Monday, 14 April 2014

Malaysia Week

Next week, ISKL Middle School will be heading off on Malaysia Week adventures.  Some students will be heading to the jungle.  Others to the sea.  Some students may even be enjoying a combination of the two.  I will be heading to an ocean site, Pulau Redang.  This is the fourth year I have been gifted the privilege of escorting 20+ middle schoolers to this tropical paradise.  Our days are spent snorkelling, swimming and getting to know one another a little better.  While on site, we also try to do our part for the environment and leave the site a little bit better than we found it.  One quick note to my faitful readers, i.e, Mom and Dad, next week, I will not be posting as I will be too busy enjoying the sun and sea.  Redang here I come! :)


Monday, 7 April 2014

Aging Gracefully?

At 38 years old, I have begun to develop a growing awareness that 40 is not as far away as it once was. There are subtle reminders.  My back hurts when I jog.  My knees ache if I sit too long in one position.  I have to carefully consider how to carry heavy objects.  Rising off the floor from a seated position is a bit of a balancing act.  Even with all of this, I was quite unprepared for the curve ball Mother Nature through at me last week - my first grey hair!  Looking in the mirror, I thought I spotted it.  Shocking. Obviously, I immediately plucked it to examine it more closely.  My greatest fears confirmed, I quickly went back to the mirror, and, oh my, there was another one!  Help!  40 draws ever nearer.


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Slice of Life 31

Victory Dance!

Day 31!  We made it!  Slice of Life Challenge taken and completed!  Hooray!  Congratulations to all of my 6B Super Slicers.  I am so proud of you, and, I must admit, I am feeling pretty proud of myself too! Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for organizing this exciting event.  While it wasn't always easy, and, let's face it, it wasn't always pretty (yes, that's right, I noticed when you didn't edit your work, dear students), we successfully completed our goal.  Yes!  Of course, you don't have to stop slicing!  Your blog is your own... Keep sharing your thoughts, hopes and dreams. People are out there reading and being inspired by your words! Much love, Ms. S.


Slice of Life 30

End of Vacation Blues

As Spring Break comes to a close, I, like many I am sure, find myself longing for just one more day. With our Australian adventure behind us, today I enjoyed settling back into our KL routine, so much so that I would be grateful for just one more day of rest and relaxation. Nevertheless, ISKL beckons.  I am not sure how I am going to rouse myself when the alarm goes off tomorrow, but I will do my best!  Rest easy all.  I will see you in the a.m.  And, remember, in just two months time, our next vacation begins!


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Slice of Life 29

Happy Flying

Like most parents, Pat and I generally aspire to do the best for our child.  We worry about what she eats and how much she sleeps.  We read to her, play with her, and try to stimulate her imagination and creativity as much as we can. However, when we are on an airplane, any effort to do right by our daughter goes right out the proverbial window. Instead, our concern shifts from Millie's well-being to that of the hundreds of passengers doomed to spend the duration of the flight with our two-year old. So, what is our strategy for happy flying?  Bribery. That's right, we bribe our child from the second we board the aircraft until the second we deplane.  Our favorite tool?  The iPad.  In fact, we go so far as to download new movies and games for her to explore while we are on the plane.  On the flight back from Oz, we shamelessly allowed Millie to have the iPad for 4 solid hours.  No joke. Here's the thing, when I looked around the plane I noted every other parent had the same idea. Nearly every child was plugged in, and, truthfully, so were most of the adults!  Happy flying, one and all!


Slice of Life 28

Life's a Beach

Today, as expected, we spent the day at the beach.  Armed with sandwiches, beach towels, toys, and plenty of sunblock, we marked our place in the sand.  Soon, we decided it was time to take a dip.  I must confess, the water proved quite a shock as to say that it is a little cooler than our Malaysian waters would be a gross understatement! J  Pat and I teased one another about having ‘gone tropo’, but, eventually, we took the plunge.  Millie, ever fearless, took no notice of the water’s temperature, happily running from sand to surf for the duration of our stay. All in all, I think we all would agree, it was a pretty great way to spend our last full day of holiday.

