I registered online for a Critical Reading workshop offered at My Learning Essentials. They have 3-4 interesting courses/workshop/seminar everyday, held in AGLC. It is free. You could just walk-in.
This was my first time. Once I walked-in, one lady, a facilitator, asked me to swipe my student card at the reader on the table to record my attendance. Then, she asked me to find my seat, anywhere and help myself with cookies and drinks (there is a coffee machine and various types of cookies at the corner of the room). I took two packets of chocolate chip cookies and I made myself a hot chocolate.
The workshop went well. They taught us theories, followed by a few individual and group exercises. The first exercise was for us to identify the main argument and evidences in a few academic articles.
I love the facts that this exercise uses laminated A4s. We could jot down our thoughts, underline the arguments and circle the main points using a whiteboard marker, which, could be wipe-off and recycle afterwards.
Then, there was a group exercise.
We didnt know each other but we got along very well in one hour!
At the end of the workshop, the facilitator requested to take a photograph of my graphic note.
And after the workshop ended, the facilitators went around the classroom with iPads, for us to fill in the online evaluation form. I love the hi-tech part of the workshop - the swipe part for registration, the online evaluation part, as well as the delicious cookies and free drinks :)
My BIL requested photos of allotments around Manchester. We stopped by at a few allotments but since we visited them in the winter, there is nothing much to be seen. However, this is a really nice spot for socialising. I would love to live in this beautiful neighbourhood and involve in this kind of community project!
That particular week, I felt like not leaving the house on Saturday morning because I have four essays to complete. But I changed my mind. I had a memorable chat with a PhD candidate, Jason, in the previous week while waiting for my sons (and Jason was waiting for his 5 children) at the supplementary school. His advise is kinda stick in my head. He said going out regularly (and not stuck in front of the laptop 247) is the best way to make him write faster. He will recharge by doing something different and start fresh afterward.
So, I followed his advise. I went out to send my kids to the supplementary school, had a good Malaysian breakfast with my husband and other Malaysians from areas around Manchester, chatting, laughing in between and totally forgot about the essays. But, when all ladies heading to their yoga class.... I just cant sit there and doing nothing.
Soon I found myself walking to the library in the next building and start writing my essays! (oh yes I have the laptop with me all the times)
LOL. Well, at least I went out, I did something different in the morning and guess what? The idea was flowing really fast! After the school ended, we went to visit my friend Juliana, who just delivered a baby girl earlier that week. Kids were pretty occupied with the toys.
Gertrude was on January 29 and Henry was on February 1-2.
Scotland and Northern England was the most impacted by Gertrude (school closure, travel disruptions) but we can still feel the strong wind in Manchester.
Henry? Horrid Henry. Northeast of England was deeply impacted with flood, fallen trees and overturned vehicles. Here, our storm windows were rattling like crazy at night. The wind was so strong. I cant imagine how people at the impacted areas put up with stronger wind, more than 100 miles per hour!
Poor man! I am glad that he is okay.
I have seen a few people blown off their feet due to the gust (sudden rush of wind) around my campus. There were times that I have to hold onto the wall or a bollard or my friend during the gust. It was so sudden and you can easily lose control, most of the time I felt like falling to the ground. Well, maybe because my backpack was so heavy.
I still remember the time when me and my friends were walking from one lecture venue to the other in a chill winter afternoon. As the wind picked up, we have to walk backward or sideways all the way to the building because walking towards the wind was hard.
I am going to miss Manchester for this. Never in my life, I walk backward to attend any lecture. This is a snippet from Euronews to show you how it was like when the wind picked up.
Nazran borrowed this book from the library. The ABC to Z refer to everything unique about the UK, for example, A is for Arthur (as in the King Arthur), B for Beetles (the band), G for the Giant Causeway (in the Northern Ireland). For each letter, I will find some videos (about King Arthur, the Beetles, etc) and watched them together with Nazran so he can learn more about the UK. Night time is loooong in the winter so we read a lot to kill time.
When he arrive at the letter L, he said he cant pronounce the word. I asked him to try harder (I was washing the dishes and I didnt look at the book). He tried but still, he said it was too hard. I asked him to spell it. He did but I stopped him halfway because I think he was not making any sense. Until I look at the page.... then I understand his struggle.
Cool, isnt it?! Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochis a large village in the Wales. It means - Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch) (Wikipedia). It is the longest place name in the UK and one of the longest in the world :)
Now, let's learn how to pronounce it!
It is surprising how much you can learn from a simple book of ABC!!!
We went to a charity event at a local school and came across this gigantic display of insect mosaic a laChristopher Marley created by a bunch of students. Marley used to be scared of bugs but now he is creating a wonderful artworks using colourful bugs.
We were chatting with my parent via Skype when the guests started to arrive. My sons were so happy to see other kids came to their party. New friends in Manchester! They loves the cakes (of course!) and the M&Ms disappeared long before the whole cake finished, as I expected. haha.
