Everyday Is A Miracle

Be happy and enjoy every single bite of it


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Holiday Inn Hotel, Kemayoran, Central Jakarta

Street view from the top

Street view from the room

During last June school holiday, we stayed for one night in Holiday Inn Hotel which located in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. It was a brand new hotel and was just opened recently before our stay there.

Back then when I was working, one of my branch office was located in Kemayoran, not far from my branch office in that area. I went to that office several times, so I knew the area quite well, but it was very surprising for me to see the very fast development of that area. I never imagined that there would be a hotel in that place in less then 4 years.

Welcome to Holiday Inn Hotel

Welcome to Holiday Inn Hotel

Well, anyway, the location of the hotel was very good. It was close enough to Kelapa Gading (where you can find all the big malls and Kelapa Gading is also very famous because you can find all types of food and restaurants from local to international. Well basically if you want to eat anything, just go to Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta). Sunter Mall is also nearby. Just next to the hotel was a food hall or food court (not so sure but it was big enough and I saw many restaurant brands on the signage). If you want something local but also delicious (home cooked food or street vendor food or family friendly and very well known Chinese food restaurants), then everything is just nearby. Sunter and Kemayoran are also known for their culinary places.

We’ve stayed once in Holiday Inn Malacca and it was a good stay, so we hoped this time we would get the same experience too, and in fact, yes we did. It was clean, of course, friendly and helpful staff, good food, and the best thing was, children stayed for free (I think the last one applies to all Holiday Inn Hotel). So no need to pay extra money for the boy’s breakfast……………….

We saw "bedug" (Indonesian traditional drum hung vertically)

We saw “bedug” (Indonesian traditional drum hung vertically which is used among Muslims for religious purposes ) in the lobby area. As it was fasting month and the Muslims were going to celebrate Idul Fitri (big celebration for Muslims), so it is very common to see bedug as part of decoration in public area

 

We also found a smaller bedug in the second floor (meeting roms area) and the best part was, the boy could try it too..........

We also found a smaller bedug in the second floor (meeting roms area) and the best part was, the boy could try it too……….

I liked the spacious and airy lobby with free WiFi and unique seating area. The lobby was big not so crowded with furniture that I thought it was suitable to play scooter or bicycle there, hahaha………..

Unique orange chairs

Unique big orange chairs

We had our we;come drink in the lobby lounge, and we got 1 glass of orange juice and one glass of guava juice. It was a nice place to hang out for a while, but we didn’t stay long because the boy already wanted to jump into the swimming pool.

Lobby Lounge

Lobby Lounge

 

Nice place to spend an evening with friends or family

Nice place to spend an evening with friends or family

 

Orange or guava juice?

Orange or guava juice?

Before we finally spent an afternoon at the pool, of course we had to check our room first. The thing that I like about hotels in Indonesia are……….most of the hotels (even the budget ones) have spacious rooms. Although some new hotels have smaller rooms, but basically, we can expect to see big room in most hotels.

The room, big enough for the three of us

The room, big enough for the three of us

There were one big double bed, clean toilet, free WiFi in the room, a sofa, cable TV, and a working table inside the room. The bed and pillows were also soft and comfortable. Water, tea, and coffee were also provided in the room. Other standard amenities such as bathrobe, iron, and ironing board could also be found inside.

Big and comfortable bed overlooking the bathroom

Big and comfortable bed overlooking the bathroom

 

Anything we needed was here......

Anything we needed was here……

 

Someone is busy working on something

Someone is busy working on something

The bathroom was also spotlessly clean with all the basic toiletries provided. When staying in a hotel, bathroom is one of the most important part of the room for me. I love bright and very clean bathroom. It is also a plus point if the hotel already provided all the towels (3 towels because we bring kids), bathrobes, hand towels, face towels, and bath mat in complete set without being asked.

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Transparent window in the bathroom looking through to the bedroom, just close the curtain when you take a bath………

 

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After lunch, then it was time to check the swimming pool.

Ready to check the pool

Ready to check the pool

There were two pools, one tiny (seriously, it was very small) kids pool and one adult pool which was not too big either and the depth was 1.2 M only. The pool was very quiet and we only saw very few people (this is what I like about business hotel, very often we had the pool area only for ourselves). The boy met other kids around his age and he had fun playing with them for a long time.

We loved sitting down near the pool as the sofas were very comfortable. It was windy but not cold so one could easily fall asleep in here

We loved sitting down near the pool as the sofas were very comfortable. It was windy but not cold so one could easily fall asleep in here

 

Simple but nice decoration around the pool

Simple but nice decoration around the pool

 

Office buildings, shops, and apartments could be seen as the background of the pool

Office buildings, shops, and apartments could be seen as the background of the pool

 

Very quiet pool and blue water.........who can resist not to jump right away?

Very quiet pool and blue water………who can resist not to jump right away?

 

but first, we had to take some towels from this room (self service) using our room card key

but first, we had to take some towels from this room (self service) using our room card key

 

and ..........jump..............!

and ……….jump…………..!

 

Having fun with friends

Having fun with friends. This girl said she was from US and she couldn’t speak Bahasa Indonesia

 

This was the girl's cousin who lived in Indonesia but very fluent in speaking English. Kids these days...........they're just good at everything that we didn't at that age

This was the girl’s cousin who lived in Indonesia but very fluent in speaking English. Kids these days………..they’re just good at everything that we weren’t at that age

 

The pool was not to deep, so it was safe for children who already know how to swim

The pool was not to deep, so it was safe for children who already knew how to swim

 

We spent the night relaxing in the room after a tiring day

We spent the night relaxing in the room after a tiring day

As I said, one thing that I loved about Holiday Inn was that kids eat for free with accompanying adult. My boy loves hotel breakfast (I don’t know why since he actually doesn’t eat a lot during breakfast time). I think he likes the idea of choosing from many kind of food varieties and taking whatever he likes into his plate.

There were not too many people in the breakfast area when we came down at around 9 am

There were not too many people in the breakfast area when we came down at around 9 am

 

Bread section

Bread section

 

We

Bread, donuts, pancakes, waffles…………..we loved all of them

 

I love

Fresh waffle and danish pastry (I love pastries with fruits) and a glass of apple juice

Although we came a bit late, but there were still so many things to choose and the staff were still adding food for the guests. There was no lack of bread, milk, juice, salad, fruits, and other things. The boy especially loved the kids corner, although it was very simple and only consisted of sausage, chicken popcorn, and porridge.

His favorite kids corner

His favorite kids corner, when he came back the second time, the serving plates were already full again

The restaurant also served non halal food and vegetarian meals. The fried rice / nasi goreng which contained pork was so yummy. It was so delicious that I had two servings. I also loved the way they made sambal / chili paste which was spicy and full of flavor.

