Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekly Update- First KL Edition

We're so glad the haze seems to be abating. It was a rough couple days, being stuck indoors with Darin and Cassia being quite affected. Our poor Western lungs! Now it's way nicer outside but very warm so we try to do earlier morning activities or later afternoon. We're getting the hang of things though.

  1. The cuisine here is quite good. Malay food is a combo of Indian and Chinese but not the Western Hakka that we are used to. In fact, Hakka hear means something totally different... food from the Hakka region of China. 
  2. As part of our package, we have the hotel breakfast everyday. It's quite a spread and no one loves it more than little C. She begins with juice, then it's onto cereal, then sometimes chicken sausage and cheese and then a pain du chocolat. She also brings a mini muffin back to the room for a mid morning snack. I've begun to warn her that this is not how it will be working when we return home
  3. Cass has not been herself since she has been here. She has been way more cranky than she usually is and we are not  impressed. Where is the little well behaved girl we had in Canada. I know it's due in part to not being at preschool where they do all these fun activities in a cool climate controlled environment with lots of friends. 
  4. It is really hot during the day. We need to be careful with our babies in this weather. Yesterday, Cassia's cheeks got so red, Darin was quite concerned of sunburn today. She seems to be good though and she was maybe just overheated.
  5. Aunty Sabi is coming to visit KL while we are here too. We are SO excited!
  6. As the haze was so bad, we went to many, many malls in the short while we've been here. We frequent the Pavillion and we've also been to the Berjaya Times Square, Mega Mall and KLCC Suria. We're a bit "malled out" right now and hope to do some other things now that it is nicer. We have some plans in work for next week, a bus tour, a couple park visits etc.
  7. Anjali is so close to pulling herself to standing. It is the cutest thing.
  8. Happy Canada Day weekend!!! 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fruits galore

We are loving all the asian fruit we're sampling. The groceries here are filled with both eastern and western treats but as much as possible, we're sampling the asian treasures. Here's what we've tried so far:

  1. Dragon fruit- A white fruit with tiny black specks. Fleshy and somewhat sweet while remaining a bit bland at the same time. A favourite of Anjali-- and her diaper! C even had a dragon fruit popsicle which she loved-- she chose it because of the bright purple colour.
  2. Jack fruit- a yellow fruit- looks like mango but way more smelly and a bit more slippery. Not too much of a fan
  3. Water apple- looks like our trini pomerac but as the name suggests, its a bit more watery and not as sweet. Good in a chow.
  4. Longan- I guess similar to lychee. Really delicious. Darin's a huge fan.
  5. Mangosteen--- my favourite!! I am addicted and I have a bag everyday. I can't really liken it to anything but it's very sweet, juicy and is pure heaven--- okay, maybe I am a little biased. Cass is a big fan too. We're trying to get our fill as I've never seen it in Canada. 
We've yet to try durian and to tell you the truth, I am a bit nervous and not sure I will try it. I'm very turned off by smells and the durian is supposed to be quite pungent. We've also had our fill of tropical fruit like papaya, yellow and pink watermelon, mangos, bananas, honeydew and guavas... everything is that much sweeter here! 

Our mangosteen! Or is it mangosteens?!

Longing for a longan! There are so many jokes my twelve year old brain is making here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tiffin Tea at the Royal Chulan Hotel

We have been indoors more than we anticipated due to the kids (all three of them) having colds and the unforeseen haze in Malaysia. This weekend though, the four of us ventured out to the Royale Chulan Hotel for an afternoon 'tiffin tea'. The Royale Chulan Hotel is so beautiful with its lovely, ornate Malay architecture. We were the only ones there, making us a bit wary of how good the tea would be but we had a wonderful time.  We snacked on some yummy Asian delicacies served in a traditional Indian tiffin carrier and  warm pots of Malay tea, all the while relaxing on the comfy sofas and enjoying the peaceful ambience... in the mean time Cassia, who is proving to be more of a picky eater than we thought, had french fries... even she couldn't resist the wonderful Malay cakes that we are becoming huge fans of.

Afternoon tea, definitely a treat we intend to repeat while in KL.

In front of the Royal Chulan

Getting settled in

All smiles- well as much as a four year old is smiling these days

Sweet Anjali

Mild Malay Tea.. note the sugar sticks

Note the four year old with said sugar sticks-- yes, I am that parent

Delicious tiffin tea- lamb kebabs, prawn rolls and traditional Malay cakes we all love. They are steamed, gelatinous, slightly sweet and so, so good! 

