Of kindness

I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile, but didn’t quite know how to write it.

Sometimes I think morbidly and think what if (when?) one day my children are left without their parents. I would want them to know our good traits and learn from them. Specifically I would wish them to take after their dad’s good traits – people who knows him know that he is a nice guy all round but I know of the kindness he shows in unexpected ways.

When we were in San Francisco, we had lunch, just another lunch y’know (it was grilled burgers and chips…it was good). He bought some packed food, which I didn’t think much of. When we walked out, he handed out the food to this homeless person. The guy was so surprised, so stoked. I think his jaw was wide open in shock, but what made it all the more memorable was his happiness at having a hot meal. I looked at this man, who is noncholant in his thoughtfulness, and who does act like a ‘med reg’ (medical registrar aka cynical and realistic) most of the time. It reminded me of how his kindness won me over back in medical school/foundation year days.

Zayan and Ayman, I hope you two will grow to be as thoughtful and humble in your kindness just like your Ayah.

Love, your mama

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A legend

Today, I suddenly remembered of my late consultant Dr Hoskyns. I don’t think I’ve written about his passing away properly here. He passed away from an accidental bike injury on his way to work this February. The whole of paediatrics team in Leicester WAs beside ourselves – which is an understatement really. There were a lot of whatsapp messages, facebook statuses, tribute messages for the legend of a man. When you meet him, you would not realise how ‘high up’ he is in the medical ladder. He was humble and down to earth. When I found his wikipedia page (turns out he is of Baronage heritage), he was surprised he had a page and you could tell how uncomfortable he was at having the praises and prestige.

He has taught me so so much, from clinical skills to being a grounded doctor. He taught me to not leave my senses on the door of the hospital. What cannot be taught verbally is taught through actions. He shows how to treat patients as an individuals rather than just another person on a hospital bed.

When I was sitting in his clinics, he would receive the next patient’s notes and just by looking at the name, he would remember who they are. ‘Ahhh this one…is a 26 weeker and has been having problem with his legs….’ He was the consultant responsible for when the child was born and the said patient is now 15 years old. He sees the chronic well patients once or twice a year and yet he remembers them. Needless to say, they remember him too.

I remember him coming to the ward wearing a loom band. He said he asked for it from a patient.

I posted this on facebook:

“Suddenly reminded of the late Dr Hoskyns. When Ayman was in NICU, he dropped by maternity ward to visit me bringing along a card as well. He said he went to NICU to check how Ayman was, even though he wasn’t working in the neonatal side that day. We chatted about Ayman and how I was doing and how the exams went (for which he tutored me for those three sittings I took). It still astounds me that a consultant would just drop by with a card no less to check on how Ayman and I were doing.

Our presence in this earth is like a little drop of water in the ocean, just a small piece walking around on God’s earth and our existence are really just seconds when compared to primordial time.

But you know what…
Kindness will always be remembered.”

My condolences to the family and close ones.

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Selamat Hari Raya

3:57 am

Sitting in the registrar’s room. Phone plugged in and blaring out takbir raya thanks to youtube.

Thankfully, another 5 hours of working and then I’ll be free for another 48 hours at least.

Allahu akhbar, allahu akhbar, Allahu Akhbar
La illa ha illallah wallahu akhbar
Allahu akhbar walillah ilham

This year, I do feel momentous approaching the end of ramadan. Not that I did full month of terawih or read the quran from first page to the end… But I am happy that I fasted as much as I can. Still breastfeeding and fasting for 26 out of 30 days (4 days opted out as I didn’t have much milk and felt like I was drying out of milk).

This year would be different than previous years. For one thing, most of my family is here! And my nephews and niece are here too, making it more meriah at home and Zayan will have friends over the weekend (yay to less clinginess/attention seeking).

And also means, I don’t have to cook! Hehe! And yay to having good homemade mama food!!!

I’m hoping to actually be able to get through the day without feeling like a zombie, having worked 4 nights now. Hoping the abundance of food would energise me somehow!

