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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The importance of a parent's support

Today was my 6 year old's sports say at school from grades 1 to 3. The school sent emails over a week ago encouraging parents to come support our kids on sports day. I had marked it down to make sure I didn't miss it. I dropped my son as normal then sat in the car and played with my phone until it was time to go to the sports field to watch the kids play.

It was a well organised sports day with stations well laid out by the time we got there and they had pre-picked teams the week before. The kids were tagged with stickers like name badges to remind them and to show the supervisors which teams they belonged to. Once the teams were sent to which station they started at off went the sports day. So we parents basically stood on the side lives and cheered on the kids. Well this fob mother wasn't quiet, I was shouting like I was at the Olympics. And not just for my son...for all the kids whose names I knew. Anyway in my son's team there was this one boy who was distracted since the beginning and the kids had to half shout at him to get going. Even when the supervisors were telling him to run or it was his turn he half-heartedly did it. So I learned his name and tried to encourage him along. I looked around for his parents but alas they weren't present. Then I realised the kids who were doing very well were the ones with parents there and those whom we were actively cheering on. With this little boy it was a tough one because no one seemed to know him and no one was shouting for him.

Another dad, who was a yeller like me and I learned his name and started cheering this little kid on and praising him every time he had a turn, by the second half of the games, the little champ was right into the spirit of the games. And by the end of the sports day he was beaming at us at every compliment we gave him.

I learned a valuable lesson today, that we should always make the effort to support our kids however mundane their activities may be. It's easy sometimes to wave something away as just a 6 year olds boring activity but really our children live to impress us their parents. I saw in how my son and his friends thrived with our support and encouragement and just being there made them enjoy the games more. And I'm glad that we managed to make the lone child enjoy himself and be part of his team.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

'Tis The Season...

Having fun at the ANZO Christmas Party in Muscat Intercontinental Hotel Gardens

We won the gingerbread house at the party.

And we ate it at home lol

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oman and Accidents

We're definitely back now. I dropped my son's friend off home and was driving home with Tau. I slowed down at the lights and then I saw the car in front of me rear-end another car so I hit my brakes and put my hazard lights on to warn any car behind me. I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw the car behind me was about a hundred metres back so I relaxed thinking phew they'll see my hazard lights on plus we've all slowed down for the red light. Well a few seconds later the car behind me hits my car! I think the driver must have been distracted (like on her phone) or whatever not to have seen my gigantic car had stopped with hazard lights on. Am thankful for big cars cos the plastic bumper on mine was damaged and the other car's hood and parts got pushed back. Thank God no one was hurt but now awaiting the faulty driver to call me to see her insurance about fixing my car!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back to Reality 2014

Tau started back at school yesterday. Now he is Grade one. When we arrived, his best friend was already in class and some of his other mates from last year were there too. So immediately he sat on the mat with the others and didn't bother to say goodbye to me. I had to go to him to say bye. I got the class schedule and it was swimming day yesterday so I went back to school 2 hours later to drop off his swimming gear and the teacher commented that he was doing really well as if he had always been there! all I can say. I was expecting him to hang onto me a bit longer like he did in Wellington. During our time in NZ I put him in Year one there so he could spend time with his peers. I guess because they were all new faces he wasn't too keen for me to leave. I stayed for about 10 minutes the first morning until he was comfortable but after that he was okay except he kept complaining that he didn't want to go. So I'm relieved that he's happy to return to his school here in Muscat. Hooray to little victories.

The hubby has returned to the gym and this wifey had my coffee with girlfriends yesterday morning...Yep the settling back home had begun. I guess it's complete when I went to the salon today for some much needed pampering. Yes I think we're back now to routine. Choo hoo. It's tough being an expat, that's for sure. I just need to take my pepeboy to playgroup then all will be good. His normal playgroup is shut this week so next week is mummy and pepe time. In the meantime am loving being back to my own house with the house girl in it... choo hoo

