Wednesday, 31 August 2016

366 in 2016 - August

This year is going by really fast - can you imagine we are already two-thirds done!
Here's the month of August , a lovely summer month spent mostly in Sweden and Denmark, but with the beige return to the sandpit and school just in the end...

The Swedish summer trends 2016

Oh, I almost forgot to post the results of this year's trend spotting while I was in Sweden! This time the findings are not all my own, but a collaboration between me and my UFOs (other Swedish expats), although I must say, we had actually in much come to the very same conclusions!

Swedes pride themselves in being unique trendsetters, but when you shortly touch down in the Swedish summer from abroad, you see them with different eyes. And guess what - they all look like clones of each other! So what was the Swedish "summer uniform" of 2016?

- Bomber jackets. On kids, women, men - all over.
- Full beards on men, nicely trimmed luckily
- Short hair on the sides and long on top for all young boys, sometimes tied on top in a bun (*shudders*)
- Olaplexed (=professionally treated and very shiny) hair on all women (this was mostly in the capital I must admit)
- Off shoulder tops
- Long sleeveless waistcoats
- Bandanas tied around your hair
- American baseball caps
- Fanny packs (yes really!)

Finally we also happily noted that the trend "leggings-under-skirts" seem to finally have died out after persisting for many years, ha ha!

Monday, 29 August 2016

In the meantime

I didn't do any happy dance across the parking lot this morning, even though it will be nice to get back into routine again. I just felt a bit sad at the thought that we are already starting another school year, the kids grow up too fast.
Instead, Pia and I celebrated the first day back at school with going to the movies! We thought it would be a suitable day to see 'Bad Moms'!

We did laugh though when we realized they were screening it - in the Kids Movie Salon!  Ha ha, the irony!

Well, we actually laughed throughout most of the movie as well, it had been a long time since I laughed out loud in the movies!

Although, the version we got to see in the movies seemed rather short... so we think we might need to try and find an uncut version eventually!

Back to school

It's back to school day! Let's get the 2016-2017 school year started!
First day of school in Grade Seven and Grade Five, which means it's the last year of Primary School for Linnea. Slipping through my fingers...

Linnea and her best friend Grace luckily ended up in the same class this year as well. As they've been in the same class since Grade Two that was not expected but they were super pleased of course. They got an American lady teacher this year.

Lucas was also happy this morning when he discovered that his good friend KJ was in his class. He hasn't met all his teachers yet, but seemed rather positive as well.

The school have changed cafeteria supplier this year, and I have high hopes that maybe this year I won't have to make as many lunch boxes! The menus look healthy, delicious and varied, and the meals are good value for money. I would love for the kids to eat some cooked food at school, at least a couple of times a week, instead of the same boring jam sandwiches... We are going to try them out this week and see how it goes.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Truman Show

A friend of mine recently described living here a bit like being in the Truman Show, there is no difference between the sky and the ground, it all blends together like a big beige wall, the 50 shades of beige. I was going to write a blog post about being back after the holidays, when I scrolled back and read this post from August last year, called just that:

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. [...]

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 [...].

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, [...] 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 [...]; 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.

As I read through it I feel ashamed to say that nothing has changed - those feelings I had then are still exactly the same. I feel like I've gone back to some sort of prison, not being able to be outside for a few months yet, being mostly home alone, and having not much to do. That blog post from last year could describe my situation today too, which when you think about it, is rather awful.
I know, I know, I am the only one that controls my life and sitting here and moaning about it wont help, it is time for action. I just don't know how yet.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Time to go

It was hard to pack up and end the holiday. The last few days in Denmark were fantastic, and a real mix of a little bit of everything: sport, city life, countryside, me-time, good food, party-party, sightseeing, visiting, walk-abouts and above all - good friends. I feel so much at home in Copenhagen and I wish one day we could move back, we still have so many good friends there. I sure enjoy the Danish way of living, and I'm convinced the kids would fit in well there too.