My favorite of the day: pork fried rice, sambal, and keropok

My favorite of the day: pork fried rice, sambal, and keropok

 

Yummy for my tummy

Yummy for my tummy

After we finished breakfast, we went to the other side of the restaurant and found a small but decent and clean children play area. It had balls, some tables and chairs, and also building blocks, Not big but should be enough to entertain little kids during breakfast.

Building blocks

Building blocks

 

Small but fun

Small playground but fun

So, that was our short stay in Holiday Inn Hotel and we really loved it. Hope to come back again………….


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Little Day Out: Skyline and Luge Sentosa

skyline

For his birthday this year (yeah, it was already months ago and this is a very late post, but better late than never……………), he asked to go to Sentosa because he wanted to ride Skyline and Ludge. I didn’t really have clear idea of how to do those two things although I sometimes saw those two rides when we went to Sentosa. So we said okay and off we went on a very hot Saturday morning. Well, I was a bit afraid of how to maneuver the ludge actually, but let’s give it a try. Daddy, on the other hand, had no clues at all of what he was going to face, hahaha……….so he was all okay and cheerful until he finally knew of what he had to deal with…………….

We bought ticket for family rides and also for multiple rides. It cost us $68 for eight ride family pass (share 8 luge rides & 8 skyrides). So, daddy and I will take turn to accompany the boy riding the skyline and luge. Ideally, the boy would get 4 turns while daddy and I would each share 2 turns.

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Daddy was all smiling before he knew what would happen…………..

Ok, so the first ride was with daddy………….and he really had no idea at all of what would happen………………………………………height was (and still is) his biggest fear and the skyline really took him so high above the ground, and it was a shocking experience for him. He said he didn’t dare to move at all during the ride and was all quiet. Well, that made me scare too because I was not very fond of being in a very high place with my feet dangling no matter how beautiful the view would be. Thankfully, the ride down with the luge was so fun and they both loved it so much. Look at their smiles all the way down:

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Here we come…………….

Daddy even said he wanted to just ride the luge without taking the skyline, which I said he could do it but he had to walk up until the top of the hill. There are some escalators on the way up, but he still needed to do lots of walking……………and he gave up………….hahaha………….

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Second trip with the luge

So it was my turn to ride on the skyline, and yes…………although the view was beautiful, but it was very scary at the first time. I didn’t dare to move or looked down below. The boy seemed pretty much okay and he wasn’t scare at all. He moved so many times during the ride to see the view on his left, right, down, and even back which made me so nervous, hahaha………………..but I saw a mother with her family in the skyline in front of me was so relaxed during the ride and she even managed to get some pictures with her big camera. So I thought, maybe taking picture would help me to be more relaxed during the ride and enjoyed it.

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Forest and beach view from the top

So, for my second and third round of my skyline rides, I took my camera with me and took many pictures. And yes, I finally enjoyed the ride and didn’t feel scare anymore (hey, at least I survived three rides and I was happy to finally conquer my fear of heights……………). I could even looked down below me without getting butterflies in my stomach.

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Hello from the top

One thing that I was afraid of, that the ride would stop in the middle because of technical difficulties, hahaha………..but thankfully that didn’t happen. My husband still couldn’t believe that I managed to get so many photos during the scary rides (to him, but not to me…………..)

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Going up and up…………

 

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High above the ground in a super hot day

 

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For once, we were as high as the blue tower, so yes, it was very high and not suitable if you’re afraid of height

Ticket for the luge was also sold separately from the skyline, so yes, it was possible to just ride the luge without having to go up with the skyline…………..but you have to walk up to the hill. Alight in Imbiah Station if you just want to ride the luge. Alight in Beach Station if you want to start with the skyline.

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Prepare to go down with the luge

The luge was easy to maneuver (even I was not so sure if I was going to be able to manage it), and it was fun to go down again and again. The boy was surely enjoyed all the rides and 4 times each with the skyline and luge were surely not enough for him. Well, maybe we’ll come back again next year………………..

luge

Happy faces, fun rides, satisfied customers, oh what a day………


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Story From Primary School: How To Improve (English) Grades

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Reading plays an important part in improving English skill

It will be 2 more weeks left of school, followed by 1.5 months year end school holiday, and next year when school starts again………………my boy will already be in Primary 5. I know I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again……………how time flies! Even the boy said it felt like just yesterday when we were moving here and he started his first day as a Primary One student in Singapore, and now he will be sitting down for PSLE (the very scary Primary School Leaving Examination, hahaha………….) in less than 2 years! Time does move faster than a jet coaster…………

Although our mother tongue is not English, but I’m happy because he is very strong in English, and no, he’s not taking any English tuition.  I know some friends whose kids taking English tuition, and the kids have so much homework to do every week, it even takes most of their weekend time to do the homework. The question is, how can  children perform well in English subject even though they do not join any courses outside the school? What can the children do to improve their English skill and perform well in exams?

In Singapore, English (including Chinese and any other mother tongue languages being taught in primary school) exams are performed differently than in Indonesia. When I was in school, we would do the exams (Indonesian and English language) by sitting down for 1 to 2 hours answering all the questions in the exam paper.

In here, it is totally different. Children have to do 4 kinds of English exams every semester:

  1. Oral test, one children and one teacher at the time. The teacher and the student will be having a conversation about anything that is being tested on that day, but usually discussing a picture or some pictures. Children will be asked of what they see in the pictures, how they feel, do they have the same experience, do they have any opinion about what happen in the story, what will they do if they were in the same situation, etc. In short, children are asked to express their thoughts, their opinions, and their sides of the story. They will asked to read a story and the teacher will mark them based on their intonation, pronunciation, etc.
  2. Listening and Comprehension test, when the children are asked to answer some questions in the paper based on the story or facts that they hear after listening to a story
  3. Composition test. Children are asked to make a composition based on pictures. The minimum words for this compo test are increasing as they get to upper primary. The compo test has changed its format now due to change of compo model in PSLE.
  4. Paper test, basically it is the usual written down exam consists of multiple choice, questions and answers, comprehension, etc.

To me, this type of exams are exploring all the children’s ability in English, they do not have to just sit down to do exam paper, but they are also tested based on their communication skill, listening skill, and writing skill.

The hardest part for parents is that the children do not bring their English book home except when exam days are approaching. So basically, we do not really know what they are learning at school. The reason why students can’t bring the workbook home is because the school doesn’t want the children start doing all the work in the workbook at home before the teacher ask them to do it (just like what my mom ask me to do when I was in school), so when they are at school, they will loose interest on the subject because they already try it at home. Interesting, right?

There are no textbooks also. There are only workbook (for lower primary) and worksheets (for upper primary) and very thin copies of how to do your oral and compo in the right way. For some parents this can be quite confusing, so I understand why some parents put their children into tuition because they are also clueless of what their children should learn at home and how to prepare them for the exams.