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our Loss

We've had a long time away from home spending it with loved ones in NZ. We arrived in NZ met up with Mum there at my older sister's place then we went to Wellington to catch up with my inlaws. We had a fabulous time with all our families. Mum got to catch up with a lot of her siblings and family. Most precious of all is we got to spend quality time with my mother-in-law who had terminal cancer. My six year old son had an awesome time with his beloved nana before she took a turn for the worse. We left NZ at the end of July and came home with my two boys. 
One week here in Muscat and we received the dreaded call from NZ that my kids beloved nana was now weak. We got on the next flight back to NZ with my husband and made it to nana's side while she could still talk and had some of her strength. We had a precious three and a half weeks with her before she passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loved ones. It was an emotional month for the whole family but what was most apparent and amazing was my kids nana's fighting spirit and will to be with her family. She was an amazing strong woman and she went on her own terms. She amazed the medical staff with her progress and how she fought until the end. She was a loyal mother and wife and doting loving nana to her five grandchildren. The funeral was beautiful and she had it just the way she would have wanted it. It was beautiful and heartbreaking, she was taken far too soon as she had many years in her but with this horrible disease cancer none of us have control. However as I keep telling my son his nana will forever be our hearts and wonderful memories of all the fun times he had with her. He is handling it all well and am so proud of him but my heart breaks for his great loss.
Rest In Peace Tau and Manu's beautiful and doting Nana Sue. Our boys will grow up  in your legacy of love, loyalty and commitment to family.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Conversations with my 6 year old

My son spent a week with his grandparents in Wellington and I picked him up today from the airport. It was so good to have my baby back in my arms and with me again. I know he had an amazing time with his grandparents and he loves every minute of it. His mouth was going a hundred mph as we drove home. We passed a small cemetery and he said,
Mum look it's where dead people live.
I said well they're dead and they're buried there it's called a cemetery.
He asked if each person had a cemetery and I explained that individual plots were called graves. He asked but what are those things with words on them...oh those are headstones. I then added remember I told you when we die our bodies turn to soil again?
He piped up, mum when you die I will bury you in the dirt. Me trying to stifle my laughter I said; that's okay.
Then he said; well actually I will put you in the guest room on the bed there.
Hmm let's explore this, why would you do that sweetie?
Well then you're with me for awhile, I'll do the same with dad then I can remember how much fun we had. But when I turn 42 I will put you in the dirt in the garden. Plus you and dad don't own a cemetery so there's nowhere to put you guys so you'll be in my garden where I'll remember where I put you.
I'm in hysterics but of course trying very hard to concentrate on the road and keep the conversation going.
He thought a bit then he said oh yeah you have to be buried in Samoa because that's where you're from. That means mum you have to die in Samoa...
wahahaha okay tall order there son. I asked what if I die somewhere else.
He answered I will take you home mum!!! I said what if you just cremate me I explained cremation and he said, no I'll take you home with dad too.
Not morbid at all. I missed my boy and his 6 year old logic and inquisitive mind.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Father's Last Day

