Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Afterthought on Teaching

Though I am in Malaysia having a great trip, my mind was wandering to the classes I taught in WA. It was an interesting experience because I have never offered a class that was project driven, and this was, after all, a gourd festival. So, some students were a bit taken aback when I began by saying there would be no patterns, no handouts, and no tracing. (I had put sticky glue on their chairs- they could not flee.)

 No.  We would begin by working on paper, not gourds, and we would begin by sponging colors in random strokes, working quickly, and not trying to make a picture.  No pictures please.  Don't make pictures.  No, no pictures.  Just grab the paint and put it down, no rights, no wrongs, no fixes, no erasures, just spontaneous movement of the hand and arm.  Time's up.  Now on to finding the "seed"....and before they knew it, the 4 hours were over and there was no finished gourd in sight.  But almost 100% of the students over 4 days of teaching said they had been excited, inspired by the process, and learned how to see in a new way.  That's enough for me.  They opened themselves and let something new in.  Their surprise inspired me.  It was a great team project even if it didn't involve a finished gourd anything.

Visiting Uncle Fadzil on the farm...

More from my guest blogger, the other Whitney!

After flying to Penang, we drove to my Grampa's parents house in Alor Setar. The other day, we visited my Uncle Fadzil's farm. On the way, we passed by a rubber tree plantation. As you can see on the right, there is a little bucket attached to the rubber tree. Scores are made on the tree and at the end of the score, the bucket is hung. Over time, white sap drips out and slowly falls into the bucket. That white sap is then made into the rubber we use everyday! It was really interesting! 
When we got to the farm we saw a giant chicken house! It was so long, I could hardly see the end. As we were walking in the corn field, we were surprised to come upon a big, black SCORPION! I have never seen any scorpion that was that scary and big!!! We put Grampa's cell phone down and they were the same size! Supposedly the more little the scorpions are, the more poisonous, but this one looked pretty mean. 

While in Port Dixon, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, we went to look at a Chinese Buddhist temple. They had different statues of Buddha and here is one of Guan Yin. She was an empress of the Chen Dynasty and her nun name was "Guanyin"

This is the Chinese Buddha!

I had lots of fun seeing the Chinese Buddhist temple. I have never been to one before and I had an excellent first experience! I am looking forward to lots more fun in Malaysia!!!

We're going to Langkawi island in North Malaysia to see the beautiful sights there! :)

Note from Gramma:  We won't have wifi there, so check in on us in about 3 days!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Whitneys in Malaysia

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning) from Malaysia!  Syed and I are in Malaysia with our granddaughter, Whitney, and I've invited her to be my guest blogger so you can see Malaysia through the eyes of a first time visitor.

       What a special summer trip I get to go on! Malaysia is such a beautiful, amazing, multicultural country!  When we flew into Kuala Lumpur, we visited the Petronas Towers and ate at many different restaurants filled with appetizing yet intimidating food.

                                                    The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
                                                 were enormous! Larger than I ever imagined!

Eating here has been a little challenging for me. My grandparents say to only try a little bit of lots of things. This way,  when you don't prefer something, you will not have a big pile of it on your plate!

 To get to know the cooking and food here, we attended a local cooking class called LaZat.  It was a great class! First, we cooked Otak Otak, which is  marinated fish in banana leaves.  I am not a big fan of seafood, so that wasn't my favorite dish of the day. Second, we cooked Kari Ayam, or chicken curry. This was very tasty! It contained lots of fresh herbs and spices. We even pounded the shallots, garlic, and ginger ourselves! To go with the Kari Ayam, we fried up some Roti Jala, a type of lacy, thin pancakes.  All rolled up and dipped into the chicken curry was complete perfection. To top off the scrumptious meal, we made a Malaysian dessert called Onde Onde. This is made with palm sugar in a small ball of dough like material, and then boiled until cooked. Once it was cooked, we smothered it with fresh shaved coconut! YUM!!!  I would have never thought that cooking Malaysian food would be so much FUN!

                                                     Preparing my Onde Onde (dessert)

                                                         Making Roti Jala (Roti=bread;
                                                               Jala=fisherman's net)

We are off to visit my Grampa's parents in North Malaysia in Alor Setar, where the food is even more spicy!!!