Based on my experience so far, there are some things that parent can do to help the children doing good in exams without the help of tuition:

# Buy assessment books or copies of English tests from other school of previous years. Ask them to do only one test every week or every two weeks (they will get bored if they do this too often). In this way, they will learn new vocabularies, grammar cloze, practicing Synthesis & Transformation, Edit for spelling and grammar, comprehension cloze, etc. This is the easiest and cheapest option to do to improve the paper exam marks. By routinely practiced and doing revisions, they will get used to do the exam and learn how to answer the questions correctly

# It is very fortunate that he is chosen as student leaders for these two years, so he has done many project and presentations that helped improve his confidence, communication skill, and presentation skill

# I always take time to study his copies of how to do the composition based on the school standards, then I will explain to him using examples that I created.   The teacher usually also gives words and phrases that can be used to make the compo more interesting. There’s no other way than to memorize these phrases. For example, there are many ways to express your happiness, anxiety, anger, etc. I only ask him to memorize one or two phrases from each category. I also read all his compo practice at school and carefully read the teacher’s marks and suggestion for improvement. His previous teacher last year gave so many comments and I liked it that way because we could learn from those comments and advises. After that, I will explain again to him about his teacher’s comments and what improvements that he can make. It takes time for both of us but it is very useful because it helps him to be a better writer.

# There are also books to practice for listening tests with some tips and tricks. The most important thing is actually not just the listening skill, but how to remember all the important details being read aloud and answer the questions afterwards. This needs special techniques too that can be easily learnt.

# As I always wrote in my previous posts……………reading books play a very important part in my boy’s English development. For the paper test at school, many of the questions are usually general or special knowledge. My friend once asked me how my son could answer the questions in the exam paper although they weren’t taught at school, and I just simply said……………..”he read about them in the information books that he borrowed from the library”. Reading books will help children learn new knowledge, new vocabulary, difficult spelling and grammar, phrases used in a composition, how to express oneself in a conversation thorough writing. At school,  he also uses phrases that he had learnt from books. This usually gave extra marks for his compo.

Reading

Reading will open a new world of knowledge to the children

# Last but not least, although Geronimo Stilton books are very entertaining and easy to read (and funny too), but like his P2 teacher said: “Don’t just read Geronimo Stilton books, try to find some books more difficult to read”, I also always encourage him to step up the game and find new books which are thicker and with difficult words and phrases. I will go thorough the book shelves in the library to find new books that can bring his interest.

Sometimes, he will still read Geronimo Stilton's books because they are very entertaining

Sometimes, he will still read Geronimo Stilton’s books because they are very entertaining. There are also some history facts that he can learn inside the books which is very good

 

Oh, and he still loved Horrible Harry too..........actually I still love reading Horrible Harry and I think these are good books for children in primary school because the stories are so related to them

Oh, and he still loved Horrible Harry too……….actually I still love reading Horrible Harry and I think these are good books for children in primary school because the stories are so related to them

Early this year, when he was bored with Stilton books and had no other thing to read, he found one of daddy’s book at home and started to read it, and he loved it so much that he was crazy about this book and tried to find similar books from the same author. It was Rick Riordan’s books from the Percy Jackson series. Then suddenly he was so interested in all the gods and all the characters from the books that he wouldn’t stop reading and talking and watching the same movies again and again for months.

He was so absorbed in Percy Jackson book

He was so absorbed in Percy Jackson book

He remembered all the gods’ name, the story lines in each book, all the characters and what happened to them (too bad he doesn’t show the same level of enthusiasm when learning Chinese……….), and even made board games and quiz based on Riordan’s books. Riordan’s books are all very thick and very complicated especially for a 9 year old boy, but he liked the stories, and he could read for hours.

Yes, the boom is this thick and he could finish in two or three days...........

Yes, the boom is this thick and he could finish in two or three days………..

 

We borrowed some from the library, but we also have many of Riordan's books

We borrowed some from the library, but we also have many of Riordan’s books

 

After Percy Jackson, I introduced to him the trilogy of The Lord of The Rings. Just as the parents, he loved the movies so much………….but that was it, hahaha…………the books were too expensive and we couldn’t find them in the library, but I was glad that he liked something else besides cartoon movies (and Percy Jackson movies).

We couldn't find LOTR books in the library

We couldn’t find LOTR books in the library!

Then came………….Harry Potter! He was so addictive to Harry Potter movies and books and he is officially a big fan of Harry Potter. From that day on, everything was about Harry Potter and his friends. I don’t know how many times that he had been watching all the Harry Potter movies, read Harry Potter books, searched for facts about all characters in these J.K Rowling’s books, took quiz on the internet about Harry Potter stories………………in other words: the world was all about Harry Potter.

One of his favorite Harry Potter book

One of his favorite Harry Potter book

I know it was very late, and I’ve tried to introduced him to Harry Potter stories, but he never seemed to show interest, maybe it wasn’t the right age at that time. Then suddenly, he just loved Harry Potter and all his friends.

Daddy had to put his name on the waiting list few days before he finally could get this book

Daddy had to put his name on the waiting list few days before he finally could get this book……………it was sold out everywhere since it was launched on the first day

I have shared the story before that the boy is very creative and imaginative in different ways than any other kids. He’s never interested in building blocks or Legos, but he likes making game boards on his own or making games that we can play together that’s related to the books or movies that he likes at the time. He will spend hours writing, drawing, thinking of how to make the game works, cutting the paper to make hundreds of card games, making the game rules, etc. That’s why we must always have blank paper at home so he can get into action anytime he feels to.

One of the quiz that he designed for me to do

One of the quiz that he designed for me to do. He thought carefully of all the clues so that I could finish the puzzle. Believe me, it wasn’t easy and took at least 2 hours to finish making the game

 

A closer look of the clues to help fill in the empty boxes

A closer look of the clues to help fill in the empty boxes

He even drew maps and making his own stories based on the books that he likes. Mostly,  his inspiration comes from books. That is why reading good story books will help the children to have good imagination, positive thinking, and also increase their creativity…………..but we parents must also support and encourage them to be creative, like asking what they read, what lessons can they learn from the books, read with them and explain things that they don’t understand.

Hogwarts map

Hogwarts map

 

Ravenclaw Tower Dormitory Map

Ravenclaw Tower Dormitory Map

# One of the thing that children must do during English lesson in the classroom is to draw. They are asked to draw the stories that they’ve heard, or make their own stories through drawing. I’ve shared many of the boy’s drawings as part of his lessons at school in my previous posts. After they draw some pictures, the children are asked to compos their own stories. This technique can hep improving children’s composition skill, because most children like to draw and tell the story of their drawings.

