Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happiness... Day 20

I know I have not written my Happiness posts in ages but honestly the work load at school has doubled in a matter of days. I had so much to do that even my break times were hijacked by students and meetings and I did not even get a chance to have a bit to eat... CRAZY! 

But I am grateful that I have a:

1. Job... I know I should not complain about the amount of work that I have to do in a day from school to children to washing the dishes and so I won't. I am actually grateful that I have a job as there are so many people who don't and are forced to beg, leave their homes to sleep in shelters, go down the road of prostitution, or even having no choice but to sell their children. So no matter how hard I must work at my current school to earn a living, I am grateful that I have one.

2. Smile... A smile from an acquaintance, friend, family member or a stranger can do wonders to my morale. As I was driving from school two days ago, I was feeling run down and exhausted. I entered the confines of my Mooban (residential village) and after a while I passed a man walking on the thin rugged sidewalk. I have no idea who the man was and had never seen him before, but he flashed me a smile that lit my heart and reminded me to calm myself and breath in the positivity behind it. 

3. Partner in life to share my thoughts, burden and chores. The other day, I was helping my husband write up his reports; two minds are better than one and also the fact that typing, recalling and thinking up sentences are three skills that should be shared. So I took over the typing as I am faster and we bounced some sentences back and forth and ideas of what to write. It felt good to help my husband out but it also  made me grateful that I had someone next to me to help in my hour of need. The next day I found that he had bought me a bouquet of roses to thank me. Smile!!!

Journal Entry

I went to a Zumba class for the very first time yesterday and it felt awesome.  Zumba is a combination of many dances together add to that some aerobic exercises.. I posted on facebook that I was going to try it and whether people had heard of it before. When they said it was work out... boy was it really!!! 

I was sweating like mad and now have two blisters on each of my big toes but it sure was worth it. My lovely Italian friend took care of all the arrangements with our beautiful Brazilian friend who was going to teach us.  I am so lucky that I have so many friends from different parts of the world... makes my life so much more interesting. 

Wow does my BB friend have the moves! I tried to keep up as much as I could and having had some Arabic and Salsa dancing as well as Aerobic lessons really helped get me used to the steps quickly... still I have a lot to learn and work on but I loved the exercise.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happiness... Day 19


I have not written my Happiness posts for a few days. I was taking a break but have also been extra busy writing reports, helping other write theirs and taking care of the kids.

3 Things I am grateful for:

1. Eyesight. I went grocery shopping with my two kids yesterday. After they put on a dancing show for the people there, we headed out only to find a young lady sitting in the corner selling lottery tickets. I immediately said a few prayers and thanked my lucky stars for having good eyesight. I was so taken by her.... so impressed. She had a job and if it were not for the language barrier, I would have made my way over to her for a chat.Even though I am sure that there are many challenges that she has to face during the day, I had a feeling that she is taking them on with a lot of courage.

2. Patience. My daughter was in such a lousy mood yesterday and was crying constantly about everything and anything. I am sure all you parents out there understand what it means to have a child who cried every single time she was asked to do or not do something. I called on patience to wrap its arms around me and give me some of its energy to calm me down. The last straw was when she cried in the pool when I thought it was such a fun activity for her. I had to leave my son and husband there and walk her home, feed her a banana and then put her in bed. She had asked to sleep but it seems all she wanted to do was have some down time for herself because she came back out after 15 minutes. After calming down, she was ok and eager to finish the plate of falafels, cherry tomatoes and carrots I put out for her.

3. Take out. Oh Boy what would I do without them. Honestly, I do not mind cooking and I much prefer doing that to provide healthy food for my family but sometimes when I am just too exhausted and lack the energy to chop, slice, dice, saute, boil or do any of those things to cook food, we order out. Either have barbequed chicken on a stick with sticky rice and I make a salad on the side or order a pizza and still have that essential dish of salad on the table. Granted,  I still have to chop for the salad but it is the main course that I lack the energy for. 

