Friday, 17 July 2020

Pushing pause

The blog is about to go on a break for a short while, as the kids and I arrived in Sweden today after 129 days of inside, isolated life.

To travel or not to travel this summer wasn't an easy decision AT ALL, and one we certainly didn't make easily. Trust me.
But now here we are, for a few weeks - in fresh air, lovely temperatures and with endless amounts of forest, greenery and nature to roam in freely.

As with everything else this year, we will make the best of it. Hence the blog will now be paused until I'm back home again. Until then!

Saturday, 11 July 2020

What Corona does to you...

In these times where you look for entertainment anywhere, we decided one evening have some fun and make the most of all the beer cans in our house. We wanted to build - 'Burj Beer'!

We used the Lego instructions for the Burj Khalifa as inspiration, but had to scale down a bit as it was going to be way to tall to work.

It turned into total team work getting all the cans, turning them the right way, get the tower balanced etc. The whole family was involved, but Lucas was the main engineer. Cool huh!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Back to LAD

Day 122, Thursday 9 July
Today I had decided with two of my colleagues to meet at the Louvre Abu Dhabi for a bit of a walk-around and a chat. Louvre Abu Dhabi re-opened a few weeks back, and you are welcome to visit, although there are the usual restrictions in place obviously - like to wear mask and gloves.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem many people are taking advantage of the museum being open again - these were the only cars in the car park:

It felt extremely safe visiting the museum. All touch screens have been removed and there are no printed guides, instead you are encouraged to download their app which will guide you through the museum. There are also plenty of social distancing markers and you walk along specified routes with special entrance and exit points, as to not cross over paths.

But apart from the three of us, we only saw two other families during our visit, and that was in the café! We walked through all the galleries completely on our own! I highly recommend if you are staying in Abu Dhabi for the summer holidays, to make a visit to the LAD now; it is so enjoyable when you have the whole place to yourself! Like a private visit!

We just wanted to check if they had changed anything around in the galleries, or rotated any art work, so we moved about pretty quickly. Everything was still the same. Felt so good to be back!

Such a lovely morning! Even with mask and gloves on!

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Corona routines

Day 121, Wednesday 8 July
I was talking to a friend yesterday who wondered if I'm not going crazy doing the exact same thing every day; that it didn't sound healthy.
I don't know if it's unhealthy (and of course I have been going crazy, and I have hit rock bottom more than once as documented here on the blog), but to me it has become something comforting. I am already the type of person who loves order, routines and everyday life, maybe that's why; but I also believe that in this situation, having routines means that you can at least control something, in this crazy life we are living.
My days start exactly the same every day:

Wake up, usually by myself around 9 am
Pull the curtains
Toilet, wash, put my contacts in
Get dressed in my workout gear, put my Apple Watch on
Grab my water bottle and go downstairs
Empty dishwasher if needed, pull the curtains, turn on some music if it's not already on etc
Boil four eggs and make a cup of coffee
Start the Roborock (LOVE it by the way!)
Read the news and surf the web for a bit
Eat two of the eggs, and enjoy another cup of coffee
Fill my water bottle and get ready to workout
Spend about 2 hours in my 'Escape Room', doing some treadmill, sometimes some Wii tennis, but mostly at the moment cardio- and/or strength training.
Wake the kids before 12
Shower and get dressed
Eat the other two eggs and some vegetables for lunch, with more coffee
And... get on with the day!

From here on it can look a bit different. Today for example we are cleaning, as it didn't happen yesterday. Some days I end up back in front of the computer, some days back in bed with a book or a podcast. Some days I fall asleep on the sofa for a bit (could happen today, as we had a power cut last night which of course woke us all up... zzzzz). Some days I Zoom with friends.
Usually I'm in charge of getting the groceries, so some days I go to the shops. I am also mostly the one making dinner, so that happens in the late afternoon. But as you can see there is no huge variations in my days, no.

I have been thinking that as boring as this feels now... eventually I will miss this life too though, the very slow and controlled (and super safe!) living in our own little bubble. I hope that the closeness we have developed to each other in the family throughout these months, will still be there forever - even though I do wish that our lives get a little bit more exciting, soon!

Monday, 6 July 2020

Maximising my wardrobe

Throughout these past many months of staying safe at home and with oceans of time, I've been systematically going through the whole house, sorting, clearing out, cleaning etc. Admittedly mostly in the beginning so I guess it's almost time to start all over again though, ha ha!

