Travel Diaries- Sydney Day 6

I’m an early riser have always been. When I was a student I would finish most of studies in morning. With kids I have found that getting up early allows me to get organised before all the commotion of I cannot find my uniform, my shoes, my school books or my favourite one I haven’t finished my homework. I have been trying to be a hands off mom I remind them to pack their bags but I won’t do it for them. I put the uniform in the cupboard but I will not take it out for them. I know my boys are small but learning to be responsible starts early.

Thrill of the holiday is that even though I am awake I don’t need to leave the bed. There is no commotion outside my room.

In the evening I took the kids for a walk along the river. The sky was a beautiful dark twilight overcast with shades of punk and purple spread across the sky. The strokes of the colour so bright as if a painter had deliberately put them on a vast canvas of the sky. As we approached the bridge over the river we were blown away (almost literally) by strong wind. Surprisingly the wind was cold, too cold for a summer evening. Feeling unsteady on our feet and with kids squealing with laughter we continued to walk.

Once off the bridge the wind subsided. Sakina walked with me, she was in a light mood. We discussed about what career she wanted to pursue. She seemed quite clear in her thoughts. She talked about how wonderful it was to be back with her childhood friends. She felt nice that everybody in school recognised her. This feeling of being familiar with her surroundings made her feel confident. She was happy. Being a Mother I felt the need to share with her that life is not always familiar. Happiness and confidence should not be linked familiarity. She thought about it and came back with her favourite sentence “Mom I am child I’ll worry about all this when I grown up”. I pondered over her words. It is good to park worries for later date. It makes life seem manageable.

Sohail had stepped out to meet an old friend. We were on our own this evening. We walked towards the grocery store. I know you must be wondering – this trip seems all about groceries. Silly as it sounds but I am very fascinated with food and finding ingredients in Karachi has been a challenge.

When I left home I had asked Sohail for $10. I told him I think I have got all the groceries I need and today I will just get milk and eggs.

He gave me this puzzled look. He paused. I laughed and said “yes I just need milk today”. I could tell he didn’t believe me. He laughed and gave me a $100 note and said “I have yet to see you come out of a grocery store with just one item”.

Though I didn’t want to admit but that was true. I gave him a pained look and put the money in my bag. After coming back shopping has been a challenge. There are many things that I had gotten use to using in Singapore and now I don’t find them. When I do find them the price is absolutely ridiculously exorbitant. Most of the times far more expensive than it was in Singapore.

But today I was sure I had got most of the stuff on my list. Hence today’s trip was going to be short and super quick I thought to myself.

I am a “self talker” who regularly repeats the plan in the mind to help keep on track. Walking in the store I said to myself “Laila keep focus” “you have done 5 grocery trips since you came”. “you have everything you need”.

Sohail had been traveling the week before we came. I had given him a very long scroll of my grocery list which he had spend a few hours collecting. Yup he wasn’t happy but I think he is getting use to my ridiculous lists.

They say women never have enough clothes there’s always room for a new one and for me there is always room for another ingredient.

And there I spent a happy hour in shop reading labels and thinking of recipes I could make. The boys ran in the aisles. I was worried that they would bump into a display and bring everything crashing to the floor. “Sakina please take the boys outside the store and keep an eye on them”, I requested her.

She said, “Mama are you going to take long ?” I paused. She giggled at me and said, “Mama don’t bother answering I know you are going to be long you have that look on your face”.

There we all tugged some heavy grocery bags home. I was walking slowly and the kids were complaining incessantly.

Cannot wait to get home to cook.



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