Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!



Finally! The flight from NYC to Indianapolis took 2 hours and here we were, in Indianapolis! It was 10.30 in the morning, local time. Excited but at the same time, I was concerned about how were we going to get to the Uni from the airport. Was it near or far? As we walked a few steps further, right in the middle of the spacious arrival hall, we were greeted by a gigantic IU banner! When we took the escalator down towards the exit, we spotted a help desk set up by Indiana University! As we approached, we were greeted by a student volunteer who then told us how to get to the uni campus. What a great welcome, especially for new students. Thank you, IU. Bravo, IU!!!! At the Go Express Shuttle counter, the attendant, a kind elderly lady cheerfully gave us a brief introduction to Indianapolis and Bloomington. We were the 1st Malaysian customers of hers! She kept a list of countries which people came from, with whom she had interaction with at the counter.

From Indianapolis airport to Bloomington, the journey took around 1 hour by shuttle bus. Quite a distance away with not much to see along the way except for scatter of houses and isolated small shops. The shuttle took us right up to the dorm entrance, thankfully!

Sonner got checked in. We planned for him to stay in his dorm in advance so that we have time to get supplies, for him to get adjusted to the new living environment as well as getting to know his room-mate before semester commences. Don't expect 5-star but it's a nice size for students – 2 beds, 2 study tables, 2 closets and bathroom attached. As days passed, the room became cozier (his feedback) and he got along well with his room-mate. The Korean buddy studied in Malaysia for 2 years before coming to Bloomington. He even spoke Malaysian English!

I checked into my motel. Since my booking was done late (considered very late since it was a peak season), I have limited choice of hotels to choose from. Despite the state of its exterior, the room was clean and the Queen-sized bed was comfortable. Took me a while to get to know how to operate the air-con and coffee maker though. However, had a hard time with the shower which kept giving me higher than average temperature of water. Spoken to the front desk twice about it, still not fixed. Sigh.

After experiencing 2 challenging nights, I finally got the chance to change hotel to the one on campus ground. Many parents had checked out after their children's orientation. What a great relief to be nearer to Sonner's dorm. It's a short walk to downtown too! I no longer need to call fr Uber ride just to have a meal. This hotel was so much more comfortable. I longed for a peaceful sleep and finally getting!

All in all, I sat through 4 days of Parents Orientation, missed the first 2 days as we were still in NYC. The email from uni reached us late, after we had done our flights bookings. Nonetheless, not all were lost. They were accommodative and offered me a private campus tour. Bloomington is a small town but people are friendly and most helpful. Spoken to an Uber driver who had just transferred to Bloomington from another state in March. He loves this place. The locals have been exposed to the presence of many foreign students that they got to learn and understand different cultures other than their own. This is indeed a beautiful town with beautiful people!

We shopped at Target, Best Buy and College Mall to get his supplies. He quickly got a road bike on the 2nd day of arrival when we saw he size of the campus. Walking is possible but if one is rushing for classes, it'll be crazy to walk from the dorm to another building. It stretches to quite a distance in between. Staying here, if you move around on foot, you can easily reach your 10,000 steps a day, no sweat! Very good exercise with fresh air.

Every Saturday morning till 1.00pm, there is the Farmer's Market located in front of the City Hall, where residents can get fresh produces like vegetables, fruits, plants and herbs. Additionally, there are some local handicrafts for sale too.

The Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) building houses the Biddel hotel and convention centre, has in-house foodcourt, bookshop, IU shop, Starbucks, Burger King, cafes, bowling alley, and several halls for students to study and do some works. A short walk to the Sample Gate (main entrance of the Uni – pictures below) and downtown.

No worries about food here. Besides McDonald's, Taco Bell, Bloomington Bagels, KFC, Pizza Hut, Chilis, etc, there are Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Burmese, Indian restaurants! Seafood restaurants like Red Lobster and The Running Crab are a few minutes drive away. There's Barnes & Noble bookshop to get the latest publications, books and mags alike. I can't stop telling you guys how much I like this place.

As for IU, it has the Asian Culture Centre (ACC), not specifically for Asians only; others who are interested in Asian culture are always welcome. The seniors immediately got Sonner to sign up as a volunteer photographer for ACC when they learned that he has his own equipment. I'm glad he'll have some other activities to keep him occupied besides attending classes.

