Sunday, June 29, 2014

Open Day - meeting the teacher

Meeting the teacher and seeing his results and position in class takes a whole new perspective now that he is in Standard 1. Perhaps as the years go by I will get used to this and it will be just another day in school.

It was quite a journey after his exam and seeing his results come out one by one. The most disappointing subject for me was his Math. I expected him to do so much better since we have been giving alot of emphasis on his Math since kindergarten. But I realized that it was not Math that he didn't know but the language that pulled down his grade.

The other up and down ride for me was when the teacher posted he got a 52 in his Science. I know my son and if he tells me he did OK, it definitely doesn't call for a 52. So, for almost 2 weeks before Open Day I was thinking maybe he really misinterpreted a section and did it totally wrong.

Anyways, during Open Day itself I saw his Science paper and it was not a 52. Damn....I felt so 'cheated' that I had to go through all days of wondering. At any rate, I am glad he did well for no other reason than that how he thinks he did is almost how he really did.

He was positioned 19 in class which ain't that bad. With this new assessment, it doesn't matter anyway what your position is and he just needs to be in the better band within the subject assessment. Heard the school may open another class next year for the weaker students which would be a good thing for those who really cannot cope with the current pace of class.

Any reward for him? No. I told him studying hard is his responsibility and not something I will need to reward him with. But truth be told in my own quiet way I will reward him for being patient and willing to study hard. He is quite a good boy in that way.

Church Camp 2014

So I told myself when my son starts being able to go to camp, I will help out. 2014 marks the first year.

Being new to the camp, there were many things to learn. It was a good thing I had great team members.
It seemed there were a lot to ready myself with initially. It was kind of overwhelming at times. But things started to fall into place, and into perspective.

I think what I loved most preparing for the camp was the total reliance on God. It felt good to feel the heart of God and follow His prompting.

As it is I am not an overly excitable person. And most times I feel that events like this require me to be excited and eager and loud - if for no other reason than to make the kids excited and eager and respond. But I realize that there are others who worked alongside me who were not like that. Some were doing work quietly and some motivated personally. Is it a group leader thing that I placed myself in such a role? If I were a helper instead, would I have reacted differently to the situations in the camp? In fact looking back at the videos in the camp, I wonder who that person that looks like me is?

Talking to kids I don't know on the first day was also tough for me. It was exhausting trying to coax them to talk and tell us their darkest deepest secrets. And being the private person that I am, I found it tough to keep the group talking and excited about topics of interest. I rather prefer the quite times with individual kids praying for them and getting them brave enough to pray for me. It's a wonder that as a kid grows, their ability to pray out loud diminishes if not prompted continuously by their parents and teachers. This was a lesson to me to always give my kids the courage to pray out loud in a group.

Son fell sick 2nd day of the camp. Which made me feel sad because there is a different kind of bond that is developed when you 'play' with your son in a church camp. The setting is formal and you see the way he interacts with his peers and group leaders. And you see that social part of him that emerging right before your eyes. It was touching to a mother seeing her son in a different light.

At the end of the camp, I did feel a little sad. Partly because I know the stories of my kids and feel sad that I cannot follow up further. Partly also when you have pushed yourself to the high, coming back down to the middle ground takes another round of effort. After surviving the camp, teaching, being teacher in charge and even organizing Easter and Field Trips ain't that hard. Perhaps because the people I need to be involved with are a great bunch. Working with any other people I don't know still seems a far off ability.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Penang and Ipoh 2014

Why is it that I am feeling this only now?

My recent trip to Penang via Ipoh made me realize a few things:

1) In the local supermarkets in Penang, aunties rule the aisle. And when not serving you, they are busy chatting with each other. These are slightly older than middle aged aunties, making use of their time earning some small income while still meeting their need to talk. Perhaps the ease of travel to work enables them to continue working.

2) In most restaurants, the people who work there are local chinese people. Seldom did  notice an foreigner serving my food or wiping my table. Of course I am  refering to restaurants and not the big scale food courts. So much so, I felt 'safer' allowing my kids to put their elbows on the table (which was dry after being wiped with a wet and then a dry cloth). And the fact that a local served me my rice and dishes somehow made a slight difference.

3) Surprisingly drivers in Penang are very tolerant. They don't squeeze you out of a junction so that they make the turn faster than you. Neither do they honk when the car in front keeps looking at the side instead of looking to the front and driving better.

4) Drivers in Ipoh on the other hand seem to love to honk. They honk when you are trying to reverse out of your parking bay. They honk when they are coming and you seem to want to make that quick turn.

5) I wanted to get some 'leong sum' for the kids. Went into a chinese medicinal shop and asked for it. And the guy could tell me that he does have it, but the quality isn't that great. So, he would rather not sell it to me. Please can you go here and her to buy instead. Initially I was shocked but after a while cynical me emerged and I was like 'Huh....are you really that honest?'

At any rate, this trip to Penang was not the best. The boy was recovering from a sore throat so we had to be very careful with his food and water intake. Had to strike the right balance between allowing them pool fun and not falling ill any further.

It wasn't the best foodie trip in that regard. I made sure the kids had proper dinners and lots of fluids while we were walking around Armenia Street and Chowrasta market. That was the only touristy thing we did. Apart from the crazy Waze supported trip to Sunshine Ayer Item to buy the Old tree white coffee. And then to our uncle Cheah's Nutmeg shop.

2 days of pool fun. It was funny coz there was a Malay boy on the 2nd day of pool fun. And the boy kept coming to me and asking me how to say such and such a word in Malay. Like as if the other boy didn't know English. Or as if suddenly Malay to him is more real a language. Was fine until I had to tell him what was shark in Malay....of course NOW I know it is Ikan Yu. But at that time I was like what-the-heck!

The girl was fun to watch coz she kept looking at her brother jumping into the pool and creating such a joyful splash. So she went up, squatted next to the pool and looked in, again and again contemplating if she could make the jump. She even went down one step and jumped in and decided it was doable at 2 steps, now let me try 3 steps, equivalent to the edge of the pool. In the end, she didn't manage to overcome her fear and waded over to me to ask for help. 5-8 jumps later, holding my hand, she attempted the jump on her own and succeeded. I love her look of utter satisfaction. In fact this time round, the girl learnt to put her head under water like her kor kor and even when she was submerged, she was not afraid. A great improvement for her from not even daring to put her head under water.

In Ipoh, of course I had to have my white coffee fix, tau fu fah fix and kacang putih fix. 3 hours later, we were back on the road to KL. A 1 foot iron rod speared hubby's bumper on the NKVE on the way back. We thank God that it didn't hit the radiator or the windscreen. But it was such a fright.

A good enough break. The kids are asking when is the next pool fun holiday? We are all nursing a flu, cough and the first for the girl - conjunctivitis. But all's well that ends well. And the weekend is approaching.