Update on Benjamin’s school 2

March 3 wm

This is a follow up post about our challenge in searching for a school to enroll Benjamin. We are facing difficulties with how the schools are assessing the student’s kindergarten readiness.

We cancelled our admission to one school which he passed a strict assessment that included a session with the school’s resident speech and behavior therapist. The school fees were too expensive for us. I know, I should have known before applying right? Yes, but the website didn’t mention all the “miscellaneous fees” that added 35% to the base tuition.

I continued to look for another school. There must be one out there for my son!

Benjamin is turning five years old in October this year (2016) and will be in Kindergarten 2 class (FS2). This poses a challenge due to the fact that the slots are few, especially in schools with fairly affordable fees. If the school has existing Kindergarten 1 students, slots for Kindergarten 2 depends on whether there will be kids who won’t enroll for the next school year. Or if the school decides to expand the number of classes for KG2 (which is less likely).

Long story short, I found another school that opened admissions for KG2. I visited the school and liked what I saw and I also asked around some parents who I know has children there. I paid the assessment fee of AED500 and waited for the schedule of assessment. We went this morning, with high hopes.

After a few assessments on his belt, I am proud to say that Benjamin has gotten the feel of the whole procedure. He was very relaxed amidst the crying children at the reception/waiting area. I am so happy for my boy! He was taken to a room with a teacher and we wait outside. I saw him walking confidently through the corridor, with a stranger holding his hand and he did not mind. I crossed my fingers.

After 30 minutes or so, I was called to see the foundation stage head teacher. Benjamin was seated in front of her desk, just waiting. He was still, with eyes fixed at the globe on top of the cabinet. Benjamin LOVES maps. (I have delayed buying a globe for him. I suddenly felt guilty.)

“Hi, thank you so much. I have to tell you Benjamin is really shy at first…” I started to explain ahead. The head teacher interrupted my nervous banter and answered,

“Oh no, Benjamin was really chatty. He wasn’t shy at all! He was very social!”

I swear I saw rainbows and unicorns when I heard that. I felt my cheeks burning. I envisioned him walking through the colorful school corridors with his favorite Thomas bag. My boy finally found his place!

But my joy was short lived.

“However mama, we have a problem. We have given him a WRITTEN TEST and I’m afraid to tell you he did not do well at all.”

My heart sank. Benjamin was looking around and talking to himself, pointing at the colorful murals this time, counting 1, 2, 3 loudly at the objects on the walls.

The teacher showed me the test paper. He was supposed to write all the letters of the alphabet and the numbers 1-10. There was even a section where they blanked out the letters to test if the child knows what letter comes after a certain letter. He was EXPECTED to have mastered gripping the pencil and writing the letters and numbers perfectly. At four. From the nursery, from home. What were they doing at the nursery?! I was asked.

March 1 wm

Although he brings home his worksheets from the nursery with completed tasks, I am very aware that Benjamin still lacks writing skills. His pencil grip is weak and when I ask him to practice at home (which I honestly will admit, I dread having him do “homework” at this age!), he says he is already tired.

Moms with kids at the nursery, tell me: Do kids at your nursery school WRITE a lot? Is that how nurseries should work? I feel so LOST.

“We only have 1 year before he goes to Year 1. There’s not much time. The children in Year 1 will be writing sentences and essays (seriously she said THAT). He will be left out at his rate right now if we accept him as is.”

Seriously, since when did Year 1 students write long sentences. And essays?!

March 2 wm

“But we will give you another chance. Practice his writing at home and you can come back in a month. We will give the written test again.”

To be continued.

(Photos posted here are taken at his nursery school and posted at the nursery’s Facebook page.)

I survived driving to Kite beach

beach day

Last weekend, I woke up and decided I would take the kids to the beach, never mind I’d be driving for 30 minutes to get there. If you know me, you know how I feel about driving, especially with routes I am not familiar with or have not driven to at all.

