Monday, 31 August 2015

Day 1

The kids were more than ready to get back to school this morning. It's been a long and lovely holiday, but they have been missing their friends, and I think also by the end of the summer, some sort of routine.
They were both very giddy and excited this morning, for their first day back. Linnea was happy to discover that her best friend Grace is still in the same class and Lucas went off to the Middle School buildings to meet his Advisory teacher and group.

Still happy faces at pickup, with lots to tell me.
Lucas was excited to be in Orange House, one of his favourite colours. He still didn't get a locker (which has been one of the things he has looked forward to the most), but his schedule. In Middle School they do alternate weeks... hmmm, that's going to demand an on-the-ball-Mum..!
Linnea was excited to get a male teacher again this year, AND - he is from New Zealand! Awesome!

A good start to the year!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The last chapter

We finished off our summer holiday in Scotland. As I wrote in a previous post, I managed to leave behind my iPad in Sweden, which is why I haven't been blogging while in Aberdeen.

Actually, we didn't do all that much. We came to hang out with the cousins, and meet up with Nathan who finally started his holidays and came up from Abu Dhabi a few days into our Scottish stay. Weather was mostly rainy, grey and cold - and everybody felt worn out and tired, so we mostly just chilled out.

But here are a few snapshots from the last chapter of Summer of 2015.
The cousins in the car:

We were lucky to get invited along to one of Auntie Nikki's friends, for an indoor pool party. Check out this ah-mazing pool! Guess if the kids had a ball!

First day of school for the cousins, traditional photo with the Piper:

The men got busy with some IKEA furniture that needed building:

The cousins, Liam (soon to be) 13, Lucas 11 1/2, Caitlin 14 and Linnea, nearly 10.

 A bit of shopping, on a grey day:

A couple of four eyes:

One of my favourite meals out, sushi! Mmm!

Playing with Chester:

At Aberdeen train station, time to say goodbye!

On the train to Edinburgh:

Look at this view... aaahhh... so beautiful!

50 shades of beige

So we are back. In the land of sand.

We landed late Friday night after an uneventful trip. A nice and short seven hour day flight, easy peasy. I watched a couple of movies and enjoyed some tasty food, kids were entertained with their iPads and movies as well. Time went by no problem.
Immigration upon arrival is a doddle thanks to the e-gate and all our luggage was there when we came down to the belts. House was still clean (last time we came back from holidays there had been a sand storm, and everything was covered in thin dust), all four suitcases are already unpacked, laundry has been done and all the school stuff has been prepared.

Kids are happy to be home in our own house and with our own things. They've caught up with all their little friends in the compound and are ready for school to start tomorrow. Well, Lucas had Orientation for a couple of hours this morning already, as he is starting Middle School, but the first proper day is tomorrow.

Me? I feel... blergh.
Our garden has completely died (we suspect an irrigation failure) and it's all an ugly, brown, dull mess outside my window; both in our own garden but also on the other side of the wall and all over this neighbourhood. New constructions and road works going on everywhere. It's all dusty and beige.

I've realized I need living things around me, nature, trees, lawns, fields - I need GREEN.
I can't live life cooped up inside my house, no matter how much I like my home.

I also feel lonely.
Kids have school, friends and activities. Nathan has work, currently with new challenges, and friends. Me, I would've thought my life would roll on nicely too by now, as we've done a full year, and some. But actually, I feel like I'm back to square one and am starting from the very beginning again.
A huge chunk of the people I used to hang out with left for good this summer, Swedish School still have issues so nobody knows when it'll start up again; and I'm working hard on finding somewhere to teach Zumba, but it's not easy logistically with the family and no help.
I have all the intentions of making things happen for myself, but truthfully right now it all feels a bit heavy, like a huge uphill, and I'm not sure where to start. One day at a time I guess.

Anyway. We are back. Bring on the next beige year.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Back soon

So, we left 25 degrees and gorgeous sunshine yesterday, only to wake up to rain and grey skies here in Scotland this morning. Movies it is this afternoon! 

Our travel day went so-so. None of our family live anywhere close to any airports, so apart from the flying, we always have big hikes to get to and from the airports too. 
Yesterday we had to drive for 1 1/2 h to get to Landvetter Airport; we then flew to Edinburgh, took the tram from the airport to the center of town and then got on a train for another two hours to finally get to Aberdeen. About 9,5 hours door to door. (With three big suitcases and one small, three hand luggages, and two tired kids...)

