We returned from our Central American Cruise on the Seabourne Odyssey in January all rested. I think it was one of the best cruises we had been on as we met and made friends with so many nice people: Sandra and Ray from Australia, Brigitte and Dieter from Switzerland and Jack and Linda from Mexico. Its certainly a ship we would like to go on again, even though we had a bit of a rough time on one of the sea days.
A week into the new year we heard the sad and tragic news of the death of hubby’s cousin, Daniel – it was hard to believe and hard to say goodbye to him. But we were glad that we had the opportunity to see him and his family in Valladolid in 2010. We spent a weekend in Dubai in the second week of January as hubby attended a conference and watched in horror as the Costa Concordia sank in an unfortunate accident. At that moment at least, I felt I wouldn’t go on another cruise…
Danial visited us in Kuwait also in January this year – what a great event that was as it had been quite a while since he spent some time with us in Kuwait. Thanks to a job change from Delloitte to AirAsia that gave him unspent annual leave to spend! It was a lovely start to a new year and I enjoyed every minute of doing “stuff” with my boy. We had our first shooting experience at a range in Kuwait, in addition to fooding, of course, and some shopping! Everybody’s always too busy when I go home! The first day we went out together again in Kuwait, like the old days when he spent his Australian summer vacation here in the winter, he said to me, as I drove us to the Avenues Mall, “We never get to do things like this eh, Mum?” *heart* Danial coming to Kuwait was a bonus this year as we got to spend some quality family time together.
Three weeks later, I went home to Malaysia on my usual first trip home of the year. It was great to spend time with Mum and the rest of the family and of course more time with Danial, when he had time of course . He was very excited in his new job and although I hardly spent that much time with him, I was glad for the opportunity we had to do a few things together.
As usual I took the opportunity to make some minor home improvements while I was home and this time it was to add the laminated wooden floor to that part of the apartment between our kitchen, guest bathroom and the casual dining area. Small as it was, that change did make a difference to the area! I was also concerned that the morning sun was the cause of the damage to our conversation piece of a sofa and tried to install some attractive and functional blinds on our balcony which we could pull down in the mornings. Somehow the building management had rules against the type of blinds I wanted to install so I had to contend with some sunscreen blinds behind our curtains instead.
Kuwait had not one, but two elections in 2012, once in February and again in December and also witnessed a couple of “firsts” – the first ever flashmob (incidentally an event choreographed and sponsored by hubby’s employer, Zain) and the first ever Guinness World Record event – the largest fireworks display in the world.
There were also a couple of other firsts for us in 2012 – one of which was the first time ever we participated in a cooking competition. It was a Paella Cooking Competition organised by the Spanish community in Kuwait in April. The second first for us was that we won the competition!
The Malaysian Embassy in collaboration with PERWAKILAN Kuwait (the Association of Malaysian Ladies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) held a very successful inaugural Malaysian Food Bazaar in 2012 and my friend Zaharah and I participated and helped to man the satay stall. That’s two food-related events for me this year!
In June we went on a weekend trip to Abu Dhabi to catch Madonna’s MDNA World Tour in the sweltering or should I say scorching, summer heat. A couple of weeks later we took off on another kind of tour – driving around Ireland and Scotland. It was a great 16 days in the UK and while we had been to Scotland before, it was our first time in Ireland. We kicked off the holiday driving from Belfast to the Giants Causeway then Galway where we spent my birthday. Despite all the places we visited in Ireland, certainly the highlight of our visit was our experience at Dún Aengus.
Scotland was just as green and lovely too, despite the cold and wet days we had. We only cancelled one activity and that was a visit to Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven because of a really bad fog: this was all we could see of the castle!
All the other days were great as we drove from one city to another in Scotland from Loch Lomond to John O’groats to Inverness..we loved the Fairies Glen, Skye, Lybster and all the glens, cairns and lochs we saw and visited! While in Scotland we also arranged to meet up a couple of times with my sis-in-law, Maria and her husband Iñigo, who were also on a holiday in Scotland. It won’t be our last holiday in Scotland as there is so much more to see and do there.
This year I spent half of Ramadhan here in Kuwait with hubby and half in Kuala Lumpur with Danial and my family. Closer to Eid, hubby arrived and this year as usual, we invited friends over to celebrate Eid with us at home on the second day.
There was another first for me this year – during our trip to London, I finally met a Facebook friend with whom I’d been in touch not only on Facebook, but spoke to on the phone and Skyped with…but never met. Norlizah drove down with hubby, Anders from their home in one of the London suburbs to have dinner with us at Tok Din’s. We had a blast and it was a memorable evening. She happened to be in Kuala Lumpur during Ramadhan and of course we caught up with each other again.
We travelled again to Italy this year and spent 8 days in Milan during the Eid al Adha break. It was supposed to be our annual la dolce far niente break but we ran out of ideas as to where to go without repeating destinations – so we decided on Milan. We enjoyed the fooding and did a bit of shopping. Just a bit.. In a couple of days we will do the last bit of travelling this year – this time to San Sebastian in Spain to spend a bit of time with my sis-in-law, Maria and her husband and family. We will spend a couple of days in Madrid and try to catch up with hubby’s cousin and aunt there too.
2012 was a very busy year for me at my painting studio as my seasoned painters (and friends) continued to come and paint and many new students began their decorative painting journey. I kept classes to two times a week so that I still had time to prepare for classes and also enjoy other activities. I still did not paint as much as I wanted to though.
As usual, so many numbers every year. Hubby and I celebrated sixteen years of marriage this year and we are thankful for the good life we have had together. 2012 marks our ninth year in Kuwait and 12 years of life abroad. Certainly we are looking forward to the day we will “retire” back in Malaysia and I’m not giving away any dates here yet. Soon is all I can say.
Danial turned 27 a couple of days ago and I find it hard to believe sometimes that he is my “grown-up” son and no longer the little kid I pampered and nurtured. I guess as far as I’m concerned, as a mother, pampering and nurturing doesn’t ever end. And don’t think for a moment that I tire.
2012 will go down as the year that the “Mayan Apocalypse” was predicted and did not happen…I wonder if, in the years to come, we’ll still remember the hype created about the 21st of December being the last day of civilisation or will it be just another day in history like Y2K.
So only one week to the end of another year. Time flies as everyone says and I get the feeling it won’t be long before I sit here again trying to remember where the year went and trying to write something new and different. Anyway, it has been a good year as always and we thank God for everything. We pray and hope for a year of peace and harmony around the world ahead in the new year and look forward to new opportunities to learn and do something better.