I’m happy to say that yes, we have arrived safely and in one piece at Kite Beach. I was so exhausted but after seeing Benjamin’s reaction when he stepped on the shore? Every drop of sweat on my palms and other body parts too scandalous to mention was worth it. Even Pristine was so happy never mind she couldn’t swim as the water was still too cold at this time of the year.

P in beach 1

Why was I driving when I dread driving? Well, the husband is away and I’ve been single parenting for the 2nd week now. This is actually nothing new because even when he is here, I am single parenting most of the time anyway. So when he is gone, I say to myself “Heck, what’s the big deal? What’s the difference?”

But alas, it’s only when the other spouse is away that we realize, it isn’t the same after all. This family thing is not a one man or one woman show, especially when there are children involved. We are a team and it’s not the same if one team member is not around. It’s funny how different it is when you’re married and have kids than when say, compared to when you were just dating. The I-miss-you-how-am-I-going-to-cope-up-without-you moments have been replaced by I-can-handle-this, I-should-handle-this! mentality. 

I am proud to say I can manage most things alone. I can run the house alone. But then, there are times when I wish my spouse was there to fill in the gap. Like driving, for one (and wirings gone wonky around the house…).

Though I was driving every day while we were living in Japan before our move to Dubai, driving in Dubai is a whole different ball game for me. I am terrified of driving to places I am not familiar with. Hello big burly speeding cars, impolite drivers and 7 lane highways!

(You have no idea how grateful I am for the Metro!).

Ben at the beach 1

p and b at the beach 1

The kids and I had so much fun at the beach where we stayed till around 1 pm. What a liberating feeling to have no restrictions on time. 


I didn’t realize there was a T Swift song playing in the background when I took this video… A video posted by Grace | Sandier Pastures (@sandierpastures) on


Don’t you just love days where you don’t care about what time it is?

I wish I could do this more often so I can conquer my fear of driving especially if the kids are in the car with me. But yesterday, I managed to get to Kite Beach (and back home) with Google maps, pure guts and sweaty hands.

Several articles on the internet point that frequent travel of one spouse have negative effects on the family. Maybe. But I think there’s also a positive side. The spouse who is left behind is forced to develop themselves to become a more mature, more courageous parent and individual.

I certainly feel braver now.

Books from Amazon India!


We’re into the generation of everything digital. Do you like to read your books in its digital version, on your phone or on a reader like Kindle? E-books are awesome as they can be read practically anywhere, and oh how easy it is to have your library at hand for whenever there’s some waiting to do.

Plus, there’s always this privacy of not having people peek into what you’re reading. (I read 50 Shades of Grey on iBooks…)

But I have a confession: As much as I like reading digital version of books, my love for real, paperback or hard cover  have not surpassed reading a book in an electronic device. What about you? I see so many people on my commute to work reading stories on Wattpad or books on iBooks and while I do read digital versions of some books, I am (still) a total paper book lover.

(Actually, whatever you prefer to read on, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you get to read, that’s a win.)

I do buy books once in a while but this habit can get too costly. Books here in Dubai are expensive so I’ve (almost) given up on buying from the bookstores for a while now. 

…and then I learned recently about Amazon India! I know it must have been there for some time but dang, my light bulb moment just came to me last week.

How does Amazon INDIA matter to me? I am not in India, I am in Dubai. But here’s the great catch – 90% + of my work colleagues are Indians and I have many Indian friends outside of work! So, there’s always someone going back to their hometown every month or so! *insert very wide smile*

So far, I am just so elated to know that most of the books I wished for are at least 50% cheaper at Amazon India than in the local bookstores here in Dubai. The first of the two books I bought via a work colleague’s friend (THANK YOU!) has arrived. I am so happy!!

