What is fun?

 Currently reading a book called The Happiness Project. Wow, what revelations lie inside it!! All simple ideas and principles but it makes sense. 

One of the topics is to ‘have more fun’. It resonates with my desire to be in touch with my creative side but feeling like I dont have time for it. Or more like I dont make time for it.

The question the writer brings is not how to make time (thats another chapter) but to find what is fun for you. She finds that things considered fun for some people are horrendously boring or irritating for her.

It makes me think… what do I find fun? Of course there’s a lot of fun things to do when there’s someone else there with you. Yknow, like jetting off to a another country, getting dolled up with your girlfriends. But sadly I dont have time off easily or have a set of girlfriends here to do things with. 

So what do i enjoy doing?

Lying down on the grass on a sunny day

Eating (good) cake with fellow cake lover

Reading a really good book in a cafe by myself

Walking aimlessly in a bookshop

Pretending to buy stuff in a stationery shop, when in fact I’m just admiring the prettiness of a notebook and playing with the different colour pens.

Sweating out in a circuits class (painful but gratifying)

Taking pics with my DSLR (which ive sold away now, sobs)

Writing is also fun. But it’s only fun when ada ilham or when I’m in the mood for it. 

I love discovering new places. I remember jogging to the very end of Pantai Muara, till you can see the Navy base. Kiki and I was so awestruck at our discovery, we felt we were Some Discoverers of the Land, amazed that we can go to the very end and that you can see the Navy base (though you dont actually see anything, was heavily blocked with boulders or something). And even if its like a new restaurant, it feels so nice

 I love hiking and enjoying the scenery. 
The thing is I like the idea of scrapbooking. I actually have procrastinated putting pictures in albums because its such a task! (pics from Zayan was born till now) 

And I think because I just want to tick the box, I’m no longer enjoying it. I just want to get it over and done with. And when its not finished, I get more stressed about it and deemed it as a failure of a task.

So what have I learnt from all this introspection?

1. I have to take my time when doing something I like. Or else I just suck out the fun in it.

2. Maybe I should regain my photog hobby again. That was fun. Husband, if you read this, you know what to get for my birthday >_<

3. Go to a circuits class at least once a month! (Just going to one is a miracle)

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Married to a Bedouin

I’ve just finished reading this book. My ultra short review here:  

 The sun is finally out. Nothing is better than drinking cuppa tea (and eating my biscuits secretly from the boys) and finishing a good book. Finally finished this book that I bought from Jordan. An unlikely story of interracial (international even) love and marriage and uprooting oneself to another world. Interesting stories about Bedoiuns and the life in Petra before the Bedouins moved out of Petra in 1980s.
When I first picked it up, I was intrigued. What made a Kiwi women decide to marry this Bedouin guy and live in a cave — and later a house — in Petra for decades (till his death – sorry spoiler kah tu?). 

Just last weekend, I was visiting my friend on way back to Leicester from London. She’s a Malaysian, married to a Pakistani and herself is half Persian. Her sister and English fiance was there too. It was a prime example (THREE examples) of interracial/intercultural/international couple that are increasingly on the rise. No surprise, globalisation, easy travelling, going to uni out of yor country. And now the cultural shift that interracial couples/families are becoming the norm. It was actually quite nice and entertaining to hear the men speak their Malay vocab. Aaron was actually trying to teach Zayan some Malay! (anakku paham panas tapi inda paham ‘sajuk’)

Mostly M and I put aside our cultural differences easily, mostly I think it worked because of our selamba nature, our family’s selamba nature and his family lack of strong emphasis on culture (and more on following the Quran and the Sunnah). 

I can’t think of the cultural differences that annoys the other, there must be some but tend to forget and not make a big deal out of it! I am not great at British humor – I dont find it very funny and equally when I translate in English, bruneian jokes ain’t that funny anymore.

By the by, we’re learning from each other and our kids may go interracial on us too one day. 

Love, me

Ps So cute my childminder, who is originally Senegalese but lived in Italy (and identify herself as an Italian), married an Algerian and their kid, Hamza, speaks Italian, English and a little Arabic. Zayan says random Italian words, like Aqua for water, and Hamza has started to say  things like ‘Aunty, I’m wearing blue baju today!’ He likes to say baju all the time to me LOL

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Things 4 year old say

Zayan says the darndest things these days.

Yesterday, I came home from work and was just pottering around. 

Zayan: How was work mama?

(ehhh ya pulang tanya aku and not me asking him as usual)

Me: mmm its ok. saw patient in clinic.

Zayan: Is it a boy or girl?

Me: Girl

Zayan: how sick is she? 

Me: not that sick. She’s ok. She’s got delayed speech.
*nods understandingly*
At dinner table…

Zayan: Ayah, how was your work today?

*His ayah started talking about patient with sarcoidosis and someone else with headache and bla bla – Clearly I wasnt listening* 

Zayan: Yess yesss.

Macam si banar!!


We read al fatihah together and by that I mean, I read it and he fimishes the line. Ok lah jaditah for now. And then he said…

“Mama, we say thank you to Allah when we pray.” 