The uni provides an academic and a career adviser to each student to guide and support them throughout their studies. There is also counseling for students who might have personal issues like depression, time management, sleeping problem, getting settled down, etc. Here, IU Family is not restricted to merely students and alumni but includes staffs, parents, benefactors, and anyone who is linked to IU. It is one big happy family.

I would highly recommend this uni to anyone, anytime. The environment is most suitable for studying – fresh air, trees everywhere. This small town provides sufficient shops to serve the community. Not much of distractions, unlike in the big cities. When one has too many choices, they can pose as problems than blessings, sometimes.

I'm left with a few more days, 2.5 days to be exact, before I fly home. I can safely say that I'm glad Sonner settles in well and faster than expected. He'll survive here well. I pray that he'll carry himself well and have a wonderful campus experience these 2 years here at IU. And of course, graduate in Y2019.

Yup, I'm a proud Hoosier mom! Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!

Cheers,
Alice

Exploring Big Apple

Our next destination after Orange country was the Big Apple. Yeah, from Orange to Apple! Took an evening flight for 8 hours to reach New York. Time difference between New York and Amsterdam is -6 hours. Between New York and Malaysia is -12 hours. Sharing the beautiful image that greeted us the minute we exited from the JFK arrival hall.

Again, to avoid being jet lagged, we timed our bedtime. We were awake at 6am in Amsterdam which was 12am in NYC. After checking into the hotel, we got ourselves city tour and boat cruise tix from the concierge, for the next day. My son couldn't wait to taste the food of The Halal Guys. Off we walked from the UN Plaza to Fifth Avenue. The evening was moderately cool, good temperature and comfortable for long walks.

Finally, The Halal Guys! We had the combo meal. Not bad. They were in many places, always with a long queue. Once the stomach was filled, we walked back to the hotel. FaceTime session with family back home and finally slept at 1am! That was 25 hours since we woke up in Amsterdam! That's a record.

The next morning, we decided to try out hotdogs by the roadside stall as we saw on TV shows. Then, we hop onto the Big Bus. It's drizzling and looks like going to pour heavier soon. Oh no……

From the bus ride, we got off for our cruise along the Hudson River. Remember how Sully did an emergency landing on the Hudson river? According to the movie (based on true story), it made a record when all passengers on board survived the dangerous yet unusual landing. Following picture shows the landing path along Hudson River.

Though it's raining, we are kept dry on the boat. We had some snacks – nachos and pretzel with hot choc.

It rained the whole day in NYC. It's a pity that we couldn't cover as many places as I planned for originally. Couldn't make it to downtown and uptown sides. Save it for next visit. We only managed to move around the midtown. We walked to Madison Square Park, armed with NYC gift shop umbrellas, for the famous Shake Shack burgers. No shades whatsoever, the place only had garden tables and chairs but it was raining. We ate by the Shake Shack unused mobile stall which provided us with a makeshift table and a bit of cover from the rain. What an adventure it was….

On the way back, we managed to grab some Yankees caps and NMDs from FootLocker. There wasn't any sale going on at FootLocker NYC, unlike in Amsterdam (didn't have our sizes anyway). Oh well….we are happy campers just the same.


Finally, we were back to the cosy hotel. Exhausted, we agreed to order in-room dining. A great plan as we had to wake up very early in the morning for our flight to THE destination.

The following morning, the bell captain convinced us to hail the Yellow instead of calling for an Uber ride. Cab rate to the airport was on fixed rate, plus highway (toll) charges, which added up to less than $60. A very friendly and helpful bell captain. He even spent 10 minutes advising my son about life. George, who's now in his 60s, came to US from Ghana. A proud dad with 3 adult professional children working in the big cities in America. Thank you, George for the advice!

At the airport, again we fill up our stomachs with Shake Shack burgers. The ones at Madison Sq Park were better and not that oily.

For our health conscious friends, these are a nightmare, right? No worries….we walked a lot and able to burn all those fats (excuse…hahaha). Moreover, it is okay to live a little. We hardly do fast food back home. Au revoir, NYC!

That's it folks. This wrapped up our Big Apple (lack of) experience.