I have a list of books, for myself and for the kids. Now to find out who goes to India next month…

A little update


I just got out of a very bad cough, the ones that wakes you up at night and at times keep you awake until early morning. Work had been hectic so I can’t take a break. Plus, I can’t spend my sick leave days this early. We only  have 6 days of sick leave every year and we’re just on the first few months of the year. After taking medication for 3-4 days, I thought there would never be an end to the incessant coughing. I’m finally better right now and ready to tackle other things, including blogging.

Or I thought so.

My sciatica pain (in the lower back) has come back. I’ve been exercising non-stop since January 1st and have been actually commendable (if I say so myself!) for sticking to my workout schedule, without skipping, without the excuses. Then on the last week of February, the end of my 60 days workout schedule, I broke my back. I am not sure if it was because of too much heavy weight or over exhaustion. Don’t you just hate it when you’re not anywhere your goal and your body already breaks down? It’s frustrating because we all know carrying too much body weight can cause lower back pains and then some exercising to hopefully reduce the weight, when not done properly can trigger back pain too.

I’ve been following the Les Mills Combat, a mixed martial arts routine for cardio because I love boxing, kickboxing and muay Thai and alongside, been doing Chalean Extreme, a resistance training program by Beach Body involving dumbbells.  (I lift heavy.)

I feel so defeated when this happens – it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. The pain is sharp and agonizing and it doesn’t help that I mostly just sit for long stretches of time at my work. The pain bears down on me when I sit for even a few minutes. Last night, the pain was too much that I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t bend, couldn’t crouch and every movement takes so much effort and heavy breathing to execute. Am I really just in my late 30? More like an 80 year old body.

I’ve done a few stretches to relieve sciatica pain. If you have them too, I found a great video that really helped me.

The pain comes and goes and I dread the feeling that it might really be time to visit the Osteo clinic soon (I go to the Osteopathic Health Center). The sessions are not covered by my insurance and is really not cheap. I used to frequent and Osteopathic Center in Japan before to “repair” my body. I love the feeling of like being born again, with absolutely no pain anywhere.

So, it’s Friday now and I’m awake early because I’m used to it. I always wake up early on my weekends to start exercise early and exercise longer since I don’t have to run to work. Unfortunately, it’s been a week since I haven’t exercised due to the bad cough and sciatica pain. I hate that my schedule is ruined and mostly, I fear of the DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) once I get back to doing it again. And I miss boxing. I miss kicking. I miss sweating. I miss the happy hormones I get from exercising.

That’s a little update about me for now. I’m going to transfer my laptop somewhere I could stand and work on something, like editing photos. Sitting too long and my back pain is at it again.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Update on Benjamin’s school

So we went for the 2nd assessment for Benjamin. We were greeted at the school entrance by a lady at the registration office who called him by his name. She knows his name! I was surprised by this. Then they asked us to wait for a few minutes.

A middle aged man came holding a folder and showed us the way to his office. He is the school’s resident speech and behavior therapist/guidance counselor. Whoa. Hard core. After a few minutes of explaining to us about the procedure, we left Benjamin in the room with him.

We did not see our son for the next 40 minutes or so.

I was pacing back and forth outside the room. I can hear my son interacting with the school personnel and I’m glad he’s not crying. But my God, 40 minutes was so long.

The session ended and when they came out, he ushered us to go down to the Infant and foundation stage room, he spoke to someone there and said, “Congratulations! We think your child is ready!”

I felt so relieved. Benjamin will be able to attend kindergarten this September. My school hunt is now done. Or so I thought?

“Ma’am, you can now proceed to the Accounts Department to pay the fees.”

Fees…what? It is only February now and Benjamin won’t be starting school till more than half a year later! We went to the Accounts Department anyway to get the “payment schedule”.

There we faced another challenge.

The base tuition in the website shows AED17,000 (US$4,600) as annual fee for KG2 that’s why I chose that school because somehow, we could manage that. But then there were add-ons like uniform for AED850 (!), bus fees and the total school fees ballooned to AED26,000. We need to issue 4 cheques: CURRENT dated, August 2015, January 2017 and April 2017.