“I want to thank Allah for my dinner …..

(lol nyaman tah sudah tu, credit to his ayah)

 …… and also …. having No-no (his aunty) come to our house tonight.” 

Like awwwww I would feel blessed if someone prayed thanks because I came over to their house!! 


I was out of the shower and getting ready to go to work when the childminder came in to the house. She went upstairs to get some stuff in kids room and then I could hear Zayan say…

“Aunty Aita, you can come upstairs because Mama is not naked anymore!”

(Thanks Zayan)

“Look Aunty Aita, look!!! Is mama beautiful????” His hands out wide, as if I was his prized horse. 

Zayan, you crack me up.

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Stop and reflect

Today, towards the end of my night shift with nothing much left to do, I opened my facebook and read a post on a dear junior from leics uni who has passed away in a car accident.

She was a lovely girl, friendly… she was easy to reach to. Some people who likes to ‘berdakwah’ – sometimes you feel intimidated, sometimes terasa like you cant be yourself. But she never pushed to intimidate/patronise and was always smiling. That’s how I remember her – always smiling.

I remember talking to this life coach and she said strive to have the characteristics of how you want people to remember you as. Not like ‘I want to be punctual’ (even though thats a good thing to strive for). More like you want to be remembered as someone patient or kind or inspiring or dedicated. Strive for that.

The news of her death evoked so many emotions and thoughts. Ya Allah, she was such a good person. If you decide to take me away now, what have I done so far? How much have I done? Not enough. Not enough.

The hadith by Muslim: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.”

Ya Allah, have I taught my kids enough? Can I make sure my kids, even though still young, grow Allah in their hearts already and make dua for me and their loved ones? 

Ya Allah, so many memories. Nida was a malaysian student in Leics. I felt pretty much like the adopted sister in the msian community back then. They were my hommies. I havent seen them for years. They were such a big part of my life, its sad that I havent seen them for so long. 

We get so busy with everyday life. Stress pasal itu ini, working day in day out. And for what? Nothing is more important than the bigger picture, the reason for our existence.

Alfatihah for Nida Fatin Mat Asis. 

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Yesterday I met two siblings in clinic, 8 year old and 6 year old. Can’t say much for confidentiality reasons but basically they got involved in a road traffic accident a few months ago. They are now paralysed hips down and on wheelchairs. Subhanallah, so young to go through all this. What I could see though are two bright, polite and sweet girls who are just kids. Their spirits were not broken even against such adversity. 

May they continue to have their spirits unbroken, go through this and know they are already winners.  

Sometimes, these kids are the ones who teach me to go on. 

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Arabic class

I have currently enrolled in an online arabic language class.

For years, I have tried to learn the language. I went for arabic classes , via the language department of the university, at fourth year of medical school and had to drop our after a few weeks as there were more and more uni work piling up. (I also went to French classes in uni and again dropped out. I blame medical school!) And then I bought books to help me with learning and tried to pick it up myself. I just got confused with the male and female thing that arabic language has and again, gave it up.

When Zayan was a baby aka when I was in maternity leave and I wanted to do something ‘productive’ (I know, I’m such a kiasu/tiger mother), I took up ‘Arabic with Husna’ class from Bayyinah/Ustaz Nouman Ali. It’s basically video recordings of Nouman Ali teaching his daughter Husna arabic language. So its like if this ten year old can do it, I CAN DO IT! I think I followed through a few online classes but had poor motivation. It was hard to keep continuing as it was just me and obviously it wasnt very interactive.

So, this year I saw some ad for bayyinah online arabic class. I paid for it and that was a few hundred pounds waved goodbye. I think the fact that i paid lots for it makes me want to go through this!! You join online class, get given textbook and workbook and even have discussion online classes. It goes in real time but it also has recordings of the class and discussion sessions. So for me, with variable work schedule, it is a dream.


There are four classes a week. That’s four hours a week. And for a few weeks now (being sick, on nights, holiday), I have been behind and not joined the live classes. I have been chasing and chasing after each class. Last week, I had 8 classes to catch up on and I was very close to just drop it. There’s no way I can catch up! Weekends are difficult to sit without a kid trying to get my attention or having to do some housework. Or really I just want to be with my family.

The only time I can learn is after the kids sleep (I usually fall asleep when kids sleep, so when I wake up at 10-11 am, I do some learning in my zombie state). Or when I have some free time at work. I do mostly clinics now, so whenever there’s time before or after clinics, I’ll put in some arabic time.

Initially, all these catching up was making me tired. And I was trying to rush through it and not really concentrating. After the holiday, even with all the classes to do, I realise that I just need to take my time and make sure I understand each class. Also the teacher has wisely said that I am not trying to achieve high marks in these classes (there’s a quiz every 2 weeks). I am doing this to understand the Qur’an. 

I am doing this to understand the Qur’an. 

InshaAllah, kalau niat baik, Allah will always help.

