OMG, where have we been?
So I started writing this post about a month ago. Of course, wanted to blog months before that. It's a combination of a lot of things but I think the main thing is just not having allocated specifically this special 'me time' to pause & reflect and just keep writing and ultimately just get it out & do it!
Last I wrote, we're still back in my hometown in JB, Malaysia for Ayisha's school concert. Since then, we've been back to Khao Lak, Thailand and spent about a month there. I have written in length about our fabulous stay there with pics and all, but like many of my travel posts, it's still sitting in draft! Will finish it soon soon soon. :p
We were there for Christmas & New Year's Eve. It was the first time we didn't go back to Oz for Christmas. Why? Because two weeks after Khao Lak, we were frantically organising farewells & saying goodbyes to family & friends in Malaysia because we were moving our entire life back to Australia. This time for good, for now :)
YES! So at this very moment, we are back in Oz!
There's so much to share and write about and man I'm so full of excuses but really, this is it. I am going to write more from this day onwards, insyaAllah.
The decision to come back was pretty last minute'ish. We had to look for a house to live while we were in Khao Lak as we wanted to be back in Oz just in time for Ayisha's new school year & Michael's new work by the end of January.
BIG BIG NEWS - Ayisha's in BIG school now. A lil old news now because we've just had a long school Easter holidays and it's already the 2nd term! But yeah, she started Kindergarten. Unlike in Malaysia where kindergartens are separate to Primary schools, kindy here is part of Primary school. It means she's in the same school as the 12 year olds; not playschool, not preschool but big school, as they call it. And my, it's a BIG school too! I am just so paranoid that Ayisha would get lost and so worried about how she is going to go up and down those many stairs with her little feet & big bag?? she's just so tiny!
Aaaanyways, by law they have to be enrolled for school the year they turn 6. Ayisha is turning 5 this year but since the cut off date is July and her birthday is in end of June, we have the option to send her a year early, so we did. It simply means, whilst most kids will finish high school at 17, if all goes well with her, she will probably be ready for Uni before she turns 17! And then find work & support us not long after. (muahahahah)
Having said that, our original plan was to hold her back from formal schooling for as long as we could. So we always thought we have an extra year of travelling around before she has to start school, be it in Malaysia or Australia. But with this major move, we decided (well ok, Michael made me agree, I have letting-go issues) to send her early. Seriously, I think she's the tiniest and probably the youngest one there. But so far, she seems to be doing surprisingly & extremely well. She did not cry at all that first day and the days after or even showing signs of distress. Mummy, different story & drama of course. Even daddy was showing signs of clinginess and Eli was depressed for days! :p
She's still the shy little girl but apparently she seems to be quite the lil miss popular at school. At first I thought it's because of how friendly & fantastic all the kids are. Every time I send & pick her up, there's always kids other than her classmates (mostly girls, big & small) greeting her, calling her name, hugging her etc. And everytime I ask her who they are she'd say 'I don't remember'. (cheh..cam glamer sangaat!)
The school does have this buddy system, which I personally think is just so awesomely cool, where they get the older kids to help the kindy kids get settled in the first few days. But weeks passed & she's still getting too much attention even from kids other than her assigned buddies. Either she's really very popular or she's just that extra shy that the teachers might've told the big girls to pay more attention to her! However I did get comments from other parents saying how popular she is and how everybody knows her and wants to play with her. Personally, I think it's her size. I am not exaggerating when I say she's just so tiny compared to everyone else. So I guess they treated her like this lil baby sister that needs more attention. Or maybe, just maybe, she's just simply so irresistibly cute that everyone just wants to fit her in their pocket!
Having said all that, she also has incidents at school which made me all overly protective, stupidly sad and crazily asking her to point out which one was the kid that upsets her or actually upsets mummy!! Like one day I was being a typical (ok, maybe a lil bit over) busybody mum asking her every move and every interactions and she told me about one kid that told her to go away. She was fine about it. I was the one that was sooo sad to hear her story. But at the end of her story she calmly told me 'it's ok mummy, I'm sure she's sorry after that. We're friends again now.' See how innocent and no-grudge holding kids are?? I have to say, she taught me so much.
So far I am very happy with the school. She's also reading now. Tho most of the time I think she memorises a lot of the words but still, to actually see her flipping the pages & reading word by word, all by herself, I just get emotional thinking how so grown up she is now. :(
But the biggest change that truly amazes me since she started is the fact that she's that little bit more confident now, it's so lovely to see. She gets rewarded for every little things that she did at school and they have this special achievement awards that they handed out every now and then. She's so proud of them and I am extremely proud of her.