I repeat, school doesn’t start till September 2016, 7 months from now.


Some might say, the fee I mentioned above is actually cheaper than “Dubai standard” (whatever that means) but for us, it’s not cheap at all. And even if we can afford it, I don’t think it’s worth it. Actually, I’ve been having a lot of second thoughts about so many things, some solutions would require very big life changing decisions.

Potty Training could send me to therapy


At the home front, we’re into this un-glorious phase of POTTY TRAINING. And it is not going so well. I’m telling myself over and over again, “It may take time but it won’t last forever.”

I pride myself for having the bigger bucket of patience in between my husband and I. I can bear difficult things. I’ve gone through a lot of trials in life and in parenting and have come out a survivor. I rarely yell at my kids and I don’t have to really, they are basically, incredibly and unbelievably great kids…most of the time. But REAL TALK: I am at the edge of my wits with Benjamin with regards to potty training. It was a whole lot easier with Pristine when she was younger but maybe I just feel that it was easy because it was more than 10 years ago and I have forgotten the unpleasant memories?

We’ve been potty training for quite a while now but with very little success. Do I need to read a lot of books and online articles to make this perfect? To succeed?

Some would say that if things are not working out for a week, the child might not be ready. And this is the fact that I am not ready to accept because Benjamin is already FOUR years old. As a background, he seems to be late in so many things: talking, weaning off breastfeeding only when he was over 2 and being social with people (he is still very shy).

I am frustrated. I am upset and I have lost my mood to do anything else than write this stupid post.

Right now, we are kind of succeeding with the pee part. Still “kind of” because we still have to take him to the toilet at fixed times to pee. He has not initiated he will go yet, although he would act strangely by holding his crotch so we need to pay attention to prevent leaks.

So there’s a small success in the pee part. The poo part, however, we have zero progress. He only tells us if he has soiled his underwear already and he gets disgusted by it and removes it himself, hurriedly, sending the poo rolling/splattered on the floor. {sorry if any of you are eating while reading this}

I’ve spent a few hours reading articles and experiences from moms but I honestly think this is one of those subjects where its hard to take advice from people because every child is different. This morning, Benjamin poo-ed in his underwear (again). I wanted to cry as I was cleaning him. I work full time but Fridays and Saturdays are my days off. He has a carer for the days I am not home but I could feel her frustration. I was crying while cleaning him up – because I raised my voice even I know I shouldn’t. And I was firm in telling his carer not to scold the kid when he messes up because it could lead to regression of the whole potty training process yet here I am, breaking my own rule.

After a few minutes, Benjamin was very quiet, he fully knows I am upset. I am upset with him but more like, I am upset with myself. Where was the mantra I always take into heart: “This too shall pass”? it flew out of the window the minute poo dropped on the floor.

I always gently tell him, where do we do this business? And he answers, “toilet”. Promise? “Promise” yet he never keeps his promise. WHY, why, why? And he looks at me with those apologetic puppy dog eyes.

Every child eventually learns. Potty training is frustrating, but I know AND hope it will have an end to look forward to. SOON.

The year end blues

happy new year 2016

In some parts of the world, it’s 2016 already. In a few hours, Dubai will say goodbye to 2015. I’m still stuck in the office. I’ve cleaned up my desk and done all work load required for today but still have about an hour or so before we are allowed to go home at 6 pm.

I feel I shouldn’t be writing this blog post but I have time on my hands…and I feel I need to write this to feel a bit better.

How’s your 2015?

I feel my 2015 came in a whoosh. My family and I experienced some life changes that made half of our 2015 uncertain. To be honest, 2016 kind of scares me. There’s this talk of a probable new job in a new place, moving houses within Dubai, even a possibility of moving out of Dubai, etc. There’s so much uncertainty that sometimes I find myself not being able to sleep at night and it’s not nice. I am naturally a morning person and I am deemed useless past 10 pm. When these kind of nights happen, it really sucks. I’m neither awake nor asleep and I am not awake enough to do anything productive. In short, I am wasting time just staring into the dark, blank space waiting for sleep to come – and it usually comes really late, or really early…in the morning at 3 or 4.

