Job security

My high school classmate sent me a mail requesting that I convince  her son to study medicine. According to her, all other degrees are not worth doing because there is no job security.

I asked her “what does your son wants to study?” and she replied ” He doesn’t know what he wants to do yet and wants to do a general degree first”.

But she doesn’t want him to do a general degree. She thinks because he is a talented artist and has slender hands, he would be an ideal medical student.

I explained to her that at the age of 18, most people do not know what they really want to do for the rest of their life and hence the reason American Unis allow you to take general subjects the first two years and then go for what you really like in year 3.

She phoned me few days ago  insisting that her son should do medicine and I really must talk to him. I finally asked her ” Is it because you wanted to do medicine and was not given the opportunity that you are insisting that your son should do medicine?”

She was silent for a few seconds and then told me ” Yes, she really wanted to do medicine, but her marriage was already arranged when she completed pre-degree, but that is not the reason why she wants her son to study medicine, as she has met several people who have done other degrees and are jobless”

She was really annoyed with me because I refused to do what she wanted me to do.. convince her son to do something he doesn’t want to do.

I seriously think children should find their own path. There is no such thing as guaranteed job security.. even if you became a doctor, you could still make that one mistake and lose your license.

Up until last year, Yaya had no idea what she wanted to study. We went from becoming a world famous artist/graphic designer to Bio medical science. Right now she wants to do a double major in economics and politics ( I have no idea what she means by politics, I assume it is political science) or economics and law. I have not encouraged them to follow any particular career path. ( I did wish secretly that they wouldn’t do medicine), but I will never tell them to do a degree because it provides job security..

Ps. every morning, when I go for my walk, I pass by one of the largest house in my neighbourhood. It is in an acreage, beautifully manicured lawn and they own the latest Lexus..The owner doesn’t work in the weekends, doesn’t work after 4 pm on weekdays and goes for surfing holidays around the world. He is our local plumber.



When I was doing pre-degree, a classmate of mine who also stayed in the same area where we used to live came over for a visit. I introduced her to my mother and right in front of her my mom huffed, turned around and walked off. My friend lived in the poor area of the neighbourhood and Amma wasn’t happy that she was my friend and showed her displeasure without any thoughts about my feelings or my friend’s feelings. She was my friend because she was a really nice person and her family’s lack of wealth was not something I was concerned about. My friend never talked to me after that. ( And I never introduced any of my friends to my mother after that.. only one of my medical college classmates ever came to my house in the 5 years)

I had promised myself that I will never treat my children’s friends the same way my mother treated mine.

When Yaya was in grade 3, she met this girl and they were very close. The girl’s mother is a third generation Canadian and studied only up to 10th and believed that Canada was a state of US. In grade 3, the kids needed to do their genealogy as part of their school work and Yaya’s friend came to me for help because no one at her home could help her. We could only manage up to her grandparents because her family is a mix of Japanese, Irish, Swedish, Czech and other unknown nationalities. Her father himself doesn’t know if he is Czech or Slovakian and he introduce himself as a ‘redneck’.

However, if I ever needed any help. it was this family I would call first because they were the most honest, helpful people I have ever met. The father would go hunting and fishing every year would makes sure that I had enough meat and fish. He would even fillet the fish for me because he knew how much I hated doing it. They always took Yaya with them when they went camping.

Some time ago, Yaya’s friend went to an Indian restaurant somewhere in the interior and the owner of the restaurant came and thanked her because she was the first customer to have used her fingers to eat the food instead of using the fork and knife at his restaurant. She learned to eat rice using fingers because she spent most of her time at my house. If she wasn’t at her house, her family knew she would be at my house.

She came all the way from Canada to celebrate Yaya’s 17 th birthday. ( her mom worked three jobs to pay for her flight ticket)

Imagine if I had picked my children’s friends for them and told Yaya not to be friend with this girl..What a great loss that would have been..


Today was my son’s turn to accompany me for grocery shopping. I look forward to spending time alone with each of my kids.

Today I asked my son “What do you consider my legacy as your mother ?”

He thought for a few seconds and replied

“Mom, you taught me how to be an awesome parent when I will eventually have kids. You had a messed up childhood and you could have continued the same with my siblings and I, instead you chose to be the best mother a child could ever get, I think that is your legacy”

I have no words to describe my feelings.

