Thursday, 6 May 2021

That escalated quickly!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, Nathan and I went to check out the new Jysk shop at Yas Mall two weeks ago, just to have lunch. While there we got talking about the nice stuff they had in the shop, about how our sofa keeps hurting his back and so on.
One thing let to another rather quickly, and now two weeks later we have a completely refurbished living area downstairs, with green walls; and the kids have freshly painted rooms and a bunch of new furniture as well..! Yeah, that escalated quickly!

It all got accelerated by the fact that our friends from Brunei were about to move into their apartment, so I messaged Peta - "Do you need a sofa, or a TV?" And yes, they did! As they have two toddlers, they were more than happy to get their hands on a 2nd hand sofa. They also got an old office chair, one of the kids sofa beds, two armchairs and a table, some wall shelves, two big cubical shelves, plus some loose stuff such as a safety gate, a framed poster, a standing mirror, a rug... ha ha, the list goes on!

So, we had to get some new stuff (took advantage of all the Ramadan offers!), and as we were getting new stuff, we decided to do a bit of a reshuffle at the same time. And as we were doing a reshuffle, we decided to have the whole downstairs painted too! After seven years in our black, white and beige living room I craved some colour, so behold our new living area - now in soft greens, blues, pinks and sandy hues:

We moved my "office" (there will be another, smaller, desk and wooden storage here) to the previous dining room area, and created a bit of a home library feeling.

I got a reading chair again, which I have missed since I lost my reading corner in Brunei when the bar got installed, yay!


Our dining table went down the end into the big space, brighter and a for something different:

And the new (!) TV went on the short wall by the door which made for a cosier TV-watching space. New sofas there, with new cushion covers and a new rug. Still a bit unsure as to how to place the sofas, we have tried three different ways already...

The new TV is a whole thing by itself, it's a Samsung The Frame, by my wishes. This means that when it's turned off it's not just a big, black blob - it turns into a piece of ART, and I LOVE it!!! (The actual frame itself hasn't arrived yet, but it will make the TV look even more like a framed painting.)
I can change the artwork with an app on my phone, which also tells me more about each artwork. It has everything from photographs, graphic art and abstract art to well-known artists and motives. I love, love, love!

Finally, as we were painting downstairs, we decided to have the kids rooms painted too. Lucas room got a fresh coat of slightly broken white, a new much bigger rug and some bean bags to replace the sofa bed. Being a 17-year old boy, he doesn't need much more furniture than this.

Linnea got her room painted only on two walls. I had my doubts the colour she had chosen would be too dark, but I actually love it! She also got new curtains, a new armchair, a new shelf and a new mirror on the wall and she is one happy girl!

Saturday, 1 May 2021

25 April-1 May

Sunday and ANZAC Day and padel got canceled again. We are a bit vulnerable when it's just four of us that have it booked in, once someone has a last minute issue. But no biggie, I jumped on the treadmill and watched Lets Dance (= Swedish version of Dancing with the stars) instead.
Then Nathan and I went to sort out our new sofas, had a look both here and there and ended up ordering one at IKEA and most probably decided on the other one from Homecenter. It's all coming together. Next is to decide on wall colour and book the painters, we collected two quotes today.
In the evening I went to a very giggly Game Night with red wine and lasagna served up, and the others at home had grilled chicken for dinner.

Monday and a really fun padel game this morning. A lot of long, good runs. I am starting to reach my limit though, it's really hot and I've suffered head aches for the rest of the day the last few times after playing. Let's see.
Nathan went to work and I prepared the last things before the painters come, and decided on paint scheme (eeek!). Pulled pork soft tacos for dinner with a bit of Vem bor här? on the TV with Linnea.

Tuesday and Nathan and I were both up way before the alarm. I didn't sleep particularly well, I guess there is too much going on at the moment (compared to how quiet life has been for the past year) so there is a bit of overload in my mind.
I had a seminar today in my "other" Uni-course, about non-Western art, and today we discussed Japanese manga. So fun! I knew nothing about manga so really listened carefully, and after the seminar I dove right into the assignment. Beef ragu and macaroni for dinner when Nathan got home from work, and some last preparations for the painting team for tomorrow.

