Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doha Event: Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2012

Almost missed this! Today's the last day of the Souq Waqif Spring Festival. We went there yesterday right after office hours, at 3PM at there's nothing just yet. As usual, kids event in Doha usually starts way past bed time for the Turknoy kids.

Anyhow, we saw two stages and kids play area with lots of bouncy castles. Looks a lot of fun for kids.
And according to the Gulf Times, it was a lot of fun indeed.

The Spring Festival at Souq Waqif has attracted a diverse range of spectators, especially on the weekends, director of Souq Waqif, Mohamed al-Salem, has said.

Speaking to Qatar News Agency in an exclusive interview, al-Salem said that the visitors were amazed by the various shows on display.   
He said that the aim of the festival was to entertain adults and children and the Souq Waqif administration had provided brochures listing all the festival’s scheduled events and the assistance of the “Al Fazaa” police.
The festival, which will run till February 29, brings a variety of artistic show and entertainment programmes from around the globe and features a wide array of programmes, including the ‘spring and colours’ carnival. 
The activities include performances by award winning magician Jay Matiolli and Scottish artist Stevie Starr, martial arts show, BMX bikes show, laser shows, ‘living statue’ performers, to mention a few. 
Besides these internationally recognised artistes are also staging music shows.

Well, visit to Souq Waqif is always a welcome treat for the kids to see camels and horses! And of course for us to be nostalgic about how Souq Waqif used to be when we always hang out during our single days!

First stop: Camels! 

loving the horses going back and forth the Souq!

one of the stages in Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2012

at 5PM,  the festival is yet to begin! it's almost bed time for us ;)

There's still time - hurry and visit tonight. The last day of Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2012!

Keep exploring!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top Ten Must Do Things @ 24!

February 21st has come and gone; our Tita Ayish birthday is over and we are still celebrating her birthday! WOOHOO!

I believe it was Steve Jobs who said it only makes sense connecting the dots looking backward. So, in celebration of my little sister's birthday, let me look back, ponder and probably nag a bit. After all, we are only 24 once.

If I could be 24 again, these are the things that I would definitely do. When you reach a certain age of early mid late 30s, you realize that as much as you are still capable of doing certain things, your priorities have shift geared from your personal need to family needs. And that you can't gain momentum or acceleration as much as you would want to. I'm not saying it's more fun being in your 20s, I'm simply saying that there are more things more appropriately done when one is in that stage of life.

Here's my MUST-DO-WHEN-YOU-ARE-24 (25 the latest!) List:

1. Learn how to cook! Seriously, learn and better, learn to love cooking. It will consume most of your time when you settle down as an adult - single or married!

Before I tend to hate all domestic event including cooking. But it will play an important factor  in settling down, especially if living in a foreign country. I can only imagine how much money I saved already if I know how to cook, or have the patience in cooking like my mother-in-law! I believe NOW (and oh my, oh my - lightning and thunder please for dramatic effect - I was known to say it would be end of the world before I turn domestic!) that Home Economics is a more important subject than Mathematics. It may be a little exaggeration but you get my drift, I hope. It's important to know a little chemistry and math proportions in the kitchen. After all, cliche, as it sounds, the key to a man's heart is through his stomach. Probably not the same as my case, but bribing food to husband helps a lot. AND when you turned like a mother of three like me in a flash - home cooked meals are the best for the children. For various reasons, mommies who cook can enumerate with much authority than I - less preservatives, more control of food safety, less cost and so on.

2. Travel. See the world. Life is too short not to explore! The world is too damn beautiful not be explored by young minds.  If you think you can't afford it 24,  the more you can NOT afford it when you are in your 30s! Everybody can travel at age 24! All you need is  planning, creativity and will.

3. Invest. It doesn't matter how much, start with 1USD or 1 peso! But start NOW! The important part is to practice the art of making your money work for you! It should  to be a habit latest at age 24. Old habits are hard to break and it will become a lifestyle. Investing is not hard. Start early and save your retirement funds early in your adult life.

I didn't make it a habit to invest when I was single. Same as my husband. To be honest, we are just warming up on making good use of our money and resources now and we are having fun. If we have started early in life, if someone consistently nag us to invest small amounts of money, we would not have been starting from scratch now. Wasted time, wasted money. Invest NOW!

4. Explore. Don't Settle. Your first job maybe good. Your second better. At 24, you still have to find the best job for you. Do not settle with your current job. Do not stay for more than 5 years MAXIMUM in a job, it's not a partnership, it's a job! And study shows that you learning curve for one job is four years. After that, you are not learning anymore or will not be effective for the job anymore.

