Thursday, 16 October 2008

Our Autumn In Paris

We're back from Paris and i've been swamped with housework and orders (read here if you're interested!). it was a 4  (5 including stops!) hour ride from the calm, small town of Sittard to the ever buzzing busy city of Paris!

This was our 3rd time together in Paris since we moved here. first time was in spring, being 5 months pregnant, we went to Rolland Garros, the second time was with my parents last year in winter and now, in Autumn. every season has it's charm. but one thing's for sure, Paris is still as busy as ever!

But he did it again! YES Hardy did it again! if you're not a parisien, two things you need when you drive in Paris- a lot of guts and tonnes of confidence. it was absolutely MAD! roads are fairly small compared to the roads we have here in Holland and to top it off, almost everyone's beating the lights, and they have BIG huge roundabouts and then, somehow you'd have to stop in the middle of the roundabout, and zebra crossings every 100mtrs not to mention those bravehearts cyclists on their bikes to watch out for! GOSH! thank god we stopped at the services just before we got into Paris! i'd sure pee in my pants if my bladder was full!

In the middle of a traffic jam with cars honking at each other, in the middle of a roundabout, one car decided to call for the police who was standing probably 30mtrs away, and asked for directions! and when the lights turned green, everyone was at a halt, anxious impatient drivers then started to honk and gosh, pure madness! one thing about driving in holland, people dont honk! but hey, this is Paris we're talking about!

Anyway... if you do plan to drive in Paris, get a 4th or 5th hand car (not second! even! no! well depends how badly damage it already is!). i noticed almost every car has at least a scratch! and here we are driving our big fat estate car! and dont let me even start on parking! this is how they park...

Do i need to elaborate more?! oh, i take it back, you will need 3 things if you want to drive in Paris, not 2 - guts, confidence and a 4th/5th hand car! hehe.

Now, to a more calming story and more calming pictures...

I brought Aidan to this park near our hotel. we spent a good 2 hours there. such colourful people from all around. a lady who sat next to me offered me to share her lunch, i even made friends with an american guy with his son. both sighed in relief cause we dont speak a word of french apart from bonjour and au revoir! i had a brilliant time with Aidan meeting the people that makes Paris Paris!

Since we already did the whole Eifel Tower, Notre Damm and Champs-Elysees bit last winter, we decided to give it a miss this time. my main visit to Paris this time is to meet this one person whom i've been talking a lot to for the past half a year. you know sometimes, you can just tell a person just based on how they talk (or perhaps i should say type!). we shared our stories and i somehow feel very close to her since we started chatting. 

I was right. we hit it off right away. she's friendly, warm, funny and humble and just pure genuine. i can relate to almost everything she's going through right now - the big change! she is one tough one, a very nice person to talk to and a wonderful company to be with, a wonderful cook and a loving person, she's great with Aidan. both Lin and her french husband Mokhtar was just like us 3 years ago. 

They invited us to their lovely home and Lin cooked us the best sambal tumis udang in Europe! and yes, let us not forget about the formage! we had a lovely time, even Aidan enjoyed himself finishing up almost half a plate of tempe we brought for them!

The next day, Lin brought us to Jardin du Luxembourg. we love parks and gardens and what a way to spend a day enjoying the sun at the most beautiful garden i've ever been to! the weather was really REALLY nice throughout the duration we were there. 21c, too good to be true for October! the garden is breathtakingly beautiful. it is so french with lots of statues and monuments, almost like an open air museum. 

We had a lovely time, and i'm glad i finally get to meet Lin. she'll always be special to me, just like a younger sister. and after our days in Paris, i can say this, i had a wonderful family dinner eating Japanese with my boys, i had a wonderful mother and son day at the park with Aidan, and i had a wonderful meeting with Lin. and i wouldnt wanna swap that with any other stuff in Paris, not even the best crepes in the whole entire city of Paris!

Thank you Lin & Mokhtar.  thanks for the wonderful meal, the chocolate cake, the cheese, gifts for Aidan and a start to a lovely friendship! 

Monday, 6 October 2008

Our Humble Raya

Our Raya was just a simple one. Raya here in Holland was on Tuesday, a day earlier than home. we only knew about it before going to bed that Monday night. i almost went into panic attack as i wasnt ready with all the stuff to make our little family Raya feast. i was so confident that it will fall on Wednesday!

I know i've said that i wont fuss about Raya, but i'd still want my house to smell like 'Raya' (if you know what i mean). Hardy then reminded me that there's nothing to panic, and suggested we'd go out and have dinner instead!

No way i'm gonna let my boys eat sushi on Raya!

Hardy had to go for a meeting in Germany on the first day of Raya and so Aidan and i continued with our initial plan to make cookies for papa (cant seem to find the photos, but will upload later). it went well... in the beginning! until Aidan poured more and more flour into the dough! there goes our chocolate chip cookies (sigh). we did everything together, from bringing out the ingredients to measuring and mixing. showed him the entire process and told him after he wakes up from his nap, the cookies will be done, out from the oven! it was so much fun asking him to stir and mix! we had less than 10 of them. 1 for aidan (he only had one, probably now he knows the consequences of pouring more flour into the mixture!) and the rest, mama and papa kongsi! (shared). we ate them all, with proudness written all over our faces and in our tummies regardless the texture!

A week before Raya i asked Hardy what should we cook. He said kuah kacang, nasi impit and lodeh would be awesome! since he'll be busy for the rest of the month, we decided to postpone his famous laksa till further notice! first time lucky! everything was edible!! i'm pretty pleased with myself!

The next morning was so busy, busy on the phone from morning till midday! calling most of our families and close friends. calls, calls.....

 and more phone calls!

And last weekend, we went to our friend's Raya gathering at Eindhoven. and it was such a pleasant surprise to meet almost everyone there! cooked ayam percik and had the most delicious rendang in holland! 

Received Raya cards and even duit raya for Aidan! i must reply soon to thank each and every one of you. i just need a little bit more time! but sincerely, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Will be packing... leaving for Paris tomorrow.  i havent even blog about our Czech holiday, and now we're leaving again! oh gosh, where did September go!! time flies SO fast!

Just like most families, we had our family picture taken as well. all dressed up in Baju Kurung. and i'm sure you can tell the theme colour just by looking at Aidan's!

Anyway, how was your Raya?

P.s: I will, i will reply to comments/emails (ranee, you're on top of my list! perhaps we should swap numbers!).