Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy 21st ..in the land of opportunities!

I still remember when I had my 21st birthday..way back 'zillion' years ago! It feels like yesterday, though. :-) Celebrated it with friends in a small classroom where we studied. Felt like freedom was in my hands. I always had the urge to learn & experience things as much as I could...but back then, ( 'zillion' years ago..) there was not much to do & not much to see in an independent land, in its infancy. There were only movies to go to and the occasional 'flings' in discos around the city - grooving to the beat of Saturday Nite Fever & doing the Hustle! ;-) We were quite crazy in our own way but we did not go astray. I think it really boils down to the basics of morality & upbringing. I had a lot of that from Cikgu Bastiah & Cikgu Zainal back then!
My eldest turned 21 yesterday. It feels like only yesterday I was trudging down the snow from St Raphael's Hospital to our apartment, hugging his bundled up body close to me. He was barely 20" and weighing meerly 2.3 pounds! But look at him now, he has even outgrown his father!. But he will still be my bundle of joy :-) I pray & I hope the parenting & education that both of us have given him will make him into a well balanced man and guide him to the right path. Happy birthday, my son.. may you have all the blessings from Allah and be successful in your life..

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Newtonians...

The City of Newton is located eleven miles west of Boston and bounded on three sides by the Charles River. Settled in 1630, it now has a population of 84,000 spread across thirteen villages. Often referred to as the "tree city," Newton in 2004 was named "America's Safest City" by the Morgan Quitno Press and was recently designated as one of five U.S. cities to receive the "U.S. Conference of Mayors Livability Award." Newton is particularly proud of its city museum that was a stop on the Underground Railroad, its award-winning public library, and its reputation for excellent schools. (See Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2004, and Boston Magazine, September, 2005.).
Although the city of Newton encompasses 18.22 square miles, commercial uses occupy only 4.1% of the land. In 2002, the largest employers were Boston College, the City of Newton, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Reed Publishing and Technical Aid Corporation, each with 1000-4999 employees. The unemployment rate in 2002 was only 1.3% in this city of largely academic and professional wage-earners. Over 94% of Newton's adult residents hold a high school or college diploma. Almost 40% hold a graduate or professional degree. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the median household income was $86,052 in 2004. However, amidst this stable affluence, 546 families or 4.3% of Newton's population have an annual income below the poverty line.
The people here are friendly, that is if we ever get to see them in this kind of weather!
The day we moved in, our landlords introduced us to our neighbours. House on the right are the Jewish couple who has a son named Michael. The Columbians live beside them. Our landlords live at the back of our houses & they have always been prompt when it comes to house repairs. Looks like having landlords nearby is going to work well!.On the left are the new house owners from Russia...Mother & daughter team. They paid quite a 'chunk' to get the property. They haven't moved in yet, though..maybe, later when the house is repaired & liveable.
Taking Langley, to the right of Beecher will lead us to Newton Center - around 30 minutes on foot (my pace). That is, if its not snowing, gauky & wet! Anna says when the weather's fine we can go brisk walking together. She's really something for a 65 year old lady..and a good cook too!.. I loVe her glazed roasted almonds..the lemony taste gives the zzziiing to the almonds!
I hear the Boston Marathon will pass through Newton this coming April- I can't wait for that & I hope the weather will be a bit warmer by then. I have heard a lot about the Boston Marathon, in fact I think there's a movie on it. I dare say, the runners are almost 20,000 strong & each of them have got their own stories to tell. Why they need to go through the ordeal of 26.2miles, on Massachusetts terrain is just beyond me!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Half way across the world...

We left KLIA in the wee morning of January 6th. Everybody was there except my mom & sister in Perak. My mom said that it was for the best. After all her Edah was not over yet & she didn't want anyone to fuss over her broken toe! I will always be teary eyed whenever I think of her, visualising how she looked now to how she looked years ago.....a far cry from the zesty teacher she once was! I suppose that's what my children will think of me in 20 - 25 years from now. But, she's getting better, I hear. With friends to keep her busy...marhaban, cukur jambul, yassin & tahlil..and of course she also has my sister & kids to keep her company.
We arrived at Newark Airport, New York on the same day. The flight was of course loonggg....transiting only an hour at Stockholm transit lounge. Remember, no liquids/gels/creams of that sort on board!. All will be thrown out. Best to keep them in the suitcases. Immigration was a breeze...
We took a domestic flight the next day to Logan Airport, Boston. Marriot Long Wharf was our home for 6 days, 5 nights.