i can't believe it's already raya and i am in dubai. it felt like only yesterday when i sahur with abah, and then later walked to bazar ramadhan taman tun with azi to get our craved ayam percik.
i won't dwell on sadness this raya, being away from abah and my sisters - instead i rejoice in the fact that i know syida is safe and sound in melbourne, my sisters enjoying raya in ipoh and abah sihat wal-afiat to celebrate raya this time around.
as a matter of fact, abah is also celebrating his 62nd birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY abah!
1st syawal started early, i heated up the rendang i cooked in the previous wee hours of the morning, and rebus the instang lemang. taste better than i expected! in fact, after finished cooking the meals, it was already subuh in malaysia, so i made a call to abah, syidot in melbourne and my best bud niraku in UK. (of all my friends, niraku is a must-call on raya morning. she calls, or i call. and now, even when we're miles apart dubai-UK, the habit lives on!)
i called azot who was in super-cheery mood ironing her baju raya, with noises in the background from haiqal and haqeem who had a sleep-overs at abah's house. also talked to cik, but didn't manage to get auntyna and tokcik. busy sangat kot!
the kids woke up early and there was no problem dressing them up for their first syawal in dubai, and the first ever, ever for kahfi! it felt like a quiet syawal - but nontheless joyful.
after a light breakfast and the mandatory sesi bermaaf-maafan, we headed on to matrade building for the aidilfitri prayers.
the scene was just like when i attended the raya haji prayers. the floor of the little humble hall was covered with tikar mengkuang and sejadah, ready for the congregation.
the ladies helped out in arranging the containers upon containers of raya dish on a long table at the back, a potluck from fellow malaysians. rendang of all types, lemang, nasi himpit with kuah kacang, roti jala, bihun, mee goreng, karipap and segala macam kek and kuih raya - and so much more!
the malaysians were all set for a hefty raya meal on this first syawal!
i hung out with mr. khairul's mckk classmate's wife aida and finally met cik siti fairus. all this while we had been exchanging comments through each other's blogs, and facebook - but had never met her in person! she's one of the sweetest persons i met in dubai and i'm glad we've finally been able to chat and borak face to face.
in fact, her adorable youngest chubby wubby falisha had it goin on with my youngest kahfi!
after the raya prayers, the crowd took on the back table to get their raya fix! throngs of people lined up and i decided to just sit back and bask in the wonders of my first raya in dubai. mr. khairul took a little of this and a little of that for me but it was just enough that i was able to be there in the company of good friends and good merriment.
what more when here and there, open house invitations were extended - enough to make sure our breakfast, lunch, tea-time and dinner were all filled in for the next 3 days!
as usual before leaving, clicks and clacks of the camera all around - everyone looking their best in baju raya. sigh, and the most amusing sight would probably be the sight of four grown men wearing what seemed to be part of a 'school uniform' - the immortal mckk sampin.
they just don't want to grow up, do they? (wonder whether abah would wear his?)
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after the merriment in matrade building, we're off on our beraya expedition. and oh no, you probably can't see it clearly in the pictures but - belum apa-apa lagi baju khaleef was stained with icing from a cake he ate just now, and kahfi with the baby biscuit he was munchin.
two cars started the raya prowl - afza and family, with mr. khairul and family. first stop - kak jah's house in mirdiff. kak jah yang mengurut me during my pantang with kahfi. she's a warm, friendly hostess, with good home-cooked kampung raya meal for our hungry tummies yang tak makan apa-apa kat matrade tadi!
i can't say how glad i am that her house is the first house i visited on this first raya in dubai, because with the classic raya dish (bak kata mr. khairul, "masakan orang veteran"), the cozy villa with the simple decor, and her makcik-makcik demeanour - i really felt like i was in one of my sedara's house back in malaysia, and we're on a normal beraya trip right in malaysia.
it felt like raya!
alya, khaleef and kahfi helped themselves with the raya cookies, while the mak-mak and bapak-bapak savoured the dish prepared.
kak jah made soto and peanut sauce with nasi himpit, rendang cili padi (yang pedas gile which mr. khairul was so so into) the yummiest chicken curry and ketupat daun palas (teringat tokcik!). on top of that there's a simple bihun that reminds me of the bihun that mak used to make - simple, sangat simple. tapi sedap, sangat sedap!
thanks kak jah for making my first raya in dubai a yummy one!
(oh, and kak jah siap kasi duit raya kat khaleef and kahfi!)
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next stop : the humble abode of mr. affandi, the current president of myUAEpro (an assoc of malaysian professionals in dubai) and his lovely wife kak su.
we were served satay, nasi lemak, soto and carrot cake! ada satay tu!
outside, the sun was shining too brightly beautiful upon a wooden bench next to a dry tree, that i can't help snapping pictures of the boys - summer in dubai.
warm, bright, cheery, beautiful - just like our raya. hope your raya was just as! okay, 4 more open houses to crash!