I was lying in bed last night thoughtful as usual when I started thinking about fathers day just gone. I thought of how it's almost meaningless to me due to losing my father at 5 years old. Then I was flooded with memories of my father's last moments.
I remember being woken up by voices weeping, crying loudly, in Samoan it's best described as laueega: A loud cry filled with anguish and emotional pain. The cobwebs cleared as I realised the crying was coming from my mother who was leaning over my father on their big four poster bed with other women of our family around. They were all doing something to my dad. I didn't understand why there were so many people in our bedroom. My mum was pushing down on dad's chest over and over and also blowing into his mouth all the while pleading and begging dad in this pain filled voice to not let go and not to leave her then. She would talk strongly then her voice falters to loud crying as if speaking louder would keep dad alive. I remember this went on for what seemed like hours, my aunties took turns massaging dad's legs while someone else was busy dabbing his forehead with a wet cloth and lauki...tea leaves and lau gogu or noni leaves. Eventually all this movement around Dad stopped but the crying continued. My father had passed on and could not be revived. I remember being so scared and incredibly sad to see my mother in this way. Five year old me was scared for it was dark outside and all this crying must be attracting the night ghosts. The fact that my father's body was now lifeless and he had gone more pale than usual. Worst of all was seeing my mum in so much pain. I hadn't seen my mother cry before but then and there I saw how much a grown person could cry and I wished my mum would stop and never cry again. Seeing my mum so vulnerable made me very scared as five year old me was seeing my strength and my world crumble. My aunties cuddled and consoled me and my siblings. My mum washed and clothed my father while my aunties took us away to wash us and put us in our Sunday best for Dad's final services. I remember coming back to the room and feeling how cold my father was when giving him a kiss. I was scared to go near him again. The arrangements were all done that morning and Dad was buried later that day at home. The family swept in and helped mum set up for the final services. Mum was following dad's wishes to be buried as soon as possible at home surrounded by his family. After dad was brought to the living area of our house mum sat near him and cried even more. The more family and friends that came to pay respects the more my mum would cry and stayed by dad most of that day. Later dad's body was moved to the main house so his final services were held there and there was room for the choir that came to sing hymns during the last service. Ironic as my dad didn't set foot in the church. 
During the hymns my baby sister who was one and half then would get up and dance near Dad's coffin. This made other grown ups cry! After the service the men lifted my father's coffin and took him to the grave. I remember there were so many people I couldn't see my father anymore. Then one uncle lifted me up and pushed to the front so I could see my father being lowered into the ground. 
For the rest of the year I contracted every contagious disease that came around. I had the measles, yellow fever and pink eye. I remember being sick all the time and using my fathers shirts as nightgowns and later my mum told me that she realised I was taking my father's death hard. Some mornings I complained my leg hurt and I would literally not be able to walk and would hobble along dragging one leg all day. I was due to start year one and later I remember I had to have a tutor come to teach me my subjects at home. I asked my mom about this later in life and mum told me I had missed most of the year of schooling and to make sure I didn't fall behind she hired a tutor to help me at home. 
One happy memory I have of my dad was when I received a prize at school which was a little ballerina for being the top speller or something like that. When he came to pick us up from school I told him excitedly about my prize he lifted me up and spun me around and cuddled me saying "that's my girl..." 
I understand this may open old wounds for my siblings but I don't know if I ever talked about these memories before but for some reason they resurfaced and I told my youngest sister last night and she was glad I shared it with her. She thought it could be therapeutic and it could bring some closure for some of us. She was a one year old baby so she doesn't remember any of this. There's my father's final moments as I saw them from my five year old eyes. 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Holidays coming up

Summer is here in Oman. It's now past 40 degrees heat once again. Some days are super hot with dry heat and some just plain humid with heat. Today we made it to the pool at the club we're members at and enjoyed a good swim there until 11am. The pool is cooled which helps so when you're in the pool it's pleasant but if you decide to sit on the'll just swelter. I had a lie in while hubby was up with the awesome twosome. When we got back from the pool I made chocolate muffins for the nagging 5 year old!
Hubby and bubs are now at the shops getting some veges as we're low on them. Master 5 is knocked out and I'm trying to de-clutter, cook kids dinner and look I'm blogging instead eek. Ce la vie.
School is out in two weeks and we're off to visit family down south where it's winter. I think we'll get a shock coming from this heat but am sure we'll be fine. Can't wait to see mum and catch up with family we get to see. yay. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Fitness and eating well: The fight against the bulge continues

This is probably a lot of people's struggle and I'm one of those. I try to be active all the time and join different fitness classes to spice up my exercising life and just to stay fit. OK notice I said 'I try' cos I think I take months long breaks in between. I've been doing yoga and I love that until the blimin yoga teacher announces she's leaving which sucks and puts me off. Still looking for someone else in town to go to. There's another awesome yoga instructor my friends go to who's on holiday so will go to her when she comes back. I'm so inspired now I really want to be good at it. Ommmmmm.
I've started working out at the gym following some programme the husband is on now. And well I've impressed myself by going hard out. It is really good and time focussed that there's no time to wallow in self pity and think I dislike gyms so yep am hoping that six pack will show itself soon through the family pack I'm carrying around:) choo hoo OK am not exactly huge but I would like to be fit and lose a little bit just to keep the bulge at I said the fight continues choo hoo.
Which brings me to food. Like every Samoan I guess I just love to eat. Am trying to limit myself to healthy foods which comes under cancer fighting foods as well. I'm trying to clean our diet so not to feed my kids crap from the shops. So my answer for this is to bake for my kids. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I baked chocolate muffins that my son requested and well let's say one found it's way to my tummy straight away.
My mind says well you're working out so it should be ok. ha ha. I think I'd be a personal trainer's nightmare. OK this mama better go it's bedtime routine time. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