And I have to wake up and work the next day. I have to thrive from 8 am to 6 pm knee deep in paperworks, sometimes slipping in and out of conciousness. I wish for less nights and days like that in 2016.

Health-wise, I’m spiraling down this last quarter of  the year. My back pain that comes and goes (started after I had my cesarian section surgery in 2011) came back in October so I took a break from working out. Even when I felt I was ready to do my workouts again, I missed a workout. And another. And another.

I feel pudgy. I feel terrible. I am not happy with the state of my fitness. And because I’ve gained weight, the back pain is back. It’s an evil cycle.

It’s awful to think that the days – they really go by and don’t care whether you exercise or not. Life goes on. The days go on. And the more the days went on without exercising, the more it sucked.

But they say, if you can’t stop thinking about it, then you have to work for it to achieve it. So, I am back to eating clean again and exercising again starting tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, yeah, what a cliche right? New year’s resolution to be healthier, lose weight, yada, yada, yada.

But I don’t care. I can’t give this up…because no one can do this for me but me.

I actually found myself standing at the border, one feet on one side – deciding whether to live the rest of my life as a fat person (awaiting diabetes or heart disease) or on the other side – suck it up and aim to be fit again, for myself, for my kids. I will choose the latter.

Enough of the soggy year end sad stories. SORRY.

Then, there were still wonderful things that happened in 2015.

1. I was able to go to the Philippines again in July, to see my home town after seven long years.

It was an epic trip. I didn’t know how much I missed being home until I was there and I didn’t know I’d long to go there again till I boarded the flight back to Dubai. I might have lived in so many places but now I know, I left a big part of my heart in the Philippines. 

I was also able to visit our relatives (father’s side) in Davao. The last time I was saw them was in 1996.

2. I travelled to Europe. TWICE.

First was an impromptu trip to Austria. My ‘just because’ trip, the trip I felt I needed to make to find myself again. Second was in Czech Republic and what made it more awesome was I got free tickets for myself and my daughter through a contest I won.

3. I didn’t fall sick this year.

Maybe because I’ve been strictly following my exercise routines regularly, 5-6 times a week, at least till the last quarter of the year.

4. I kept my job

I’ll be nine years in the same job, same employer in a couple of weeks. 

5. Despite of everything, I am still here.

Yes, I am still here. I’ve laughed more and cried less this year. I looked back into the blog posts I wrote in 2015 and found something I wrote about mindfulness. Why do I keep forgetting that?

Changing year always bring out the blues in me, it’s always prone to heavy drama. It’s crazy to think that the transition from the old year to the new one is only a day apart. I shouldn’t probably have access to a computer during the last days of the year.

What do I wish for in 2016?

I wish for nothing but the basic things – good health for all, stability and a stronger will to be able to do whatever I put my mind into. 

Happy new year, to one and all. May you have a prosperous new year and get whatever your heart desire! Thank you for being part of my 2015!

Thinking about Desiderata


Do you have a favorite passage? A favorite poem? Something you read that moved you? I’m sharing my favorite poem of all time. I find myself re-reading whenever I feel I am stuck – in a bad mood, in a bad situation or just feeling meh.

I’ve been feeling all of those lately.

I first stumbled upon this poem at my grandparent’s place more than 20 years ago. We were there for a short vacation to celebrate my mom’s parents’ 50 years wedding anniversary. I was in my teens that time and you know those teen years when mood swings decide to visit unexpectedly, no matter what how lively everyone around you is.

In the middle of that quiet old town in the province, I was sitting in the balcony, listening to the sound of the wind and the waves in the nearby beach (my grandparents lived very close to the sea), with a book of poems in my hand. It was my uncle’s. He was a teacher and had so many books sprawling in his room so I picked up one to read to while away my time.