I remember this conversation with  a former colleague. He resigned from the company I worked for because of a better opportunity. He was so ecstatic that he said to me  that he will definitely work "forever" for that company. It was that good for him at that time. That was five years ago. Now, he's working in a different company, traveling the world and earning five times as he was earning in that company. So probably earning more than ten times compared to the company where we both used to work. Awesome, right?

If you stay in the company for too long, they will suck out the best of you and you voluntarily got in the  self made prison of self deprivation!

5. Connect. Connect. Connect. If you have met your best friend right about now, lucky you! But it shouldn't stop you from meeting lots of other people with similar skills and interest at you. You can't have way too many friends at this age. In this day and age where it is very easy to connect through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on, young ones can get introduced to a lot of people online. But don't stop there, hang out with them and get to know them better. During my time of being 24 (not so long ago!) hanging out is with cool and not so cool friends are the best way to spend time outside work. Nostalgia is much more nostalgic with all these memories with friends. Enjoy the moment, make memories with friends.

6. Stay out of the comfort zone. Take risks. Go crazy. There will be plenty of time for routine when you get older. NOW is the perfect time to take risks, when it is so easy to bounce back and start over. There's really nothing much to lose yet. When you get older, it will be tougher to take risks and make drastic changes in life - there are lots of considerations to make - kids, promotions, loan payments, health.

Bored of your relationship with your boyfriend? Dump him! There really are lots of fish in the sea and there are lots of seas and oceans in the world! Why settle with the guy you met early in your life?! Bored with your work? Resign and find a new job! Bored with your community? Change it! Bored with your hair? Cut it, curl it, color it!

Remember, you don't grow when you in the comfort zone. You won't learn and succeed if you don't take risks.

7. Take care of your body. Eat right. Do Yoga. Go to the gym. Well, I am NO expert. But adult life can be stressful so better be physically fit and prepare for it. Besides, if you want to get older than 24, then living a healthy life is the way to go. Health is indeed wealth.

8. Prepare for your husband or wife. I was honestly going to put here Get Laid.. A lot! But it wouldn't be right for your future lifetime partner in life, right? Without giving too much information, my husband and I have been with a lot of other people before we got married. It was fun, I wouldn't argue with that. It was too fun at that moment. But being with the right person now, made us realize how wrong it was to be unfaithful to each other even before we met each other. Mistakes that we made before meeting our partners make the relationship less special, be it sexual or not.

So hold on to your urges, and focus on being the perfect partner because your perfect partner is coming to join you in your perfect future with him.

9. Unload your baggage. Travel light. There are way too much "good stuff" in the future and there's really no room for hurt feelings, hang ups and bang ups!

Got dump? Forgive, forget and be thankful for whoever he/ she is lost a lot and gave me tremendous opportunity to be a better person.

Got cheated on? Smile, slap him hard once or twice and get over it.

Office bitch ruined your reputation in the office. Get over it. Who would believe a bitch. ]

The more you care about the bad things that happened in your life, the less time you'll spend being happy!

So, get over it. Get on with your happy and baggage-free life!

10. Make your 10, 15, 20 year plan. Visualize. It's never too early to imagine your life in the future. Be specific with details. You'll be amazed with the power of mind.

When I was 24 (or even before) I have this I'm Going to be Rich Card and have some dreams about my life in the future, most of these came true. Don't know about the going to be rich, though.

If you'll follow only 1 in this list, follow this. DREAM. IMAGINE. VISUALIZE. PLAN FOR IT. And while you are it, DREAM BIG. No dreams are big enough for a dreamer who has a plan!

Keep celebrating life!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Turknoy's Theology 101