We had a really fun art and craft sessions. I didnt mind seeing our living room like this as long as the kids were having fun and the guests were enjoying themselves, helping the kids to do some artworks. My neighbour (who is also my junior in IIUM), a PhD candidate, was struggling to meet a submission deadline that day, therefore, she couldnt make it to the party. I asked her if she could send over her kids to my house and let them stay here until Maghrib so she could focus on her writing. I truly understand what she went through and that was the least I could do to help. And she did! It was good to see Naufal & Aesyah really enjoying themselves with crafts and the loud & colourful party poppers :) The kids made these, toilet roll ninjas (in our case, they were actually kitchen rolls cut into two) and straw sculptures.
I had so much fun baking, cooking and entertaining the guests! It is a good break from my study. Cleaning up that evening was a breeze. I read the news online and surprisingly we are expecting Storm Henry the next day!
It was January 2016 and finally I had a free time (and extra money) for our sons' birthday party. Nabil and Nazran was born in December and Nazmi was born in February. First, to get things going, I designed the birthday invite. I just invited a few close friends.
It is going to be Nabil's 10th birthday, Nazran's 7th and Nazmi's 3rd. Good age combination. Those numbers (10, 7, 3) fit into the BIR7HDAY C3LEBRAT10N!! On Friday, January 29, the day we welcomed Storm Gertrude to the UK, after sending off the kids to school, we went to get some presents for them and ingredients for the main menu and desserts.(Northern UK was the most impacted, but we still get the strong wind)
The night before, after they went to bed, we hung the birthday bunting, pump some balloons and wrap their presents. We keep a few blankets ready to cover everything should any one of them came down to get some water (they did that sometimes, in the middle of the night).
They will get the light sabers they were asking for quite sometimes, books, stationery and some cool clothes. None of them knew we planned this party. We cant wait to see their faces in the morning! Waking up to the house full of balloons :)
The next morning, YUP, as we expected, they were cheering and laughing and running around the house in joy once they went downstairs and saw all the deco. As I was preparing the chicken rice, they helped me to spread the chocolate topping on the cake I baked the night before and topped it with a few packs of M&M.
25% of the M&M went into their mouth but I just pretended that I didnt see a thing.
What? The intense blogging to keep up with the changing seasons.
I am glad that autumn 2016 will starts on September 22, so I still have time to complete the whole entry (winter-spring-summer) before the summer ends.
I have submitted my dissertation and finally I have a couple of hours everyday to update on our experience in the UK before we go back to Malaysia soon. I need to do this for my sons. This is the only place they could recall good memories from their childhood.
Yes, it is already summer in the UK. I am still updating on our winter experiences. A lot of reading and writing to do right now. Please bear with me, especially to our family members and close friends in Malaysia.
I left my laptop in the rice container overnight so it could soak up the moisture (of course, after I wiped the milk first). Flaked and basmathi rice are capable to absorb a high percentage of moisture compared to other types of rice. I am using basmathi.
I marked the day by returning all the library books. We are allowed to borrow 20 book for the whole semester (not, 4, not 8, like other libraries. TWENTY and it is for nearly 4 months). If someone else wants to borrow the same book, they just recall the book the same day and I have to return it on the next day.
In mid January 2016, I was scheduled to receive yellow fever, typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations for my oversea trip. I received a box of malaria tablet to be taken for 50 days. I need to take it two days prior to the trip, during and four weeks after that. The nurse has shared useful tips for the trips and she warned me on the possible side effects of the jabs.
I walk around the campus after that, enjoying the view.
Spring is in the air. This is the only time you can see daffodils coming out from the ground. They will hibernate after 2-3 months afterwards. The bulb will remain underground until the next winter/spring.
By the time my husband picked me from the campus, 30 minutes after that, I started to have stiff neck, headache, feel nausea and I just need to lie down. It was the side effects of the jabs that I received. Luckily I had my recent tetanus shot while I am pregnant with Nazmi. So I didnt have to take another tetanus shot or else, I will also suffer with a painful arm and swelling where the jab was given (as my classmates!) on top of the side effects I am having.
It is held on weekly basis at the local library. The librarians teach the tiny tots and toddlers nursery rhymes, play with musical instruments and they read story book to the kids! The parents/carers are involved too.
It is good to mingle around with other parents and grandparents! Nazmi seems to be enjoying himself in the library, looking inside interesting graphic books (he cant read yet) and trying to communicate with other toddlers of his age.
Kid's book in the UK is a huge industry by itself. They have a lot of renowned kids' book writers, good books and interesting graphic. Some of the books has also been a textbook for my sons' class. This is something that I would like to venture in one day.
Oh yes, I made keropok lekor in Manchester! From Wikipedia - Keropok lekor is a traditional Malay fish snack originated from the state of Terengganu, Malaysia. It is also called fish sausage, fish stick, or fish fritters. It is made from fish and sago flour and seasoned with salt and sugar. The origin of the word "Lekor" is said to be derived from Terengganu Malay which means "roll".
We went to our favourite fishmonger to get fresh mackerels. I clean, fillet and blend it.