I suck at blogging and making sua i'a

Gee I told myself to make more effort at this and well just ain't happening. kaea kele. Just tried to make a sua i'a as in I bought the yummy fish and put it in pot with onions, garlic and water. Rummaged through the pantry for my usual coconut cream stash only to find none...aaargh. So the sua i'a is stuck at supo i'a. I probably make this once a year...anyway am going to enjoy eating the yummy fish nevertheless and less calories without the cream...eio after she stuffed her face with a chocolate chip muffin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Frozen phenomena

So I have sons and didn't know about the Frozen movie until I saw friends post youtube videos of different people doing covers of the songs from the movie. When it came on pay tv I had to rent it and watched it with my 5 year old. Needless to say we were hooked. We must have watched it about 3 times until it got cancelled. I was so impressed with the movie. My son enjoyed it and we sung along in funny ways to the songs until he told his boy mates about it and an older mate told him it was a 'girl' movie. I told him it's not really and we talked about it then he was okay again about liking it!
What I loved was the fact that the sisters saved each other as for once it wasn't about a prince's kiss that saved the day. I liked that it changed the usual fairy tale ending of prince saving the girl but instead that the girl(Elsa in this case) can channel her power and strength and save herself and others. Also Anna's determination and belief in her sister that she made the trek alone until Kristoff to bring her back. I like that the 'love' that saved the day was that of a sister, a sibling and not a 'lover' as such. So power to family love. As fun as Anna was I think all the little ones were drawn to Elsa because of her powers. Every little one is drawn to super powers after all! I read an article that thought it was interesting that Elsa was more popular but I think it comes down to the fact that Anna was your everyday fun sister whereas Elsa was the mysterious, glamorous and super-powerful sister. What little girl wouldn't want to magically build her own ice majestic castle and superheroes are all the rage after all. 
So five stars to Frozen from this mum:)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Birthday boy and grandparents visiting

Time flies when you have a lot on. My kids other grandparents came for visit for two weeks and it was great having them over. It was also baby's first birthday and Master 5's Easter holidays. We stayed put and just spent time with the folks around Muscat. It was fantastic. I value the time my kids have with our parents and I love that their bond grows stronger each time. 
Pepeboy's first birthday went really well. A lot of our friends went away for Easter so the few that were in town joined us to celebrate pepeboy's 1st year milestone. He had his usual naps during the day and so I planned the birthday to when he woke up at 4pm. So 4pm baby was on top form as everyone arrived. He had loads of fun and all up we had about 10 kids two of which were babies while the rest were Tau's age group. So to keep them busy we played pass the parcel, musical chairs and this awesome idea I picked up at another party where you buy those noodle spray cans. Hand them out and it's free for all spray whoever just not the babies and not in the eyes. In this game even the adults get into it and it's a lot of fun. Needless to say the yard looked like we had a rave as there were colourful strings all over the place but it added to the celebratory atmosphere. We made lots of healthy snacks and had out the usual goodies so there was food for everyone. Once the two hours of entertaining was up which included feeding all the kids homemade pizza and singing the birthday song I relaxed and put the tired birthday boy in his bath and bed. It was a lovely day. Hubby then cooked up a storm on the barbie for the adult party. It was fun and a few others showed up in the evening so the party went till 3am! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mrs Fix-It