Cheers,
Alice

My Orange Experience

A day after my birthday, my son and I flew to Amsterdam. Our flight plan en route to Indianapolis is with 2 stopovers, Amsterdam and New York. Since we are flying so far away from home, we might as well stop at these two cities to rest, relax and sightseeing. Also, to allow son and I to spend a little bit more holiday time together. Let him relax before the next semester commences. I know he is anxious, new environment and all, yet excited about what lies ahead. He also misses his sister and girlfriend terribly, being separated from them. It is the first time in 15.5 years being separated from the sister cum bestie for the first time. Fortunately, with FaceTime, they can video chat anytime.

Our KLM experience for this long-haul night flight was wonderful. We were served with snacks, dinner and breakfast. Had our sleep then watch 2 movies till we touched down at almost 6.00am local time. As usual, when there's a train service to my destination, I'd rather use the train than a cab. The train station was just a few steps away from arrival hall. Bought our tix and off we went searching for the right platform. Boarded the train but it was not as convenient as the one we took in Osaka, Japan which has a special compartment to stow your luggage securely before proceeding to your seats. On board the Amsterdam train, space along the aisle was narrow. If you are traveling with more than 1 luggage, you wouldn't find it easy to move them around. Despite all that limitations, taking the train was easy and straight forward. We reached central station within 30 minutes.

From the train terminal, we took a 10-15 mins walk to our hotel. Weather was clear, quite cold and very windy, just the way I like it. Though it was very early, before 7.00am, the hotel allowed us to check into our room immediately! Excellent front desk service; the lady showed us around the lobby – tea making area, the same place where they hosted wine drinking session every evening from 5pm to 6pm. Off we went to our room. Neat and cosy. Love the cup and saucer and the familiar Nespresso machine.


Off we went to hunt for a cafe for our 2nd breakfast. I've always liked to sit at the sidewalk cafe, sipping my hot cup of coffee while watching activities around me. We can't do that back home on a sunny day. Armed with the city map, we walked wherever the legs took us. We were fortunate to arrive early that we got the chance to enjoy 2 full days in the city before departing for our next destination the following day. Son and I felt that having 3D 2N in AMS is just nice.

We took our time to visit some museums and had a cruise tour along the canal. We returned to the hotel in time for the wine drinking session. Dry white, red wine and rosé were served with some finger food. The staffs were friendly and chatted with every guest. Dear son looked younger than his age that he was politely asked for identification before being poured a glass of wine. The legal age for consuming beer and wine in Netherlands is 16! Well, he can still drink here but not anymore when we reach the States.

We walked to a nearby restaurant for an early dinner. After the long flight, we'd better take it easy on Day 1 but sleep at proper bedtime so that to avoid having jet lag. The sun set around 9.30pm. It's nice to see the sky so clear and still bright at dinnertime.

The following day, we bought ourselves the City Sightseeing (hop on and hop off) bus and boat tour. It is the best way and shortest time to cover the entire city. Made easier when I downloaded the app into my phone. That Sunday was also the Gay Pride Day. The whole city came alive with so many people, music and colours. They party all day long. What a lovely and exciting experience from merely watching the crowd!

Finally, upon checking out, we took the train to Schipol International Airport. The train arrived and left on time, not a minute more or less. So, remember to check for the time and the right platform. Our flight to New York was in the evening and touched down the same evening, local time. Couldn't wait for another new experience. Big Apple here we come!

To sum it all up, AMS was a wonderful experience, an eye opener, with beautiful weather. People were friendly, the place was rather clean (except for the morning after, after the party). The cleaning vehicle didn't stop sweeping the roads. However, I'm not used to the smell of weeds in the air. It's being sold in every corner. I was told that it's prescribed as medicine to treat some medical condition to help patients be more focused or something. Anyway, then most memorable food experience was the freshly made stroofwafel and the no1. Both son and I enjoyed our stay in AMS, discovering places and food.

Cheers,
Alice N.

GISTs

Those who have been following my blog will know that Dad was diagnosed with GISTs back in July 2014, about 2 weeks before his birthday. Many people have not heard of GISTs and those who have, wonder if it is cancer after all. Treatment for GISTs is different from other cancers and there is no staging to measure its condition.