Away until next Monday. (27 th) See you all then


I received a heartbreaking letter from a mom ( yes, I got her permission to write about it)

She is a first generation immigrant to England from Kerala. All she ever wanted was to ensure that her children were given the best. She worked so hard and made so many sacrifices for her family.


Two weeks ago, she registered her son for a ? speaking class because he is very shy and she felt he needed help. ( I think it is something similar to toast masters that teaches you to talk confidently) and it costed 180 pounds. Her  teenage son forgot to go for the class. This for her was the last straw.

Her son completed his A levels few weeks ago, haven’t applied for his undergraduate uni admission, decided to take a gap year without planning anything as to what he is going to do with his time off, haven’t bothered to apply for his L plate or go for driving lessons. He just sits at home all day and do nothing.

She doesn’t know what she should do, and is tired of doing everything for her children. She wants to know how I get my children to do things on their own.

I honestly don’t think I have any magic formula. The only thing I do is ‘not do anything for my children’. If my kids wanted to do something, they simply have to do the work. ( If I want them to do something like getting  Yaya to apply for her L plate, I find ways to make her do it. I have written about it) Basically I think if you did everything for your children and made their life really easy, it will be difficult for them to take responsibilities on their own..

btw, if I paid 180 pounds and if my kids forgot to attend the class, I don’t think I will take it quietly.. I can assure you all hell will break loose here.


My nephew phoned me yesterday to thank me for insisting that he buys something for his father from here and give it to him.

My nephew and his father are not close, they don’t even talk to each other. He felt it is a waste of time and effort to buy something for his father as he was sure his father wouldn’t appreciate it.

I told him

Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,

Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani.

Obviously he doesn’t understand Sanskrit and never heard of Bhagavad Gita. I didn’t have the time to explain the whole story to him and this is what I told him.

“Your duty in your life is to do the things you are supposed to do, irrespective of the outcome, it is not for you to decide the impact of the outcome ( how your father is going to react) or worry about it. Your job as a son is to accept the fact that he is your father and that you will get him something  from here, just as you got something for the rest of your family members”

He bought his father a wallet from here.  Apparently his father was very happy to receive the wallet and immediately transferred his cards and all from the old wallet and started using it.

My nephew would have never known how much his father would have appreciated his gift, if he hadn’t bought something and given it to him.

Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,

Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani

Perfect plan

Newcastle-Australia-BeachImgae source:

When we went to Sydney, we stopped at Newcastle to visit the beach.

Imagine this..

Crisp winter morning. Temperature of about 15 degrees. Warm enough to go for a swim and cold enough not to get sun burned.

Beautiful blue ocean and matching blue skies..

You wait patiently  for the whales to do the tale flip and then you spot the whales not too far away from he shore.. It was so incredibly beautiful.. ( and to think that I paid money to take my kids for whale watching  in Canada when we could do it here for free)

And it occurred to me that, I really don’t want to leave Australia. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived and I enjoy my life here.

I still want to work and live in South America and Africa which will complete my bucket list of having lived in all the continents. But after that I want to come back and live here. There  lies the biggest problem. My children don’t want to live here and I really don’t want to live in US. In a decade or so, I hope to be a grandmother and I can’t imagine not living close to my grandchildren and spending time with them and  spoiling them rotten.

As I was waiting at the fish shop to buy fish and chips for my kids, I watched a dignified (looking) older lady buying ice cream for her grandchildren and then it occurred to me, I am just going to do exactly the same. I am going to bring my grandchildren to me by being  the best grand mom on earth. I am going to buy a beachside apartment in either Newcastle or Geelong ( two of my fav beaches) and a schooner. I am pretty convinced that future grandchildren will tell their parents, Grandma has the most awesome place and will take us sailing in her Schooner, so we are going to Australia to visit her.

I think this plan will work. I am going to buy lottery tickets starting today.

Through my nephew’s eyes

My nephew went back home yesterday and at the airport he told me ” Sarah, I don’t want to go back home”

My nephew is 19 years old, his mom loves him more than anything else on earth, but for him everyday life at his home is a nightmare.

