Thursday, October 27, 2011

There Goes the New Phone


My husband bought me an iPhone for my birthday and I have been enjoying it for two weeks now? or was it one week? Not sure... but I have been Skyp-ing my parents and sister while cooking a meal for the kids or decorating my son's cupcakes for his mini birthday celebration. I have been waiting to use it for the longest time because the phone company took forever (since August) to transfer my own number from a pre-paid account to a post-paid account.So you can imagine the excitement!!!

I was so taken by the applications on the phone and the fact that I could take videos and pictures with it that I decided not to take my camera on our island holiday. I thought I would pack light and just take my iPhone. Little did I know that the morning after our arrival, my phone would end up in the pool underwater. 

How? Well... that is the story... my son was playing with my daughter in the pool. He is a very good swimmer and was acting as if a monster was getting him. He was calling for my daughter to help him and every time she would extend her hand and ask him not to worry. The last time she did that, she gave him her leg instead and when he grabbed it, he pulled so hard that she went under. I was videotaping at the time and when I saw that I immediately jumped in and pulled her out forgetting that I had the phone in my left hand.

So the phone went under but can you believe that it still works... everything on it does except the speakers... well part of the speakers which is strange. Skype works normally and I can hear people talking to me... but I cannot hear people when I make or get calls or watch a YouTube video unless I put the headphones on.... still I am thankful that it does. This would make a very good advert don't you think?

When I watched the video, I could hear the glug glug in the background when the phone took a dive. 

Have you had your phone survive any kind of blow before?

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Global Story

I was chit chatting with a close friend/brother last night about how we are in the midst of a global change. We are witnessing life changing moments similar to the time of Jamal Abdel Nasser, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi. We are watching a LIVE story unfold in front of our own very eyes, from the Arab Spring which started in December 2010 to Occupy Wall Street which started exactly a month ago. Absolutely amazing and jaw dropping! 

I have been alive during many world events that forced me to be glued to the TV screen wanting to digest everything. Some of these events were entertaining and inspiring while others were heart wrenching and depressing. The Moscow Olympics of 1980, the Intifada of 1987, the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the creation of the World Wide Web in 1990, the Gulf War and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991  to name a few. Now we seem to be glued to so many media sources and still cannot keep up with EVERYTHING that is currently going on in the world. I believe what is going on right now is because people, in general and all around the globe, have had enough. Change is reaching all ends of the Earth and knocking on everyone's doors. Change is imminent and I am crossing my fingers that it will be a good one for everyone. 

I find myself wondering about what led such revolutions and clashes to erupt and whether or not they could have been avoided. It seems to me like GREED and GLUTTONY are two 'sins' from Dante's Divine Comedy, that connect most of them together. The lust for more money and power. The greed and gluttony of leaders and the rich 1% of each country. The gluttony that infests the body and mind cementing the stonyhearted wall around them. The greed that blinds the people to other people's needs making them oblivious, believing that they are the only ones needed to run this world when in reality everyone is needed to run it well. Oh, the inequality of it all! Have we not learned from our past history? Hasn't man ever learned that war, killing, greed and all the other 6 sins have not helped wo/man-kind? 

I know that if we looked back in history we would find so many incidents where everything was build on the backs of cheap labour, on the backs of the less fortunate... and I know that it is usually the rich getting richer while the poor are getting poorer... I understand all that... I have studied how corporations are built and prosper from manufacturing their products in sweat-shops... I have read the news about the recent credit crunch which was one of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and how it has affected the lives of millions around us. 

But what strikes me the most is this....Isn't it enough? I mean...Isn't it time to find a balance between extreme wealth and comfortable wealth? Isn't it time to feel good about what we have by sharing that wealth and be generous with the less fortunate? Isn't it time to be more compassionate by giving a part of ourselves and what we have to improve everyone's quality of life?... Isn't it time to give back to humanity? 

I see so many people obsessed with owning the latest fashions and brand named clothes when people are in rags in many parts of the world. I see a thousand dollar ice-cream on the menus of famous restaurants when people in Less Economically Developed countries are starving for a few grains to nibble on.  I see people with over 10 expensive collector's item cars that can be smashed or lost in one bad decision or a natural hazard when millions have to walk for many kilometers on foot just to get some water or go to school/work. 

When is it a good time to say, "I am satisfied with what I have"? When is it a good time to say, "I will save some money for a bad day, my children or a much deserved vacation and then I can give to the less fortunate and help improve their life."  When is it a good time to give a part of ourselves to the good of man-kind? When is it a good time to stop looking at what we have and would like to have and start looking at what others need to have to survive?