# Encourage the children to write. They may not like it, but in able to write well, they have to practice. Then read their stories and do correction…………..always, because correction is very important. There is always room for improvement. I always ask him to think outside of the box and to explore each character in the story before he start to write, especially that he is in higher primary now, the standards are increasing every year.

My young writer...........

My young writer………..

# And now, since he is done with Harry Potter, he moves on to another books: detective stories, hahaha…………….I love detective stories and I do encourage him to read mystery books. After he’s finished with Enid Blyton books in the library, now he’s reading The Hardy Boys (I like the Private Investigator / Trio Detektif better), but we can’t find those book anywhere, so I asked him to try reading The Hardy Boys and he loves it. I believe that mystery books will help him developing his analytical skill and to think based on facts and logic explanations. So parents, help to choose good books for your children as encourage them to read lots of books. Reading plays a very important part in developing English skill, especially their general knowledge and writing skill.

Hardy boys, anyone..........

Hardy boys, anyone……….

My homework now…………….is to encourage him to read more Chinese books………… sigh…….I’ve tried fro years with no luck…………but more about that later……………


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Taman Kelinci / Rabbit Park and Saung Gawir Ciwidey

This time, I will still blog about our holiday in Ciwidey. As I explained in my previous post before, my son and I had a wonderful 3 days and 2 nights getaway to Ciwidey, West Java, Indonesia with my parents and sister.  It was 4 months ago actually, and how time flies…………..in less then a month, year end school holiday will start again for 1.5 months.

Although there were not many things to do or see specifically for kids, but one of the limited options was to see rabbits roaming free in Rabbit Park or Taman Kelinci Ciwidey. This place is located about 3 km before Ciwidey Valley Resort. If you come from Bandung, then this place is on the left side of the road. You can easily spot this place from the big signage just before the entrance gate.

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Not to worry about finding a parking spot, since there was a big parking space available here. We had to pay Rp 25.000,- for my son and I could enter for free into the Rabbit Park. He got some carrots and could play inside for 30 minutes, but some said we were actually allowed to be there more than 30 minutes if there were not many people inside (the staff was nice by the way). That day, we were the only persons there, probably because it was so hot and it was still fasting month for the Moslems.

The rabbit park was actually quite big and there were many rabbits there. Some of them were hiding inside the rabbit holes, but they were voluntarily got out once they saw us with carrots in our hands. I had to literally hide the carrots in my bag so we could give them to other rabbits (the same rabbits kept chasing us to get the carrots).

The boy was trying to find the rabbits..............we were just got in and still very excited

The boy was trying to find the rabbits…………..we were just got in and still very excited

 

Yay........we spotted one white rabbit..............

Yay……..we spotted one white rabbit…………..and another one in grey color on his left side

 

Happily feeding the rabbit...............at first..............and then:

Happily feeding the rabbit……………at first…………..and then:

The rabbits became very aggressive and in certain point, they scared us, hahaha…………………they were chasing us and tried to snatch the carrots in our hands and even tried to take the carrots in my camera bag. That made us run away and just threw all the rest of the carrots……………

Feeling upset because of the "not well mannered" rabbits, hahaha........

Feeling upset because of the “not well mannered” rabbits, hahaha……..

Finally, even before 15 minutes, we decided to go out from the rabbit park since we had no more carrots and the very aggressive behavior of the rabbits was quite scary for us………….

The rabbit park was down below

The rabbit park was down below

Outside the rabbit park, while the boy was looking at the colorful big and small rabbits on the cages for sale, I had time to take a look around with my sister. This place was actually very pretty with colorful flowers, many types of plants, and even a mountain in the background.

The rabbit park with a mountain in the background (I don't know the name of the mountain...........)

The rabbit park with a mountain in the background (I don’t know the name of the mountain………..)

 

Big and green rabbit park

Big and green rabbit park

There was also a restaurant inside the area but there was no one eating there at the moment, but it was nicely decorated with flowers and gazebos and other Sundanese traditional decorations.

Pretty flowers

Pretty flowers

 

Gazebos in the restaurant

Gazebos in the restaurant

After that, we had lunch at Saung Gawir (I read good reviews about this place), and to our surprise………..it was almost full although the place was big (it was fasting month so we didn’t expect to see crowd in the restaurants). Luckily we still got seats right away. Parking could be a problem since there were not many parking spots. This place was clean (even the toilets were clean too). Good thing was, although it was crowded but after we ordered our food, it didn’t take long for them to prepare and serve it for us. There were many helpful and friendly staff in uniform who were willing to help us immediately whenever we needed something.

Small playground at the front side of the restaurant

Small playground at the front side of the restaurant

The food was delicious and not expensive. We loved the nasi liwet (Sundanese traditional rice cooked with herb and spices and topped with chili padi and fried anchovies) set package with grill chicken, ikan asin peda / salted and spicy fish (my favorite), lalapan / fresh vegetables, tahu goreng / fried white tofu, tempe goreng / fried tempeh, complete with Indonesia traditional sambal, keropok, and emping / melinjo crackers. We also ordered fried gurame with sambal kecap / cut chili pade in sweet soy sauce. We also tried otak-otak / Indonesian fishcake in banana leaves which was also so yummy. Overall, we loved the place as the food was good and not expensive.

Some of our order

Some of our order

 

We are so hungry.............so let's eat............

We are so hungry………….so let’s eat…………

After the trip, I discussed with my family about our impression of Ciwidey, and we had these conclusions: the people were mostly friendly and nice, tourist attractions and public toilets were surprisingly clean (even better than Bandung and Bogor), and it was better to go on weekdays or fasting month as it was not as crowded as weekends and public or school holiday.

We also found a place where we could buy oleh-oleh / souvenir and it was located just next to our hotel. There were many kinds of chips and other traditional food sold here. The famous pia / cake filled with mung bean or chocolate or cheese was their specialty. They made the cake in that place so if you come at around 12 o’clock in the afternoon, you can have hot cake fresh from the oven.

So many delicious things to choose...............

So many delicious things to choose……………

So while my sister and mother went shopping, the boy and I waited outside and took picture of the beautiful view outside the store.

Everywhere was green...........

Everywhere was green………..

So, that was the end of our trip to Ciwidey and I am glad that I finally could finish writing about this trip…………..


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Ciwidey Valley Resort

Phew…….after a very long time, I finally have the mood to continue my post about our holiday in Ciwidey, West Java last June. My last posts were about our adventure in Ranca Upas,  Kawah Putih (White Crater), and Strawberry Farm in Ciwidey, and so now I will continue the story about the resort that we stayed in for 3 days and 2 nights.

As usual, it took a very long time for me to finally decided which hotel that we would be staying in. I needed to read many reviews and compared the location, prices, and also facilities. Cleanliness was also my top priority. Finally, I found 2 hotels that seemed to be the best, and those were Ciwidey Valley Resort and D’Riam Riverside. From the reviews that I read, both were good, clean, had nice view, and family friendly, but D’Riam’s location was quite far below, so it would not be cool at night and would be too far away from tourist attractions. That was why I finally chose Ciwidey Valley Resort.