The washing machine wouldn't complete a cycle which reminded me I hadn't cleaned out the drain in ages. So I did the usual cleaning of the drain and filter and of course it was full of sand, dirt, hair, coins, hair pins and a screw! I cleaned the barrel and the rubber lining and was shocked at how filthy it was. Totally disgusting. I remember trying to clean it before and was so put off that I thought surely it was time for a new machine. Then I remembered lovely Google! I googled how to clean it and wha laa, I found detailed instructions and even videos on how to maintain a washing machine and all sorts of models too! I found one using home goods like chlorox, and vinegar and I went to town with it all. After doing the 4 cycles just to clean and remove the smelly odour from the machine it was done. Then we concluded that we needed the service guys. After many calls around Muscat we got through to the right people. After the week-end the guys arrived and found the motor was broken and just replaced it for a price. It was way cheaper than buying a whole new machine so thank goodness to this service.
As I was on a fix it mode, I got out the right screw drivers and went to town with this nice looking wooden Salt grinder we had for years which we thought was broken not long after we used it. The pepper grinder still works fine but it always bothered me that the darn thing was expensive and for it to break so soon! Miser and I know haha. I took it apart washed it with warm soapy water with the hope that I wasn't screwing up a mechanism in the grinder. Then I remember google and sure enough I was on the right track. Happy I was that after all that time the grinder just needed a good clean and the right sea salt that doesn't have too much moisture in it that forms clumps and blocks the mechanism from grinding. At this rate I may not need a husband soon! heh heh.
I also managed to get the curtain people in from Al Khuwair and today they showed up and fixed our spanking new beautiful black out curtain for our bedroom. I'm so proud of it. The hubby had complained of the last curtain as it resembled those in hotels that he didn't like one bit. I chose the darn thing without realizing that I could choose any colour and they add the black out fabric to it. I guess the curtain people were urging me towards a sale too. Anyway goodbye boring curtain hello vivacious curtain. I just love how it goes with our four poster bed. Woo hoo a successful start to the week for this housewife. There are many curtain shops in Muscat and all over the place. I worked with others before but I liked these guys as they were friendly and listened to what I wanted. The last people from Ghubrah I worked with weren't very friendly and well their curtain opening mechanism didn't last long. So later to them.
The villa maintenance people just called that the painter will come in two days time to sand our bedroom wall and repaint due to leaking in the walls that have now enabled flora and fauna(ugh) aka green and white mold to appear on the wall.
Now onto painting my sons' black board on the spare room wall so they can write with chalk and draw what they like. Baby is now into drawing I'd rather he uses chalk than the white board markers on the white walls! And that's my exciting week thus far.
This week I recommend Sarco maintenance people for Samsung home appliances, in Al Khuwair the curtain shop Nasser Sulaiman Salim Al`Kindi Trading and my services to fix your salt grinders!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pepe Boy learns to walk and general mummy babbling.

Our little cutie is eleven months and has started walking. It's such a beautiful stage to observe. He's a determined little guy but once he was confident with standing it took off from there. One little step a day for three days lead to 3 steps to nine steps. The past three days he's been getting up all on his own from crawling and just walking up to 20 steps now. So so cute and such a joy to see.
At his playgroups there are babies his age and older that can't pull themselves up yet. The moms look concerned for their own when they see my pepe boy doing his thing but all babies are different, some develop faster in certain areas than others. I do play a lot with my baby on the floor and do activities that strengthen his little body. We celebrate his little feats and maybe that helps him develop as he does. For example I've always liked to play throw and catch soft balls with my babies and that's one game they learned early and fast and enjoy a lot. And when I help baby catch the ball we clap and praise him for doing so to which he looks proud and smiles and claps. And no I don't push them to do things too early neither. I like them to do it at their own pace.

It brings me to Master 5's reading efforts. I'm quite relaxed and think he has plenty of time next year in grade 1 to learn to read until we had a reading 'talk' at school last month and I realised I really needed to be proactive to help my son with his reading. We always read together(us parents reading him stories) but I don't push him to actually read so now I'm really helping him with phonics to connect the letters, their sounds to make the words. I started over a week ago and within a few days he read me back a short sentence from a new book we were reading. Amazing how being proactive, patient and just giving your child time can really help with their progress. I've also had to talk him into allowing me to help him with his reading and not reject saying he already did it at school. He loves it when he manages to decipher the sentences about him I leave on his white board and I let him see me do the victory dance when I hear him read it out loud. Our healthier routine has really helped also with his enjoyment at school and being well-rested. However my poor big bubs is sick again for the last few days. I had to take him to the doctor today and once he had the prescribed medicine and more rest he was much better a few hours later. We have tickets to the opera house to watch Chi of Shaolin tomorrow so we'll see how he feels in the morning if I should take him or not. Good night.

No Swim

So after all that excitement and some swimming to prepare for the challenge our friend who was supposed to register our group of three went a few days later with the form and was told registration was closed. The spots were filled within 24 hours. There goes that challenge. We were all disappointed that we missed out. They don't do waiting lists either. Oh well there's always next year!