I flipped the old book with some pages torn and missing and found this wonderful poem. Do you remember the time when all we had were actual books and not iPad screens or smartphones? It’s so different then and now.

My uncle couldn’t give me the book to own as it was from the school library so I got my pen and notepad (I was always with a notepad before) and remember copying the whole poem by hand. There was no screenshot before! You know what’s wonderful with writing? It brings emotions to the words. It hit me like a ton of bricks at that point in my life and I promised myself, if I find myself uninspired, I would read this and remember how I felt reading this for the first time.

Here it is.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.


For me, “Desiderata” offered advice for living as I moved into adulthood. 

I’ve highlighted the lines I liked most in this poem. If you’re feeling down and feeling blue, I hope this inspires you like it inspired me, then and now and in the days to come.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Top photo credit

Is social media killing blogging? (and little updates about me)


My brain is not working to find a sensible title, so apologies.

Sorry for the lack of updates. Maybe I am suffering from blogger’s burnout so this blog seems like a ghost town these past few days but I am very much alive in other social media channels!

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook?

I remember before, it was easy to know what bloggers are up to. I mean, what the blog owners are up to: you open their blogs and read the latest post. That’s it.

But if we’re going to apply that nowadays, what you would see on my blog would be pretty inaccurate. It would seem that I am still stuck in Salzburg, Austria, or somewhere in the mountains of Austria with a PC and a WiFi, editing photos and writing blogs about my travel to that wonderful, magical place.

No, I am not in Austria any more.

It’s been three weeks since I bade goodbye to those hills that made my heart sing. I’m back in Dubai, back to work and daily grind but alas, there’s this thing called “microblogging” killed my previously very passionate blogging mojo so I have not been updating this page and sharing what I am up to as often as I did.

REAL TALK: Many of my blog posts have died because they fit into one tweet. Or one Instagram post.

During pre-Twitter/Facebook/Instagram days, I always run to blogging to write what’s on my mind, to share what I feel. Now, it is so much easier to share on these microblogging social media channels.

I am sure I am not the only blogger who feels the same way?

There’d be days or weeks that bloggers don’t update but they are up to date on social media. For myself, I linger around Twitter much these days and trying to build better Instagram following so spending more time there too. Or I post a photo on my blog’s Facebook page and tell a short story. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is quicker than blogging. Twitter for example, is faster and it’s open to more people…sadly too much tweeting makes real blogging seem like an exhausting task.

Too bad, I know. I hope to change that.

** EDITED November 2016: I am not into late nights anymore and not watching any shows. Just feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything from single parenting to work and other responsibilities but I shall get back!! **

So what’s the current goings on with my life right now (as if anyone is interested..)? Well, I am still working full time, juggling being a wife to my husband and mom to our two kids. Benjamin’s going to be 4 years old on the 28th October and the husband’s going to be 10 times older than Benjamin the day after. I still don’t know what to do on those days.

Truth is, I am not functioning well right now. I blame late nights, no exercise and too much sugar (chocolates). I can explain all, one by one.

Late nights – As of this writing – I am hooked on a TV show. There I said it. It’s an addiction I couldn’t stop even if I tried. I started watching it at my parent’s house in the Philippines and continued to watch it on my phone when I got back to Dubai (we do not have TV channels installed at home in Dubai).

If you’re on Twitter and have seen a hashtag that trends worldwide every day that starts with #ALDUB something-something, that’s what I am hooked with and I don’t want to check in a rehab for that. Kalyeserye, a segment from the Philippines’ longest running TV show is addicting, especially the love team Alden and Yaya Dub (thus AlDub).

I could write another lengthy post to describe what this AlDub fever is but I’m not going to. Just think there are millions and millions of Filipinos within the Philippines and abroad addicted to it. We are a crazy bunch. I am not ashamed to say I am one of them because I am not be ashamed to admit something that makes me happy (as long as I am not breaking any law LOL). The thing makes me laugh. And whatever makes me happy and laugh at this point in my life? I don’t care even if it comes from a TV show. Crazy but happy, crazy happy. Whatever.