Journal Entry

I had a blast of a time shopping with my children yesterday. Granted having two kids who are energetic and both below the age of 7 is not a piece of cake in a large grocery store such as Carrfore, the equivalent of a Walmart/ Zellers.I placed both of them in the shopping cart and went around selecting everything on my shopping list. 

After a while the cart was getting heavy to maneuver and take sharp turns. My son was forced to evacuate because his space was getting smaller and too crowded for him. It went crazy downhill after we stopped at the cashier. I placed my son in charge of looking after my daughter as they were running around playing tag. He did a fantastic job and I was very proud of him.

As if they needed more time to release that energy, they gave the shoppers a dancing performance trying to balance jumping up and down while eating ice-cream. Check them out here,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happiness... Day 18


Despite the sad and depressing news I received about a dear friend's father yesterday afternoon, I have to persevere with this challenge. It was difficult to write this post and think of the little things I was grateful for when my friend and her family are now in pain.

3 Things I am grateful for:

1.Phones. It is such a relief to know that dialing a few numbers on a phone can hook you up with a dear one in a matter of a few seconds. To hear a person's voice on the other end always brings comfort to my soul. It helps to connect people and share happy as well as sad moments. If I were cut off from any Internet or phone connection there would not have been a way for me to contact my dear friend and share in her sorrows. Despite the fact that the situation we were communicating about was sad, I was happy to have heard her voice and express how much I wanted to be next to her shouldering her pain.

2.  Compassion. Yesterday, the flood relief committee had a meeting to discuss what to do with the rest of the money that was collected during the donation drive towards the end of the last year. There were so many families and schools that needed help and I could not help but be grateful for the sense of compassion that was circulating the room by students and teachers. Without compassion where would this world be?

3. Healthy children. During the meeting yesterday, they were talking about two children who obviously had some physical and cognitive challenges. I do not like the word disabilities at all and therefore try my best to avoid using it. It is so hard for them to move around especially when their houses have been flooded and the whole area around them has been left with junk and debris from the receding waters. I was grateful to have two children who were healthy, Ilhamdullillah and Mashallah.

Journal Entry

After the depressing meeting we had about the situation in schools and many houses around Thailand at the moment, I came home to find out that one of my best friend's father had passed away. So not a very good start to a Journal Entry is it? 

So let me squeeze my brain for something positive to write about...let me see.. .... blink blink blinking of the cursor... still nothing...

Ok... I sent pictures of my children over the past year to a company that made cardboard books of them. I am happy that these books will remain for a long time for my children and I do not have to worry about the photos getting bent, discolored or damaged. I cannot wait to receive the final product and have the children enjoy looking at them. I love pictures as I mentioned before as they are a way to capture and fossilize my memories.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happiness... Day 17

3 Things I am grateful for:

1. The kid in me. I love dressing up in costumes, painting my face and being silly. The fact that I am turning 40 this year is not stopping me from releasing the kid cooped up inside. That kid yearns to be set free from time to time and I take every opportunity I get to give her some space and freedom. I am thankful that she is still there lurking in the background not willing to give up on me. It makes life so much more fun and light. One of my favorite cartoons is Rose is Rose I feel I relate to her and she inspires me to accept me the way I am.She is sometimes grumpy and at other happy but one thing that draws me to her is that she is a kid at heart. 

2. A sense of humor. Without one, life would be so serious and dry. I am not talking about sarcasm because that is not always funny and it is so patronizing sometimes that it ticks me off especially if trust and love were not set as a base yet. I am talking about humor and having one helps me release the stresses of the day, brings people together, builds bonds, boosts my energy and improves my health. Humor is so infectious... when I see someone genuinely laughing out loud, I instantly smile and feel happy. It reminds me to take a breath and take in the calming sound of laughter especially if the owner was a child.

3. A shower. After yesterday's blue day (check Journal Entry below) I came to appreciate showers. I had to wash the blue flaky paint at a sink and THAT was so uncomfortable especially that I had to clean the whole bathroom afterwards. With a shower, I do not have to think about space... I am not as restricted and besides the water goes one way usually... into the drain.