Another thing I've done since I've had an unlimited amount of time on my hands, is to use an app to digitize my closet. This is something I have been wanting to do for a while out of pure curiosity, and because I do like lists and statistics; but never have gotten around to as it initially takes quite a bit of time when you start logging.

No, I'm definitely no fashionista, nor a 20-something influencer or anything like that, but I still like the idea of easily and purposely see all my clothes like this, in this app. I like the idea of becoming more mindful when shopping for clothes, and getting the clothes in my wardrobe to work harder.

The app is called Stylebook, and I have to say it's pretty great!
It doesn't need to be time consuming to use it, but since time hasn't been an issue for me, I have gone pretty much full on with it! I have been taking every aspect of the app very seriously and I also do use most aspects of it, but the app can be used differently of course depending on your dedication.

Being slightly obsessive, I have been going through everything in my wardrobe to log it. You can choose to enter product images if the item is still to be found online, or take your own photos. You can then include the size, fabric and brand for example, and the cost of the item. Sometimes it's hard, especially if it's an older piece of clothing, but I've really tried to be as faithful as possible.

Every day I then add to the calendar what I am wearing that day. You can paste the different pieces of your "look" together and create these fun outfit "flat-lays" (I know, I know, too much time on my hands!) if you want to, or just log each item separately.

Thanks to doing this, you can then use the statistics function within the app. It will let you know for example which pieces you wear the most, the least, what colour you wear the most, which combinations you like AND - you can see the cost-per-use for each item.

I have even been going through photos from years back to enter those outfits too, in order to make my stats more accurate. Although many of my clothes are actually rather old, so the cost-per-use will never really be 100% exact.
Anyhow, it's actually super interesting to see, and I'm having a lot of fun with it! Now to add an item whenever I buy something new doesn't take long, so it's not that time consuming anymore, just fun!

Friday, 3 July 2020

Only 58 more

Day 116, Friday 3 July
First day of summer holidays, only 58 to go!
What do you know, that's only half of the time we have already been isolated and at home - piece of cake! Or something... yay, go life.

Corona Diary, Day 111-115. Fifteenth week of home school

Day 111, Sunday 28 June
Fifteenth and LAST week of the school year of 2019-2020, and what an end to this year it has been!
I am so proud of the kids for how they have dealt with this whole situation. They adapted so quickly to this new way of learning and have continued to be dedicated, hardworking and above all resilient throughout these challenging months. But it is no secret - I wish above all else that school resumes (mostly) as normal at the end of August. The kids need the social interaction with their friends and to be in the school environment, just as much as they need the academic education. Fingers crossed!

This afternoon I met with Frida to wish her a happy summer. She and her family are leaving for Sweden this week, with hopes of returning mid-August.

Day 112, Monday 29 June
This morning we attended Lucas' MYP Graduation (=från grundskolan) via Teams.

It's a shame and a bit sad of course that this years Grade 10 won't get their prom and a proper Graduation Ceremony; but it was nice that they arranged this online celebration for the students. We enjoyed sharing it with Lucas, even if it was from the comfort of our sofa.

In other news we took delivery today of a new gadget. Or should I say a new member of the family - meet Roborock:

Yes, we will probably continue to do all the cleaning ourselves for a while yet, as we are unsure about the rules regarding having people from outside coming into your home; and whereas I look forward to eventually having my cleaners back - I thought we could do with a little assistance already now.
We will still do a big top-to-bottom family cleaning session every week, but I was thinking Roborock could be in charge of keeping on top of the dust and sand in between those sessions.

He has spent a good hour and a half mapping out the house during his first cleaning session this evening, and now I have to go through and insert a few no-go zones on that map where I could see he had trouble and got stuck. But I do think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
It's the little things again.

Day 113, Tuesday 30 June
End of June. 2020 is now half done. I have no idea how that happened. Oaw.
I do hope that all our efforts of isolation and staying apart this first part of the year will mean that we will end the year under more normal circumstances. Here's to hoping.

Today was cleaning day, although at first it took some convincing. The troops didn't quite understand why they still had to clean now that we have Roborock. But, then while we were in the swing of things, both the oven and the fridge got a complete deep clean today as well! Yes, at least one really good thing that has come out of this home isolation is that the kids are now fully educated in every aspect of cleaning a home. Today they also displayed perfect team work which warmed my heart and made me so proud of them. The little things.