Before anything else, a disclaimer: This is our family's point of view about faith and religion and we don't intend to solicit any arguments or discussion. We don't encourage others to follow our point of views; this is our opinion and ours alone. When it comes to belief system, it is deep-rooted and we follow our live and let live philosophy.
Now that's out of the way, let's move on to the fun part.
My religion is Christian by default, more specifically a Catholic. I was baptized by my Catholic parents when I was a baby and no, they didn’t ask me whether I want to be a Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. Heck, I didn’t even know there are other religions other than Christianity until I took history back in high school. The lesson was not even focused on what other people believe in. It was just that – part of history.
I studied in a Catholic University back home and took Theology for 5 years every semester. I got trained in flipping the pages of the Bible and learning the Catholic Church’s interpretation of theses verses in the Bible.
According to Wikipedia, these are the scope of the study of Theology:
·         understand more truly his or her own religious tradition
·         understand more truly another religious tradition]
·         make comparison between religious traditions,
·         defend or justify a religious tradition,
·         facilitate reform of a particular tradition,]
·         assist in the propagation of a religious tradition,]
·         draw on the resources of a tradition to address some present situation or need,
·         draw on the resources of a tradition to explore possible ways of interpreting the world, or
·         explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition.
·         Challenge or oppose a religious tradition or the religious world view.
I want to believe that those units in Theology 101 – 501 are not wasted in vain. At the very least, I got trained in understanding my own religious tradition. Or did I? Well, I tried, but I was very busy trying to find excuse in not attending these classes. And studying an engineering course while being working full time, I got lots of those excuses. But I sure appreciate the trainings of being Catholic on faith of God. Faith really gets so deep -rooted. And I must admit, no one can take away the Catholic in me. If someday (who knows!)  I get to convert in other religion, I will always be that Catholic girl who believes that the communion is a must for my whole being. 
It was until I moved to an Islamic country, did I get to appreciate other people’s religious belief. All the while, I thought Muslim people are all disillusioned killing themselves for the love of Allah. In my mind, what kind of God would want be so violent and narrow-minded? It didn’t occur to me that these people have also their own interpretation of what’s written in their religion’s Holy Book, the Koran. It doesn’t represent the Islamic religion in general.
Well, actually, it was not until I met my husband did I get so open minded about religion. If I didn’t get to know him, I would still be silently judging the Muslim community. I will not try to understand the rationale behind their belief system.
And it's not limited to Islam or Christian religion only. Though majority, there are other religions which should be learned and understood. Most of my trusted colleagues in office are Hindus. I don’t know squat about Hinduism but I find that all Hindus have great intention towards people. No one of them don’t intend to harm other people’s feelings and reputation. It may be religion based or I am just type casting them but I believe that it is worth to get to know other religions as well. 
My husband has exactly the same background as mine when it comes to choosing religion - we DIDN'T choose at all. He is Muslim by default. Well, he believes that all people are born Muslim. Until baptized to a different religion. Well, maybe.
His parents are Muslims; his great great great grand parents are Muslim. He was born and raised in a country where 99.9% are Muslim. It’s a no-brainer that he becomes a Muslim. And God bless him, he’s not going to commit any terrorist attack to justify his love for God.
Catholic by default. Muslim by default. Most of the people did not choose their religion. Religion is mostly based on culture and geography.
But to be theologically Catholic or theologically Muslim, that’s something else. That’s a belief system based on choice. And that’s how it should be.
We don’t become part of any cause simply because we were chosen by default, right? And isn't religion the strongest and most famous cause there is? 
And that is what we intend to give our children. A CHOICE. But like all choices in the world, a deep understanding is required first. Of each and every religion. 

That is our role as a parents in a mixed religion background. To expose them to as many beliefs and religion there are so they will have the wisdom to make their own choices.

Of course, there will be a big tendency to be biased. Like any parenting styles. But we believe that we have to at least try to show the way to the Turknoy kids. 

At the moment, Kylie is taking her Islamic classes in her school and at the same time, part of the Kids For Christ. We’ll see how it goes.

Our future Kids for Christ tot!

exploring the inside of the Church in DOha during one baptism event

The all out supportive husband with our ever gorgeous unico hijo

Of course, we also read lots  and lots of books about religion and culture. We'll list all these books in our next posts.

To end, a wisdom from a person of authority (so unlike us!) : 
"It is vital that when educating our children's brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts." - Dalai Lama

Have great fun educating our children's hearts and minds. At the very least, we sure do. 

Keep the faith,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hello, March! Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

It's almost March! February passed by so quickly, our LOVE month theme and we are barely warming up. Well. there's still four days left - thanks to leap year! There are still lot of love activities to do!

We are also so psyche and excited about the month of March - we'll be celebrating DR. SEUSS BIRTHDAY! A MONTH OF LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST - well, that's who Dr. Seuss is to us.

We are ready with our iPAD applications and books and we just can't wait for The Lorax Movie showing in 2nd March.

our iPAD Applications - all ready!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! 

Lots of things to do, lots of things to read! Lots of activities to enjoy! Big YAY!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Thank you for writing all the life-altering books! You truly are one of the greatest writer ever lived.