Yes, I am also the parent who gave her kid a french fry

Switching sunglasses

I think Cass looks very en vogue with my sunglasses

Our little family on our little outing

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Settling in

So we've been in KL for about five days now and were just about settled in. The last time I did this was about seven years ago when I went to Ekaterinburg to teach for a month. That time, I was with other MBA colleagues, staying in a hostel, eating food that was provided and on a student's budget. It's funny how things have changed but are so similar all at once. This time, though it's not just me, it is world's apart. For one, it's waaay more fun traveling with D and his runny commentary on all things cultural.. It's also safer! For another, we are lugging around two kiddos with nap time needs, routines, dietary restrictions and general well being to consider.... Not to mention all the stuff that comes along with them. Let's just say this time, the pace is much slower.

My aunt and uncle have been so helpful in getting us settled in. We honestly don't know what we would do without them. They've organized our accommodations,  are introducing us to the Malay sights and sounds and in general helping us to get the lay of the land. We're really having a nice time so far apart from a bit of jet lag for everyone except me and are now beginning to establish a routine.

The hotel that my uncle hand selected for us is in a perfect location. We're staying in a serviced apartment- very common here in Malaysia. It is opposite the Pavillion Mall and is within walking distance of an overhead bridge (a great investment by the Malaysian government I might add)  which takes us to the KLCC Suria and the Petronas Towers (arguably Malaysia's most famous landmark)as well as groceries, pharmacies and entertainment.

The food here... Oh my! Let me just say that even the Western food here tastes better with the Malay touch. Yesterday we had burgers and pizza and they were better than I have ever had in Canada. So far, weve had Malay, Chinese and Thai as well, none of which have disappointed. I still can't eat rice for breakfast or soup (both of which are very popular here) but everything we have had gets us excited to try more. We've also tried some local fruit- we love the yellow melon and dragon fruit but the jack fruit leaves something to be desired. And we're eating our weight I. The juicy papaya and watermelon- it's twice as sweet as anything we've had in Canada.

Cassia and Anjali are really loving it so far. Cass loves the pool, the Disney Channel (complete with Asian voiceovers) and adventures out. I'm also slowly teaching  her to read. A loves the Malaysian fruit and the Kids Club where she basically plays with a big box of blocks. And they both eat our money's worth at breakfast each morning, included as part of our package... I will have to blog about that one under separate cover.

So yes, we are good and we are continuing to enjoy this wonderful adventure as a family. Stay tuned!

Eleven things in eleven months

Can you believe my sweet baby is now eleven months? Boy has time flown. She is developing such a  gentle, funny personality that is such a joy to be around!

Here are eleven things about you, Li-Lo in your eleven months so far.

  1. This month, you really bonded with Daddy as he is now home spending lots of time with us. You're still a momma's girl but you have a special smile for Daddy
  2. You are so affectionate and love to give and receive kisses. You give the sweetest, wettest kisses but you also put your head forward to receive kisses as well. If both parents are around, you like getting a kiss from one then the other
  3. You are still army crawling in a very awkward way (think Phoebe running on 'Friends') but you're getting very fast. You're getting close to a full fledge crawl and you're really trying to pull yourself to standing-- but not succeeding.
  4. You still love your food- and we still love to see you eat as you eat with such joy and intention
  5. You now have seven teeth. 
  6. I don't know yet but I have a sneaking suspicion we might have a tantrum thrower on our hands. You get very upset when you don't get your way.
  7. You're beginning to chat- papa, mama and caca (we think Caca is for Cassia)
  8. You shriek with laughter sometimes and you shake your body from side to side when doing it
  9. Still love your sleep- these parents are not complaining
  10. Your favourite thing about Malaysia is the huge box of toys in the Kids Club 
  11. Your hair is now a dark, golden brown unlike the black of everyone else in the family.
It's getting hard to find 11 things. Next month will be the last month I do this :-)

Sweet, sweet girl!

Friday, June 21, 2013

KLCC Aquaria

We're slowly venturing out and beginning to explore KL. Our first sight seeing foray was the the KLCC Aquaria. We thought it would be a great idea to go there as we really don't have an aquarium in Ontario (to my knowledge), Cassia would love it and it would be a bit of a respite from this sweltering sauna. It was wonderful. We were impressed with the entire experience from the petting of the crabs, the close encounters with rare insects, amphibia, reptiles and insects and the cool shows throughout the day showcasing the different creatures.  The best part was this under water glass tunnel you walked through showcasing different eels, beautiful fish, huge sharks and mammoth sting rays. It was a very close, very cool encounter.... and our four year old saw Dori and Nemo... Overall a successful outing!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And we're in KL....

We are here! We officially feel that we are are world travellers... Yes, between D and I, we've been to many places in The Americas, Caribbean and Europe, but after that 15 hour flight, 6 hour layover and 4 hours again, especially with 2 kids under 5, we feel very accomplished.