What is GISTs? Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors are the most common mesenchymal neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract. they are defined as tumors whose behaviour is driven by mutations in the KIT gene. Most (66%) occur in the stomach and gastric GISTs have a lower malignant potential than tumors found elsewhere in the GI tract. (ref : wikipedia)

Treatment wise, it is different from the regular cancers. Radiotherapy has not historically been effective with GISTs and GISTs do not respond to most chemotherapy medications. However, 3 medications have been identified for clinical benefit in GISTs : Imatinib, Sunitinib (Sutent) and Regorafenib (Stivarga). Imatinib (Glivec/Gleevec), an orally administered drug initially marketed for chronic myelogenous leukaemia is useful in treating GISTs in several situations.(ref : wikipedia)

Dad has been showing improvement all these while, visits to the Oncologist has been lengthened to 4 monthly, CT Scan every 6-9 months to monitor the tumor. Great news is, his diabetes has stabilised. The surge in his blood sugar back in 2014 must be due to the GISTs. Now, he is back on oral medication. Gone were the insulin jabs. Thank God.

The CT Scan last month showed that the tumor remained in size. Though the size has reduced to safety level for surgery removal, Dad can’t undergo that because he has lesions in the liver and some parts of lymph nodes. So far, all these are controlled by the Glivec, meaning Glivec is working on them. Seems like Dad has to continue with Glivec for as long as possible since surgery is not an option for his condition.

I am so grateful that Dad is still going strong, taking it positively and exercising daily to keep himself as healthy as possible. I insist upon him to go travelling overseas at least once a year. It is good for my parents to go away from home once in a while. Holidaying without any concerns except to walk, eat and sleep. Enjoy the sceneries and experience different environment while interacting and making new friends. What is most rewarding is to see their happy faces upon returning from each holiday. That is priceless!

I can’t thank Max Foundation enough. I know I have been doing that over and over again. If you were to be in my shoes, you would too. Max Foundation has made expensive treatment becomes more affordable, giving the patients a chance to recovery or continue living. Long term treatment is no joke. Not just financial stress, it is also an emotional journey and it demonstrates how a family stick together to go through it for the long haul or fall apart. Let us hope more families will choose to stick it out together.

I admire Dad for his determination to fight it and be well. I’m proud of Mom for being strong for Dad and be his primary caregiver. More of great companionship and keeping him busy. Much thanks to my brothers who have been keeping in touch with them with constant visits, taking them on short trips and frequent telephone calls. It’s a family thing and that is what we do to stay together at all times, through ups and downs, laughter, fears and tears.

I continue to pray for my parents’ good health, peace in their minds and happiness. Just enjoy life! Cheers, Dad and Mom!

~ AliceN.

 

 

 

 

 

You Ain’t Heavy, You’re My Husband.

A couple of days back, we celebrated a special man’s birthday. He is the one I married to, 16 years ago, without many courting days. At that time, it felt just right and I felt save and calm, to give him my heart.

Darling, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! On his birthday, he had to work as usual, though it was a public holiday. I understand him very well. When he needs to work, I’ll let him go with my best wishes. I’d like to think of it as a dose of sunshine a day, just like people take vitamins every morning.

I have, since a long time ago, treat everyday as a birthday. Must be the age factor; when one gets older, one treasures the substance in life more than how it looks on the outside. Each day we spend on earth is a gift of life; each day we get to see and feel the presence of our loved ones, is a celebration, each day when we open our eyes to a brand new day is a birth day.

So, it was okay not to have dear hubby with us the whole day, on his official birthday. That gave us some private time to cook up some surprises for him! Moreover, we still have other days. As long as he is happy….

My wish for my big man is, may all dreams come true and that all his hard labor will come to fruition soon. We have come a long, long way and whatever life serves us, good and not-so-good, we receive with open hearts and mind. There is always a good reason behind everything that crosses our paths. You know, Blessing In Disguise? All we need to do is look at the opposite of the bad. There is always an opportunity to learn or to act differently, don’t you agree?

So my dearest hubby, go out with a clear mind and brave heart, to reap what you have sown. We will be right by your sides, always ready to lend you our weights when you need them. We may be smaller but we are all strong to walk with you to the finishing line. You ain’t heavy, you are my husband and father to our children.