Another point she made was that we should be reading the Qur’an more to learn more and consolidate our learning. What a slap that was. I have slacked in my reading (tbh, I have never been a regular reader. I am more of a ‘phase’ reader aka when ikut mood or masa bulan puasa). Of course, if I want to learn the language for the sake of understanding Qur’an, I should be reading it more!!!

Anyway, I should get back to some learning.


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Jordan : Day 2

Ma’in Spa Resort

The white sheets, the luxurious comfy bed, the morning sun peeking through the curtains. Ahh what a feeling. If only this 4 year old boy would stop kicking me and poking at my hips (paling gundah this one).

We woke up, nada mandi, straight to breakfast with the kids still in PJs. I love, love, love the food there. Has combination of ‘English’ breakfast (pancakes, eggs cooked out of your choice) and the more typical arabic one – bread, hummus, yoghurt. They have 2 restaurants – one buffet and one ala carte. Having kids, it was just easier to go to buffet one, plus it was closest to the main hotel.

The scenery around is better appreciated with the morning sun. We went for a swim again at the thermal pool. I checked out the little cave attached to it, which is where water from the hot springs pools in. It was like a natural sauna in there, with no one in. WIN. My pores were opening up, I can feel it! I stayed for awhile there, just letting go any negative thoughts, leftover work stresses.

And then we had to go *insert crying emoticon* Wish we could have stayed longer and I could sneak in a spa/facial treatment, unfortunately the only slot available is at 3 pm. And we had to go by 12 pm and head to Wadi Musa, 3 hours away!

Dead Sea Panaroma complex

We decided to check out Dead Sea Panaroma complex. It was a very cloudy day, so what would have been great scenery of Dead Sea and  the mountains were obliterated. Ah well.

Top tip: DO NOT eat there. The food is average but MAHAL. Should have just eaten at Ma’in resort. A seafood platter (starter) cost us 35 JD, which is almost £35. Inda jua banyak seafood nya ani *kata-kata*

Off to Wadi Musa

Wadi Musa is home to the city of Petra. Let me be honest, I was asleep 3/4 of the way and so were the kids. Kesian M! Ok, ok, so I sleep on all the long car rides. I woke up, no longer having Dead Sea as part of the scenery but having all land around us. In fact, it was pretty much desolated around us. At some point, after a long long road surrounded by sand and nothingness, we came across a big sign ‘ROAD CLOSED’. Ahhh, what is this?? M turned the car around and an old guy, his face surrounded with wrinkles and creases from the sun, looking Bedouin-like, indicated us to go back to the closed road. “It’s ok,” he told us in his own language (that’s what we interpreted it as). He gave a thumbs up sign for the road. “Why does it say closed?” I asked. He shook his head and head, as if saying “It’s not bad”.


And you know what, the roads after that were no longer tarmac but in fact, road carved out on the mountains. Bumpy, sand and stones, not very wide and we were going up and up. I remained the calm wife whilst Zayan was none the wiser and sang more songs. Internally, I was thinking if we fell off the side of this mountain, nobody will find us for days! *dramatic much* We were the only car for miles and miles. Eventually, we could see a car or two coming our way (and the roads were wider), and finally signs of civilisation! Cars parked at the side and people sitting on the big big rocks, just picnicking with their family.  Alhamdulillah!!

In hindsight, M said that was a fun ride. NO IT WASNT!

Top tip: If you’re driving to/from Wadi Musa, make sure you AVOID dead sea highway. You can use kings highway instead which has good roads and would be faster.

Petra Kitchen

After a quick settling in at a cheapo hotel (boo, not Ma’in spa), we went to the reserved Petra Kitchen class. Yes, we went for a local cooking class. Initially, M was dubious and probably thought it would be cheesy or tacky or something. It was AMAZING. The staff were brilliant at cooking, friendly and was great at bringing us all together (us, an american grandparents and their grandson, half a dozen aussies). We were divided into two adult groups and a kids group. I joined the kids group (even though he suggested the ‘dad’ to join instead) – I figured M is the usual cook of the house, he should learn!

Our group learnt how to make the cucumber yoghurt salad (cucumber, yoghurt, mint) and the kids got to chop some cucumber and mint. Yes, Zayan got to chop with very heavy supervision. I think we also made some tomato salad – bit like tomato salsa, which is also nice. Why are these salads so yummy??  We also learnt how to make , which is grilled pitta bread with minced meat inside. IT IS SO YUMMY! I think M and I ate most of it from our dining table. M and his group learnt how to make the lentil soup. Eventually, we saw how the main (grilled chicken with vegetables) were cooked.

Aside from the tahini salad, I LOVED everything cooked. I think it was more appetizing because of the ‘homecooked’ meal. We then sat at two dining tables and ate as a group. Whilst we were cooking and eating, the staff looked after the kids. Ayman fell asleep in his car seat and woke up. One of the waiters held him and dodoikan tidur. Thank you!! Meanwhile, Zayan was playing with the staff after he ate his dinner.

What an eventful second day! Ready for Petra the next day.









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