It was very easy to recognize this hotel since there was a big sign high above the "man made" volcano crater with real smoke came out from inside of it (it was actually came from the hot pool)

It was very easy to recognize this hotel since there was a big sign high above the “man made” volcano crater with real smoke came out from inside of it

We had to book directly to the hotel and the price was Rp 3.000.000,- for 2 nights. My sister made the reservation and transferred the payment to secure our booking. We stayed in a bungalow with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, and a dining room. There were 1 cable TV in each bedroom and free fast WiFi in the room (very important, hahaha……….). There was no refrigerator inside the room though.

Don’t worry about the parking space as there was huge space to park the cars. There were 2 car parks, the smaller one was near the lobby and the very big one was near the swimming pools. This was a huge resort with its hilly contour, so it was tiring to go from one place to another, hahaha………….but at least we exercised a lot during those 3 days going up and down, taking the stairs so many times, went to the swimming pool which was on the other side of the resort at least once a day, and run around the playground and inside the maze several times a day.

The hotel lobby down below...............my mom didn't want to go here because the stairs were too steep for her

The hotel lobby down below……………a very simple one

We couldn’t do early check in due to full occupancy at that time. There were only very few room with consist of 2 bedrooms (only 4 if not mistaken), so it was understandable that we couldn’t get an early check in. We came on Saturday which was the weekend so that was why it was quite full, but when we check out on Monday…………..looked like there was no other who stayed there except us………………..hahaha…………..it would be quite scary at night if I were there alone……………

No air con, but it was cool in the hotel lobby

No air con, but it was cool in the hotel lobby

So while waiting for our room to be ready, we toured around the area and I must say that the facilities were top notch, especially if you come with young children. Before we started looking around the resort, we had our welcome drink in the one and only restaurant in the resort. The restaurant was clean and even the toilet near the restaurant was clean (this point is very important to me, because if the toilets outside the rooms are clean, then usually all other areas are clean too).

Outside the two storeys restaurant which had direct access to the aviary

Outside the two storeys restaurant which had direct access to the aviary from the second floor

We had a ginger drink which actually was really nice, but not suitable for that day because the drink was hot and the weather was also very hot that day. So next time, probably they can serve cold drink too as the welcome drink?

Waiting for the welcome drink. Each day we were given 2 coupons for the welcome drink

Waiting for the welcome drink. Each day we were given 2 coupons for the welcome drink

 

Hot drink on a hot day. Who liked it the most? My dad of course..............

Hot drink on a hot day. Who liked it the most? My dad of course…………..

Just next to the restaurant was the bird aviary which children and adults would love to see. The aviary was actually really big, but there were not many to see. Anyway, we still visited this place several times because my son just loved to see everything inside.

The big aviary in the background

The big aviary in the background

 

Inside the aviary where we saw many chickens and turkeys...........

Inside the aviary where we saw many chickens and turkeys………..

 

We could see the outdoor seating of the restaurant from the aviary

We could see the outdoor seating of the restaurant from the aviary

From the restaurant, we could also see a maze and a big children playground in a big grass field with tree house, swings, seesaw, and slides. Even though it was very hot, there were some children and adults who played here too. But not us! We couldn’t stand the hot scorching sun, so it was better to stay under the shade until evening comes.

Get ready to get lost inside the maze..........

Get ready to get lost inside the maze……….

 

Let's visit this playground in the evening or in the morning when the weather was nicer

Let’s visit this playground in the evening or in the morning when the weather was nicer

Since we had nothing else to do, the three of us (me, my son, and my dad) decided to take a look at the hot pools which was, like I said, located at the other side of the resort and needed a lot of walking. Phew……

Stop here and took a picture first before going to the pool

Stop here and took a picture first before going to the pool. Hot! Hot! Hot!

The swimming pool was free for hotel guests, but if you do not stay in this hotel, you can still enjoy the pool by paying a certain amount of money as the entrance fee.

We had to cross this big parking space to go to the swimming pool far far away in the back

We had to cross this big parking space to go to the swimming pool far far away in the back

There were 2 pools, one is the children pool with a mini water park. Not big, but adequate for children. Unfortunately, the water was not heated and it was very cold. I didn’t even dare to try the slides as it was already cold enough for my feet. Even my boy only tried the slide once, then decided to go back to the heated pool.

Mini water park with cold water. Amazingly, during our stay, we saw some children could play here for a long time..........

Mini water park with cold water. Amazingly, during our stay, we saw some children could play here for a long time……….

 

My dear boy took my picture

My dear boy took my picture

 

Lil one and grandpa

Lil one and grandpa

Next, we climbed the stairs (yes, again……….) to go to the big pool. It was a natural hot spring (sulphur heated pool). Take a dip in a sulphur heated pool is very good for our health especially our skins (that was what my mom always said to me).

Natural hot spring with amazing view in the bakcground

Natural hot spring with amazing view in the background

Even though my parents and sister didn’t plan to enjoy the pool, they ended up dipping their feet in the pool everyday. My father even swam with my son every time he went to the pool. And me………..of course I already prepared and brought my swimming suit and goggles too and enjoyed the pool every single day.

The volcano crater that I saw earlier was in the background

The volcano crater that I saw earlier was in the background

When we walked further to the end side of the pool, we saw a camping area, but we didn’t explore further since it was time to check in, but we did a selfie first before we left that area.

Took a selfie with Indian campsite at the background

Took a selfie with Indian theme campsite at the background

Finally, it was time to see the room…………..and we were also very tired too, so we really needed to rest. Our 2 bedrooms room was located at the farthest side of the resort. Yes, it was very far from the lobby, car park, restaurant, and swimming pool (but close to children’s playground), but turned out………………it was the best location in the resort!

It was a bungalow which was very nice, like the kampong house in the village. It was old style house but very modern inside. I got this warm feeling when I saw the house. The brown color with the mixture of bamboo and bricks and stone sink made me feel that we were already escaped from the hustle bustle of the city and were in a peaceful village.

Our bungalow for 3 days and 2 nights

Our small cottage for 3 days and 2 nights

 

I loved this front porch

I loved this front porch. It was very nice to just sit here and did nothing with a cup of hot tea and a book (but I didn’t bring a book…………because I knew I would have no time to read)

The room number was 144 (if not mistaken because I don’t remember exactly), and it was located near to the security post. Our cottage didn’t face other cottages, so we were secluded from other visitors almost the whole time. And the best part was………….we had this big front yard all for ourselves the whole time! The only room in the resort with a big grass field in front of the door.

Big grass field in from of our cottage.