These are the things according to him we do differently

We always eat our meals together. When food is ready, I ring the bell and everyone stop whatever they are doing and come for dinner. It doesn’t matter if they are halfway through their favourite TV program or that they are not hungry. After dinner, we usually talk about our respective day. I ask each of my kids how their day was, how is their boyfriend/girlfriend/current crush etc are. Then we talk about politics, current topic is Greece economic crises.. ( Yaya mentioned slowing down of Chinese economy last night, so perhaps we will talk about that today)

We always say goodnight to each other and my children usually do not go to bed without giving me a good night kiss. ( If I annoyed them sufficiently enough, then they won’t give me a kiss and I spend the next few days complaining about how mean they are even though it was I who bugged them, I seriously believe in my maternal rights to complain)

We play board games whenever we get a chance. I still sit with them and play Monopoly ( When I was the banker, I did give myself extra dough when no one is looking, sadly I have been banned from being the banker and no longer get to build a lot of hotels and win the game)

I have never once told my children to study. ( This was his biggest surprise, that all three of my kids either read novels or go out with their friends instead of studying whenever they have free time/holidays)

Our love for long distance drive. ( Before coming here, he has been to the beach twice in 19 years and since coming here, we went to the beach 8 times)

Our messy house. I had friends over for tea and my house looked like a pigsty. ( My house is already small and I have so many kids staying over night) Apparently his mother cleans the house if a courier is dropping a parcel to the main door.

What he didn’t like was my rule ” I cook, you eat” Apparently his mom makes three different types of meals most evenings so everyone ( his bro and father and him) gets to what they like. She doesn’t cook vegetables because according to her, no one likes vegetables. I am a strong believer of the idea that fussy eaters are created by their mothers. I believe in feeding my kids a balanced meal and we have salad/veg with every meal and my nephew really struggled when I told him he can’t leave the table till he ate one serve of the vege.

According to him, no one ever talks to each other at his home, both his parents are very busy with their work and everyone eat whenever they are hungry. His father comes home from work late, sits in front of the TV till bedtime. His mom gets home,spend a lot of time in the kitchen to cook the food that she thinks will make each of the family member happy.

I read this sometime ago

” I think there are roads that lead us to each other. But in my family, there were no roads – just underground tunnels. I think we all got lost in those underground tunnels. No, not lost. We just lived there.” Benjamin Saenz

Rainbow !

I took the kids to Sydney for a short break and we had an awesome time. Now that they are older, I don’t get stressed when they are out on their own. They wanted to go for a movie and they could find the theatre on their own and even find the cheapest way to buy the ticket ( Family pass.. Yaya and her best friend became the adults and toothless and baby became the kids)


Usually when we get back home, I have to chase my children to put their clothes dirty clothes for wash. This time, my son did the laundry without me asking him. My youngest cleaned the car, while Yaya and her friend baked Macaroons. All of a sudden I was like a rudderless ship with nothing to do. So, I went to my room to pout and  hibernate. No one missed me..  After a while, I thought I might as well read the newspaper. Being a creature of habit, I still read ‘old’ news paper, in this case the weekend newspaper.I try not to miss  reading my weekend newspaper even though the news is old, because I love the writings of some of the columnists very much. I found this article by my favourite columnist and I thought I would share it . (

Every time, I hit rock bottom, I tell myself,  I can’t go any more lower and  the only thing left is to go up. Sometimes, it is really hard to believe that there are rainbows after a storm.. It is comforting to know that you are not the only one who has hit rock bottom, even famous people have been there..


My son managed to drop 10 kg in 12 weeks. He weighs 74 kg now.

He did it by portion control and a bit of exercise.

The first thing I did was to stop making snacks,cakes and tarts. Every time he felt like having a snack he had a fruit. ( Bananas or apples). He loves canned fruits, so once a week he had a small serve of mixed fruit in apple juice as a treat. Other than that he hasn’t had a slice of cake, serve of ice cream or a chocolate bar the last 12 weeks.

He stopped eating fast-food completely. Reduced the quantity of food he consumed which really worried me for I couldn’t bear to think that he would feel hungry. Mom, it is for the greater good, he said.

He went on the bike regularly every day the first 6 weeks and then he lost the motivation. I didn’t want to nag him because he already lost so much weight and I knew if I continued with portion control he would be fine. He walked the longest route from his school to the bus stop everyday. he played basketball twice a week.

My point is this. You can really lose weight, if you are determined. You do not need to consume any magic potions that claim to burn fat or follow some stupid diet. All you need to do is eat what you really want to, but in smaller portions and walk.

Walking is free, cheap and efficient way to burn calories.