Thursday, 30 June 2016

Las Zumberas!

This morning I did my last Zumba session before my summer break. I was so lucky to pick up this regular Zumba cover this whole month of June. Most of the big gyms where I normally teach, reduced their schedules during Ramdan, and moved any group classes to evening time, but I just can't teach at 10 or 11pm!

This cover I got, was for three morning classes a week - perfect!
The class was made up of a good group of girls who all have come to know each other well, so the atmosphere has been amazing. The girls also all turned out to be really good Zumba students, who followed queuing and direction super well. (Kudos to Mariana, their normal Zumba instructor!)
It certainly put some extra pressure on me that it was mostly the same students three times a week. I have had to vary my playlists and constantly bring out new choreographies, different rhythms and I have worked hard to keep making it fun, each class.

I have truly enjoyed teaching this way, with regular students, and I have made a few new friends too. These two Spanish chicas have been to nearly every class, and they are the closest thing you get to Zumba superfans!


And also this lovely Lebanese lady (who actually speaks Swedish!), who has been to all but one of all the classes I have covered, that's dedication to your fitness!


Always in happy Zumba gear, always in their special spots in the front row and always with the biggest smiles on their faces..! Thank you girls for making this boring month of June that much more fun and colourful for me! I will miss you!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

School's out!!

Yay - we are on summer holidays!! School's out!!
Hourray!!


The year book has been signed, Grade Six and Grade Four is finished!


Linnea and her fab teacher Mr Grant, who is leaving to go back to NZ after four years at Raha:


Traditional celebration, end of school lunch out, this year at Nandos at Lucas' request:

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

bored.com

I was going to write a post about the boredom that the month of June brings me, when I scrolled back in the blog to this time last year and realized I could basically just copy and paste from this post... Ouch. Obviously I didn't learn anything from last year, because I seem to have the same exact feelings at the end of term this year...

For the THIRD summer in a row, Nathan unfortunately hasn't got any summer leave. Big booo!
Last year we only overlapped some days in the very last week of the school holidays, and then he had to go travel on his own after we went back to start school.
This year we will have to take the kids out of school later on in November when he's got leave, to be able to have a family holiday. Now that the kids are that much older, this is of course not really optimal as they miss out so much important school work. But what to do?? It's a challenge.

These long summer holidays are also a challenge, for all of us. The kids and I just can't stay here, as it's way too hot to do anything and nobody is here to hang out with, everybody leaves the country. (Apart from the pilots who didn't get leave, who get to stay back and work and hang out, all by themselves.)
Mind you, to be sole responsible for the kids for six weeks isn't exactly a 'holiday' either! We tend to wear each other down pretty quickly spending 24/7 together for that long. I do put a lot of effort every summer in trying to come up with new and different things to do and see, take the kids on exciting adventures and happenings, and make sure they don't just iPad their summer away...
It's actually quite hard work being the constant motor and trying to keep everyone busy for that long, and above all... - happy!

I still do look forward to getting out of here for a while of course. I'm craving the GREEN and the fresh air, and to be ACTIVE! I want to go explore and discover, I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family - and just to get up in the morning and DO things! I've had enough of indoor activities for a while, so the weather better be up for a lot of outdoor fun in Scandinavia!

So what's on the agenda for this summer?
I've signed the kids up for a Sports Camp! I don't know who's actually most excited for that, them or me! They don't quite know what to expect, but they are going to spend a week there on their own, Lucas will do rugby and Linnea dancing. I'm sure they will have tons of fun and make lots of new friends, it'll be great! In the meantime I will be in Stockholm with my friend Erika, doing as much child-UN-friendly things as we can pack in! Win-win!
Back in Skara there will hopefully be a Charlie's Theater performance on this year again. We will meet up with our friends who live in Rome and are back to see their family; and finally my Mum has organized a huge get-together for all the descendants of her Grandma and Granddad. It must be over 30 years since we all last met up, so that should be fun.
We will travel around a bit too. We have planned to go back to Nyköping to visit our friends the Dunlops. It has been a few years now since last time, so we are really looking forward to that. We are also planning a trip to Karlstad, to visit my friend Linda, who recently have moved house and started a new life.
Finally Denmark is on the program this summer too, of course, although this year we will only stay in the Copenhagen area. The big happening this year being our friend Søren's 50th birthday party, hugely anticipated!

Apart from all this, I'm counting on some good shopping opportunities, lush walks and jogs in the forest, enjoying all our favourite food and goodies, going swimming in the lake, riding our bikes, fun at the beach, a last-evening magic show, taking some swimming badges, baking with Mormor, nice dinners on the BBQ, hanging out with my cousins and their kids, playground fun etc etc.