Keep reading!

Exploring More Challenging Spelling Lessons!

Half term break is over. Time to study spelling again. Although we are satisfied with our spelling lessons, we thought we'd try other spelling and vocabulary curriculum.


I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, 
personal, online review. helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt SentencesHangMan, and Word-O-Rama.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you canreview

Keep exploring!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Doha Event: Katara Art Center Book Fair

We saw this from the Katara Website about Katara Art Centre Book Fair and we just couldn't wait to visit!

The KATARA ART CENTER Art Bookshop is organizing the first edition of its Annual Book Fair. The team has invited several Doha Based Book Sellers and suppliers to exhibit and sell books on their catalogue at discount prices. 
Many of the Participating Book Sellers will be presenting new publications during this fair.
During the Book Fair there are many activities organized for families, children and all Bookworms!!! 
If you Love Books and you would like to exchange some of the books you have already read, with other bookworms like you, please come along and participate in this big Party dedicated to Books, Reading and Literary engagement.

Seems like every week we are visiting Katara! First day of February, we were there to try the infamous Red Velvet Cupcakery. And just last Thursday, we were at Katara Drama Theatre to watch Romeo and Juliet for Kidz! 

This weekend, the Katara Art Centre is having a Book Fair. And if you really know the Turknoys, we just LOVE books - a lot! So off we went the first hour of the Book Fair

It was not that big event similar to the International Book Fair which is held annually at the Qatar Exhibition Centre. It's an event specially arranged for book lovers  or more specifically kids book lover.  The books we saw were mainly for kids as well as the activities are for kids only. Visit to the book fair could only last 45 minutes MAXIMUM! And maybe that's just us who look through all the books on display. Unfortunately, our Kerim took a nap time during our visit. Only our Kylie was able to enjoy the book fair and got some of the fair's freebies.

Little Miss Kylie enjoying an activity at the book fair!

not big selection of kids book at the book store

we got great finds from this bookshop

We also managed to get some books at great prices from an international book store which provides book to international schools in Doha. Although they don't have any shops in Doha. Our favorite bookstore, iSPY was also there in the book fair. They don't have much books though.

our take home activity from Katara Art Center 

It was also a good visit to the Katara Art Center to see their kids book collections.

The Katara Art Center Book Fair runs until Saturday, 25th February.

Keep exploring!

Dining Out in Doha: Thai Smile Restaurant

Dining out in Doha - Thai Smile Restaurant with friends! After the disappointing dinner at Sizzling Hotpot Resturant, craving was satisfied finally at Thai Smile.

I discovered a great Thai restaurant this morning through friends at work. It was a fabulous way to start the weekend. Although I have yet to take the Turknoys in this place, I'm sure it will be a hit. It's definitely Asian and it's close to one of our favorite Doha Park. Actually it is hidden in the Al Bidda Park! Perfect for a family who suck at packing a picnic basket.

Find at the other side of the Al Bidda Park (not the Corniche side) and walk to the fountain park. Just behind the not-so-tall date tree, hidden is the Thai Smile Restaurant. Well, if you find some restrooms instead of the restaurant, you are on the right track, just keep looking! Sometimes Most of the times, in Doha, great finds need to be searched not twice, but more than twice. And believe me, dining in this restaurant is really superb. All the dishes we ordered are just delectable  - Pad Thai, Tom Yang, Sukiyaki and Curry noodle - not sure what the name was.

by the Al Bidda Park Fountain

Thai Smile Restaurant 
It was a lovely afternoon with friends while I was at work and the family is at home. There goes my me-time for the day!

I am posting these photos without my friends permission - hope they don't mind.

We'll definitely visit Al Bidda Park and eat at this restaurant in the near future.

Love everything on the Thai Smile Menu

Scrumptious lunch to kick off the weekend!

Keep exploring!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Exploring Doha: Free Gym in Aspire Park!

Well, not exactly a gym but exercise equipment. Good enough to use after a good run around the Aspire Park. It is very close to the kids area and just across Grand Heritage Hotel Doha.

It would be nice to make a routine here in Aspire Park if we really live close by. Who knows come May, we would be moving to this area. After all, we are always exploring in Aspire Park.

hot stuff, husband!

figuring out how the machine works - defective though!

leg press

around we go!

row, row, row your boat!

Keep exploring!

Exploring Doha: New Parks in Aspire (2)

We simply just can't get over the new kids area in Aspire Park! After enjoying the bigger kids area close the Aspire Fountain yesterday, they went had to go to the new kids area in front of Grand Heritage Hotel Doha.