Wednesday and BIG day around the house. Painters started early in the morning and maintenance team came to work on the water pump box in the garden. The cleaners turned up in the afternoon and since the rest of the house was chaos they did a top-to-bottom kitchen clean. Add to that the usual deliveries and you understand that me trying to do anything else than just sit in the middle of it all supervising and answering questions, was pretty much impossible...

Love Linneas choice of colour! I must admit I was dubious at first, that it was going to be too dark, but it turned out really great. Especially since she is only having it on two walls.

I managed to exercise late afternoon when Nathan was home again, and then I took the kids for their PCR-tests, and then Linnea and I took off to order the second sofa and get a new armchair for her room. We were in such luck, exactly the one she wanted was in the "As-is"-section at IKEA for less than half the normal price! Good thing my car is a beast, so we could just chuck it in the back with no trouble at all!
Hot dogs at IKEA for dinner on the run!

Thursday and such an exciting day as the painters were now starting downstairs. I was so nervous, but so pleased once the colour went up, it was just as I wanted!
Our new TV arrived and it got mounted in the evening once the painters had left (apparently the wall was dry enough they said). So we could have fläskpannkaka (thick pancake with pork) for TV-dinner!

Friday and Valborgsmässoafton and all morning and most of the early afternoon was spent moving furniture and things back into place. We are still waiting for the things we sold to be picked up, for our new sofas, for things to go back on the walls, and other things, but it's starting to give us an idea. I like the one side of the room, the other might take a bit more moving about... not sure.
After a quick workout Linnea and I took Lucas to the mall as he was meeting his friends to go to the movies. Linnea and I did another IKEA shop-up, and filled the car with new rugs, some curtains, my new reading chair and some other bits and pieces. Then we brought home Burger King for dinner. Linnea mounted my IKEA recliner all by herself! It's coming together slowly. It's not all done but you can get a small taster of one corner:

Saturday and so thankful both my weekend mornings have started with coffee in bed. The simple pleasures and a great start to the day.
The day went with more moving, sorting and fixing around the house, and exercising. Nathan and Lucas went with Valle and Henke to the shooting range and tried shooting clay targets for the first time. They had a good time and came home to pasta and meat sauce for dinner.

May Covid status

Another month gone, time for another report. This is the never-ending story.

Not much to report though, no changes in restrictions at all lately. There was rumours about a shorter quarantine period at one stage, but it turned out to be just rumours for now unfortunately. I can't believe there has been no change in the entrance procedures to Abu Dhabi for three months now.

Todays numbers:
* 1712 new cases, from 202,881 tests today.
* 1681 recoveries today. Total death toll 1,591 persons.
* In the UAE we now stand at 521,948 total cases. Globally it is at 151,5+ cases, with nearly 3,2M deaths.

Todays vaccinations: 62,366 doses administrated which brings the UAE to a total of 10,609,950 doses administrated so far. Bam!
And in other good news, my parents back in Sweden have finally received their Covid-vaccinations! Morfar has got both shots, Mormor so far one. Yay, happy days!

Sunday, 25 April 2021

18-24 April 2021

Sunday and the week didn't quite start as upbeat as I had hoped. There was a slight miscommunication amongst my padel combatants so we ended up being just two, instead of four. Here we have no single courts, but we played anyway on half court, since we were there. Gives us practice in placing the ball but is not near as fun. Got my workout done though!
In the afternoon I was more productive today than the whole weekend combined - I had a Zoom with my friend Erika and got some valuable input (and pep talk) for the thesis, went to the supermarket, picked the kids up and went to get their PCR (for school, every 10th day). Home to work a bit on another assignment for the Non-European Art-course, then to the mall so that Lucas could get a haircut in preparation for the school photos on Wednesday; and finally dinner and a super-quick shop-up at IKEA. (Mostly for Cheese Doodles to be honest..!)

Monday and another hot game of padel this morning. I wonder how many more weeks we will be able to keep playing outside? Nathan off to work in the afternoon and the kids and I spent the afternoon doing each our school work. Prawn pasta for dinner.