Journal Entry

Yesterday was such a fun day. Yes, I painted myself blue ... as blue as a smurf is. It was House Spirit day at my school where different houses compete in races against each other, dance, chant and play music. To join in the spirit of it all, another teacher, some students and I painted ourselves blue. The chosen characters were smurfs as opposed to the Nari People from Avatar last year. 

It was so much fun painting myself being helped by my husband, who is in the same house. I filled my white hat with newspapers and plopped it on my head. At first I did not paint my ears and covered them with the hat until I got hot and remembered that smurfs actually showed there ears. I hesitantly painted my ears as I knew it would be difficult to get all the blue out but it actually looked better than before.

Despite the fact that the paint dried up, began to flake and itch, I enjoyed people's laughter, giggles and questions. My office mates had a kick out of it as they never thought I would be up to doing such a thing. At one point, while I was moving towards my husband's office to get more paint, there were a few visitors walking around checking out the school. They were so amused and informed me that they had seen another tall smurf running around the building somewhere. I asked many students which smurf they thought I represented, some said Happy and one said clumsy; he received a gentle slap on the arm. 

I went to see my son in Year 1 so he could see me blue and his classmates went wild asking me all sorts of questions. A few asked who I really was. I said that I was a smurf but that did not satisfy them and asked again who I was and when I answered that I was my son's mother, they still were not happy with that answer. Hahaha!

When I washed the crumbly dry paint off in the bathroom and came out dressed in my original skin color, some students were surprised to see me out of character. My school head looked at me and asked if I was at school in the morning. This was after he burst out laughing when he spotted the smurf me not thirty minutes before.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happiness... Day 16


Having done this for 16 days, I start to look at small things that may seem trivial and we take for granted. Take for example the below list, one would not really think to be grateful for them but this challenge has made me look at them in a whole new different way... without them what were we to do?

3 Things I am grateful for:

1. Toilets. oh boy... when one needs one badly, then they get to appreciate the facility. Imagine if we did not have toilets what a dilemma we would find ourselves in; now where would I pee, in the bushes or in the sink? With toilets, I do not have to think where last night's dinner is going to end up, I just flush the toilet and away it goes. Without them, I will have to think about picking up after myself, or digging and covering. And if I were in a hurry? Man that would take ages to sort out. Thank goodness for toilets.

2. Doors. They are a blessing especially when you want some time alone, need some privacy and keep strangers out. Last night someone in the family, not me, forgot the terrace door wide open and went to bed. Thank goodness our neighborhood is safe or we would have woken up to a cleared living room.

3. Eating utensils including plates and cups. They are gizmos that are used everyday when preparing a meal but we do not actually pay much attention to the fact that we are lucky they are around. I know that sometimes we eat sandwiches and therefore might not need a plate, but what cuts or spreads the food that goes into that sandwich? AHH! My favorite and the one I am especially thankful for is the cup or anything that holds a quenching beverage. What is your favorite gizmo?

Journal Entry

OK I gotta stick to this challenge even though I am thinking now that maybe writing the 3-things-I-am-grateful-for section is enough and I am truly enjoying that part of it... ok how many more days left? 5.... ok... not bad ... doable... 

 Yesterday, was another busy crazy day. I received so many emails that I had to respond to in a matter of 15 minutes. I responded to my son's teacher informing me that he did not have his snack and lunch box with him, I had forgotten it in the fridge, but thankfully she found him a banana and he had some fruits in the canteen. So I am grateful to have someone to watch over him while I toil away.

 I had to send an email to another colleague who wanted to borrow a travel cot, mattress and car seat.... I put in a high chair as well.I am grateful for the feeling I get after extending a helping hand. 

I also had to respond to other emails about work itself and writing reports. I do not like starting them but when I get started, my fingers do not stop typing until my quota for the day is done. I have finished my 18 homeroom reports yesterday and only need to work on my Learning Support ones. So Hurray for that! I am so relieved that that part is over. However, now that I am done with one group, I am finding it hard to start on the new group. BUT... I will not let this get me down. I am determined to do this.