Anyway, it's impossible to sum up a six week holiday. This time I didn't write most of the blog posts until I got home, so I got to look back and reminisce almost straight away - and my overwhelming feeling is: I'm so T H A N K F U L. ♥︎

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Blue skies and summer house visit

Lars and Nete were keen on showing us their new 'kolonihavehus', (=allotment garden cottage?) out at Amager Strand before we left. So after we had been to see the Ironman race, we combined the visit with some take-away burger "the-day-after-the-night-before"-dinner, and Søren and Katja came along too.

Everybody was rather subdued... but it was a fab afternoon. Aahhh.
Sometimes it's nice when it rains on the last day of our summer holidays, and feels miserable and grey so that we can't wait to leave. But this time, I was just grateful for all the sun, blue skies and all the green I could fit in.

Kids had their food as a picnic on the grass:

Couldn't have thought of a better way to end our summer holidays, than with friends and good food in the lovely Scandinavian summer weather. ♥︎

Monday, 22 August 2016

Copenhagen Ironman

Yes I must admit it had been a while since I had tied one on like I did last Saturday night... It sure took me a while to become myself on Sunday morning...
We had promised a friend from Abu Dhabi to get out and cheer for him during the Copenhagen Ironman - lucky they keep at it for quite a few hours so that we still had time come the afternoon!! :)

We made our way down to Langelinie as not only did we discover that trying to identify people while they were riding their bikes was impossible, but the kids wanted a better look of The Little Mermaid statue.

So we found a good spot along a long stretch where the Ironman participants were running past us in both directions. We got ourselves some ice cream, and then we waited.

We saw him! There's Martin in the picture, to the right of the guy in green (he's in the sleeveless with 'Hybholt' written on his bum). We managed to shout and cheer him when he ran past both ways, so we were very pleased with that.

We also cheered on another rather old friend of mine, Micke. We were reps together on Lefkas, some 20 years ago, and no I haven't seen him since; but I saw on his Facebook that he was going to participate, so I looked out for him too - and saw him!
By the way, he finished 13th out of 500 in his age group (40-45), and came in 82nd place overall out of the total 3000 competitors!! Oaw, just oaw!

I loved the afternoon the kids and I had. The weather was perfect (maybe not so much for the competitors...) warm and sunny, and the atmosphere was really happy around the race course. So many people were out and about cheering on the athletes.
The kids were chilled and relaxed, and got along great with each other; and I felt super grateful and happy inside - I just walked around and smiled at everybody. I love Copenhagen.

Søren is 50!

Saturday was otherwise all about the big party. Our friend Søren was celebrating his 50th and had invited for a huge bash in a bar in Vesterbro. We were all super excited!
Viola, one of Signe's girls, did my hair before I left, and I felt very pretty.

I met up with a few of the others in Kødbyen beforehand for a few drinks. The whole old 'Skygang' reunited for the first time in many years at the party, everybody apart from Nathan... :(

We were at a place in Enghave Plads called Stempelbar. Such a cool and quirky restaurant! The host/owner was so excited and geared up that I mistook him for one of the guests at the party, he was ready to let it all rip just as much as the rest of us!

Here's Søren bidding us all welcome and opening the buffet and the bar. There sure was a lack of nothing - the food was absolutely superb, and there was an abundance of wine and beer placed on every table for everyone to serve themselves.

Stine, Peter and Søren:

Søren had specifically asked for no speeches, so that was Lars' cue, ha ha! He both delivered a riveting speech and some impressive trumpet music, to accompany our Happy Birthday singing!

Pierre and Lars:

Katja, me and Jennie - and old Premiair collegue who also happens to come from the same part of Sweden as I do, and used to live in Dubai.

The boys, Mads, Pierre, Søren and Lars:

In the beginning of the evening we were treated to live music from a band called 'The Commanders', four pilot collegues of Søren (and me, previously). They were really, really good!!
So the dancing started early, and it never really stopped. When the band had finished their set and the DJ took over, the dance floor was already packed!

Dorthe and I:

Around midnight a traditional Danish pølsevogn (=hot dog cart) emerged outside the bar. Perfect timing, as everybody had become a little bit peckish again:

I'll finish with the photos here... as they only became more and more blurry... as did I..! :)
But what a night, such a good party and a what a celebration!!! I was so happy to be there together with Søren, and the rest of our friends - Skygang still rocks!