Tuesday and slept like mush as our AC unit packed up and we only had the fan. After a LOT of coffee, I managed to have quite a productive day anyway, after of course taking the kids to school and doing my exercise. I held a presentation about Ai Wei Wei in a Zoom in this weeks Uni-seminar about Chinese art and submitted two assignments to the same course. Also managed to do some work on my thesis, inspiration and ideas really comes and goes in waves for that, and today was a good day. Alo Gobi and rice for dinner.

Wednesday and started the day with padel. Then Nathan and I went to have a look at the newly opened Jysk shop at Yas Mall. Such a great addition to the mall!

Their café is really nice, and we found a lot of lovely things in the shop too. All of a sudden... we had sold or old sofa and TV (!) and decided to revamp our WHOLE downstairs area! Oups!
Chicken curry and rice for dinner while I spent the rest of the evening in front of a room planner tool on the computer..!

Thursday and started the day with padel. So hot, 33 degrees, made me feel a bit funny for the rest of the day. I guess I got dehydrated. Lunch with Petra and a quiet end-of-the-week afternoon.
When Nathan got home we started shifting furniture around to get an idea of our new look for downstairs, it was hard to just visualize. Pizza for dinner - TGIT after all!

Friday and woke up to this... ha ha ha. Yup, that escalated quickly!

Nathan was at work and the rest of us did what we normally do on a Friday = not much. I kept clearing up downstairs, and tried to get some quotes for painting, but - Friday.
Once Nathan got back from work we decided to go look for our new TV at Al Wahda Mall and had dinner there too. Lucas was keen on TGIF, but it turned out to be a bad idea, none of us liked the food, such a bummer.

Saturday and another week done and dusted. Read back a bit through the blog and read a post from the 21 April last year, which sadly sounded a LOT like the one I posted the other day about idling (coincidentally also on the 21 April, spooky!). So sad to realise that not much have changed in a year.
I read an article this week from the NY Times, which was SPOT ON how I am feeling, check it out. I'm certainly not alone with these feelings.

In the afternoon we met up for an impromptu early dinner at the Brauhaus in town, next to where the Browns are currently staying until they get their apartment. Ha ha, it looks like we are back in the jungle in Brunei in this photo - but it's just a bit of Brunei in Abu Dhabi.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021


Most days I feel like I'm just idling along. Waiting for... something to happen. I feel like a car that starts every morning, but goes nowhere. Like one of those cartoon figures that runs on the spot.

It's getting frustrating that there is no change in the restrictions happening here, although a great majority of the population is now vaccinated. Like in many countries in Europe, where people who are vaccinated show their "vaccine pass" and basically get free reign anywhere, or in other places with an accelerated vaccination drive where they have even now dropped the use of face masks.

In Abu Dhabi we are still not allowed to socialize at home, still only allowed three people in a taxi, four people per table at restaurants; we all still need PCR-tests to enter official buildings, go to school or to work (vaccinated or not!), still have to wear a mask everywhere. The borders to Abu Dhabi are still closed and the entrance procedure hasn't changed since the first of February. No difference if you are vaccinated or not, the 10-day-with-a-tracker-quarantine rules still apply (unless you travel from a country on the "Green list").

I'm sure there is a reopening plan, it just doesn't seem to be shared officially. I wish it was, like in other places. I am failing badly at staying positive in this "one day at a time"-life without anything to hold on to.
I know it can't go on forever, but it sure has gone on long enough already.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

11-17 April 2021 Ramadan Kareem

Sunday and no padel today! My partner strained her calf muscle the other day and wanted to rest it a bit more before coming back, and unfortunately I couldn't find any other players with short notice. No worries, I have a game tomorrow instead!
Luckily Nathan had set his alarm too this morning, because for some reason I had set mine to e-learning timing, hence an hour too late... But we got up and away to school on time!
Then I did 10k on the treadmill, lots of TV to catch up on after the weekend!
Studying in the afternoon, pork tenderloin, potato and homemade bearnaise sauce for dinner.

Monday and great padel game this morning! This time I was the odd one out, with my new Argentinian friends! They are rather good so they give me a good challenge, but not so good they put me in a bad mood, ha ha! I still got some good points in!
This afternoon we caught up with some Aussie friends we knew from Brunei days, who now have moved to Abu Dhabi - Peta & Browny. Since we last saw them, they have expanded the family with two little ones, so it was really nice to see them all! Also so refreshing to talk with someone with an excited and optimistic view of this place..!
Breaded fish, potatoes and asparagus for dinner with the new 'Thunder Force' movie.