Big grass field in from of our cottage. Very ideal for running around or even to play ball……….and yes, we did bring a ball

And what about the inside of the cottage?

Once we opened the door, we could see living room and dining room spacious enough for the whole family.

Living room and dining room

Living room and dining room

It was cool actually considering the hot weather outside. Each room had an air con, but I didn’t turn it on because it was very cold at night. And it was always raining heavily at night when we were there.

First room with TV and attached bathroom

First room with TV and attached bathroom

The bathroom was not 100% clean like in a 5 star hotel, but my boy said: “Oh come on, it’s a resort, not a 5 star hotel. It’s okay……….”

Very well then. As long as my son and I could deal with it, you can be sure that it was clean enough and we had no problem at all with it. The toilet was super clean though. I guess the floor material in the shower area (you know kampong style bathroom in the old house) made the floor didn’t shine as bright as the hotel ones, hahaha……………..

 

Second bedroom with the same facilities as the first one. Both had big windows and doors to the front porch

Second bedroom with the same facilities as the first one. Both had big windows and doors to the front porch

The bathroom was equipped with towels, toiletries, and also a hair dryer (very important for women). We really fell in love with this place since the first time we saw it.

Bathroom

I really loved the stone sink. I want to have one like that in my house too…………..

After late lunch in the room (my mom cooked and brought lots of food of course), we headed straight to the swimming pool. To the heated one of course because it was really cold that afternoon. It even rained so we had to hurry up and went back to our cottage.

Swimming before rain came

Ready to jump…………..

 

Mommy and the boy

Mommy and the boy. It was so nice and warm inside the pool……………but not once we got out……………

 

Having fun

Having fun with the water fountain (it was cold water by the way…………..)

The pool was not deep so it was safe for children to play here (with adult supervision of course).

 

Cold water

He tried this slide only once, then hurriedly went back to the heated pool

 

Back to the hot water

Back to the hot water……………did you see smoke coming in the background? It meant that the pool was heated

Again, we had lunch in the room and since it was raining outside, there was nothing we could do except enjoy the room, watched TV (I watched X-man and Captain America for the first time, hahaha………..and they were okay), watched movie from the Ipad since the WiFi was fast, and had snack on the bed. It was just a relaxing night for us…………

Room

Eat and eat and eat………..

The next morning, I didn’t go for breakfast, but based on my sister and mother’s report, breakfast was not so good. Most of the food was already cold, the beef was hard, and not many choices. There were white rice, beef rendang, soup, egg, tofu, and tempeh. Thankfully the boy who is a tahu / tofu and tempe / tempeh lover didn’t care at all and still could eat a lot before starting the day.

Breakfast on the first day

Breakfast on the first day

After that, we visited the playground which was still a bit wet after the rain came the night before. He didn’t really enjoy the playground now since he was growing up already, so he only played for a little time.

Playground

Running around in the playground

 

Tree house

Fun in the tree house

 

Treehouse

The tree house was too easy for him

 

Round and round

Round and round

 

Swings

My favorite swing…………I could stay here for a long time doing nothing but swinging

Next stop…………let’s explore the camping ground…………….

My sister and my dad took the boy for a walk around the campsite while I had my breakfast. It was very nice actually and the toilets were also clean. The campsite had an Indian theme with Indian tents and decorations all over the camping area.

Camping

A gazebo inside the camping ground

 

Indian Camp

Big Indian tent

 

Indian Camp

Smaller tents

I thick it must be very cold at night inside the tent. Do we want to stay for the night in the tent just for fun, maybe someday? We agreed that we don’t want to…………hahaha……………….

We couldn’t imagine if we had to go out to the bathroom in the middle of the night and under the rain…………then it was a very small space for the five of us for the whole day and night. Plus the the would be so hot in the morning and afternoon which would not be comfortable for us.

Indian Camp

The campsite was near the pool

 

Inside Camping

Inside the tent…………very small space compared to our cottage

Since the campsite was near the pool, my sister took the boy to go see what was inside the volcano crater. It was quite a long walk that morning.

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Swimming pool in the morning

 

Volcano

Let’s go inside…………..

 

Volcano

Small tunnel inside…………….

Basically, we just ate, slept, played, swam, and went to very few tourist attractions during our stay. It was just a time to relax for us before coming back to the city life.

 

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Let’s play ball……….

 

Play ball

Morning exercise

 

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Kicked the ball again before going back home

 

Play ball

The boy and grandpa had fun together

For our third day of stay, since it was weekday morning, there was no buffet breakfast. There were only 2 choices of breakfast: fried rice or fried noodle with tea or coffee. Breakfast had to be taken away to the bedroom and we couldn’t eat in the restaurant on weekday morning.

Breakfast Day 2

Breakfast Day 2: fried rice with fried chicken, egg, fresh vegetables, and keropok…………or fried noodle with keropok. This was better than the first day

 

Eating at the porch

Eating at the front porch, but it was so hot that the boy decided to go inside the cottage……….

Before we went home, we took some pictures again outside the cottage. It was hard to say goodbye but we had to.

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The bedroom had door which led us to the front yard

 

Cottage

Of course he still wanted to stay

 

Cottage

The boy and grandma

 

Cottage

Let’s go home and go back again someday…………..

Overall, we were happy and enjoyed our stay in Ciwidey Valley Resort, but it was a hard time going back in the traffic jam and I was very tired when we finally got home because it had been a long time for me to drive in a heavy traffic for hours like that. The traffic in Bandung Area and in the toll road were not bad because it was weekday, but once we got into the city (yes, Jakarta…………), it was so terrible, but thankfully we were safely home and it was an enjoyable trip for all of us.


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Why I Have Kid(s)

One of the segment that I love from Ellen DeGeneres Show is “Why I Don’t Have Kids”. This part of the show is so funny and hilarious, although for me…………seeing the pictures and videos of cute little children in this part of the show would make some people want kids and not vice versa, hahaha………

In this segment, Ellen will show some pictures or videos sent in by her audiences showing of what their  kids are doing when their parents are not looking. Even if the parents are away for 1 or 5 minutes, disaster can happen. Crazy situation like a boy who got stuck up in a toilet, the kitchen floor full of flour, the sink flooded with cereal, a brother who put his sister into the oven, a boy who spread the paint all over the living room, and into his his body too, little girl is playing with mom’s make up kit, the kids body full of shaving cream or strawberry jam, and other crazy things that you would never imagine could happen in the sweet and innocent kids world………….

My boy and I enjoy this segment so much and we laugh very hard together because those kids are cute and funny, and although they have caused big troubles, they are still able to look to the parents eyes with innocent faces. Who would not fall in love with them? And I think that should be the reason why we should have kids, hahaha…………….

