Saturday, 30 May 2015

Sporty weekend

We've had a quiet but sporty weekend this weekend. Well, maybe not so sporty, apart from the CrossFit Kids session this morning... - we have mostly been watching sports!

Lucas watched the rugby this morning, and we have also been streaming the Meridian Regionals of the CrossFit Games, taking place this weekend in Copenhagen.
The box where the kids do CrossFit have a strong team competing. One of the women is the coach for the CrossFit Kids program, and one of the men is a teacher at school, we are very proud of them.
After three 1st placings, a 6th and a 10th place, they are currently in 1st place, but there is still two more events tomorrow. We will be cheering even more then!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

B & B on new adventures

My friend Beenal has been on her way to see me here in Abu Dhabi a few times, but it hasn't happened yet. The first time we had planned her visit, her husband got admitted to hospital so she couldn't go; and the second time her daughter caught chicken pox and was so miserable that she didn't want to leave her, understandably.
I suggested she come over this week, as they are having a midterm holiday in Brunei, but she couldn't because had already planned to go to Singapore for some power shopping, ah well. But then the text came "Why don't you meet me there?"... Oh yeah - what a good idea!
I had to wait for Nathan's schedule to come out, and wouldn't you know - he had exactly those four days off I would need for the trip! Beenal and I did a similar trip a few years back and had so much fun, I got really excited!

This time I wasn't coming for the shopping as much, I can find everything I need here in Abu Dhabi. Beenal on the other hand had quite an extensive list. She has lost 16 kg this year (Yay Beenal!!) and was in desperate need of a new wardrobe. I basically came along for the company, and to help carry the bags!

We managed to spend the whole first day out and about until the shops closed at 10 pm, with coffee and dinner breaks of course! Pretty good going! I only got a pair of sneakers, a pair of Havaianas and a leather backpack - Beenal got... too much to list!

The first evening we went back out after having brought all the shopping bags back to the hotel and had a quick shower. We wanted to tick off something from the Bucket List; try one of the world's most iconic cocktails - a 'Singapore Sling'. And we wanted to have one at the famous Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, where it was invented!

Back in the day when women weren't allowed to drink, the Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon  created this drink, that looked a bit like a lemonade. This was my first 'Singapore Sling' and whereas I may not be a cocktail expert I can’t think of a better place to enjoy this classic!

The decor of this bar was inspired by the Malayan plantations of the 1920s, and even though it has changed location several times over the years, the look has always been the same. It's dark but inviting with palm shaped fans creating a cooling breeze, and pretty old fashioned wicker chairs where you would sit to enjoy your pink drink.

Your drinks are served with bags of monkey nuts, and strangely enough, according to tradition, you are meant to drop the shells on the floor! Something which feels extra "naughty" here in Singapore, where there are HUGE fines for littering. Selling chewing gum is even completely forbidden here in Singapore.

After the Long Bar shut, we didn't want to go home. So we continued down to Clarke Quay, and enjoyed some Strawberry Mojitos, mmm! Look how pretty they were!

On day two, we continued the shopping, and had a nice lunch and a few well-needed coffee breaks.

We only had a few drinks across the street after the shops closed on us (again!), and then went back to the hotel for a slightly earlier night, being rather beat at this point!

Thank you my friend for a really nice time! ♥︎

UFOs in Singapore

I'm sorry the blog has been a bit quiet (again) the past few days. It's because I have been out of the country on a bit of girls weekend! Yay, lucky me!
On Saturday I took the morning flight to Singapore, well maybe not so much "morning"... It departed at about 11 am and it took most of the day - 7 hrs 40 min. I tried to make time go faster by watching several movies, whilst enjoying some champagne, but I must admit - it was loooong. I really am not used to traveling on my own without any kids to keep in order!

In Singapore I was staying the first night with Sofia, a friend of mine, that I had never met!
Yes, this was the first time we met in real life, but I actually know her really well and we talk nearly every day! You see, we are both part of this internet network for Swedish mums abroad, and we "meet" and chat online, most days. I have mentioned this network a few times before, as it has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years. We are a huge support to each other, through thick and thin. It really is rather special.
(We call us UFOs, from the original name of the group: UtlandsFöräldrar. And also because that's often how we feel when we are back "home" in Sweden!)

Anyway, here's two snaps of us two Swedish mums in Singapore - one from the very late evening we spent drinking tea and talking until 2 am, and one from the following day before I left to go into town to continue my weekend.

Thank you for your hospitality Sofia!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Lucas' Grade 5 Exhibition

So after eight long weeks of team work, last night we were invited to school to the presentation of this years Grade Five Exhibition. It's a HUGE thing, and the last big piece of work the Grade 5s do before they leave Junior School.
Lucas had been working in a team with three of his friends, to research bullying:

The kids had covered a lot of different topics; smoking, smoking & sleep, animal cruelty, gaming addiction, cancer, recycling, hacking, fire safety, cultural awareness, healthy food and much, much more.

They presented their projects in the gym, and after we had walked around for a bit and been invited to hear more about many different things - it was time for the artistic presentations, in the library.
These were done in many different ways, by showing iMovies, slideshows, playing sketches, dancing etc.
Lucas group chose to sing a rap! (You can see the movie of it here).

It was great to see all these kids with such confidence, standing up in front of a whole room full of adults, and present themselves and their research in such a manner. Well done Grade Five!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Game on!

Even though we miss our "old life" far more than we thought we would, we keep adding to the list of "things-that-we-could-not-do-in-Brunei" as well. Like going to Robbie Williams concerts, attending an International Book Fair and go paintballing, to name a few!