Honestly, the flight, though not the easiest thing we have done, went really well. It helped that Anjali had her own seat and a bassinet and also that we got the bulkhead on both flights... Our prayers worked! Though there were cranky moments, both girls behaved well. Here are a few of the things that stood out:
1- Cassia impressed us with her movie watching abilities, watching 3 movies on the 15 hour flight and quite a few shows until finally I had to force her to sleep.
2- iPads folks are the best invention ever for long flights. Both for the shows I uploaded for Cass as well as the books I downloaded for me.
3- I made the right call with our meal choices- Hindu Meals for us ( no beef/pork- thanks Am!) kids meal for C and a Bland Meal for our foodie Anjali- none of that baby food crap for her. She tried dragon fruit and loved it! Let's just say there was evidence of it for days after!
4- Hydration helps! Between lots of water, nose drops, eye drops, wipes and face spritzers, we were very hydrated through the flight.
5- I left my travel makeup bag and expressed bottle of milk on the plane- I was NOT impressed with myself!

After the 15 hour flight, we booked ourselves in a lounge in the Hong Kong Airport and that time flew with the yummy eats, stretching our legs and taking showers. Then we were off again on the final leg of our journey which just flew by... No pun intended. It was then to the hotel where we refreshed before my aunt and uncle picked us up for a lovely breakfast at the Royal Selangor Club-- breakfast here can include rice and curry but it was wonderful! I will post some more about the food when I can.

I have photos on my iPhone but wireless is not readily available so I will post when I can... For the next couple months though, when I do blog, it will be more descriptive than photographic. We are having a wonderful time so far even though we are just settling in and have not done much.  Stay tuned!

Addendum: here are the photos from our flight

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iPhone dump

We (well the grown ups anyway) are soooo busy getting everything ready for our 15 hour flight and 2 month trip. Between packing, doctors' appointments, errands and chores, I hardly have time to sit, much less blog. I'm actually in the hairdresser's chair right now - a bit of a break- so I thought I would just post a few random shots from my iPhone.

Enjoying some hot vanilla and a cake pop with her mama

What a poser!

On the move!

Arisa came to visit

Hey Mister, can I borrow your horse?

It's just my size

All smiles

Two dolls

Posing as usual

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Week before Malaysia- Weekly Update

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but just wanted to catch everyone up on what we've been up to.

  1. The three ladies of the house have been sick with this awful cold that's been around our house for the last few weeks-- we've been in and out of sore throats, runny noses and fevers. Cassia has a leaky ear, Anjali has a runny nose and eyes and I have this awful dry cough. I sound like my lung is about to collapse. Both Cass and I are on prescription drugs for our ailments. We're taking it easy and trying to recover slowly but I have so much to do in time for next week.
  2. Speaking of which--- 1 more week!! So much to do with packing and getting everything ready. In true MBA fashion, I have my lists, my research and my bookmarked sites to look through in planning for this trip. Fingers crossed everyone! We're very excited and super scared!
  3. Anjali is the proud owner of 6 teeth. The two top front ones are so large. We call her "Bucky". 
  4. We're in the process of deciding  the girls' extra curricular activities this year. Anjali most likely will be doing music, gymnastics and swimming. For Cass, skating and dance are givens but we're still deciding between music, swimming and gymnastics. 
  5. Anjali is quite the gourmand, eating up her asparagus and scallops with gusto 
  6. Darin is officially off but tying loose ends up at work. I love having him home. We get to spend all this time together chatting and playing with the babies and I get to run my errands by myself so that's great also.
  7. Cassia's last week at preschool is coming up. We are so sad as she has been at this school for almost 3 years. We will miss them.
  8. We still don't have a working fridge upstairs. One day I counted the amount of times I've trekked to the basement for food from our fridge there-- I think I lost count after 17. We figured when we come back from Malaysia, we'll decide on what fridge will work where. 
  9. Lots going on this weekend- meeting up with different sets of friends, packing, organising etc. 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Little Miss goes Swiss (Chalet of course)

Cassia's new favourite place is Swiss Chalet. For the non Canadians, it's basically a rotisserie chicken restaurant. Never mind when we go there, she has no chicken, just the kiddie pizza and a Shirley Temple-- she doesn't even like the taste of the Shirley Temple too much, but she just likes the colour.

Yesterday, I took her there for some very special mommy daughter time. She looked forward to it all day and  was so excited! She carefully selected her outfit, hairclips and jewelry and we headed out. We had the best conversation about our upcoming trip to Malaysia, the classroom politics in daycare and how Christmas trees look like the tops of mascaras. It's so amazing to see the little person she is becoming and what a funny, engaging personality she has. I look forward to many mother-daughter adventures with my little lady.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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