So, getting my inspiration from Ellen Show, I decided to make list of things that resemble of what Ellen did, but since I love having kid(s), I will call it “Why I have kid(s)”. It’s just for fun and I try to think of something fun, so don’t expect very serious reasons in this post.

It’s easy to make list of things like this when we see squishy little babies because they are just so goofy and gummy and chewy, hahaha…………..but my son is almost a teenager now, so I thought I’m gonna do it from the perspective of a mother’s who has a preteen boy.

So let’s start, shall we………..?

 

“WHY I HAVE KID(S)”

I’m addicted to Mother’s Day Cards

I love Mother’s Day Cards, no matter how simple they are. In fact, can we celebrate mother’s day every month so I can get a new card every once a month?

For the last 3 years, my mother's day card always came in Chinese.............

For the last 3 years, my mother’s day card always came in Chinese………….

 

We can daydream together 

It doesn’t mean that I don’t share my dreams with my husband, but it’s different when I’m talking to this kid. In his mind, being a kid, there are no boundaries and he believes that we can have whatever we want and do whatever we want to do. When two adults are talking, our minds are full of things like: “hey, can we afford this”, “this is very expensive and financially, we can’t do this until years later”, “we are too old to do this (and indeed we are)”, “it will be too tiring for us”, “I can’t take leave for such a long time”, “what if something bad happen while we do bungee jumping”…………..etc.

With my lil boy, everything is possible for him, hahaha…………….money is no problem at all because he doesn’t really understand the concept of “very expensive” or “financially impossible for now”. He doesn’t care if the timing is right or not, because to him………….every school holiday is a good time doesn’t matter if the parents can take leave from the office or not.

So we talk a lot about all the impossible things (in that time it seemed impossible) that we want to do, like joining The Amazing Race (my husband can’t swim, so there’s no way he’ll be my teammate on Amazing Race, hahaha…………), go to Africa to see wildebeest, riding roller coaster on the other side of the world, invent a time machine (and other inventions that we think will make our lives easier), discussing about all kinds of junk food in the world that we want to eat (impossible to even talk about this with daddy since he’s in a very strict diet), why everyday is not school holiday, and other crazy things that just flash in our mind at that time. There are no obstacles, in his mind…………everything is possible, and since I like to daydream, I really enjoy having these conversations with him, hahaha…………..

 

One day, we'll have a big and beautiful library in our house...........

One day, we’ll have a big and beautiful library in our house………..

 

I love play dates (I need hot juicy gossip and taste new food)

The easiest way to find new friends is at the school, where I can meet other moms, I especially love when we’re on play dates……….where we could exchange food and gossips stories. It’s the best and easiest way to taste home cooked food from other countries and make new friends.

It's less fun without you...........

It’s less fun without you………..

 

Make me realize that I have new hobbies, and that is………..taking pictures and blogging

As I said before, my memories have smaller capacity than my hard drive, so I love taking pictures and keep them in my laptop or USB. I mostly like taking pictures with the people I know inside the pictures (not just flowers of scenery without anyone I know inside the photos). It wasn’t like this before the boy was born, so I consider it my new hobby…………which was fun of course…………

My other new hobby is definitely blogging………….I never knew that I love writing so much until I realized that I wanted to capture every sad, happy, exciting, and also  disappointing moments in our family life my online diary. I want to share my experiences to other people and hope that it might help them too.

A blogger in the making

A blogger in the making

 

He made me exercise 

Although I used to like PE lesson when I was in school, but when I graduated, I became a very lazy person and I never exercised (the main reason why it was very difficult for me to loose weight after giving birth……………). But now, I have to take him out: swimming, cycling, playing in the playground, walking for hours, playing basketball and football, chasing him around the house when he was a toddler, etc. When you’re a mom, then you’ll know it…………everyday is exercise day when you’re with your kid…………

We cycled for 5 km

We cycled for 5 km, all because I read the signage wrongly. I thought it was 700 m away , but it was actually 7000 m…………..in up and down roads that we finally gave up and came back…………but at least, we had a good laugh and ice cream after that

 

I share my favorite TV shows ( and books) with him

It’s a fact that my husband and I do not share one thing in common: our favorite movies and TV shows. With my son, it is different. We watch The Voice, Amazing Race, Master Chef Australia and Junior Master Chef Australia, sports (Sea Games and Olympic), Haunted Hathaways and Instant Mom (from Nickelodeon and they’re both very funny) together. We read the same books (sometimes), especially Enid Blyton books. It’s a good feeling when you can share something you like with someone very special.

When I was craving for KFC, this was the one that I took with me.........

When I was craving for KFC, he was the one that I took with me………(my husband is not allowed to eat this and I hate eating alone, so he was happily tag along with me)

 

I get help doing the house chores

As the boy is getting older, I started to ask him to help me in the house (although it’s very difficult to do so during school days because he is very busy). He washes the dishes (his own only so far), tidy up his bed, and even help me in the kitchen. It is great when you have someone to help you with the house chores, it really lighten your burden. I even asked him to start learning how to cook so he can cook during the school holiday and I can sit down and relax, hahaha………….

He helped me cutting the banana leaves. I said: "If you have nothing better to do, then you better help me with these banana leaves" and he was happily came and sit down in front of me

He helped me cutting the banana leaves. I said: “If you have nothing better to do, then you better help me with these banana leaves” and he was happily came and sit down in front of me…………..but then he said it was very tiring as there were so many leaves, hahaha……….

 

Someone to hug, play with, and do silly things together and he’s ready 24 hours a day (only happens in school holiday)

Last but not least………….the most obvious thing: I love to be with him, to accompany him, doing things with him even though it is just a very simple thing like reading books on the bed together or having a conversation on the dining table listening to all his stories (and 24 hours a day during school holiday, and of course, it will be a different story once he’s in Sec School, so let’s just treasure this moment while we are able to)

Going outdoor

Making memories together…………

 

 


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It Takes More Than A Genius

Have you watched the TV Program called “Child Genius” lately? We’ve been watching the second season lately, and although it is quite stressing, but it is also entertaining and there are lots of things that we can learn from this TV reality competition (and I’m not talking about the subjects being tested in the competition, but other things behind a genius child).

Child Genius is a reality Competition which featured some children from all across America and they will compete in various mental challenges testing their knowledge of Math, Spelling, Geography, Memory, Science, Literature, Inventions, Astronomy, Human Body, Logic, and many other things. There is one moderator and two judges during the head to head competition. All the parents will be in the same room and sitting in the audience side and watching their children competing. The children will be tested one by one in front of their parents and competitors. So it is usually a very stressful situation every week not just for the children, but also for the parents. You can see that the parents and children are very nervous during the question and answer period.

Those children come from different family background, but they have something in common, and that is…………………all of them are gifted and have very high IQ. In the age of 8 to 12 years old, their knowledge, capability, and achievements are already beyond other children in their age. One of the 12 year old kid is already in high school and ready to enter university very soon. Some of them are members of American Mensa. Some of them are very talented in music. One of the girl can already do a brain surgery through a computer simulation. So you see, they are very…………….very smart kids.