NOW... Now, I believe is the time!  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Music that Takes Me Away

Sometimes, I just want to be transported to a different place be it spiritually or physically. I need to break free from the judging eyes and minds. I need a break from myself and the image that I have of myself. I need to believe that I am not always wrong or the person who gives out negative thoughts, behavior or understandings. I want a place that surrounds me with beautiful calming thoughts, words and sounds. I want a place where I am accepted the way I am and for my true ME to come out. I need a place where my good actions are just as acknowledged as my mistakes. I need me to be stronger and be able to ignore those wagging fingers and rolling eyes. I need a place where there is no need to self-protect and build walls of steel. 

One of the way I do this is by listening to Ludovico Eindaudi's music. The moment I listen to those fingers playing on the ebony and ivory keys, I am instantly transported. It takes me away even if I am surrounded by people. The effect is instant. It calms my nerves, allows my inner toxins to be released and soothes me to no end. If I could have ear implants with this music playing throughout the day what a different person I would be. It would be like I am living out a beautiful story or movie. 

Have a listen and let me know what you think about it. May love embrace and engulf you. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Picture Update

So we had minimal flooding yesterday which made driving a little difficult. We were told that Bangkok will be expecting huge amounts of water during the next few hours and into the night. However we woke up today to nothing and we called our school to inform them that we were not coming in the day before. We feel so no matter what, we are going to school tomorrow. We will risk the possibility of there being a flood but our wonderful nanny will be home and will keep us posted.

Here are some pictures of our residential village yesterday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Protective Wall

Above is a picture of the front of our house taken last night after our dear landlady's workers finished their job. They built these concrete walls around all four of our entrances just in case the water levels rose. 

The flood has not reached us yet but friends called us at school yesterday afternoon to let us know that the waters were 30km away. We left school early to buy tarps and a shovel just in case we needed to dig up the yard and fill bags with the dirt to block our front gate. We have also bought many water bottles and canned or dry foods to sustain us for a few days. 

We are at school now and everything seems to be normal. No torrential rains like three nights before and the sun is up. I am hoping that this flood will blow over and it does not destroy more houses along its way. So many people around the area and in Bangkok have been evacuated and I cannot help but feel lucky in comparison to them. At least we have many colleagues who offered to put us up if we ever needed a place to stay, we have water and food to sustain us, a second floor and we have these walls to protect us. We are blessed!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flood Alert

We are on flood alert at the moment.... The government officials are saying that both dams in the north of Thailand are at their maximum capacity of 99.7% and they need to release some water into the city klongs and lakes. We live in one of the areas that they mentioned will be flooded. 

We had just moved into our new home last week and after unpacking everything during the week, we are now forced to put everything up and away from the ground. Last night, we had to move our books, albums, electrical equipment, rug and chairs up high just in case our house flooded during the night. 

It rained so hard and non-stop last night that our guest bathroom on the bottom floor flooded with 1 cm of water. We had to place some towels at the door entrance just in case is cleared the door step and came into the rest of the house. 

The thunderstorms and lightening were so bad that we had a few power cuts. Having no aircon or fan to cool her room, my daughter woke up in such a state of panic because did not know what was happening. My soaking-wet son, who had just returned from having a massage with his father, was spooked because we lost power so suddenly and he was left standing in a dark living room. 

Even though I was a little nervous and unsure about what to expect last night, I found myself thanking my lucky stars for having bought some flash, halogen and florescent lights the day before which worked for a little longer at night on little power. I found myself thinking of all the 260 people who lost their lives in the North and the 10000 villages that were affected. And even though there is a chance that we might have to move out of the house again, at least we will have the ability to find a place to stay. Ilhamdulillah. 

Friday, October 7, 2011



My LONG day was not so bad in the end. We always start our school days at 5:00 in the morning and get home by 5:00 in the evening. But my Thursdays are different and much longer.

I had to visit a day care for the less fortunate parents who had to work long hours to feed their children.I went with some students, from my school, to play games and help the little darlings with their studies straight after school at 2:45. Driving there in a van took 45 minutes and after spending another 45 minutes playing with the children we made our way back to school which took another hour. 

After making sure that the kids were either picked up or had walked to their homes, I made my way to the klong (river) to embark on a river taxi before taking a 'road' taxi which would drop me off at my door step. The boat taxi was packed. People were squished together and there was no room for me to stand straight. I had to bend my neck to the side to be able to breathe. At every jetty we stopped at along the way, more people crammed in and I wondered how on earth will the boat fit a single person more... somehow they all did and the boat kept taking in more and more people along the first half of the journey... more got on the boat than the ones who disembarked.... Made me think of a jar of pickles.... How many pickles can you stuff in a small glass jar without it breaking? 

A few times I squealed when the dirty smelly water splashed on my face and giggled. The people around me giggled at my reaction as well... and I felt better because my behavior cheered them up. Having your whole body imprisoned and squeezed tightly as well as having little space to move with the stench of the river engulfing your internal systems cannot be a pleasant experience.... and then having to do this on a daily basis morning and evening does not help one's psyche much.... I was the lucky one... I did not have to do this often and therefore, I took the whole experience as a pleasant one. 