Day 114, Wednesday 1 July
This morning Linnea and the rest of the Grade 8 had their award ceremony, another online event. Linnea brought home an IB Learner Profile Award, for two things: Open-Minded & Communicator. Well done Linnea, so proud!

I also took Linnea to a nearby café where one of her teachers had planted herself for a few hours, to allow students to come say goodbye as she is leaving for good this year. Linnea has had teacher in different roles for the past three years, so she was grateful she got to see her before she left.

Yummy salmon and spinach risotto for dinner, and kids are so ready for the very last day of school tomorrow.

Day 115, Thursday 2 July
So this is it! LAST day of this academic year, and I HOPE the last we see of the e-learning in this way! Nobody knows still what will happen end of August, but everybody is hoping the kids will be returning to campus next year. A decision will probably not be made until in the beginning of August at the earliest.

Linnea made a kladdkaka to celebrate the holidays, yum!

Can you believe it, it is almost FOUR months since the kids had their last normal school day (5th of March)!! Four whole months they have been at home, inside, isolated, and now we have another two months ahead of us with summer holidays; continuing to be at home, inside and isolated - but with no routines. Oh boy...

Summer holidays are always worth celebrating though, so it was time to go out for dinner tonight for the first time in many many months. We chose a Thai restaurant we have been getting take-away from before, which we really like.

 And there we have it, the weirdest school year is over. Well done kids!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 109-110

Day 109, Friday 26 June
Last weekend of this school year. Next time this week we are entering the loooooong weekend that is the summer holidays. The kids need a long break by now for sure, but, I'm not sure the kind they will have this year is the healthiest one... endless inside days... sigh...

Today was another Groundhog Day. Nothing special at all. Coffee, workout, lunch, chill, dinner. That's about it.
I went through my wardrobe trying to create a bit more space. Having exercised my way through these Corona-months I thought I'd try this skirt again, which was in my too-small-pile, and guess what?! It fits again!!

Last time I wore it was probably in early 2012!! (Yes I do keep my classic items, or clothes that I really, really like; even if they are too big or too small.) I do like shopping in my own wardrobe..!

Day 110, Saturday 27 June
I can't remember what I was dreaming in the night, but it was so nice I didn't want to wake up. You know that feeling when you know in the dream you are dreaming?
I guess with all normal planning, dreaming, looking ahead to things gone due to this black hole that is Covid-19 and all its effects, my subconscious still looks after me and gives me nice experiences. I guess I have to be thankful for that! The little things!

My training sessions are getting longer and longer these days. I have found a new app with free workouts that I really enjoy - FitOn - and I'm working my way through them. I'm focusing a bit more on strength and lifting heavier than I've done up until now. Still also getting the cardio and the kilometers in there, as it's the only movement I get, so I tend to spend a few hours every day in my Escape Room.

Today Linnea and I also went for groceries. In hindsight that was a silly idea as it's the weekend and people have just been paid. There was so many people! Also, this week regulations about children under 12  finally eased (they have been allowed nowhere since the beginning of lockdown), so the mall was full of families, at long last being able to have a bit of an outing with their little ones.
They have raised the capacity allowed inside the mall now and removed the bollards blocking every second car park, but we still had to circle a bit to find one!
Well, we got the groceries done, and a few other jobs, and got out of there.  Back home for an easy Saturday dinner - sushi and shawarmas!

Friday, 26 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 104-108. Fourtheenth week of home school

Day 104, Sunday 21 June
Second to last week of school. Another Sunday just rolling by.
Today I went to have coffee with Frida again, but at a different mall this time for something new, ha ha!

Nice with company, but still so tired of malls. But what to do when it's 40+ outside? I guess at least next week we will be able to meet at the Louvre Abu Dhabi! It was a nice coffee chat though and I did manage to get myself some much needed new sports tops, so all good.

Day 105, Monday 22 June
Get up. Get through the day. Go to bed. Repeat.
Today was an all afternoon kind of workout day, didn't shower and get dressed until well after 4 pm. Greek meatballs with feta cheese, pasta salad and home-made tsatsiki for dinner.
Nothing else to report.