Just remember always that you are so loved and thought of all the time. If we can bring the sun to you, we shall not hesitate to fetch it. Since we can’t do that, we shall pour our “sunshine” to warm you when it’s cold outside; we’ll shower you with cool kisses when it is too hot and hug you like soft, comfy blankets when it is hard out there, so that you can let your tired body rest for a while.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR HUBBY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU….

~ Alice N.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI

A celebration for the Muslims worldwide; it marks the end of Ramadhan, the Islamic holy month of fasting! The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadhan. The first day of Aidil Fitri therefore, falls on the first day of the month Syawal.

Here I would like to wish all my Muslim readers and friends, SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI! For those who will be travelling far or near, please drive safely. Have enough rest before the journey and do take it easy. Have “pit-stops” to rest in between. Enjoy the entire drive “balik kampung”. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that you can feel the festive mood the entire journey! Smile or wave ‘hello’ to fellow drivers on the road – no one would call you “crazy”, don’t worry.

I don’t have the chance to experience it but I can only imagine from what i heard from friends and movies I watched before. I’m very certain that parents would be especially happy to see their children, grandchildren and perhaps, great-grandchildren too, all under one roof. This is the time when you see the women crowding around the kitchen preparing sumptuous meals for all. I remember being told that families would be busy making ketupat and cooking them a day before the RAYA. I’m not sure if this scenario represents everyone celebrating the RAYA, but this is what I learnt from my friends in the kampung those days.

During RAYA, what I usually enjoy most is visiting my Muslim friends and helping myself to home-cooked Ketupat, Rendang, Dodol, kuih-muih, cookies, etc. I also enjoy listening to Raya songs, especially the late Sudirman’s all-time fave, “Balik Kampung“.

On this special day, may I humbly extend my hands to ask for forgiveness, if I have directly or indirectly, offended anyone in any of my posts. Please know that it is unintentional. I write from personal experience and they are also records of my thoughts, with only one intention i.e. to share with you what I know and what I have experienced.

Finally, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Happy Holiday to all. Drive safely and enjoy the company of loved ones and friends. Take care.

~Alice N.

Quality vs Quantity Time

Earlier today, I told my teenage son that I felt guilty for not been spending enough time with his sister these couple of months. I would be home in most mornings with him than in the afternoon with the sister, as I would either go to the office to do some works or meeting clients. To which he quickly replied, it is fair, because I had been away in most mornings for the first several months this year and now it is his turn to enjoy my company!

I had read books in the past, where they gave different views in respect of quality vs quantity time for children. This issue usually applies to both working parents in the family. Many writers said that it is alright because you can make it up to the children with “quality” time. Most adults would agree when you could differentiate between the two. However, do not be surprised when it comes to children’s perspective, they don’t bother about quality; to them, quantity means quality. In their minds, they are counting the number of hours you spent with them everyday, not how well you plan your time together during those weekends when you are home, or where you take them for holidays once or twice a year.

“Quality time” as defined by my teenage son : as long as I am with him, he feels happy enough, even though I could be in my study doing some paperwork and he, in another room or merely sending him to his co-curricular activities. He told me that he doesn’t necessarily need me to sit with him or do things with him all the time, in order to feel my presence.

When I asked the same question to my tween daughter, she said that she would prefer to have me at home more (the same). Also, she wants me to sit at the same table doing my work while she does her school work. After she has completed her school work, she would like me to go for a walk or to play with her. This is the definition of “quality time” by my daughter.

Two different behaviour but with so much similarity, isn’t it? To sum it up, to children, Quality = Quantity time. So, when some parents said that kids don’t care how high quality time you spend with them, they are right! It’s worth paying attention to it.

I know time is never enough to complete our tasks in a day. Like I used to comment before, “if we can complete everything in a day, with nothing to be carried forward to another day, I guess our purpose on earth has come to an end. There’s nothing for us to look forward to”. There will always be something incomplete for us to continue the next day. Our life activities run on circle. I think the only time everything stops is when our heart stops beating and our brain stops working.

We really have no choice but to make the most out of our time. We need to provide some time for our children in the beginning or at end of our tiring day. Not to worry, once they grow up, they’ll need lesser of your time, if not at all. I feel that it is important to be there for them as they grow up and I’m sure you all know why.