Slice of Life 27

A Day at the Beach

Growing up in Southern California, there is no place I feel more at home than on a beach.  My husband says that from the second I see the water and dip my toes into the sand, a calm comes over me.  For today’s slice, like so many before me, I thought I would write about the ocean.


Sun on my face.
Sand between my toes.
Waves crashing on the shore.
A gentle breeze ruffles my hair.
The ocean calls to me.

Slowly, I make my way to the water.
Crisp and cool, I linger at the shore.
Bit by bit, I creep ever deeper.
A wave approaches.
Finally ready, I dive below reveling in the clear blue.

Slice of Life 26

Surfers' Paradise

Last night, under rainy skies, we rolled into Margaret River, and this morning we awoke to more of the same.  It seemed our time here was to be marred by gray, wet weather.  No matter, we made the best of it, flopping on the couch in our beachside accommodations taking in three movies. Then, around noon today, the showers ended, and the sky began to clear.  It took some serious prodding, but I convinced the fam it was time to head outdoors and check out the beach.  Prevelly Beach did not disappoint. Home to one of the best breaks in Western Australia, surfers from around the globe flock to this area for some serious waves - in fact the ASP stops here next week.  So, we did what any good tourists should do.  We made our way to the Point and watched the locals do their thing. Tomorrow, the weather report promises sun.  So, fingers crossed we'll be in the water too - oh, not to worry - we'll leave the surfing to the professionals. :)


Slice of Life 25

The Outback Experience

Like every visitor to Australia, one of our holiday dreams includes seeing a kangaroo in the wild. Well, here in Pemberton, the kangaroos are plentiful.  In fact, yesterday, grazing on the lawn in front of our chalet were not one, not two, not three, but FOUR gorgeous kangaroos.  While I would like to say my daughter, the two-year old, was the one most excited by the scene, this would be a total misrepresentation of the truth.  In fact, we were all totally beside ourselves, snapping photos, laughing, giggling, and posing as near as we dared. Such fun. Today, obviously, we will be on the lookout for more!

Slice of Life 24

Western Breakfast

For expats living in Asia, one of our greatest longings is for a true Western Breakfast.   When a new restaurant opens in KL, the highest praise any expat can give is, “The breakfast is great!” Currently, there are about four restaurants in KL that have been elevated to ‘great breakfast’ status. Of course, when we offer such accolades, usually we mean by Eastern standards.  Thus, being in Australia, we are back in the land of the West – and that means the Western breakfast!

Thankfully, our hotel in Pemberton does not disappoint.  This morning, we feasted on the Full English (eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes), fruit salad, bakery fresh bread, frothy lattes, and all the cereal we could eat.  In addition, we made the acquaintance of the pancake machine.  Have you seen these?  You type in your desired number of pancakes and out rolls perfectly fluffy hot cakes each and every time.  Brilliant.  Needless to say, Pemberton = Breakfast heaven!

Slice of Life 23

Morning Person

So, my husband, Pat, is a morning person.  I most definitely am not.  Each vacation, I am always surprised when my husband springs out of bed before 8 a.m. ready to have his first adventure.  Usually, this involves some sort of exercise in which I have no interest.  And, if I am really lucky, he will take our daughter with him out on his morning jaunt allowing me to linger lazily in bed for at least another hour.

Today, our vacation morning began as they always do.  Pat up. Millie up.  Me enjoying the delicious darkness of the hotel room when to my utter shock and horror, Pat throws back the curtains and announces that it is time for a family adventure.  WHAT?  Did he forget our deal?  He takes our child out for some exercise while I snooze.  Sadly, for me, this morning it was not be, because, clever man that he is, he encouraged our daughter to guilt me out of bed and, yes, up for the family adventure.  It turned out that "adventure" was, as I suspected it would be, in fact, exercise! UGH!  On the other hand, we did jog around the beautiful harbor pictured above, so, perhaps, Pat had the right idea after all. :)


Slice of Life 22

Spring Break!