However, I should be ashamed of the late nights because I know myself too much to know that I will never be a night person. This is why I have not allowed myself to watch any TV series because I am a weakling if I get hooked. The last TV series I followed was Charmed and Smallville…no judging.

No exercise (insert horror emoji) – I had been exercising regularly for maybe a year now. I was consistent, though had taken a bit of a break during my 4 weeks in the Philippines this year. I wasn’t too concerned not going to the gym while I was there…I was active and sweating with the hot weather.

Then I got back to my usual routine after vacation then I flew to Austria in September. I did not follow any workout routine there too but was walking for 5/6 hours non-stop, climbing mountains and eating less. My sister said I lost weight when she saw me back from my week long stay in Austria, maybe true or she just wanted that other bar of chocolate I had on my fridge.

But here’s the kicker…I never got back to my exercise schedule again. I miss the kick ass girl who was very determined as hell. Where did she go? Can you help me find her and when you see her slap her and kick her in the rear, tell her to get back on track?

I blame mild depression which may have been caused by my visit to Austria. The place was so beautiful that it made me sad when I see the things around me in Dubai, when I am walking to work and melting like a candle in the heat and ridiculous humidity (when is summer ever gonna end?!) even in late October. SORRY for the raw honesty! Or this might just be a phase because of my late nights…I can’t wake up in the morning to exercise or I will be late for work.

And work had been a little uninspiring too these days. Sigh.

And when I don’t exercise? I tend to be loose on my discipline on food. Boo. Chocolates and Cheetos. BOOM.

Sorry for the being such a bore. What a dizzying post. This is the result of not updating often.

Hope all is well with you, if you are reading this and may you have a great weekend!

The Charm of Legos

Lego City

I’ll tell you something I can be proud of as a parent: I can take my children to a toy store and we can go out with no one crying. It’s not because I buy each of them a toy whenever we visit. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: I don’t buy anything from the store when I go out with them.

Truth is, we are not big toy buyers in the first place. My daughter only has one doll she cherishes since she was 1 year old. My son has only a few hand me down toys and some are gifts from friends for his birthday or Christmas. He has die-cast train toys I bought because these don’t practically break. I carefully pick toys I buy for my kids because I don’t like clutter and I hate toys that would just be an addition to our planet’s already brimming land fills.

But to be fair, not all toys are created equal. While most toys are rubbish, some are actually beneficial. Enter Lego blocks! Who has not heard about Lego? Our kids love LEGO. Colorful and easy to use, Lego have withstood the test of time because of their unlimited open-ended possibilities. There is not just one way to play with a set of Legos. The appeal of LEGOs is one that is timeless and universal. They provide endless possibilities for construction and creation. While model ships, airplanes, and cars create great replicas, LEGOs allow you to build whatever you want!

I find that my kids enjoy playing with these blocks than watching TV and they could spend hours on it.

LEGOs, in my opinion, are one of the best toys you can give a child. No kid hates getting LEGOs. Even if the theme is uninteresting to them, they can always ignore the instructions and build whatever they want.

What I like most about LEGO is that it lasts. Buy a single set and you will be able to make stacks of different models. Lego doesn’t age. The sets my daughter Pristine had when she was young are still perfectly good and can be added to newer sets seamlessly so her little brother can still play with them.

Lego is known to be useful in teaching children Mathematics, patterns and spatial logic. My kids are into Lego City sets because it gives them the opportunity to build their very own mini city. LEGO city pieces include vehicles, buildings, figures!  All of the key themes can provide many hours of play, from the police and fire stations that my little boy loves to the many cool vehicles and iconic buildings that they  both love building and playing with.

Can you think of any there any reasons LEGO is awesome? What are your thoughts about Lego?