Meet Adventurous Suad

Its semester break and I've been working on assignments and revising what have been taught so far. Yeah, I know...it can be a little boring especially when you don't have any means of transportation here in Brunei.

Isaac, Reem,  Nizal, Suad, Inad, Athiek, Koi and Rinchen

But, Arefa came to our rescue. She organized a trip for us to visit the museum and the Water Front. Yay, we were super excited. 

First we went to the museum. We were not allowed to take photographs and we had to leave our bags and other belongings when we went to explore the museum. We were really excited when we reached the first floor! Guess what! They had displayed some of the gifts that were given to the King of Brunei from world leaders around the globe on this floor. Oh yes, and since our group consisted of international students, we were all so happy to see gifts sent from our countries. 

There were three gifts given to the King of Brunei by our former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. One was a model of a traditional fishing boat. The second one was something similar and the third one was a huge traditional vase (laqour work). 

We took some pictures on the ground floor. Yes, here we were allowed to take pictures!

And then starts our adventure! We went to the water front and there we met Arefa's friend Shavez and Bud. We hired two boats and started our excursion! We drove through the water village and its a breath taking sight. Its amazing how they have schools, hospitals and even their own police stations in their water village.



There were small mangrove islands and as we neared the first creek, the whole group fell silent. You see, we didn't want to scare the wild animals away. We saw one small python coiled up in a huge tree and nothing else. But the whole jungle and the water was so beautiful. 


We drove our boat through the water some more and entered the second creek. As we neared this creek, our guides told us about mud skippers and flying foxes! Mud skippers were fish that could swim in the water and also walk on land! Ahaa, I saw them and they are amazing little creatures. I saw lots of flying foxes from afar. According to Bud, they grew up to 5-6 feets! 

Me, Inad and Reem
                              Nizal, me, Inad and Reem                                  
And then it was just too quite! I smelt danger in the air! I turned around and to my horror, there was a python slowly crawling into our boat. I knew it was up to me to save my friends. The python looked hungry and was preparing to strike! I felt like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider! Yeah, imagine a scene from Indiana Jones movie! Yeah, that's exactly what was happening! Without any hesitation, I jumped forward and grabbed the python with my bare hands and fell on the boat. After much struggle I was able to hold it's head in my palms and I squeezed it so hard that it died after fighting with all it's might to overpower me! When I looked up, I saw my friends looking at me with admiration and gratitude. I stood up and lifted the python up and screamed like Tarzon! My friends were all teary eyed and they all wanted to hug me. Then, they quickly took out their mobile phones and I looked at the cameras and smiled victoriously! 

Look at me! 
Yes, I'm holding a real python in my hands! 
*sign* that glorious moment!

Here is what actually happened!!!!!

As we entered the second creek, Rinchen spotted a dead python on the banks and Shavez went in and picked it up! Yeah, we all took turns taking photographs with the dead python! But hey, its not like you'll find a dead snake on the side of the road and you'll be able to pick it up, hold it and pose for the camera. I was indeed very lucky to get the opportunity to take this photo. 

Okay, you can stop laughing now! It isn't that funny!!!!

So we drove back in our boats. The sun was setting and it was magical. I mean the colours, the breeze and everything. I really did feel like I was in an adventure movie or something! 

So the whole group took one last picture together before we headed home and said goodbye to Shavez and Bud! 

Shavez, Bud, Rinchen, Athiek, Nizal, Inad, Nadheem, Isaac and Koi (standing)
Arefa, me and Reem
A big thank you goes to Arefa, for planning this awesome trip for us. You rock girl!

Arefa from Iran 


Once in a life time opportunities!

I came to Brunei on 4th August 2014 and its great here. Okay, they are times that I feel so homesick and lonely that I want to just leave all my belongings and catch the next plan and run home. When I got the scholarship I was a bit doubtful about accepting the offer. But hey, we don't get wonderful opportunities all the time. Leaving my kids behind was the hardest part, but then I know that they are in good hands and they are happy. 

Well, its been a month here and I have made wonderful friends. The best thing about all my new friends is that they come from different parts of the world. We tell each other about where we come from and have so much fun together. 

First, let me tell you about the most exciting experiences that I have had in Brunei. I would say that I am very lucky because I shook hands with the Crown Prince and took a selfie with the Sultan! YES! A selfie! 

