Sunday, 22 February 2009

Visit by the Malaysian Education Attache...



We had a Malaysian gathering in a very heavily snowing Peterborough today...The snow was so heavy, we could barely see where we were going. In fact, while 2 days ago, we saw grass everywhere, today, the snow was thick enough (after it stopped coming down heavily) for people to go toboganing...




Clockwise from left: Nurkhuzaiah, Jessica, me, Pn Zalillah, Asyraf, Azlan, Hadi, Siew Lung, Salina, Izzatul and Nana...



Anyway, our gathering was with the newly-appointed Education Attache, Pn Zalillah Haron (she's from Ipoh too!), who is on a 'tour' to visit Malaysian students in Canada. I believe she told us that to date, we have a total of over 400 Malaysian students in Canada...Trent University itself has at least 20...

We had lunch at Curry Village, a local Indian cuisine eatery. I had previously visited Curry Village last year with friends, so I knew the food was pretty good...





Only part of the meal! We had more food...




It was a relatively relaxing day, and I really needed it after having an intensive reading/study break. I went over to Jessica's place, where we had a nice time playing duets on the piano (who knew, we both like boyband songs?!?), before we made our way for lunch...





From left: Nurkhuzaiah, Jessica, Me and Pn Zalillah (looking at another camera)...




And then we went for our weekly grocery shopping. The strawberries were on sale today, going for $1.99 from the usual $2.99. Jessica, who went home last year, was lamenting about how the same Strawberries were about RM 18 back home...

Being the strawberry-monster that I am, it's on my list every week, along with bananas (even bigger banana-monster!). I occasionally alternate to blueberries or raspberries, depending on the price...





1 pound for $ 1.99...




These are the things I will surely miss when going back home...Fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, the tons of different types of cheese, milk and yoghurt...We have them back home too, but for prices a whole lot higher!

But going home means there's mum, dad, bro, doggies...And nasi lemak, mamak-food, teh-tarik, char koay teow, ikan panggang, cendol, ipoh hor fun!, white coffee, roti canai, chicken rice, duck soup, pisang emas (my beloved baby bananas)...ARGH!!!



No fight! I wanna go home, the food is too good!!! Next year, keeping fingers crossed (this summer, I have to take courses)...

But for now, it's back to putting to tying my butt to the chair. University resumes tomorrow...=(




Thursday, 19 February 2009

Two Old Dears and Two Lipstick Pecks...


Jacqui's comment in the previous post reminded me of an incident which happened in the hospital the week before Valentine's...


I had just finished my work and was waiting for the bus when two old ladies walked towards the place I was waiting. One of the old dears (L1) had just had treatment and was tired and wobbly, and since there was only one chair, I gave it to her. She promptly thanked me.

The other old lady, her friend, L2, was to go take the car, but this sweet thing was too worried about her friend to leave her alone. She told L1 she would go get the car and come down and walk her to it. After making L1 promise she won't walk out on her own, L2 turned to leave. But, she was clearly still worried.



Now, my bus was still about 20 minutes away, and so I told L2 if she hurried fast enough, I would take L1 to the car for her so she didn't need to come down again. They both thanked me profusely, and told me to look out for a black car...


And so Daphne looked out for a black car, while chatting with L1...She kept her hand on my arm the whole time...

Suddenly, L1 stood up and pointed to a car at the entrance, adamant her ride had reached. I looked in vain and found no black car, but L1 was already anxiously trying to get out.



I took her out anyway, and out of a dark GREEN car came L2, who could not see either me or L1 walking towards her...

I nearly choked in amusement...


The car...was...GREEN...



I wondered how L2 drove. She couldn't see us walking towards her, and she couldn't tell her own car was NOT black...It's amazing she managed to drive from half an hour away...


So how did Jacqui's comment remind me of this story? Well, before they both left, L1 beckoned to me to bend down. I thought she wanted to tell me something, but what I got was a big peck on the cheek and a hug. And then I got another peck on the other cheek from L2...

I didn't think of it any further until I got on the bus and the bus driver burst out laughing saying: "Did an old lady get ya, hon?" (The place where I live is full of old people!).


Turns out, I had two red lipstick stains on my cheeks...



Oh well...I don't even know their names, but those two pecks kept me in good spirits throughout the brutally cold day! In fact, that episode reminded me very much of the old lady whom I lost my voice for over a year ago...


I didn't get home any later than I would have otherwise since I had to wait for the bus, but I was a whole lot happier on the ride home, and all it took was to walk one old dear to the car...




Friday, 13 February 2009

From the Mouth of Babes...



Overheard at the Parent-Child Mother-Goose (PP-CMG) project where I volunteer:-


2+ year-old Alice*: "Mum, what that?" (pointing to her mum's breast)

Mom: "These are mummy's breast, honey"

Alice: "No mummy" (Giggles)

Mom: "What are they, then?"

Alice: "Your butt, in front!"


At the same program, a child who had just learned the world 'baby' and 'big' (adult) was going around pointing out the people in the room, and labelling them. She went around, correctly labelling everyone, and then she came to me, pointed and said:-

...


Little Olive*: "Baby!"

Mom: "No, hon, Daphne's not a baby"

Olive: "Yes, she small! No big"


Since I was about a head shorter than most people in the room and/or half their width, we all just laughed it off and let her call me baby...



Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! My professor just reminded us that kissing decreases cortisol (stress hormone) and increases oxytocin (which can increase feelings of empathy) in the blood...


Hmmm...I think she just told us to go kiss away!


Geez...What on earth do they teach in universities nowadays?!? ;)




*Note: Names have been changed...



Saturday, 7 February 2009

7-Year-Old: "Daphne, Do You Know What Makes Me Happy?"...




Picture taken from ICanHasCheezBurger.



I met up with my pen-friend Natalie (full name and school cannot be released for privacy reasons) over the week. I had missed the actual Pen-Pal Day where university students met up with their pen friends because of a technical problem--my name was not in the email list because I had joined the program late.



I was pretty upset because I knew little Nat would be waiting for me and expecting me to come. And to see an entire busload of university students coming and her friend wasn't on the bus? That wasn't very nice, and she's so young!





So I made a private arrangement with the school (via the Pen Pal coordinator) to see her personally on another day. Took 2 buses to get to her in -22C temperature, but it was worth it!

Turns out, the occasion was even more special for her, because this time, she was the only one with a visit, while everyone else had to do school work...

I spent an hour with her and her friends in their classroom. Then one of her classmates had to fall down and she started to cry because people pointed and laughed, and suddenly, I had a bunch of girls who brought this crying girl to me to ask for help.






*Picture taken from web*





And it was at that time I was so happy for my puppet-program training, because these are just the sort of stuff we talk about it the program--when people make fun of you, feelings, bullying on the playground etc.


And so it happens there were a bunch of 6-7 year-old girls, all dressed in snow-attire, sitting on the snow and having a conversation with me about why we shouldn't tease people and how everybody has feelings. It was a very nice conversation because at the end of it, they all gave me a hug, and invited me to play!




Little Natalie's mum was so sweet. She actually baked me some chocolate chip cookies! Although the rule is we are not to give anything to our pen-friends when we meet up, because of the circumstances, the coordinators felt we could ignore the rule and give her something very small, and so I brought along a bunch of cute cat stickers for her (the set you gave me for my birthday, Ae Mi. She loved it!).



And then yesterday, I met up with a friend who brought her 7-year-old, M. I had met this little girl previously, and we had hit it off, and she remembered me from our previous meet, so I got a hug there as well.


And she told me this while we did arts-and-craft, which I wanted to share with you:-






*Picture taken from web*



M: "Daphne, do you know what makes me happy?"

D: "No. What?"

M: "Colours. Yellow makes me happy because it is the sun. Blue makes me happy because it is the sky. Green makes me happy because it is the trees. Red makes me happy because it is the rainbow. I am very happy to wake up every morning. I am happy to see you".



M is 7 years-old, and she has pretty much grasped what makes the world beautiful: Being alive. You know when people say you learn about the world from the little ones?

It's true...I heard it last night...



Sunday, 1 February 2009

Of Mexican Grills, Strawberries and Nursery Rhymes...




From left: Laura, Andrew and me...



Sigh...*Bliss*


I have had a pretty nice week. The snow was falling, but it wasn't too cold...Just nice, in fact...

I've been busy trying to get my work together. The whole flu episode has not been fun. I missed half a week of classes, and when I did manage to go to classes, I was still too tired to actually get anything done. So I had a backlog of assignments and readings! When I managed to finish the backlogged ones, I was behind in the recent ones...*Smack head*



So anyway, I finally found some time to just dump everything and go out for a nice lunch with some friends over the weekend, to kinda celebrate 2 birthdays, one belated and one early. We decided on a Mexican restaurant called MexiCali Rosa's Cantina & Grill. I tell you, I felt myself coming alive when I walked in: The smell of the peppers and grill can really wake you up!





From left: Nika and Andrea, who weren't in the first picture.



And then we visited an arts-and-crafts store where we had a nice time looking at the hand-carvings and 'homemade' quilts and teddy bears. And then we did the 'boring' stuff, where we got groceries. Hehe...Got some fresh strawberries and other fruits, some yoghurt, muesli and milk...

Grocery shopping should be boring, but it was nice to just hang out with friends and argue over which strawberries look fresher. Basically, it was just nice to just go out, and not have books or any other nagging commitment!





She needs no introduction!



And a few days ago, I had my first session volunteering at the local library in a program that encourages parents to sing and story-tell to their children. It's called the Parent-Child Mother Goose project (PP-CMG)...One of my professors who studies children does research on this (the effects of these sessions on the parent-child relationship) project, and she introduced it to me.


And I felt sooo at home there! The children (about 10 of them) were all tiny, ranging from 10 months to about 2 years old. Gosh, I miss being around the tiny ones, and today, it just felt so good!

And so it was, I spent the whole morning singing nursery rhymes...One of the mums brought 2 kids- a toddler and a baby-so I got a child of my own to sing to. I got the baby, who was such a darling. It was just so relaxing to hear her laugh and giggle in glee as we did the movements!



I can already see how much it can improve the parent-child relationship. All the rhymes and songs involve touch, actions and movements of some sort.



The parents were also taught stories which they could tell their children. The interesting thing was, the stories were told with the major parts of the story (like characters, places, actions etc) accompanied by American Sign Language.


I am really going to enjoy this program! The 12 weeks will pass like a breeze...=)

Anyway, I gotta go...Going for brunch and then it's time to hit the books again!