By SGN | 28 May 2020
Eight years ago, Nadia Ann and her family moved to the U.S. when her husband started a job with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Taking a hiatus from corporate life, she decided to be a stay-at-home mum and a full-time volunteer for humanitarian causes. Nadia especially misses the Hari Raya fairs in Singapore for their fun activities and great food.
What is your favourite place in the Bay Area?
Monterey Bay! It takes us close to 2 hours to drive from San Ramon, but it is one of our family’s favourite spots. We love the sea, the boardwalk, and the aquarium. We did sleepovers for birthdays at the aquarium and the girls tried dives at the tide pool.
When our girls were younger, we would stop at Dennis the Menace Park for the children to run and exhaust their energy before the long drive home. Along the way, we would stop for Halal Chinese food at Darda Chinese Halal Restaurant. Now, there is a Halal Japanese restaurant in Salinas run by an Indonesian family and that is our new go-to.
What is your favourite food in the Bay Area?
Our family takes Halal food and we like to check out new Halal joints in the Bay Area. Compared to 8 years ago when we first moved here, there has been an explosion of new Halal selection, including Japanese. Dining out is no longer just limited to Indian, Pakistani, or Afghan food.
What is the most exciting thing that you do?
Since arriving in the U.S., we spend more time volunteering as a family. We help at a Letter carrier food drive and bake sales for the homeless, as well as fundraising for a Domestic Violence Shelter and incoming refugees. We also furnish homes for refugees that the International Rescue Committee brings to the U.S. These are valuable experiences we would not have been able to provide for our children had we stayed in Singapore.
Other exciting family times are during Ramadan and Hari Raya. We attend masjids for daily Ramadan prayers, and there are always scholar talks from Friday to Sunday. These talks are in English, very accessible to Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and origins.
Hari Raya Puasa here is celebrated with big Eid Prayers at the Santa Clara and Pleasanton Fairgrounds. After the prayers, there are carnival games, similar to the Funfair in Singapore with food trucks. We miss the Hari Raya fairs in Bugis and Geylang Serai.
Hari Raya Haji in the Bay Area can be quite different from Singapore. Instead of just ordering online, paying for the Korbani, and waiting to get a text that the animal has been sacrificed, you have options of driving to some farms in Half Moon Bay, San Jose, Vallejo, or further afield to choose an animal and sacrifice it yourself.
What do you miss most about Singapore?
We miss the ease of getting a variety of Halal food.
McDonald’s and KFC are Halal in Singapore so ironically when we head back to Singapore, the girls will ask for McNuggets and KFC popcorn chicken almost every day. We miss family during festive gatherings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself!
I am a full-time volunteer, spending my time running PTA (Parent Teacher Association) in my children’s school, helping with fundraisers for causes close to my heart such as domestic violence shelters, disadvantaged children, and refugees.
(Photo Credit: Nadia Ann Huifang)