On 16th August, Crown Prince of Brunei came to UBD. All the international students also got the opportunity to take a photo with him and shake hands too. 


These are some of the photos that I took before I shook hands with the Crown Prince. I was so happy that I got the opportunity shake hands with him. Of course I bragged about my encounter with the Crown Prince for weeks! 

And this is the photo that we took with Crown Prince. These are the international students who were present at the ceremony. 

Now, let me tell you about my grand selfie! 

6th September was UBD's graduation day. My friend Aai graduated and she invited her friend Mysara and I to the ceremony. Once the ceremony was over, on our way out, we lost each other. I wandered around and decided to go out and stand outside hoping that they would also gather there. 

When I came out there were so many people outside. People were lined up on both sides of the red carpet. I didn't realize what was going on. I tried to get close but there was no way I was getting in. 


And then, as I came down the steps I saw the King's car. I realized that they were all waiting to see the King and Crown Prince. I saw some of my friends and when I asked them, they told me that they didn't come for the graduation ceremony! They just came to see the KING! By this time I was also very excited and wanted to take his picture. We stood together and all of a sudden everyone was talking at the same time and everyone took out their mobile phones and started taking pictures. 


When I saw the King and the Crown Prince, I knew that I had to take a picture. So, I ran forward and somehow found myself inside the crowd! Seriously, I don't know how I did it....I WAS THERE! 

I took some pictures as they greeted everyone. The crowd was elated and everyone wanted a selfie with them. To my surprise, the King and the Crown Prince posed for selfies when students requested. So I patiently waited for my turn. Everyone was pushing each other to get close to them.  But I stood my ground and somehow penetrated and there I was standing next to the King! When I requested, his majesty looked straight at my phone and smiled. Since everyone was pushing each other I was going back and forth. So my face is a little blurred and I know my smile is weird! 


I don't think I would ever get an opportunity like this again to take a selfie with the Sultan of Brunei.

YAY! Here it is...  

It's amazing how much the people of Brunei loves their King. I believe it's because the people are treated the way they should be. This is a beautiful country with such warm and loving people. There is so much more to share, but this post is all about meeting the King and the Crown Prince. 

Yes, I was very lucky indeed to get the opportunity to shake hands with the Crown Prince and take a selfie with the King. 


Farewell by Hot Mums

We meet people all the time and then friendship develops between each other. Some become life long friends and others are just people we barely know. Among these people from different walks of life that we meet, good friends are the rarest and if you find such souls, you are indeed very lucky.

Yes, I'm so glad that I am blessed with such friends. I've already introduced you to "Hot Mums". Our children studied in preschool together. We did class decorations and other school and parent related work together and started hanging out. Oh and we meet up to celebrate each others birthday as well. 

And yes, all the moms are really HOT! 

Some of us are teachers, others are business tycoons. Some hold important posts in the government and others are political activists. Some are very creative and few of us were former super models! 

When they knew that I was going away for a year, they wanted to get together before I left Saushan of course was very concerned that we might go to JAZZ cafe! 

Well, if I were you, I wouldn't mention JAZZ CAFE in her presence! She will go bonkers! You know, to celebrate Niam's birthday we went to Jazz Cafe and the food was just horrible. 

Everyone ordered something new and were excited. Saushan ordered prawns and a rice dish and told everyone excited that she was going to eat prawns! Yeah, she had that star struck look in her eyes! 

When the food was brought to our table, no one could eat except me. I ordered spaghetti and when I told everyone to order spaghetti or lasagna, no one listened to me. So after that night, Jazz Cafe has been blacklisted in our list and for Saushan's sake even we won't go there.

awe went to China Garden and thank god, the food was wonderful. As as we finished eating I realised that I wouldn't be able to hangout with these wonderful friends for a long time. I would really miss them a lot. I was quiet and couldn't laugh when they joked like I use to. These ladies were quite busy and I'm sure they must have had so many important functions and meetings to attend to, but still they came to say goodbye. Having good friends who care about you and look out for you is one of the best blessings one could have and I am grateful. 

Goodbyes, shaking hands, hugs and well wishes are the sweetest gifts one could give when you know you are not going to see each other for a long time. I nearly cried and was so happy at the same time.

Thank you all the Hot Mums, you guys ROCK!