I'm trying hard to keep the boredom at bay as well as I can until we go. It's not far to go, school is nearly out (tomorrow!), and we decided to stay one week here in the sandpit to wind down and hang out with Nathan. But soon - bring on Scandinavian summer!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Midsummer 2016

Our third "Swedish Midsummer" in the sandpit. This year we celebrated at our house with another couple of families, and all our Swedish decorations had come out! We had Midsummer poles, Dalecarlian horses, flags, flowers for the hair etc, it looked really festive!





All the lovely kids, dressed up so nicely for the occasion!


My IKEA-wreath is on it's third Midsummer, and I still love it so much!


We had way too much food, as per usual - all the favourites, yum, yum! We ate and ate and ate, for hours... Herring and potatoes tastes just as good when it's 45 degrees outside!




Petra, Pia and I:


Cheers!



For dessert I had made a NZ Pavlova, I think actually one of my best! It was super delicious! Mmm!



We didn't stop there, we continued later in the evening with a delicious cheese board, oh my, so much food!! What a great day!



Such a lovely way of spending Midsummer, with fab food and the best company! I love to celebrate all our different holidays, some gets even better slightly improvised like this. Happy Midsummer! ❤️

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A strong shoe game

Lacking anything else to write about at the moment, it's time to turn this into a little bit of a fashion blog! Even though I'm playing in a completely different league to my mother-in-law, a friend of mine commented on one of my new pairs of shoes today and said that "my shoe game is strong"!

(Last time I bought a pair of shoes was back in November/December, before we went to Madrid and I needed a pair of "winter" boots.) Well, this week I've bought FOUR pairs! Two of them were even the same model, in two different colours..:


I got both pairs, because I already have them in black (...) and I know they are the most comfortable wedges I've ever worn. Now that I have three colours to choose from, they will go with anything and everything!

I also got a pair of white sneakers. This is something I had decided I wanted for this summer season. I haven't had white sneakers since I was... ehm... much younger, but I love the look. They probably wont stay white for long, so I chose a pair from a high street brand, I think they look rather funky with the zipper down the side:


Finally I got another cute pair of shoes to wear while in Scandinavia. You are never too sure about the weather, and whereas I have more than enough jandals if it gets hot, I needed some covered shoes. I had been eyeing these up for a while and finally decided that yes, I'll have them too!

Meet "Abu Dhabi's Best Bloggers"

I got an email earlier today from expatwoman.com, that basically said "Just to let you know we've picked you and your blog for our list of best bloggers in Abu Dhabi..." etc etc - and they sent this link: Abu Dhabi Meet Abu Dhabi's Best Bloggers


I wasn't asked in advanced so I have no idea how they found my blog, but am grateful for the appreciation! I kind of only write my blog for friends and family (and myself), but am of course very flattered, and glad that it can be of use for anyone else here in the sandpit, or about to move here.

If you are interested to read more about Abu Dhabi and the UAE, please have a look at the other bloggers as well.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

"Pearls are always appropriate"

I don't actually quite agree with the above quote, by Jackie Kennedy, as I'm not really a "pearl girl". Occasionally I will wear tiny pearl earrings, and I think the same look is cute on Linnea, but I don't like big pearl necklaces or bracelets. It's just not my thing and I wonder if it will ever be.
Although after our pearl diving trip, I was really keen on doing something nice with the pearl that Lucas found for us, and today was the day!

Pia and I spent another day in Dubai. We dropped our little jobs off at the Gold & Diamond Park this morning, went for lunch (yes, behind screens in the food court) at Mall of the Emirates and a bit of a browse; then back for an afternoon coffee to wait for our things to be ready, and home late tonight after having picked them up.

We were both so pleased with the result! I brought a photo as inspiration for my pearl, this is that photo:


And here is the finished pearl setting. It showcases the pearl beautifully and they did a really good job, especially since the pearl is a natural pearl and in an odd shape.


Pia had no photo, just an idea in her head, and this is the reason why we keep coming back to the same guy for all our gold purchases etc:
She explained her idea to him, he in his turn explained it to the boss of the workshop, who then explained it to his worker, and - it came out exactly how she had pictured it in her head! They just get it. Here it is:


I also had a small gold ring made, some alterations on a couple of other rings and I got my wedding ring fixed up as one of the diamonds had come loose. Unfortunately he didn't have the gold bangle I have been hanging out for, so that will have to be next time. No stress. I also added another little thing to my "to get next time"-list... he he he. I see another visit maybe after the summer..!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Countdown

I feel like my whole existence is one long countdown at the moment. I'm counting down until the after-school-activities stop, until school is out, until Ramadan is done, until we escape the heat...
It's a struggle to make time pass, especially in this heat. The other day I took the kids to try out the new 'Bounce' trampoline park in Marina Mall. Expensive, but the kids had a lot of fun.