Starry Night

When I look up at the night sky………..I sometimes wonder if I were a child genius……..

Why am I interested in writing about this topic? Well, to be honest……………I thought (at first) that being born with high IQ should be fun and you will have an easy life. You will be great in any school subjects, easy to understand what your teachers are explaining in the classroom, and you will have plenty of time to do other things besides study (well, because you don’t really need a lot of time to understand one subject, so you can use your time to do other things). Being a genius or child prodigy also means that you are talented in other areas, such as music or art. So you can master musical instruments since young age because you don’t need a lot of time to learn how to piano or violin for example.

But then, after seeing these series, I know that the fact is not like that. So this is what I learn from this reality show and I’ve been discussing this with my son again and again every time we watch this program together.

Those kids still need to study for hours everyday. There is almost no holiday. Six to eight hours is the minimum time for them to study everyday. Yes, they have to work very…………….. very hard. It is not enough of just being a child genius with high IQ. This child genius still needs hours and hours to study. Even if one’s IQ is higher than the other, it is not a guarantee that he or she will win. It will depend on how hard and how much he or she studies and learns outside the competition. The child has to learn math, spelling, science, etc and memorize many things everyday. Being a genius doesn’t mean that the child will always remember of what they have learnt. Sometimes, they can forget or too nervous to think and that make he or she looses and out of the competition.

The same goes for the children who learn music. They need to practice for hours everyday even though they are tired or even bored or their fingers hurt, because if they want perfection, they have to practice everyday to reach the level of consistency they desire.

Score

 

This is what I’ve been telling my son so that he can learn from this. Being a genius is not enough……………..you still have to work hard. No matter how smart he is or he thinks he is, but I am making sure that he knows that he still has to work hard to achieve his targets. Yes, so far he is the top students in his class, and he even passed the GEP (Gifted Education Program) Test round one last year. Passing the GEP Test level 1 means that you are selected from 10% of all Primary 3 students in Singapore. He didn’t make it in round 2 (which would select 10% from all who passed in round one, which meant only 1% of all P3 students in Singapore would be joining the special GEP Program). But I think being selected among the 10% students was already good enough. Even he were selected, he would have to face a fiercer competition with top of the top students, which meant that he had to work even harder.

The question is, how to be a smarter kid, to be the cream of the crop, and always so consistent in getting good marks. It’s easy to say, but it needs a lot of efforts and hard work. It takes a lot of time in doing revisions and practice papers outside the school. Yes, the child can still have lots of time to play, but he or she must also sacrifice a lot of time to study. This is very important because in Singapore, primary school students only have between 2 to 4 exams in a year depending on your grades, whether you are in lower or upper primary school (unlike in Indonesia where there are so many mini test and exams in one curriculum year), so you can not fail at all when exam days come. Doing revisions and practice paper regularly is very important to achieve consistency. So although a child sometimes hates this study time, but the child must know that he has to do it to get good marks. It is important that a child can feel the disappointment when the targets are not achieved, but then it is also very important to show him or her how to learn from the failures and not afraid to try again. It is ok to fail as long as we teach him how to recover from the failure.

Learning

By studying or practicing or training consistently and regularly, we also make sure that our children focus on mastery, not just learning for a test.

Some of his friends said that their targets are to get higher marks than the kids who passed the GEP Test, but I told him that it was not quite right. I always say that his biggest competitor is not his friend, but he himself: how to be careful and not careless when doing math, how to read and think first before answering the questions, how to discipline himself to study not just during exam days, but way before exam started so he would be more prepared, how to conquer your fear and not being nervous during oral exam time, how to balance between study and rest so he would not be too tired, and so on. So that is why I never agree of giving him presents if his marks are good, because study hard and get good results are his responsibility, the reward is the happy and satisfied feeling that he will get when he sees his results. I always plan of what we are going to do during the holiday before exam starts, so he understands that vacation or things that he will get are not the rewards of his good marks and not going anywhere is not a punishment when his marks are not satisfying enough, but it is just the matter of family financial plans and priorities.

There will always be other persons who are smarter than him, but if those persons only rely on their IQ without working hard, then he can actually beat them by working harder. In the end, it is the effort that matters.

Ocean Life

 

One of the good example that we can learn from is Joseph Schooling, the first athlete who won gold medal in Olympic 2016 for Singapore and also for Southeast Asia from swimming competition. Not only did he won the gold medal, but he also broke the Olympic record that belonged to Michael Phelps, the legendary and most decorated swimmer in Olympic history. If you read his story, his father said that he already trained and disciplined himself since he was at a very young age. He would wake up at around 4 or 5 am (by himself) and then he would be the one who woke his parents up to bring him to the swimming pool to practice. Even during their family vacation, they would always try to find accommodation that had good swimming pool facility so little Joseph could still practice during the family holiday. So he was already very consistent and hard working since young age, and I believe that was the key to his success. I also think that it is also our responsibility as parents to make sure that our children know the meaning of working hard to achieve their targets in life.

Two Tough Birds

One thing that is also very important is the parents’ support. Joseph Schooling’s parents had scarified many things, from time to money to make sure that their son would achieve his dream someday. The parents in Child Genius Program also sacrifice their time to help their children to study day by day, and one of the mother also resigned from her job to help his son study at home once she knew that his son was gifted. Although some of them are what I can say as “tiger mothers” and stressed the children too much, but I am just trying to look at them from a positive side.

Many children are happy to grow up in this kind of environment. I knew some very smart kids who only like to study, so much that her parents have to force them to do something else that was fun for children at their age, like reading comic books, watching TV, or even play outside. Although they don’t like doing all those things and only want to study, but I thought it was good for the parents to teach them how to balance their lives.

We, as parents also play important parts to make sure that our children know how to balance their lives. In their young age, most of them would prefer to play than study or practice or train. So we must play our parts to make sure that they have responsibility to study / practice / train hard without us telling them what to do and when to do it.

I also agree that children should also have fun, enjoy their lives, and not just focus on study…………….but we must also realize that competition in the outside world is so hard and often very scary. So we must not forget to prepare them so they will be ready when the time comes for them to be independent and compete with other people outside their comfort zone.

Mask

 

The common saying says that not all children are born with math or science or language abilities (or other things like music or art), yes that might be true, but in the end, effort is the thing that makes you smarter.

 Over the Rhone

By studying or practicing or training consistently and regularly, we also make sure that our children focus on mastery, not just learning for a test.

 

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*All pictures used in this post were drawn my my lil boy at school during English and Art Lesson.

*The Chinese opera mask in the last picture were painted by my son during Chinese co-curricular activity at his school.