This year, my family and I are headed to Australia!  While this isn't our first trip to Oz, it is our first trip to western Australia.  I thought for today's post I would share our itinerary, so you can follow each slice with some sense of location.

Saturday - Fly to Perth
Sunday - Drive South from Perth to Pemberton (4 hours with a two-year old - help!)
Monday - Take in the sites in and around Permberton
Tuesday - Drive from Pemberton to Margaret River area - Prevelly Park Beach to be exact
Wednesday - Take in the sites in and around Prevelley Park
Thursday - Same
Friday - Same
Saturday - Drive from Margaret River back to Perth; Return to KL

Safe travels to all! :)

Slice of Life 21

As our Impacts presentations draw to a close, today I would like to congratulate my students on all of their hard work.  This unit, you have deepened your understanding of the world on so many levels.  Not only can you now explain how and why natural disasters occur, you can support your explanations with relevant, pertinent and powerful historical data.  You have learned how to construct a persuasive argument using logos, ethos, and pathos.  You have learned that when you empower communities with vision, education and funding, they can become more resilient and more disaster prepared. You have so very much of which to be proud!  I certainly am extremely proud of each and every one of you.

One final parting thought - As you reflect on your work this trimester, I encourage you to consider how you have been change by it.  Remember, global citizens are proactive.  I challenge you to ask yourself:  How will I make a positive impact on this world in the future?  Maybe you can even slice about it! :)

Enjoy a well deserved break!  Safe travels to one and all!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Slice of Life 20

How does my world impact me?

As part of their reflection on the Impacts unit, we have asked the students to create a thoughtful tagexdo using text from their country grant proposal.  Students also have been asked to write a haiku in response to one of the unit’s essential questions.  Today, for my slice, I thought I would assign myself the same tasks. :)


Tectonic plate slips.
Earth shakes. Water Displaced. Waves race.
Land destroyed. Lives lost.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Slice of Life 19

The Pit

At our school, like many others out there, teachers provide student supervision during the lunch hour. This week, I have duty on the Panther Pit.  Yes, the Panther Pit, the most dreaded of all duty assignments.  When gifted the Pit, teachers are banished to the most remote corner of campus. Mosquitos and monkeys frequent this small sliver of the ISKL universe.  In the past, I have rarely encountered a human child while on duty in the Pit. This week, to my surprise, I have discovered that the Sixers have commandeered this foreign land as their own!  The Pit is now a flurry of activity: basketball, soccer, tag. Children running, laughing, shouting.  I must say, while I have never looked forward to my time on the Pit before, this week, I am enjoying having some company with the mosquitos!


Monday, 17 March 2014

Slice of Life 18

Busy Bug

Yesterday, suffering from a runny nose and a lingering cough, my daughter stayed home from pre-school.   When I returned from work, as is our custom, I asked her about her day.  Her response made me laugh, so I thought I would share it today.

Mama: “Millie Bug? What did you did do today?”
Millie: “I worked on my computer.” (She does not have a computer.)
Mama:  “Really?  Anything else?”
Millie: “Yes.  I did some grading.”  (She is not a teacher.  She is, in fact, a two-year old.)
Mama:  “Oh. Wow.  What else?”
Millie: “I did some painting.”  (Entirely possible as she has paint!)
Mama: “Great!  Anything else?”
Millie:  “I sent some email.”  (Again, no computer.)
“I did my drawing.” (Possible. Crayons and colored pencils abound in our home.)
“I was very busy.” (Clearly!)
And, Millie’s final parting words as she wandered over to her toys…
Millie: “Wait, wait.”  (Her little hand up, most likely to stop me from interrupting her.)  
“I have to go text your mommy.  Wait, wait. I don't know how to text.”  (Indeed!)