Tuesday and the first day of Ramadan, and with that different timings for school which now doesn't start until 09.30. So nice sleep-ins every day! I had a UNI seminar, and then we had chicken fajitas for dinner.

Wednesday and padel time. Although with the Ramadan school timings we couldn't start until 10, and it was hooot! But no shower is as nice as the one after you have gotten really grotty! I had a tutoring session for the thesis today, and then I spent the rest of the day formatting and getting the whole text ready, now I "only" need to write! I had some technical issues which frustrated me to tears, but in the end I got technical support from one of my UFO-friends, what would I ever do without those girls!
Nathan cooked rice with vegetables and keftedes for dinner.

Thursday and realised that I didn't close ALL rings yesterday (missed the Stand ring because of all the sitting in front of the computer pulling my hair...) for the first time in OVER A YEAR! Well, even though it's a bit sad that streak is done, I actually feel more pride over the achievement of doing it every day for that long! And also, now the pressure is off, a bit..! The Exercise ring streak is still going strong.
I spent the morning exercising and the afternoon at the LAD at their Research Center, looking for some information for the thesis.




 Came home to Nathan cooking ribs for dinner.

Friday and another totally wasted day. Got up, exercised, studied, had dinner (sushi), bed. And now for some real talk - see the pattern? No, I really don't do weekends very well. I can hear you say "If you are not happy, why don't you change it up?!"
Well, I am SO sick of being by myself and I would like to spend these weekends, like any other day, with someone, doing something. But since my friends are busy spending their weekends with their families, no one wants to play. But I also have a family, you say?
Yes I do, but none of them wants to play either. It's been a looong while already I have given up being the motor of everything that goes on, it's too exhausting. I just let them be, they are happy hiding away each in their little corner. So, I end up - by myself, and bored out of my tree. Especially on weekends.
I know, I know, something's gotta change. I just don't know what.

Saturday and with Nathan back at work after his week of leave, so I had the whole afternoon to work in peace. The thesis is stressing me as it feels like I have no free time, there is always more to read and more to write. Also having my work desk in the living room is not quite optimal at this time, as I work best when it's quiet and I'm by myself.
Easy dinner today as it was just the kids and I - pancakes and soup.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

5-10 April 2021

Monday and even though it's still Spring Break, I like it much better when it's normal days. Nathan was back to work today, and I took Lucas to play padel this morning. We played with Petra and Valle, good fun (us Mums rocked!) In the afternoon Linnea and I went for a quick walk at Yas Mall and brought home roti for dinner.

Tuesday and today I had the first seminar in the new UNI-course I'm doing parallel to the thesis. It's called 'Non-European art, architecture and design'. Because why just study one thing... time is all I have at the moment, better use it wisely!
Kids went to see their friends in the afternoon so Nathan and I were home alone when he got back from work. We had dinner Belgian style, mussels and fries.

Wednesday, padel and studies. So bored, so bored, so bored. Get up, get through the day, have dinner, go to bed.
Lucas went to the mall with his friend Yazan so the rest of us had pasta (or cauliflower rice for some)  bolognese for dinner. Easy and yummy.

Thursday and we got up rather early for the kids to go get another PCR to get ready to get back to school on Sunday. Then I drove all the way up to Saadiyat to drop Linnea off for a friends small birthday celebration at the beach. I took the opportunity to take a quick walk around the LAD as I was there, which was nice. But mostly today I have spent it in the car, driving here there and everywhere. It doesn't make it any more fun considering the whole of our neighbourhood is one big workplace at the moment, they are literally working on EVERY road around us and some days it has been near to impossible to get home or where you want to be, with all the roads being shut off at the same time. Extremely annoying.
Vegetable skewers and pork sausages for dinner.

Friday and finally a bit of a break from the routine. We were invited out on the boat with our German friends, and spent all afternoon bobbing along just off one of the small islands just outside the city. The tide was high when we arrived, and when it changed the beach appeared just in front of the boat. Lush afternoon.