The boat passed so many beautifully decorated Buddhist and Muslim temples side by side and it gave me a sense of enjoyment to see them as so. Side by side sharing the same walls, in harmony and in peace with each other..... simply just beautiful! 

We passed people walking happily along the klong, teenagers getting ready to jump into the murky waters caring less about the possibility of diseases waiting to invade their bodies, old people exercising and children cycling along on their rusty bikes. They were free! Watching the happiness in those eyes and the smiles on the faces drowned out the feeling of confinement of the boat I was in. 

The closer to my destination I was the more space I had to move around. More and more passengers disembarked and I was one of the few left to enjoy the scenery around me. Watching the sun's rays shown through a small sliver in the cloud covered sky and feeling the wind on my face helped disseminate the stress I felt in my shoulders and neck. I knew I had another 30 minutes in a taxi before I could snuggle and kiss my children but those 45 minutes of standing on a boat sure helped to clear my mind. 

Despite it being a LONG day.... it was a good one!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Move


We finally moved into a new bright white house with white gates and a garden that is full of green life and positive energy. The day before, we moved most of our belongings and I immediately unpacked many boxes, finishing the kid's play area, kitchen, both bathrooms, the kid's room and the living room. There were a few boxes left to unpack but most of the rooms were done before we entirely moved in. I wanted the kids to recognize their belongings and have something familiar in the otherwise strange new surrounding. 

That day our wonderful and very spiritual landlady informed us that the house was Feng Shui-ed and that it will bring luck and prosperity to anyone who lived in it. She told me stories about its previous inhabitants and how their life began to improve the day they moved in and I instantaneously felt better. There is something about listening to success stories of other people that magically filters into my own existence helping me realize the brighter side of life.    

My mind reversed back in time when my husband searched for houses with people. For two months we looked at many houses together but the houses I liked, he did not and the ones he liked I had some issues with. This was the only house that we simultaneously felt at one with the moment we stepped on its turf. Maybe it was its white washed walls, wooden floors and spacious bright rooms that gave us a sense of peace! 

That day we met the land lady and she told me that the moment she saw me she knew she had found the best tenant for her house. She had refused many before because she did not feel at ease with them. Her words touched me so deeply that I started to cry. I felt a sense of relief wash over me and which flushed away all the panic of not finding a house before the end of the month. 

For two years we lived in a house that was dark and melancholy. Even though we were lucky that we had a roof over our heads, we felt that the energy in that house was not a positive one and it reflected the frustrating and stressful time we were experiencing in our lives and our careers. I am grateful for the time spent with family and friends in that house... we had a good time. We managed to make the best of it all and pocketed fond memories.... but it was time to move on to greener pastures.

Sunday was our first night to sleep in our new sanctuary and I immediately sensed that positive energy fill me to my core. I felt the positiveness affect my entire family; we had a smoother bed time routine, flowing interactions between its members and just a fun time on the whole. I had a brighter outlook the next day and woke up feeling refreshed, even though I slept at 2 am not being able to sleep in a new bed. Maybe it was just the excitement of a new house...a new beginning... a fresh start but I'd like to think that there is something more to it. 

A new challenging yet supportive environment at school and a new brighter fresh home only means that everything will start turning for the better now. I am thankful. We are truly blessed and this only means that this blessing should be shared with others. 

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of this year and the next will bring. May you all have brighter days ahead of you and may you be showered with blessings that fill your heart with joy, satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

Thanks to Isa from The M Chart and Judy from Judy Croome for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger award. I am honored and apologize for not writing a post earlier. I am unsure what my blog reflects as it is a combination of a variety of issues; things I would like to see change in the world, my children, new experiences, memories and anything that is inspirational. 

To claim my award I must share 7 things about myself that my readers might not know about me... even though I think that I shared so much already.... so here goes

1. I wrote 5 rhyming children's books; two in English and three in Arabic... but they have not been published. 

2. I try to organize everything from pictures to school folders but back them up so well that I find double or triple copies of one thing.

3. I do not like change even though I am an International teacher and tend to move around different countries. Still the first few months to a year I find difficult to adjust to.

4. I wipe the sink after I am done in every toilet I enter, be it at home, school, in the mall, or on an airplane. I even wipe the mess other people leave behind.

5. I had cat pets while young and dog pets as a grown up and I still tear up every time I remember any of them passing on. 

6. I learn languages when given a little bit of time and loads of practice.... I tried to teach myself Italian ten years ago and remember a few words, lack of practice does not help.... I speak a little French because I studied it at high school, and Thai because I live there but I'm fluent in English and Arabic. I wish I could learn more... it is fascinating. 

7. I love healthy food... but if you place a table full of healthy food on one side and only one dish of chocolate boules on another, I make my way to the latter first. 

I have to pass this award to other bloggers now.... here goes:

Paula from Every Day Radiance

Jan from Staying Awake

Ms. Moon from Bless Out Hearts

Christen from Queen of Cups