Yesterday afternoon a quick coffee date turned into an afternoon adventure at the Al Forsan Sports Resort. They offer all sorts of fun activities there, like go-karting, shooting ranges, horse riding, waterskiing etc. But the boys were all set on some paintballing!
Lucas and Lukas:

Black team and Red team:

Getting a quick briefing on how to use the marker, and about the rules inside the arena:

So with suits, breast plates and masks on, they needed the final piece of the puzzel, the marker!

The game was going to be "Capture the flag". This was Linnea and Maddy's first time paintballing, I'm not quite sure they knew entirely what they were getting themselves in for...
Teams making game plans:

They played for 15 minutes inside this huge dome. The arena itself is within a big net, so even if you are not part of the game you can participate by cheering on, safely from behind the net.

I'm not quite sure we had a winner in the end, I think the boys got the other team flag at some point. We had some (expected) tears from the girls, and quite a few war wounds and bruises all around after from where the bullets had hit..! But did they have fun?? OH YES!!! (Next time Mummy is coming shooting too!)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

VIP onboard

Now that Nathan has started flying the A330, the big bus, he gets to fly the A330 cargo planes every now and then too. The other day he was taking some cargo to Shanghai, but it turned out he actually had some Very Important... "Passengers" on board - check out this load sheet!

Yup, you read it right, he had RHINOS in the cargo! Ha ha! That's a first!
Apparently they had come from Johannesburg and were going to a Wildlife Sanctuary out in China. These were young rhinos, and as rhinos are endangered due to poaching in Africa, they were getting shipped out to a safe place, where they would eventually be bred.
On the flight they were looked after by their game keeper, so Nathan got to have a long, interesting chat with him.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

On the shopping list

My shopping list for the summer isn't as extensive anymore as it used to be when we lived in Brunei. After all, we can get it all here in the UAE - and some!
But still, there are some things that are country specific. A shop in Sweden have just released a limited edition of Sweden-themed things, called 'This is Sweden'. They present many different pretty things, and I have eyed up a few items that I have to get when I'm back. This mug for example...

... can you see why?

Silent voices IV

Anne and Frederik came up from Dubai yesterday, just during the day while the kids were at school, to catch up a bit. They had some things they wanted to get at Yas Mall, so we had our lunch there and went for a little browse.

Anne and I fell over this temporary exhibition, 'Silent Voices IV', which is raising awareness and funds for victims of human trafficking. The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation have collaborated with a shelter that houses some of these women; these artworks are the result of a series of workshops where art was introduced as a way for them to rehabilitate.

It was quite emotional to see some of the work this unique group of women had created, and read their thoughts and stories around their projects. If you have a spare moment this week, visit Yas Mall and this exhibition until the 14th May.

The masterpiece of the exhibition - the Skittle Installation. "No matter what life bowls at you and knocks you down, you can get up and face it again".

School photos 2014-2015

Unfortunately we missed the school photos all together last year. In Brunei they don't do them until after the March holidays (when we had already left) and here at RIS they had done them just before Spring Break (before we came)... So no school photos for us. (I really don't understand why they are done in the last term all together? In my day, we always did them in the beginning of the school year?)

This year we got some lovely photos though! We are still waiting for the sibling photo, but here's our Grade 5 boy and our Grade 3 girl. Very nice and smiley!

Grandparents, Uncles, Aunties and Godparents - they are coming in the post for you!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Ja bitte, sehr gut!

Nathan did two Düsseldorf back-to-back this week. We have a Danish friend who works out of Köln, Pierre, and on the second trip they managed to get together. It's not all that far between the airport hotel the Etihad Crew stay at outside Düsseldorf, and Köln.
Pierre came up on his bike:

Nathan and Pierre go waaaaaay back. Pierre was Nathan's instructor when he was converting his flying license from NZ to Denmark. Later on after Nathan and I met, we all became parts of the very solid "Skygang", and our big group of friends still catch up of course, every time we are in Denmark. Really nice for the boys to have the opportunity to meet outstation as well, it had been a while. They did some good catching up over some yummy German pork and beer!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Här kommer Pippi Långstrump!

Kids singing Pippi Longstocking's song, at Pippi's birthday party held at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair today:

Hip hourray for Pippi!

Today the kids and I returned to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. We visited this fair for the first time last year, together with Mormor and Morfar, when Sweden was the Guest of Honour. We had a great time then, so I was pretty excited for todays excursion too.

This year Sweden wanted to follow up their success from last year, with a huge celebration of 'Pippi Långstrump' (=Pippi Longstocking) on her 70th anniversary.

The first book about Pippi was released in November 1945. More than 150 000 000 copies of Astrid Lindgren’s books have been sold all over the world, and the majority of these are books about Pippi Longstocking. Upwards of 30 different titles about Pippi have been published, even more if you count the many local varieties and special editions.

We started by visiting the Swedish exhibit, which was obviously focused a lot around Pippi.

They had organized colouring-in and dress-up activities for the youngest; and there was a huge display of Swedish books, translated into arabic:

We then continued to the Show Kitchen, where Swedish chef  KC Wallenberg was busy baking a 'Prinsesstårta' (=Princess Cake, traditional layer cake) for the guests at Pippi's party:

Pippi got celebrated with 'hallongrottor', 'kanelbullar' and 'gräddtårta' (=raspberry shortbread, cinnamon buns, cream cake)! Yum!

Lucas and Linnea helped singing to and about Pippi as well. They had to read up on the lyrics, as silly Mummy had only taught them the first to verses of the Pippi-song... (Movie to follow)

We mingled a bit with the other Swedes and guests before we took a walk around the rest of the fair. Just like last year it was huge, so there was a lot to browse and have a look at.