Kind of looking forward to school ending which is when I have decided to wrap up this diary style writing. It just makes me sad every day to realise that I'm mostly spending my days just waiting, and I'm not even sure what I'm waiting for anymore.
"Så går en dag från vårt liv och kommer aldrig åter"...

Day 106, Tuesday 23 June

Today for something different, it was time for the hairdresser. Same procedures as last time, with temperature check, seats blocked off for distancing, masks on etc. A bit funny to try make conversation when "So, what have you been up to?" doesn't really bring back much, ha ha!
No big change, stayed bright and blond. Only decided to chop off the longer lengths of my hair, as they just turn wispy and thin. I think shoulder length really is my best length.

Before and during:

And after:

Day 107, Wednesday 24 June
Today I woke up and managed to be grateful, grateful that today was Wednesday which means yesterday was Tuesday. The whole house is clean and it's a whole week until next cleaning session. The small things people!

I had another coffee date with a friend today. It was probably the last one for a while though. Now I don't have anything in the calendar until my next hair appointment on the 19th of August. Go life...
Almost all the people I know here have already braved the exit trip out of the country, or are planning to go in the coming week. Yes, it is risky, as nobody knows yet what restrictions will be in place in August when they need to come back - or even IF you will be allowed back; but I guess people have just had enough. It's not just me.

We are on a roll with the kids cooking, last night Lucas cooked us Chicken Katsu Curry for dinner and tonight we were treated with Sloppy Joes by Linnea. 

Day 108, Thursday 25 June
A friend of mine said yesterday in a text: "I have stopped saying 'It's all good' when people are asking how's things" - well damn right. I think we've all exhausted the "bright sides" of this situation by now.

News came today that the National Sterilization Program has finished, which means no more nightly curfew, not that it has affected us in the slightest as we don't tend to roam around much during the nights, ha ha. The travel ban into Abu Dhabi from the other emirates is still in place though - and we still have no news on if, when and how Abu Dhabi is going to open up for further travel in and out of the country. Dubai on the other hand has new travel rules since Tuesday, and is opening for tourists from the 7th July. It is very strange and confusing with all these different restrictions, within the same country.

In brighter news to end the week, the kids school reports came out, and both did really well. They both even managed to raise a few grades this term, which is a great credit to them having done it all by themselves for the last fourteen weeks. One more week to go.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Corona Diary, Day 102-103. Midsummer weekend

Day 102, Friday 19 June. Happy Midsummer!
Today it is Midsommarafton in Sweden, very early this year.
We celebrated at home in our own company (well duh) with a bit of a Swedish brunch. I really wanted a smörgåstårta (=sandwich cake), so I tried a recipe I found of a smörgåstårta with Asian flavours that I thought would go down well.

I also cooked some meatballs and potatoes, but no huge buffet table. I'm really the only one who cares about the food anyway, so I laid the bar quite low.

Kids were a bit sceptical about the smörgåstårta (understandable, it is a strange thing I guess), but I loved it! Sometimes you really surprise yourself, I was so pleased! I think it was the first ever smörgåstårta I made all from scratch, and I was really happy with our Midsummer table!

In the evening Linnea and I whipped up a magnificent marängsviss (=a bit like an Eton Mess) for dessert. Home-made meringues, whipped cream, strawberries, ice cream, bananas and home-made, warm, chocolate sauce... mmm! Everyone but Nathan had THREE helpings! Oh. My. Goodness. SO good!

Thankful for at least one different, special and festive day in the endless row of Groundhog Days which are our life at the moment. Even if the effort was mostly just mine, I guess I do these things for myself mostly anyway.
I tried to match my Midsummer outfit to the trusty IKEA flower wreath I made our first year here in Abu Dhabi.

Day 103, Saturday 20 June
Today Linnea had (finally!) decided with her friend Daniella to meet up at the mall. Ever since they made the plans she has been really giddy and excited, and me too, for her sake. It knew it would do her a world of good hanging out with her friend, even if it has to be at the mall at the moment. They had had a good time, doing some shopping, getting some Starbucks, chatting away.
Lucas also went to the mall for a bit, to hang out with a friend of his. Apart from his appointments at the dentist and the hairdressers, this was the first time he was properly out of the house for weeks and weeks.

Another weekend bites the dust. Two more weeks left of school before we head into the infinity which is the summer holidays of 2020. Let's see what else this Jumanji year can throw at us then.