Life in Abu Dhabi in the month of June has proven to be a very different life to the one we used to lead in Brunei this time each year. In Brunei it was always hysterically busy, with leaving-dos and goodbyes, endless school happenings to wrap up the year, before-the-summer meet-ups, dinners, BBQs etc etc.
Here (well, for us) it's the complete opposite, for each day that pass, life seems to slow down even more, and soon I think it will be at a total standstill.

This week haven't been a good week at all for me. Nathan has been working four nights in a row, and with kids in school and not much else to do, I have been utterly bored and slightly down.
I am already over Ramadan and not being able to enjoy a meal out. It's too late to bring the kids out for iftar, and during lunchtime everything is closed - apart from the food court at the Mall, but to be honest, the food court restaurants are not that enticing.

I'm lucky to have picked up a cover for a Zumba class for this whole month. Most gyms only have classes between 8-9pm and midnight during Ramadan, but this class is a morning class, three times a week. So perfect for me! It's with a lovely group of students, we have so much fun; I crave the endorphins and it keeps me ever so slightly busy, and sane. (Plus I get to feel like a disco queen with those silver shoes!)


School winding down, with shorter hours and basically no homework means that the kids have a lot of time to hang out with their friends though. There is sleepovers going on every weekend, playdates, movie visits, swimming etc. Today Linnea got to try some paddle boarding at her friend Grace's house:


And the almost-teens, they "chill out" together:

Monday, 13 June 2016

Hello Cinderella!

Today is Grandmas last day with us for this time. I guess it's time for her to go home, by the time she makes it back to NZ, she will have been away for just over three months!

I am a little bit worried about her packing though, as during her trip she has bought about 15-16 pairs (!) of new shoes! Three pairs here on her first visit, a couple in Aberdeen already when I was there, nine pair in New York and another pair here this week...
Pia and the girls came over for roast lamb dinner last night and Pia didn't have to ask twice to get to see all the shoes - Grandma shot off up the stairs!
She came down like this:


-"These are not ALL my new shoes, these are just the ones I could carry!!" --- LOL!

Pia got to have a good look through most of the shoe bargains, and maybe, just maybe (since Pia and I have a lot the same taste in shoes) it seems like we have to make a trip to the Timberland shop one of these days... Cause those beige slip-ons were really, really nice...

Friday, 10 June 2016

Early Midsummer in the sandpit

Yesterday we were invited to an early celebration of Swedish Midsummer (which this year is the 24th June) at our friends house. They are leaving for summer holiday a couple of weeks before school is out, so the party had to be this weekend.
They had decorated so nicely with blue and yellow balloons and streamers, and even a traditional Midsummer Pole! Here's Pia, Annica and me:


Last year they had done the party on the beach, with 'Små Grodorna'-dancing around the Midsummer pole and everything. But this year because Ramadan has started already, the party had to be indoors.



I'm dry for the next few weeks until I take off on summer holidays, but even though I couldn't enjoy the Finish salmiak shots or Swedish Akvavit, I did enjoy the huge spread of food! Mmm!




It was actually nice enough temperature to be able to still sit outside on their balcony. Quite mild, and with a lovely breeze.
Strawberries and cheese cake, delicious end to a fab Midsummer meal!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

On a mission

This little guy was one of the more determined baby turtles, with his strong, steady moves he certainly was on a mission getting out to that sea..!

video

Return to the Sanctuary

Around lunchtime today I saw a post on the EMEG Facebook page, that 140 little turtles had hatched this morning, and they were going to be released in the late afternoon. Lucky Grandma was here so that she could keep the sick boy (yes, he's still been home from school today) company; Linnea, her friend Grace and I took another trip down the highway to Jebel Ali.

Thanks to it being a normal day, and probably also because you had to be able to come on short notice, there wasn't many people at all, yay!
When we arrived, they were busy weighing and measuring all the little turtle babies, before they were to be set out into the sea:



The mama turtles come up on the beach to lay their eggs in the early spring, and then it takes 60-80 days for them to hatch. All these turtles came out of just two nests this morning!





Once all the little turtles had been registered, we all went down to the beach and all the children go to line up and pick a turtle to help set off.



The turtles Linnea and Grace picked weren't too eager at first. We were told not to put them further than about a meter from the sea, so that they could smell it, but still, we needed to move them closer so that the current could help them.






Finally they started to set off! Bye little turtles!!




On the way from the Sanctuary, we saw some camels:


And these beauties (Arabian Oryx?), on the side of the road:



What a lovely afternoon!