Saturday and I stayed in bed really late. Lovely! Then I caught up with some Swedish TV while on the treadmill, before a very late lunch. Lucas had volleyball this afternoon and I had Game Night. Tomorrow it's all back to school, let's see for how long..!

Saturday, 10 April 2021

There are no bad boat days

Yesterday we were invited out on their boat by our German friends, Holger and Karin. It's always so lush, as we don't have a pool nor a beach in our compound or near us.

We only went about 10-15 minutes outside the city and anchored up a little bit off the beach of one of the islands. 


We stayed on the boat to start with as we could still swim from there, the waters were shallow around us. Holger and Karin also had a new toy, a SUP which we all tried our luck on, in different ways:




The tide was high to start with, but during the afternoon the sandbanks started to appear and quite soon we had a prime spot by our own piece of the beach.


Tried to create some social media content and promotional shots for our Sidehustle Brews, not sure about the dude vibes of the model though... ha ha!

It was quite busy as it was a Friday afternoon, and the weather now is absolutely PERFECT - not too hot in the air, not too cold (or warm) in the water. Lots of boats, lots of people, lots of annoyingly noisy jetskis... but still - such a paradise. 


As Holger said: "There are no bad boat days, there are good boat days and fantastic boat days." I think this one rated as one of the more fantastic ones, at least for us!
Such a gorgeous and relaxed way of spending an afternoon! And look at the views going home again in the afternoon sun, aaahhh - Abu Dhabi, you are amazing.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Easter 2021

Yes, another Covid-Easter, just like anything else at the moment, with just us.
Nathan was actually off both Easter days, and I had suggested going away, maybe to Liwa, or at least doing a bit of a staycation here in AD for a change to the routine. But there was no big interest so we did what we do all other days - stayed at home. 

For Påskafton Nathan sorted our Easter dinner and cooked yummy lamb. Then he introduced the kids to 'The Life of Brian', which he thought was suitable entertainment for Easter.

For Easter Sunday we had the very traditional... Chinese take-away for dinner.
At least the kids got a big chocolate Easter egg each, so for them I guess Easter happened. For me, meh.

Friday, 2 April 2021

28 March - 2 April

Sunday and apart from it being Spring Break which means the teenagers don't surface until closer to lunch time, it was a normal day for the rest of the family. Nathan off to work early in the morning and me off to padel. Hot hot hot, I'm starting to get a serious tan by now, after all these hours in the sun every week playing.
I decorated for Easter today, about time, but the days got away from me a bit with the exam writing last week. At least now the house is bright and cheerful with chickens, pastel colours, eggs and Easter bunnies galore! Macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some left-over steak.
I managed to convince everyone to play our new game 'My City' today, which is a legacy game that changes each time you play it. Not sure we'll make it through all 25 chapters though...

Monday and padel. Again with the Argentinian girls. They are very good, challenging us in new ways! I start my final syllabus for my Uni exam this week, so I spent most of the day mulling over what subject to choose for my thesis. Unfortunately I'm no closer to a decision, but hopefully soon.
Swedish meatballs with - a bit unconventionally but we had to empty the fridge - sweet potato fries and corn for dinner.

Tuesday and I started the day with a long session on the treadmill. Had TV to catch up on! Then I went to the LAD to try and find some inspiration for  the thesis. Instead I got a bit stuck in Ch 11 as they have recently rotated that, and there was so much new art! Time to study some new artists I didn't know before.
Salmon and potato salads for dinner before Nathan went to see his friend Stefan, and I had a well-needed Zoom-call with my friends Linda and Anna.

Wednesday morning usually sees a big group Swedes play padel. This week again, there was just four of us, but at least we got a game out of it!
Linnea went to the movies with some friends, and the rest of us had Mee Goreng Mamak off the Cookidoo platform for dinner (not a hit, will not be doing that one again).
I had the first seminar for my thesis for 2,5 hours tonight, and my subject is now decided: The Germination artwork by Giuseppe Penone at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Thursday and last padel session for this week. Hot and humid today. But fun! After Nathan got home from work we went to the beach for a swim with the Nordins. Nice temperature in the water now.

Friday and Nathan off to work, and the rest of us doing our usual things, each by themselves. Saffron, prawn and chorizo paella for dinner while some watched the new 'Kong vs Godzilla' movie, and some didn't.