They also do a lot of interesting and fun events and activities at school in the short few months that she's been there - Monster's party, Easter hat parade etc, which I'd definitely talk more about. She's just having so much fun and loving it.
Michael is also back at work. Work as in, go to office, wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and shoes. A BIG adjustment for everyone, especially for the ones left behind. Eli was so used to having him around all the time so he was a bit lost in the beginning. I, on the other hand, am still adjusting to getting re-acquainted with my ironing board & iron. I haven't done any for ages! Seriously, Ayisha even asked me what the ironing board is when I first whipped it out.
So we've been back in Oz since late January but we're not living in the house that we left behind. As Michael's work is about 1 1/2 hour further south, we decided to live somewhere closer to his work but still not too far from his family. So we chose a little lovely town in between called Kiama, which means "where the sea makes a noise" - very well known for its famous blowholes.
I've talked about this place numerous times throughout this blog; Michael's family's favorite childhood holiday destination and how I took my sisters here where we went nuts over the blowholes. In all those times that we visited this place, we never really thought that we would be living here. It is pretty surreal.
We were quite fortunate to find the house that we are in. It's just a small 3 bedroom townhouse but it has everything that we needed. It is just about 4 mins walk to the beach, it's unbelievable. The town is just surrounded with beautiful beaches, parks and playgrounds, you really can't help yourself but wanting to be outdoors as much as you can. I take the kids to the playground almost everyday and sometimes we pack our dinner and have a picnic at the park near the beach. Of course not now as it's getting a bit cold & dark early after daylight savings ended but the daytimes are still usually pretty lovely. Besides, I love cooler weather. The cold never bothered me anyway. (excuse my Elsa moment, Frozen overload)
The people here are super nice as well - very friendly and extremely thoughtful. Being out & about around this little town, I always get that extra help & kindness from everyone, you just cannot NOT smile to every other person on the streets. Most times you'll get at least a 'Hello' and if you're lucky you get a full blown conversation at the park that may lasted for hours. It's also a very laid back town where no one's in a hurry. Traffic is super duper cool with a lot more patient & considerate drivers around. The only stress that I get from driving here is trying not to go over 40 km/h at school zone during school hours!
Other than that, everything's just way too cool. The whole vibe is positive all around. I'm truly loving it so far. It's been about 3 months and we're pretty much settled in. I am slowly but surely getting used to doing endless laundry, household chores & cooking everyday. The kids are enjoying their pretty straightforward daily routine and Michael is loving his work and oh how we love having him at home from work the same time everyday, with no extra working hours & late night datelines.
Other than that, everything else has been well & good. The kids are growing up way too fast tho. As Eli gets a little bit older, he's annoying Ayisha more than ever. They have their lovey dovey, Frozen sing-a-long and role play moments together for sure, but OMG, they can both love & loathe each other all at the same time. As always, I have all their milestones & development written down somewhere, I really need to get on top of that!
Ayisha is like a grown woman. She's still tiny but she talks like an adult now tho still so very innocent. Just the other day I was nagging away and said 'how many times do I have to tell you!!' and what did she say? 'mmmm...I don't know mummy, I really don't have an answer for that'. perghh...
Eli - OMG! He's doing so much, growing too fast, learning a lot from his big sister and just absorbing everything. When Ayisha is at school and Michael's at work, it's just the two of us. He has his moments but most of the time, I really do enjoy our time together. He's just the coolest & funniest lil dude!!!
He's into all the boys stuff now - trucks, bikes, cars, dinosaurs, skateboards and more cars. He picks his own clothes to wear every morning and night, we eat & share our meals together, we do groceries together & he helps me with the housework all the time. I am trying to not get too frustrated when everything takes twice as long to get done. I keep remembering this advice I heard from somewhere "looking after your child is priority, everything else is secondary" and a current favourite advice that makes me a little sad, sounds something like "they're only this small, fun & look up to and needing YOU for 5 years max, after that they're at an age where they follow & look up to friends & teachers more, then become teenagers for a much longer period where they normally don't want to talk to you, then they become adults and don't even need you anymore".
As I am beginning to miss lil Ayisha and feeling that she's growing up so so much, the more I treasure my times with Eli. It also changes the way I reacted to his endless 'mummy, mum, maaa, mamma, mum, mum, mummy' whenever he needs me. It used to remind me of this hilarious scene from The Family Guy (google Family Guy Lois mum mom). When I first watched it, I think I haven't got kids yet or Ayisha wasn't doing it so much. But with Eli, OMG, he's exactly like that sometimes. After a while, I began to find it so so annoying & frustrating. But now, I laughed again, harder than the first time.
I will talk about the kids' development in more details and other stuff that's been going on with & around us. Till then, it's good to be 'back'! Nite nite!