Have a great weekend and chat more with one another face to face, instead of using hi-tech gadgets. My colleague always says, “High Touch is always better than Hi-Tech”. He’s referring to communication amongst human beings – the old fashion way still works better. I concur with his statement.

A Happy Husband

  • A Happy Hubby!

Before the weekend starts, I want to write about The Man! I believe every man wishes to be a happily married man and make his beloved wife happy. This is what I learnt from “The Secrets of Happily Married Men” – Dr Scott Haltzman. Haltzman writes about eight simple ways which men can adopt, to make them happy husbands. And before we go any further, No, I’m not about to set up a “Happy Husbands Club“!

I believe many people, men and women alike, would agree that there is a huge difference between the “chase” or courting time, and married period. Like, Before vs After. Every man and woman continuously, openly or secretly, yearn for the “once upon a time when you were…“.

I agree with Haltzman when he said that, “during courtship, men are inclined to be romantic, thoughtful and considerate; they enjoy the challenge of pleasing their partner. That proves to their partners that men have these feelings and can do these things“! That’s why most women want their marriage to remain that way, like “those” days! Read along if you want to find out how, by doing that, could make you a happier husband.

1. Make Your Marriage Your Job – the concepts and theory of business skills are directly applicable to your marriage, but, with a little adjustment to the vocabulary, of course. Focus on the benefits of marriage, not on the day-to-day frustrations. Put your skills (discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, flexibility, commitment) to good use in this marriage. Learn from mistakes. Be determined to get better and better in your job as a husband.

2. Know Your Wife – Yup, get to know who she is and what does she want? Take a closer look at her being a mother, her relation to her own parents and your parents, how she wants to raise her children, her career, her attitude towards material things and her notion of important ideas. How are you going to do that?! Simply by dropping all past assumptions about her and look at her as if you’ve just met her and try to discover who she really is. When you can’t understand her point of view, seek further clarification. Love your wife for who she is – not who you think she should be. That’s why you fell in love with her in the first place, isn’t it?

3. Be Home Now – Simply be there, in person. Include your wife in your non-working life pursuits. Don’t foster close friendships away from home that exclude her, particularly if they are with other women. It is good for you both to have some quality time-out from your pals, sports channel, computer/blackberry/iPhone/iPad, etc. And, for the wives, when dearest hubby tries to be with the family or you more, don’t start arguing about anything. No man would like to walk through the front door of his home and felt like walking onto land mines! Men could try to understand that, being at home, for the wives, can be very stressful. Their job of parenting and maintaining a home, is time-consuming, strenuous and demanding. Worse, if they work as well.

4. Expect Conflict and Deal with It – “I’m Right, You’re Wrong!”, sounds familiar? We have to accept that conflict is a natural part of marriage. Men and Women are different. We act, speak and think differently. Conflict is not necessarily bad; your wife may need it as a way to clear the air. Ever experience that after a conflict, you both end up being closer and more caring than before, towards each other? While conflict is good, we must hold back hurtful and hateful comments. Don’t ever get physical either. When temper flares, take time to let things cool down. Don’t disappear, walk away or switch on the TV; stay open to communication. Assume the best motives, take her words at face value and move on. Fight (verbally, of course) if you must but after you make up, put the fight behind you and move on towards your goal of having a happy marriage.

5. Learn to Listen – your wife ever said this to you : “You Never Listen!”? You need skills for this but right practice makes perfect. Listen not only to her words but for the meaning behind those words. Which refers to her verbal and most importantly non-verbal speech like tone, gestures, feelings. By listening to her, you’re telling her that you give her your undivided attention. Certainly not, “listening” to her while reading the papers or watching the TV. She knows. Listen to Understand, not to win her over to your point of view.

6. Aim to Please – “If Mama’s not happy about how her home life is working out, there is very little chance that you are living a happy marriage”. Although many responsibilities fall to her, it is your responsibility to find ways to make her life easier. Use the people-pleasing skills you possess at work to make your wife feel special. Give her positive feedback each day and soon you’ll notice a more optimistic, confident and supportive wife you have. Surprise her with spontaneous dates! Pay attention to things that please her, you know better.

