Sunday, 26 March 2017

PYP Sports Day

Linnea and the rest of the Grade Fives had their Sports Day on Thursday.

They were lucky cause the weather was just perfect, not too hot like it had been last Sunday and not canceled because of the rain like it had been last Tuesday...

I was teaching Zumba a little bit later on in the morning so I didn't have time to stay for all the disciplines, but I saw her doing some throwing. Nathan came along after I had left and saw her do the 400m run. Other activities were the 60m dash, the four-way tug-of-war, high jump, space hoppers and much more.
A good morning had by the Grade Fives!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Waffle Day

A few days early a group of SWEA ladies gathered to celebrate Våffeldagen this morning. Waffle Day is a tradition normally celebrated in Sweden on the 25th of March. Emma and Sylvide got put in charge of the waffles:

In the meantime our hostess Johanna was truly put to the test, as firstly her coffee machine stopped working and then even her gas stove. She went to great lengths to make sure everybody got coffee by digging out her camping equipment!

Mmm, the waffles were served up with apple compote, fresh berries, cream, Nutella and jam. Something for all tastes. Mmm-mmm-mmm!

Funny how it's always the food related happenings in the SWEA program that attracts the most members! Us Swedes must all have a sweet tooth..!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Etihad Junior Rugby Tournament 2017

This weekend it was time for the biggest junior rugby tournament in the WORLD here in Abu Dhabi! Our own home competition - the Etihad Junior Rugby Tournament. This year 251 teams were registered across all year groups, a new record.
Luckily for us, both our kids played yesterday. Unfortunately it still turned into a long day as Lucas was there ever since 8.30 in the morning, and Linnea didn't finish until 6pm in the evening...

Lucas and his team fought hard. Lucas had a few good runs, did an awesome intercept which resulted in a try, and had another great assist. They won two games and lost two, one really narrowly, but still made it into one of the finals - which they won! Silverware for the U13s!

This year there was 42 girls teams. Girls rugby has certainly grown since they started this tournament 12 years ago, back then they only had four girls teams registered, and one didn't even turn up!
Linnea's year group had put three teams in, and Linnea played in the B-team.

In between the games there was time both for pep talk...

... and playtime!

Really happy team photo after having made it into one of the finals:


The girls also won their final - silverware for the U12 Girls!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Thermomix magic

This morning I went along to a Thermomix demonstration hosted by my friend Karin. She got her Thermomix last year and she loves it so much she decided to become a consultant.

I had actually already heard of the Thermomix before, when we lived in Brunei. There was a big Thermomix community there and one of my friends used to have one, which she swore by.

So what is this Thermomix? It is a super advanced kitchen appliance which combines the functions of 12 different appliances into one compact unit: it can chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam and even weigh food. Yeah, it's pretty amazing - especially for people like me who are not great cooks! I love the thought of all that multi-functionality.

At the demo today, there was three of us ladies who got to try the machine and some of its functions. We made strawberry ice cream, lemon-mint lemonade, and focaccia bread.
We also made a vegetable soup; steamed salmon with tikka paste and steamed vegetables - all at once in different levels of the machine.

Oh it was super yummy!

Hm, I might have to have a closer look into this Thermomix world... it might just be the thing for me!

Out for a ride

Lucas set his alarm very early on Saturday morning, and he was actually already up and busy getting ready when I came to check that he was awake! Oaw, why doesn't that happen on school days..??
He was going for a ride all by himself, well with our neighbours, but without "us".

Rory, our Irish neighbour, is also very much into his bike riding and he was going to take his two little boys out for a morning ride, so they had asked if Lucas wanted to tag along.
They set off already by 7am, and went off for about an hour ride - with a Starbucks break included, of course!

Lucas was buzzing when he came back, it had been a very good ride. We are so pleased that he has found biking, so far he seems to enjoy it a lot.

A VIP tour

Saturday afternoon I ended up doing a guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for the two Swedish sporting stars from the Swimming Festival - Sarah Sjöström and Christian Olsson.

It came about during a short conversation at the swimming event that morning while we were taking some photos with them, that this was their first time in Abu Dhabi. Even though they were here basically only for the event, they told me the one thing they had hoped to have time to see was the Grand Mosque.
So - that was when I stuck them my business card!