Monday, March 03, 2014

A Challenge: 4K Swim

I'm writing this down so I don't back out. There is a 4 km swim from an island off Muscat called Fahal island to PDO beach in May and well I've decided to take up the challenge and do it. I've never done this before and would love to do it. I wanted to run an half`marathon and then was told that it's not good to do so within 12 months post-op so later to that for now. So swimming it is. This is where I'm at. Started yoga again after eating my way through the holiday and trying to get back into a fitness routine. So I have to make time to train for the swim. And I have about 6 weeks to go. I have three friends that are also keen to take up the challenge and two of these friends have been training and are doing well. Needless to say I've yet to start training...positivity I can do this. Contact PDO if you're willing to do the swim in May, 2014.
Fahal swim here I come.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 1 back home: Routine Police

We came back from our holiday and I went into responsible mum full throttle. As we were all jet lagged we were all in bed by 8pm which was a beautiful start. We arrived around 2pm and walked into an empty pantry, empty fridge(both) and decided to be pro-active I drove straight to the nearest grocery store and bought all the necessities from milk, bread, fruit, vegetables and the like. The following day I went off to the bigger supermarket to get the rest of the groceries. The good thing about this is then the transition home is smooth and well it felt like we never left and that my friends is how you settle back home after going away on holiday. An empty fridge always makes me want to hop back on the plane and back to where we came from with a full fridge plus the room service at the overnight hotel we stopped at! So it was a good start to the week. On top of that, on Saturday Master 5 had a playdate with his bestest friend so we went around to our friends for awhile before we came home to dinner, bath, bedtime story and bed. And that has been our routine since. On top of that I disallow any tv watching nor video games. No sweets during the week except the one day he had a playdate and they had rugby training in the afternoon so I thought a bit of sugar before the training was okay. So needless to say the teacher reports that Master 5 was at top form all week at school.
Step back
Over the weekend I came down with a sore throat and fever and baby's cold has gotten worse. So today when I finally woke up from lying in while hubby did the school drop off, I made appointments at our clinic and drove there. While sitting at a red light on the way, the school nurse calls that Master 5 was in her office and needed to be brought home as he was very unwell. So we detoured to the school on the way to the clinic. Good thing is both boys were seen to by the paediatrician and as both weren't happy I couldn't see my doctor. Thanks to a nice lady who tried to help me with my kids while I waited for the medicine at the pharmacy. No thanks to the paediatric nurse who saw me struggling with carrying my baby, pushing the stroller and propping up a crying 5 year old she just walked ahead of me to lead us struggling to the doctor's office. Compassion was on a break when we got there obviously. Not that I expect it but my 5 year old was so upset with a high fever at that point that he just wasn't cooperating. I figured I'd survive so we came home to a lovely chicken soup that hubby had just made after I called him from the clinic with the news of 2 sick boys. Our house has been like a hospital today but after lots of sleep I feel better. Off to gargle on salt and warm water before bed. Good night.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

ABA Cultural Food Fair

Back in Muscat after 5 weeks in Samoa and New Zealand. Had a nice enough time catching up with family. 
Yesterday ABA had a cultural food fair so made pani popo (sweet coconut buns) for the Samoa stall. We shared a stall with Australia, NZ and Fiji. There are lots of Aussies at the school so they came out full force with loads of food and Fiji and I had a little corner to sell kokoda(oka-lime cooked raw fish and kasava) and pagipopo for ours. I'm glad to say that I've aced the recipe off I divide it even further to make 24 buns instead of 12 so I do 2 doughs and end up with 48 buns which is great. It's the right size for people to buy at the fair to 'try' and not be filled by one whole Samoan sized bun. So of course for us we need 3 of those little ones heh heh. Anyway my son used most of tokens to go buy it from our stall! So I guess it's nice that he likes his mum's baking! Otherwise I had spring rolls and meat dumplings in Korea. My little one loved the spring rolls from there. I had tea in England and pagipopo from Samoa, oh and I had my main veal gulasch from Hungary. Just loved it, people dressing up in their country costumes and performances by kids and adults from around the world. I think these international events are great for cultural awareness for the kids.