We flew with Ryanair so I had packed and repacked our three suitcases a few times to get them all under their 20 kg limit. 
I was so pleased to see at check-in, that we were at 59,8 kg!!! Ha, am I a pro packer or what!

I wasn't that pleased a bit later after having had to say goodbye to Mormor and Morfar, realising when having to take the iPads out of our bags for security - that I had forgot mine back in Skara..! *Duh*. 
(I guess my handbag had been heavy enough so I didn't notice.)

Well, no biggie. It just means that for now I won't be blogging again, until I'm back home at my computer. 
I'll be posting photos on Instagram, so if you would like to keep up with our Scottish adventures, you can check us out on watsonabudhabi!


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Last day in Sweden

On the last day of our Scandinavian part of the summer holidays we had blueberry (from the ones we picked yesterday!) pancakes for lunch, took a last bike ride into town in the sunny summer weather, played outside in the garden, ate 'kassler' and got a last-night-magic-show; all just like usual!

Now when our hearts are filled to the brim with lovely holiday memories, and our souls have been fed with a lot of green; we are ready to leave sunny, beautiful summer-Scandinavia.
Although, we have one more stop on our holidays before it's time to get back to the sandpit, one last installment of summer 2015 - on to Scotland tomorrow!

Course done

While we have been enjoying the last few days in Sweden, outside in the gorgeous weather; Nathan has been spending time in the Etihad Training Center, doing a trainer course.
He has been training - to become a trainer!
Today ground course was done, and he got his diploma:

Now he will go on to do some line training, before he will be released to actually train other pilots.

Putte i blåbärsskogen

Apparently it's a good year for chanterelles, lingonberries and blueberries this year. You don't have to look very far off the trail to find some, actually - not at all! We managed to pick quite a lot just on the way from the beach back to the car!

Lucas thought it was great, that the berries were just there, for anyone to pick! Well, that's Allemansrätten for you! 

Quite a little harvest!
Some was enjoyed with some ice cream this evening, some will be enjoyed with our breakfast youghurt tomorrow morning!

("Puttes äventyr i blåbärsskogen" (Peter in Blueberry Land) is a traditional Swedish childrens book by Elsa Beskow, first published in 1901.)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A perfect afternoon

Sweden delivers.
With only a few days left of our Scandinavian part of the summer holidays, we are having absolutely stunning summer weather, day after day. It's amazingly wonderful and we are enjoying every minute.

To continue what seems to have become a theme for these holidays - nostalgia - we did a trip this afternoon to a beach where I have spent most of my childhood, Svalnäs Beach at the Vänern Lake. My grandparents had a summer house in the woods there, where they used to stay every summer from April-September, and we came to visit most weekends during the summer. It wasn't just the view walking down to the beach that was really familiar, but also the smell of the woods. These woods have a certain musky smell to them, I love it.

This beach stretches for many kilometers, and it's really good for kids as it's a beautiful sandy beach and shallow for hundreds of meters out into the lake. It's called the "Riviera of Vänern", super lush.

Kids had a blast, and we ALL swam! Yes, me too! (First and last time outside this summer!)

The kids also tried to catch some fish. Although their equipment of choice was a bucket each... so no fish caught today!

Sandy beaches are the best, at least for playing. (Not so nice when the sand blows in your face, or gets stuck in your swimwear...) Kids built a few sand castles, and we tried to construct a mote that led the water from the lake in towards the castles.

Such a lovely afternoon... aaahhh...


Cousin fun

We have been using our bikes just as much this summer as previous years. It is such a great ride along the countryside road in to town, and especially great for the kids, rather than just being able to ride around and around in our compoun back home - to have a destination. Linnea had grown out of her little red bike, so she scored a new (second-hand) yellow racer this year:

On Friday we rode into town, to catch up with another cousin of mine, Emma. The kids wanted to come see her cats, who to Linnea's delight, were rather playful cats:

We spent the afternoon at the adventure golf course in town, the biggest adventure golf in Sweden! Apparently it's built and ranked for professional competitions - but it worked just fine for a friendly game as well. There was 12 holes, the longest one 40 m.

Lucas did really well. His turn was after Linus, so he watched and learned, concentrated and focused. Linnea didn't focus quite as much...

Linus won, and Emma came second, closely followed by Lucas who lost out on the 2nd place with only one point! Linnea and I... well, we came after them...