It has been eons since I celebrated first day of raya at home with my family.  I do wish and hope Zayan grow up with good memories of raya as I had in my childhood days.

Good food.  Duit raya. Bunga api.

 Convoy with the extended family. Trying out different kuih and biskut. Nini’s biskut begula (inda ku ingat namanya). Soya bean. Kerupuk udang. Serunding.

Bersalaaman with my parents in the morning. Kad raya. Competing amongst my brothers who had the most kad raya.

Takbir raya. Waking up late and discovering all the male people in the house has left for sembahyang raya.

Lagu raya starting even from mid ramadan. Raya celebrations in school – get to have happy raya songs blaring and wearing baju kurung and spotting your crush in their baju raya. (Black baju melayu is always cool)

Those were the days.

Ok, over and out.

Selamat menyambut hari raya to all muslims out there. Kalau ada salah dan silap, minta maaf ya.

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San Francisco: Things for kids and adults to do

Ok, so I realise I haven’t properly written on San Francisco. I know, I know that was 4 months ago!!! San Francisco feels like such a distant, fun memory. It actually boasts a lot of places for the kids, we all had fun!

Not in chronological or ‘most fun’ order:

1. The beach!

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Sunset in San Francisco

Luckily, our friend’s place is five minutes away from the beach. You can actually see the sea from the main bedroom’s window. There’s a few beaches along the coast of San Francisco but we only went to this one – which I’ve forgotten the name of, will google it later. The best thing is…. it’s a sandy beach! Do you know how disappointing it is to go to the beaches here in UK only to find that there are NO sand and only rocks??? How why how why!!

You can take away a girl from Brunei but you can’t take Brunei out of her. AKA I love beach life.

2. Car cable rides

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Car cable – the icon of the city

It’s touristy and slow and noisy. But it’s all part of the charm of the car cable. Being a boy, Zayan loved the car cable rides.

3. Fisherman’s Wharf

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Random toy shop

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Fisherman’s Wharf

Our friend told us the place is touristy, and she was right. It had rows of souvenir shops with intermittent seafood restaurants. There’s a pier where there are loaaadsss of seals lying around, which was just that – seals lying around. It was a bit disappointing until we found the pier with some shops and restaurants. The shops itself wasn’t anything to rave about but the place had carnival-like ambience. The most fun thing we did there was catch an open air magician show, who was pretty cool. His performance at the end did leave me going “Whaaat, hoooow, whaaat” – basically he told a random guy in the audience to write initials on a bullet, told him to shoot at him, caught the bullet in his mouth and sure enough it was the same bullet with the initials. Like whaaaat. It was free too and we were welcome to give out however much we feel his performance was worth.

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The magician

4. Children’s playground

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The steep slide

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Sharing is caring

It’s so easy to entertain a three year old. Outdoor playground = free entertainment. There was a steep slide that the local kids went down using flattened cardboard boxes. It looked pretty steep and I was scared of Zayan wanting to go on it. Thankfully, he was happy to play elsewhere. I guess aside from the slide, this playground isn’t anything more special than other playgrounds. Bonuses: It had a big sandy area and huge toddler-aged slide and pretty clean.

5.Exploratorium

This is by far the best museum we went to. It was so much fun and entertaining for both the adults and child (Ayman couldn’t care less). Keluar the geeky side of us. Where do we start? There was the geography/biology area, where you learn more about SF’s coast. You’ll have to just go there and be amazed with it.

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Learning about sound, or more like making noises and no one will tell you off.

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Dunno what this is called but this is basically live action of the view outside

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Magnetic field “Build Big Hero 6 bridge” says Zayan

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Members of public asked to draw what they think/remember of San Francisco’s coastline or map. I’m ashamed to admit that I was once an O level Geography student – Cikgu Zainal would be disappointed of this. 

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How much fun slinky can bring

6. Al Catraz!

DUM DUM DUM!

