Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hari Merdeka!

Today is the national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957. It is different from Malaysia Day (September 16th, when the formation of Malaysia occurred a few years later). There are flags displayed on many of the buildings downtown and on many people's homes.

Today as we were driving home from Singapore, there were also flags decorating many cars and lots of light posts. At each of the rest areas along the highway, there were food stalls and lots of people.

I'm not exactly sure how they celebrate, but I know there is a big fireworks display at one of the stadiums. I'm anticipating hearing or seeing a few tonight as it gets dark.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Selamat Hari Raya!

It has been Ramadan all month long again. This weekend we are starting a week long holiday off of school and work. A couple of holidays are occuring -- the Muslims are celebrating the end of the fasting with a two-day celebration, and the Malaysians are celebrating Merdeka Day (more on that in another post). We are celebrating the days off by going to Universal Studios in Singapore.

We hit the road today. We hopefully timed it that we are behind the mass traffic exodus out of the city. Part of the tradition of Eid al-Fitr is to go home to one's place of birth, so it's a lot like Thanksgiving in that the whole country is traveling.

I've found it interesting how Ramadan has differed here from Egypt. Just as Christmas is different from culture to culture, so is Ramadan. They have different names here for different things. This holiday is known in Malaysia as Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Though we haven't attended a break the fast as we did in Egypt last year, we have witnessed a lot of people doing it nearby in the mall. About 6pm, the mall starts to fill with people who buy their food, sit at a table, and proceed to stare at it for another hour and a half before consuming -- all the while occupying the table. Outside in the park, the place is filled with picnickers waiting for the signal to begin eating.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the most significant celebration for Muslims, Eid al Fitr, as it signifies the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is determined by sighting of the new moon on the day before the next month on the Muslim calendar.

The words ‘Hari Raya’ means 'day of celebration.' Muslims start the day by wearing new clothes and congregating in the mosques early in the morning to perform Hari Raya Puasa prayers followed by visiting the graves of the departed. The young will ask for forgiveness from their elders and have open house for relatives and friends to come to their house. Plenty of traditional Malay delicacies are served during this festive season. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated, and lighting of oil lamps welcomes the angels which are believed to be visiting the earth during the seven days preceding the festival. The celebration lasts for a month but most of the celebration is concentrated in the first three days

The Muslims also give packets of money to kids when they go visiting. The packets are usually green in colour and children often look forward to getting these money tokens on Hari Raya Puasa.

Yesterday I spent the day shopping by myself (Dave has been in Australia all week again) and the mall was packed with people buying new clothing for the holiday (part of the tradition.)

I took this picture of Ethen by a mall display which was selling festive delicacies, new hijabs, and various things. It is a traditional Malay house surrounded by fresh flowers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Becky Higgins featured my page!

Okay, a double-whammy. Two sites are featuring my pages today. I am so stoked! But to be included on Becky Higgins' website is WAY awesome. She is one of the long-time scrappers whose work I have admired for decades! (Not to mention I've given her tons of money for her awesome products!)

Yesterday she asked her blog followers how they document hard things, in light of yesterday's earthquake in VA. I submitted to her my page on Hurricane Ike -- the one we went through in Houston.

Go here to see it.

Gallery Highlight

My Menara KL page is featured this week at Creating Keepsakes ClubCK website as one of the gallery highlights. Check it out.

Beautiful Evidence

Here is a photobook I created for my mother-in-law's birthday. Her kids and grandkids all provided some pictures and letters for me to include.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maya's First Week of Kindergarten

She's an old pro. Maya's first week of Kindergarten was cake. She had no trouble getting on the bus and waving goodbye. I didn't have any anxiety for sending her. Ethen is the one getting the short end of the deal. He runs to her when she comes home and says, "Maya's home!" and gives her a big hug.

Fast Forward: We are now two weeks into the school year. The only mishaps have been falling down while she was line leader (oh no, do I have a "Sharla" on my hands?) and writing her J backwards. She's lovin' it and so am I.

Next week we start into piano lessons, ballet, Glee club, Dance Fusion, and swimming. I'm finally feeling like life is going to be a little bit normal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

High Tea

This is my friend Hilary.

When I took this picture of her, she was pregnant. She has since delivered a beautiful baby boy, Ryan. I am just now getting around to posting the pictures from her "Baby Sprinkle." She didn't want a traditional shower with gifts. She instead invited us all to tea at this place.

It is Carcosa Seri Negara. The Carcosa mansion was built in 1896-1897 as the official residence of Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham the first British High Commissioners in Malaya of the then Resident-General of the Federated Malay States. If you feel inclined you can read more about it here.

Apparently it is THE place to have English tea in Kuala Lumpur.

I have never had tea before, or been to a real tea party for that matter. It was delightful!

Since we were all LDS, we chose from the non-tea-leaf tea. What ever that is. My choice was caramel vanilla tea.

With enough cream and sugar, it was actually pretty good. Of course, when you pair it with these lovelies, how can you go wrong?

The company was better. Thank you ladies for a fun afternoon out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

June 16-30

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ethen's Quote of the Day

I think it's time to start a new series of posts with Ethen's verbal gems. There have been a few that I've not posted and already forgotten.

Today he said, "I want to go on an airplane." Ugh, I don't.

Like usual, eating his dinner is a chore. Tonight at 8:30pm I'm still trying to coax it into him.

Me: Have a bite.
Ethen: Do you want a bite?
Me: No.
Ethen: Is it yucky?
Me: No, it's good. Mommy ate all her food. Now it's Ethen's turn.
Ethen: Do you want a bite?
Me: No. Eat a bite. You can't get out of your chair until you have a bite.

Repeat above conversation 3 times before finally seeing success of one bite.
Now repeat entire process for only 4 bites of food.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Malacca Beach

I have to post a picture of this funny sign that was at the pool. Sadly, I've seen just about every no-no listed here. Ironically, I think it's a more welcome sight than the alternative...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

June 1-15

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lovin Life

This, my friends, is why Dave wants to have a cabin and a boat. He's related to these people, and knows just how much fun it is, because he grew up doing it.

These are the Keslers, (as in the IGA in Blackfoot). They are his cousins. This is their 2nd annual music video.

Love it! Love them!

This is their video from last summer:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Vacation is always good. However, there is always the day you get back. Real life hits you again, and in our case, so does jet lag.

I feel like I'm drowning. My "to-do" list is a mile long and I can't focus on one project because of the other 100 that are looming.

Maya starts school tomorrow. Kindergarten. Wow. I'm excited for her, and excited for me too, so maybe I can get on top of this pile a little.

I missed a few deadlines last month, so I am frantically trying to play catch-up and will be for quite awhile. I know you are all riveted on my blog, and can hardly wait until the next post. Here is a little bit of what I've done lately.