7. Understand the Truth About SexDon’t stop being romantic as she needs to know that you love her from deep within yourself. Pitch in to help around the house – that will help her clean out her emotional closet and make more room for you. Try to understand what sex means to her. Be patient as rewards won’t come all at once. Remember, women don’t want a quick fix. When she says that you are not romantic enough, don’t expect rewards, right after giving her a lovely gift or take her to a candle-lit dinner. Romantic to her is in general, treat her special not just once but every day. How? Just the way you did when you were courting her. Small kind gestures, touch base by calling her during lunch hour (small talk about her), tell her you miss her when you are away on a trip, etc. Get the idea?

8. Introduce Yourself – Huh?! Take a good look at the physical you. Are you proud of yourself, is she proud of you? If not, start yourself on an exercise and diet routine to get back into shape. Take great care of your health – schedule a checkup with your doctor to keep yourself healthy. These show that you care for her;  you want to be healthy, to share the rest of your life with her; to be the pillar of strength for her, amongst other things. Be faithful. Any form of infidelity undermines a strong marriage. Evaluate your core values so that you have a better idea of what’s important to you and involve your wife to help you attain that values. Give your wife what she needs first, before asking for what you need. Respect and love her deeply and honestly.

Now, go celebrate your love. If you find the tips valuable and would like to know in greater details, go get the book. No, I don’t earn anything from this. I read it and feel that every man should have a copy for reference. You know, we forget easily and over time we would start to take each other for granted again. Then, it’s time to bring it out again to refresh our memory. When I found a great read, I always like to share with my friends.

A toast to all men, to love and happy husbands…don’t be afraid to start all over again after each conflict. It breathes fresh air into your marriage, for good. Remember, stop trying to meet impossible expectations. Compromise will be good enough. You’d be better able to be true to yourself and still be good husbands.

~ AliceN.

What I Learnt From My Husband

As I read my fave mag (Simply Her), I came upon this page about three ladies sharing what their hubbies taught them to do better, from living in the present, thinking positive to showing affection.

Being married for the last 16 years, I have made a lot of adjustments to my life and it is still W.I.P (work in progress). First adjustment came when I had to live with my husband (capital H.I.M.), when it was no longer about “just me and only me“. I knew then that I had to make room for “you and I” or “just the two of us” in my heart and mind. A lot of compromises were made during the learning curve. It’s like a couple not knowing how to dance, trying to learn Tango for the first time! Coordination is important, right? We can actually learn a lot from this dance….if you know what I mean.

When there was “Just US“, I learnt that I had been taking my life and family for granted! My husband taught me that life is not served on silver platter. One has to work hard for it. He did! You can’t choose your family but you can definitely choose your friends and change your fate. He taught me about determination, making choices, working for what you want,  be proactive, patience and family values.

From our status of “Just the Two of Us“, we upgraded it to “Kids and Us” or “The Fabulous Four“. Here, I learnt some more from dearest hubby. He taught me about, like it or not, disciplining children. Well, we agreed to meet halfway and learnt from each other, kinda “East meets West“. I am more for consultative approach.

He also taught me about setting higher goals. All my life, I set good goals. Like what people said, “when you aim for the sky, if you can’t reach it, you’ll usually end up on top of the tree; but when you aim for as high as the tree, if you can’t reach it, you’ll end up flat on the ground“. Or another good friend said that, “If you want 100%, you must aim for 150%! If you aim for 100%, and you can’t get it, you’ll end up below 100%. But, if you aim for mere pass, you’ll usually end up below passing mark“. Take the challenge to aim higher!

I truly admire and have high respect for my husband. He is one person who is super optimistic and mentally strong. He is smart too, not only academically, but when dealing with obstacles in life. His brain can automatically tune in, real-time, in search of the best solutions that he could come up with!  He is also very knowledgeable on current issues that he’s like my walking news bulletin! You don’t learn all these in schools/uni, but from years of experience. By watching him going through life’s challenges, it makes mine looks so small in comparison, therefore, making every one of it seems more manageable for me! He’s my Tough Guy!

I was once a perfectionist; it was him who pointed out to me that being a perfectionist would only do more harm than good, to myself and people around me. He let me make my own adjustments, not a word afterwards. That makes me love him more.

Throughout our lives together, he gives me space to grow at my own pace – academically as well as my business and I’m glad for that. He also respects any decisions I made for our children, knowing very well that I would have carefully weighed all probabilities and angles before coming to any conclusion. That happens only when he is unable to make the decision with me, but I would still notify him afterwards. Otherwise, we’d make it a point to discuss family issues. We both have to agree to it before any implementation can take place. So far, that works well for our cosy little family.

My husband also knows when to push me further, knowing my full potential. Remember, I mentioned earlier that I made good goals whilst he nudge me to set higher goals?  Just like this blog. Who has ever thought of Alice writing a blog! And, within such short 2 months, she receives more than 2000 views! Thanks to all for that 🙂

Additionally, I have friends who wondered how I managed to juggle my business, family, blog and education? Understanding, motivation and moral support from my other half is one of the main ingredients.  Whenever I asked him if I could handle another period of attending classes, all he said was and always will be, the 2-worded sentence “go ahead!“. I asked again, “Are you sure?”, and again he said “go ahead!”. Ahhh…man of few words (LOL!). When I felt unsure about my exams, he’d always announce loudly to my children that I was born to sit for exams and passed effortlessly (that’s an exaggeration, of course!). Now you understand the tagline for my exams “Failure is not an Option!“? I see myself as my children’s role model.

If you ask me, I would say one thing : My husband is someone who never gives up, no matter what. He never does things halfway. He’ll meet challenges head on. In short, he is one of the Few Good Men on earth. Cheers to him!

Enough said about my husband, what about you? Sit back and ponder, “what have you learnt from your husband”? If you are a man, “what have you learnt from your wife”? When you see your spouse in the next moment, give him/her another kiss and a bear hug.

~ Alice

LOVE Amongst Siblings

Most of us have siblings in our family. To some, siblings become our bosom buddies, whom we share our stuffs, about school, friends, etc. If you are an only child, you might treat your cousins as your siblings. Let me walk you through a journey of siblingship (is there such a word? If not, I’ve just created one, yeah!) – as I see it. Some may, some may not share the same experience.

When we are young, we often play together, snatch things from one another, play tricks, argue endlessly just about anything, irritate one another for the fun of it, and many more. I feel that the more you interact this way, the closer you are with one another. It would drive your parents up the wall, though! Oops! It is okay to have fun, as long as you don’t go overboard, or harm one another, physically and emotionally. Being protective and watching out for your siblings could do a lot more good, to cement that strong bond you have for one another. Many children said that they hate their brother(s) and/or sister(s), especially when they are mad or sad. But, should anything happen to any of them, they would shed tears and wish no harm to befall him/her! You see, deep down inside you, you truly love your sibling(s). Nonetheless, kids just wanna have fun, so have fun! Just remember to be kind, k?

Growing up, each sibling will have his/her own friends and interests. Small arguments and shouting continues, but you see lesser of one another now. The strong bond you built when you were younger, usually, could still keep you all together. If you don’t have that, you might grow a little distant. Simply because you have so much to deal with now, and it’s called growing pains. Familiar to some, depending on what’s your age as you read this.

When you have your own family one day, the landscape of your private life would change again. If you fail to keep in touch as before, you may soon become strangers. You only meet once or twice a year, hardly keep in touch via emails or phone calls. Zero, unless there is any family issue. If you are fortunate to have living parents, they would still hold these siblingship together for that occasional gatherings. When they are not around anymore, it might be tougher to keep up with the family gatherings unless someone takes the lead, and the rests agree to keep this practice going. If not, the gap would grow wider and wider till one day, we might only meet, God knows when!

So, young men and ladies, take great care of your siblingship today, just as well as you take care of your friendship. If you show love to one another and care for one another besides the “fighting” and “screaming” happening this minute, you may have a better chance to lasting relationship with your siblings. You share a lot in common, which other people may not understand. You share the same parents, family culture, journey growing up which most often than not, affect your behaviour and attitude towards things and life around you. You don’t have to do something to impress one another, you can be yourself because you literally grow up together. All your good and bad habits are no surprises to your siblings, yet they still love you for who you are.

So cherish this special moment because one day in the near/far future, you would think back and miss all these. Wish you could have done more to keep this going for the longest time.

Cheers to Siblingship!

~ Alice