Initially, I felt torn about going there with the kids. Firstly, what if they’re bored and scared of it. Secondly, do I bring a pram or not?

It was actually fun for Zayan. He loved the idea of jails and exploring the area. It was such a huge area with some steep walks, so it was a good thing we brought the pram. There were lifts in the building, so we didn’t have to worry about carrying the pram. And it wasn’t that narrow or enclosed for the kids/pram.

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Al Catraz

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Jail cell

The story about Al Catraz and its famous inmates were pertty fascinating. There’s free audio guide and it tells stories of the inmates and rebellion. Pretty horrific and sounds like it was made up from a movie. One story was about the warden and other prison staff who lives in a separate building along with their families. Because it’s on an island, it was pretty self sufficient – having their own shop and post office and the likes. So the kids from the staff family pretty much grew up there and could hear the inmates from time to time. Can you imagine living next to a prison building. The concept of having a free life compared to someone on the other side of the building.

7. Twin peaks

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Twin peaks

Twin peaks, as the name says have two hilly peaks, is where you can have aerial view of the city. It was pretty cool, bit of an outdoor outing.

Ok I have to go now. The thing that is left are Japanese tea garden and Bay Area Discovery Centre. Perhaps for the next post.

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My ray of sunshine

I am fully aware that I haven’t written here for awhile. I keep wanting to but …. time … procrastination …. tiredness…..

Ayman has been unwell the last few days. He was treated for chest infection, with a brief stay in PAU (paediatric assessment unit). He’s on the road to recovery alhamdulillah, no more fever and back to eating normal meals. He was refusing bottle and was just feeding off me early on in the week.

One of my patient’s mother sang to her baby (7 month old) whilst we were doing bloods. The baby was wailing at being held and taken bloods off him. And the nurse asked the mum to sing in the hope to calm him. She sang …

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy, when skies are grey,
You don’t know dear how much I love you,
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

That song always touched a nerve in me. I sang that to Zayan when he was ill with croup (needing a night’s stay in the hospital) and that period of sickness reminded me of my son’s mortality. How he could potentially be taken away from me, and how helpless I felt. You go through days when his toddler (tantrumy, sensitive) ways makes you feel frustrated and then this happens and you feel “please dont take my sunshine away”.

A friend from back in uni days passed away yesterday. From cancer I think. I haven’t heard from him for years. But I remember the fun things we used to do, his kindness and friendliness, his sense of humor, always ready to entertain whenever we dropped by the boys’ house. All I kept thinking of was him in his bicycle carrying kilos of meat as he offered to buy halal meat for us girls. His bike obviously heavy from the meat and him biking along trying to balance himself. Ya Allah, may he be continously rewarded for his good deeds.

In our whatsapp group, there was collective sadness over him but also on how we kept promising to meet up and keep in touch. We were all such a close big family (ok I was the only ‘out’ bruneian one but hey aku ikut2an masuk in the msian family too k) and now….

I have to say, they were an instrumental part in making me a better, stronger muslim. I learnt more about the deen from them. They encouraged me to pray wherever and whenever and yet never judged. I love them to bits and I wish, I hope I can see them pretty soon. Maybe stop by KL when we next go home….

On one of the life coaching sessions, she asked me what my core values are. It took me awhile to think of what. makes me me, for I feel a part of me has diminished since having kids. Then she asked what do I want people to remember me as if I pass away. And she said people will remember kindness, and patience, and sense of humor and will forget about how many times you’re late to work. It kind of brings home to looking at the big picture. We concluded one of the things that I am is being ‘optimistic’, which also means I want to be in the good side of people, that I want to please people all the time. The thing that makes me feel on edge at work these days is the thought that people think I’m crap. So I overthink things when I go home, thinking I should have done this, said this, done that. What’s my point … my point is that I need to stop wanting to please people and focus on things that makes me feel complete and at rest. When my time comes, I hope people wouldnt think of those things that I’m worried about, the things I lack in as a doctor.

