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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
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
They are dated 17th July purposely and I may add afew thing till the holidiys begin
17th July 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
==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
Jardin Des Plantes
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
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!
Monday, July 06, 2009
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
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
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
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
8. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Tanya:she works on the computer
9. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Tanya:It will be for acting
Riona:I don’t know
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?
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
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?
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?
Friday, July 03, 2009
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
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.
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.
Clean and Tidy Kitchen
Order Online grocery
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
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!
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!)
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)