This kids area is smaller but there are fewer children. Two months back, this is the area where kids just run around and bike. Now, of course, they can still run around and bike but there will be a little a lot of distraction since the contraptions in the park are very hard to ignore for kids. There are slides, climb ons, swings, balance beam among others.

Another park day in Doha. Awesome!

up and up and up!! 

loving this slide! 

monkey bars again!

walking and balancing! 

oh swing!

7-ft climb! bravo kids!

Keep exploring!

Dining Out in Doha: Sizzling Hot Pot Restaurant

There's a new restaurant in town - Sizzling Hot Pot Restaurant in Holiday Villa Hotel. We went there to celebrate our Tata Ayish's birthday. It was a first time experience for the rest, except me who loves shabu shabu and anything hot pot back home. I thought it was the same experience as normal hot pots but it doesn't come close. REALLY!

Sad to say, the restaurant was no good at all for a hot pot. But, of course, we made the best out the situation since it's a birthday treat for our beloved Aunt Ayish.

These are the things we DID like in this new restaurant:

1. Gotta love the "new" expat attitude, fresh from the Philippines. All staff are Filipinos and they are so friendly and accommodating. It's always refreshing to be served by a Filipino who is less than one month in Doha. The best service ever! Of course customer service in hotels is expected to be great but if it's a "newbie" expat - glorious service.

2. Big space - huge, gigantic, enormous restaurant space! Here's us hoping that they would be able to fill such space with customers.

That's it. All the rest are just plain crap!

  • The meat is not fresh,
  • Fruits are dry (except the dragon fruit!)
  • Vegetables are limited.
  • Fried rice is horrendous.
  • Other desserts were not delectable at all. 
  • Sauces are out of this world in a bad way.
  • The hot pot is a cheapo hot pot which uses butane! And the fire is very difficult to adjust so we either ate the food raw or overcooked. 
  • The soup bowl is plain ugly. 
  • There's no exhaust in the restaurant so we all ended up smelling like fried fish or squid at the end of the meal. 
  • We can't have a decent conversation during dinner since all of the waitresses are assisting us to cook our food in the hotpot. Four of them around our table while we eat and cook is just uncomfortable. 
the hot pot!

It was supposed to be a new refreshing experience for all. But sadly, it really is not. However, we ended up full despite all the complaints/ rants  below. Of course, at QR95 per person, we tried to eat  ate our hearts out! BURP! 

the little Turknoy is not happy at all! 
the birthday girl is not happy also!

the Turk's thought bubble: I eat out so I don't have to cook! WTF!

the little Turknoy girl is not happy also!

and the Uncle is just plain hungry! BLLHAAA

Needless to say, we won't be coming back again to this restaurant. Shame because it is the "first in Middle East." I don't know which market niche they want to cater too, but if it's for Asian, it is not good enough or if it's for the classy people in Doha, it's not posh enough OR if it's for the "masses or middle class", it is way too expensive. 

Let's just hope that our impression is wrong and they  manage to come up with some aggressive marketing strategy. After all the restaurant just opened last week. 

Keep exploring!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Exploring Doha: Grand Heritage Hotel - Victoria Tea Lounge

The Victoria Tea Lounge at Grand Heritage Hotel  in Doha - simply divine!

We are in process of exploring Doha hotels at the moment. In search for our primary goal, we also managed to find some awesome places to hang out. During our visit to Grand Heritage Hotel, we found a perfect place to have some authentic Hammam tea. The Turk really loved the ambiance and the hammam tea - the only place in Doha this is available (well, as far as we know!)

The kids also enjoyed creating chaos in the very serene atmosphere. Good thing, they listened to stay in one place and just spent some quality cuddling time in their very comfortable sofa.

Blissful place. Maybe me and the husband will come back again to enjoy some quiet moments together one fine tea time.

great new hotel in Doha

This is not a toy; during night time, a player plays the harp to tea lovers! 

Spending quality cuddling time with kids while sipping some tea! Bliss! 

‘Victoria’ is the only authentic tea lounge in the Middle East partnered with Paris’ most renowned suppliers of tea, Palais des Thes’.  Stylishly designed in Victorian fashion to resemble an old English library, and offering over 40 varieties of tea, it also features Chinese Tea ceremonies by our tea mistress, upon request.  

Victoria is open from 7.00am to 11.00pm.

Keep exploring!


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