We really admire her in a lot of aspects. She's the epitome of an individual who lives life to the fullest! Despite her age (she's in her mid 60s, I reckon) she leads an active life - still scuba dives, goes mountain climbing, joins hashes, travels the globe etc....Wifey and I are really inspired by her..So much so that she's rubbed on us with her lifestyle - eat organic, non-processed and non GMO food coupled with a good exercise regime AND plenty of liquid. It's all about balance she says!
Fate had it that we met some 15 years back when my senior in secondary school and his wife had two rooms to sub-let and wifey and I were scouting for bed-sits (separately of course) to rent during our bar vocational year. She was the principal landlord of the house at South Woodford (which borders Essex) where we lived.
She was more like a mother/friend to us than a landlady. She'd invite us to go grocery shopping with her and taught us domestic economy (learnt to buy bargains at Waitrose/Sainsbury's for near-expiry-sell-by-date food stuff and broken basmathi rice, compare prices before buying, etc....). She'd also invite us for lunches, dinners and barbecues at her home at Woodford Green. Her dinner parties are incomplete without her famous and yummilicious roasted leg of lamb. My parents who do not eat lamb also endorsed that the leg of lamb she roasted was to die for.
She's such a sweetie - I remember when we were doing our bar exam, she actually cooked chicken briyani (her late husband was a Ceylonese) and left a whole pot of it on our dining table with a little post-it message "enjoy dinner". She must have noticed that we had boxes of instant noodles in the cabinet and boxes of Sainsbury's frozen fish with parsley sauce in the freezer. Aah...those were the days.
We have been keeping in touch all these years. She used to come back once in two years but her return is more frequent now since her mom is not well (but who still travels and active in socialising in Ipoh! - She takes after her mom, we reckon!).
It was less than a year ago that she came back and we did Perak in about 4 days with her draging all our three boys....went kopitiam-hopping in Ipoh, caves-crawling around Ipoh (we did Gua Tempurung with my boys whom one of them I had to piggy back since he almost had an asthma attack triggered by the bats' guano in the cave. We promised that we would be back with her for an underground river adventure which is about three hours in total darkness! She's game for it..can you beat that?), explored Taiping (the Zoo and lake garden included), met Perak man in Lenggong, drove along the quiet road from Lenggong to Ipoh where the murder victim who was married to the Perak royalty was dumped. The whirlwind Perak tour was fun.....but the kids were exhausted!
We are going up to Ipoh after my umrah to see her minus the kids since we want some quality time with Sze Mee this time around which she did not object unlike last year where she insisted that we travelled with the kids! May be she's learnt her lesson! LOL!
Sze Mee, our maid, Agnes (her sis-in-law who's an angel too!) and wifey in front of one of the caves in Ipoh.
With Umar in 2003
Family portrait minus dad plus maid in 2003