Later in the afternoon when they had finished with the event, I took them to see the mosque. Unfortunately due to their busy schedule, we didn't have time for anything else than the mosque visit, but they thoroughly enjoyed their quick sightseeing.
I was very pleased I got to at least show them our most beautiful landmark - and happy to be able to share these photos of their visit here on the blog. (Of course I asked permission!)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival 2017

The Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival took place on the weekend, for the 4th time. As Linnea is back on the school Swim Squad, she had signed up, as had many of her squad mates. Over 1000 participants took part all together.

This is a mass participation swimming event and it offers many different distances, for all abilities. Linnea was doing the Junior Splash Dash 100 m race.
It was held on the grounds of the beautiful Emirates Palace, a perfect venue.

Linnea picked up her race pack and got her number done on her arm:

This years ambassador for the whole event was Sweden's first female swimming Olympic gold medalist Sarah Sjöström. She took a total of three medals at the latest Olympic games in Rio, and is also the current world record holder in 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle.

Of course we took the opportunity to have a photo with her!

We also had a photo with her manager, Christian Olsson, another Swedish athlete and Olympian medalist! He is a former high jump and triple jump athlete, who won a gold medal in triple jump in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004:

Linnea's race wasn't on until 10.40 so we had plenty of time to cheer on her other friends from Raha, participating in the longer races:

Here's Linnea with the rest of the silver caps, each distance had their own colour. They had to line up to get briefed on the route before setting off. It wasn't all that complicated luckily, as it was her first time doing a race in the sea, with a running start.

Ready to go, giving me a little nervous wave!

Off they went!!

Look at the backdrop for this race - the Breakwater, Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi Corniche! Rather spectacular!

There she is, out of the water and racing up to get to the finish line!

She was rather pleased with herself, even though it was a very short race, it was her first ocean race. Quite a different experience to racing in a pool where you have a whole lane all to yourself.
She said she didn't like how the other people had kicked her in the face, how the water tasted or that she couldn't really see anything (swimming in pretty shallow water probably meant there was a lot of sand being whirled around) - but she liked coming up for the finish line and getting a medal!

Linnea and her half-South African/half-Swedish friends with their big medals and new t-shirts.
What a lovely morning!

Om nom nom

We have had trouble trying to find "hole-in-the-wall"-restaurants around where we live. It seems most of these places must be situated in the city. I miss cheap and cheerful food! In Brunei we often went for sushi (which was ridiculously cheap, and tasty, there!), Thai food or Indian down the road - or most often roti at our favourite 'House of Curry'.

I have been craving roti ever since we left, so I got super excited when I recently found out that there is actually a Malaysian restaurant here that serves it! Although for us, this Mamaks restaurant (yes, a fast food place) is situated in a really not convenient place... the ADNOC petrol station on the way back from Saadyiat... It means that you have to go all the way into town to get on the right side of the motorway to be able to stop in... duh.

The other day, I drove back from the city that way just at lunch time though, so I thought now is my chance! Mmmmm... om nom nom, I could've eaten many more of these, easily! Not quite Iskandar, House of Curry standard, but close enough!

And cheap! Only AED10 for one of these and a bottle of water! Score!

The new Qasr Al Hosn exhibit

Last week a new exhibition opened in the capital, centered around the Qasr Al Hosn Fort. I went along on Friday to have a look and was very impressed.

The exhibition tells the story of Abu Dhabi, and the history of the whole area around the Qasr Al Hosn, from the establishment to the present. There are nine exhibition zones with different themes.
The exhibition also highlights the restoration and conservation project that currently is in full swing in the area, expected to be completed next year.
Even all around the area outside, different little "tasters" of how it will turn out are shown:

Qasr Al Hosn is not just the oldest building we have here, and our most important monument as it is considered the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi. It has also always played a huge role as a symbol of the heritage, culture and Emirati traditions.

There is a private collection of items on display, on loan from the Al Nayhan family. Such as the bisht (=ceremonial cloak) that belonged to Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan and other things. The original wooden gate to the fort is also among the many items on display:

There was also a collection of pearl jewellery and other items on display, to demonstrated the peak of the pearling industry:

Along one of the walls they had a timeline portraying many of the most important development stages of the last century:

One of the things I got stuck in front of for a while, and watch over and over a few times, was an animated presentation of the history of the fort and Abu Dhabi, and the plans for the area's future: