Time flies, as always. This is the time of year when everyone wonders…where did the year go? It never fails. It seems like only yesterday that we welcomed 2009 and soon its time to say goodbye.
We were on board the Crystal Symphony on 1st January 2009 – cruising the Palmer Archipelago – a group of islands between the southern tip of South America and the northwest coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The ship was still decked out with festive decor and outside on deck it was sunny yet freezing! Antarctica was beautiful in all its splendour. I can still picture it…
This year we will be in Bahrain with friends.
We celebrated hubby’s birthday at the Iguazu National Park touring the falls on both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides. It was part of our post-cruise holiday. It was still winter when we got back to Kuwait in the middle of January. After such a long cruise and post-cruise holiday, can you blame us when we spent the balance of January in “cruise-withdrawal”?
I had to cut it short though because friends were asking for painting classes. I held a few classes through February and part of March and its good as always to see new and old students alike expand their horizons.
A couple more classes during the year but that was it…I didn’t have time for any more. Not even to paint on my own.
So my new year resolution is pretty obvious – to make time to paint, paint, paint. And maybe to revamp my painting website. Update its look and content.
I did rebuild my painting blog, calling it Painting Matters but I must admit that I haven’t posted in it too much. Another new year resolution there.
I also changed the name of my blog from “Cafe Zarada” and moved it from Blogspot to my own domain. I’m still thinking about giving it another revamp!
This year we finally said goodbye to the PC and Windows. We migrated to the Mac and to a new experience. No more crashes and no more blue screens!
So far I have no complaints whatsoever with the Mac and it does make you wonder why we waited 15 years to go to the Mac.
2009 was going to be the year we finished doing up our apartment and rent the second one so we also planned trips back to Malaysia around that. On my trip back in March to get quotations for our kitchen, Mum was admitted to hospital for a digestive problem the day after I arrived. We were all glad she recovered after a six-day stay and recuperated at home. Three days later my Dad was admitted to the same hospital with a lung infection. It was a challenging time and we prayed hard that both of them would be OK. Sadly though, Dad passed away on 20th April from complications after almost three weeks in hospital . Hubby flew over and made it in time for the funeral. It was a difficult time for all of us and I was grateful to have him there with me. We came back to Kuwait in May and tried to get on with our lives. I kept in constant touch with Mum to make sure she was OK. That was really important to me.
Then it was summer…hubby took 3 weeks off and we went back to Malaysia again in June so that we could be with Mum on her 75th birthday. My sister was also back from the US with her son and Mum only wanted to go out to a restaurant so we did that. It was just a quiet evening with the family.
Our summer vacation was well-spent supervising the kitchen renovation. Thankfully, we now have the kitchen of our dreams in our apartment in Kuala Lumpur.
The kitchen renovation was a very challenging exercise and when it was completed, I went on to do up the other areas of our apartment like the guest room cum study and the guest bathroom / powder room. I also designed and ordered the last bits of furniture for the reception and dining area so our home is now complete!
You would think I was done now! No way..I got started on the other apartment, getting it tenant-worthy you could say. It was a simpler and much less challenging task than our own apartment but you could also say that I had moved up the learning curve, right? Soon after the renovation was completed, we were able to rent it out and I was so glad to tick that off our to-do list.
Hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this year in Singapore. A holiday within a holiday you could say. It was my son’s idea to drive down to Singapore and spend a couple of days there since he had a business meeting to go to AND he wanted to spend some time with us. It was fun – we hadn’t done much touristic stuff in Singapore before so this was a good opportunity – the Singapore Eye, the night safari and on our anniversary – a spa treat at Spa Botanica on Sentosa Island.
I stayed on in Malaysia all through Ramadhan until Eid when hubby arrived. This year we spent our first Eid in our own home in Malaysia for the first time in a very long time. It was something we had looked forward to since the construction was completed last year. 2009 was also our first Eid without Dad.
I spent a total of almost 5 months in Malaysia this year and the rest of 2009 was dotted with a few other trips. It was Dubai in February during the long weekend when Kuwait celebrated its National Day and Liberation Day. We stayed with our British / South African friends and did some touristic stuff…chilled out and played board games. In May I tagged along with hubby on a business trip to Berlin with a stopover in Amsterdam to visit Keukenhof and see the kids.
In October, we went to San Sebastián in the north of Spain for my sister-in-law’s wedding. So now we have a new family member.
We also went on a short trip to Prague, Czech Republic over the long Eid al-Adha weekend in November and then Dubai again in the first week of December when hubby attended the GSM conference there. This time we stayed with Malaysian friends who moved there last year from Kuwait.
Phew! Only the Bahrain trip left.
We also became grand aunty and grand uncle again this year – one of my brothers’ daughter had a baby boy in October. We’ve not met him yet but it certainly feels like we “know” him already – thanks to photos his parents posted on Facebook.
I also met two of my Facebook friends on our travels this year – one in Buenos Aires and one in Singapore then in Malaysia. She lives in The Hague. Making friends through technology is so much fun!
Danial took the plunge and became an independent SAP consultant this year. He is on his first assignment as a contractor and loving the independence. Despite the fact that he has lived in Malaysia for six years now, it feels like it was only yesterday and I still miss him everyday! Thanks to Facebook and Skype we can be in touch as frequently as we want – when he’s not being busy Mr. Consultant that is! LOL
This year marks our sixth year in Kuwait and our ninth year living abroad as expats. Hubby loves his job so its really difficult to answer the question “How much longer do you guys expect to stay in Kuwait?” or “When do you expect to go back to Malaysia permanently?”
I’ve pretty much given up the idea of going back to work and have decided to enjoy my status of “lady of leisure”! It certainly gives new meaning to the expression “LOL” which I find myself using more and more of late. My life this year was dotted with travelling and seeing new places – taking in their history and learning about their culture (and tasting their food, I might add!). When I’m in Kuwait, I pretty much go with the flow attending meetings of Groups where I’m a member, trying to catch up with old friends, making new friends, blogging and micro-blogging!
Well, that’s pretty much it for the year. That’s where 2009 went.
I’m grateful that we’ve been blessed with good health and more than that, that we’ve been blessed with a good life in a foreign land.
Now I must go and finish what everyone else is trying to do these last few days of the old year – tie up all the loose ends and finish that list of resolutions! LOL