Also, we (life coach and I) concluded that yes, being kind and patient is all good for me, but I need to work on being organised and efficient and doing more creative and sporty things to make me feel happy. Because I dont focus on those things, I do not feel complete.

Fuh. Rambling really. I hope it all makes sense.

Signing out,
me

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Zayan says…

It’s 1 am and I’m so gonna regret this later for being awake still. There’s a strong urge to write and this time, I don’t feel able to push it away!

So this week is part of my 12 day stretch of working. So far, so good (kinda… had a bit of momentary breakdown but I blame the lack of food). Anyway so many things to talk about – none of which is terribly exciting but if we dont talk about the mundane everyday stuff, we’ll forget what we live through each day, no?

Let’s talk about how vocal Zayan is being these days.

Zayan says the funniest things like…

– “What’s your problem?” on random times of the day. Out of nowhere. And it sounds rude but actually he is genuinely asking if I have any problems.

– I was at the end of my tethers last weekend, solo parenting, both kids crying. Ayman wanted to sleep but Zayan was being too loud and crying for no apparent reason. I started crying then, Zayan went “STOP CRYING! Mama no crying…” and I went “You stop crying!” He stopped after that. I think he was more concerned that his mother has broken down.

– He has been sleeping in our bed these days, partly because I moved his mattress back to his room but he somehow finds his way back into our bed. Today he went to his bed and tucked himself in.

Zayan: Zayan not scared. There’s no monsters…
Me: Yes, there’s no monsters.
Zayan: Zayan buy nerf gun shoot monsters. (Ayah punya kraja ni installing nerf gun ideas)

Oh Zayan!

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Running again

Today was a semi nice weather in the afternoon. Bit windy but sunny. I decided I’ll actually get up and go out for a jog. I haven’t properly jogged since … a long time ago. I didnt jog when I was pregnant with Ayman (not after the 12th week anyway) and so, that makes it at least a year of no jogging. Gasps!

Anyway I declared I wanted to go jogging but didnt actually make it out until an hour later. The sloth in me was thinking I should just put it off, kesian M looking after the kids (who were playing nicely) AND cook at the same time. Eventually I donned my athletic gear and away I went. Jogging with enthusiasm for five minutes and then…. slowing down….. sakit, sakit. My lungs actually felt like it was on my fire. Is this how unfit people (me) feel like? No wonder people dont want to exercise! This is pain! Where are the endorphins???? I seriously wondered why I like jogging so much previously… I didn’t see any joy in it. I persisted though, stopping and starting so many times… and the fire burning in my lungs died down and it wasnt so bad after awhile.

Phew. Hope it wouldnt be another year till the next jog!

Oh, I have to share this…

So when I went back home, I took the kids out for a lil walk around our neighbourhood. There were a group of Asian boys playing a few doors down. Zayan declared he wanted to say “hi to the boys”, so I said ok, on our way back you can say hi. They were on the other side of the street by then playing football. Zayan was still set on saying hi. I said ok… waited for him as he crossed. He approached them, looking so small and so short compared to the boys (who looked 8-10 years old), his hands crossed at the back of him. He slowed down and stood behind them, they were too engrossed in their game. I came over, Ayman on my hips and said he just wanted to say hi. So, they stopped playing and the boy closest to Zayan came up to him and asked “You alright?” Zayan nodded and rooted around his pocket for something (he always has a toy in his pockets.. except this time he didnt). I prodded him to tell his name… instead he asked their names. The boys were so sweet, melayan tia jua kan anak damit ani and then asked his name. He replied “Abang…” and said “and that Ayman!” as he pointed to his brother. Zayan has this confidence, except he cant talk properly/pronounce things well and still has some social immaturity in him (like wanting to show toy before introducing self). It was all too endearing to watch though. I wish there were more boys his age around here but all I see are older boys.

Anyway thats it from me for today. Ta!

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