Thursday, 30 November 2017

Cultural dancing

Yesterday we were invited to school to watch Linnea perform some cultural dancing. This was an assignment they had done for the past few weeks at PE, and Linnea and three of her friends had chosen to do "Swedish folk dance". They did really well, have a look:

We also got treated to some Hawaiian hula dancing, an Emirati "hair dance", African dance, Greek dance, Scottish dance, American square dancing and flamenco from Spain.

Green. Red. Black. White.

While at school yesterday I passed the Raptors Nest (by the coffee truck) and was pleasantly surprised to discover a small exhibit over Sheikh Zayed. I always look to learn more about Sheikh Zayed. Apparently this was prepared for the school National Day celebrations yesterday.

I love this time of the year, ever since Flag Day in the beginning in November when everything gets covered in UAE flags. The preparations are huge for Flag Day (3 Nov), Commemoration Day (today) and of course the National Day (2nd Dec) - everywhere there are decorations in green, red and black.
The pride in this country is so great, and it's contagious. It's happy times!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

And... relax

After a total full-on weekend with visitors in every corner of the house, excursions, F1, late nights and early mornings - I needed a day without any musts.

Linda had asked if I wanted to try the 'Ladies Day' at the Saadyiat Beach Club, which I was really keen on as I had never been before. It really is a lush, lush place, as these photos show:

We arrived pretty much straight after school drop-off, so we had first pick of the sun beds!

We spent all morning there chilling, chatting, swimming. We had breakfast, coffee, and this gorgeous fruit arrangement. What a lovely, lovely morning!

Power visit

Our friends Thomas and Signe came down from Denmark this weekend with four of their kids. It was quite a power visit - only 72 hours in the UAE! Power in more ways than one, as the prime reason for the visit was the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

We certainly crammed a lot into those 72 hours though! We started out with all of us visiting Ferrari World on Friday. The kids tried the newest of the roller coasters, Turbo Trax. It's the one that rides through the theme park in 120 km/h to then take you up through the roof to the highest point on Yas Island, and back down again...

Konrad, Mikkeline and Vera also tried the Flying Aces with the highest (52m) loop in the world! Very brave!

They also had to get on the Formula Rossa of course, the world's fastest roller coaster. Lots of boxes ticked off here at Ferrari World!

They also did karting:

And more roller coasters:

On the Saturday morning we all went to Yas Waterworld:

And when the Dads took off to enjoy the F1, us girls and kids stayed behind for the afternoon.

We were lucky enough to be able see most of the Al Fursan Aerobatic Team fly-over even from the waterpark:

We even had time for a spot of shopping, and had dinner and ice cream at Yas Mall:

On the Sunday I took our visitors to see the Grand Mosque. This was actually Thomas' 4th visit here, and since he hadn't made it there yet, it was a must:

After we had done the drive-by sightseeing along the Corniche, Signe and the girls even had time for a quick stop at the Louvre; while the Dads hit the F1 track again, for the final race:

Signe and I watched it all from the comfort of our sofa. That worked too!

And just as fast as they had arrived, they were gone again early Monday morning before the kids went to school - like their visit had all been just a dream!
Thank you for coming to see us!

Friday, 17 November 2017

It's that time of the year

First of Advent is only a couple of weeks away and Lucia less than a month. Today some of the kids in the Swedish community met up to start practising for our Lucia Celebrations at the Swedish Ambassadors residence in December.

We did some Christmas crafting, had some 'fika' and practised the songs. It made me happy that Linnea wanted to participate this year again.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Louvre of desert and light

Today I did my first (I say first, because I can see myself return over and over again!) visit to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi.

As the school conferences are stretching over two days, the kids were off school today as well, so I thought I'd take them for a bit of cultural education. They did enjoy when we visited Louvre in Paris a few years ago, and also I wanted them to be part of history this very special opening week here in the capital. Linnea brought her friends A & D, and off we went.

After almost a decade of preparation, the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been highly anticipated. This is the first universal museum in the Arab World, with quite a unique approach to the history of art, and humanity.
I was surprised to see there was plenty of space in the car park and no queues at all, neither through the security screening nor by the ticket counter. 

A walk through the 12 galleries guide you through different periods in history by exploring our common humanity. It is done through the display of similar objects from different cultures and civilizations, emphasizing our shared human experience. The galleries are arranged both chronologically and thematically.
There are a huge amount of significant pieces on display, around 600 works of art. Half of them belong to the permanent exhibition, and half are on loan for temporary display.

We advanced pretty quickly through the first couple of galleries. I didn't mind too much, I knew I'll be back, and the kids wanted to see the paintings and sculptures they knew of; so we didn't linger too long at galleries with the most ancient times.

One of the masterpieces of the museum: "La Belle Ferronnière". It is the first painting by Leonardo da Vinci to be shown in the Middle East, expected to be on display here for the next year:

 The Horses of the Sun:

In this next gallery alone, you could find Manet, Monet, Degas, Whistler, Cezanne and many more. Lucas was impressed to see the size of "Whistler's Mother", a painting he had studied at school.
Several major French museums, such as the original Louvre, Musée Rodin, Château de Versailles, Musée d'Orsay and Centre Pompidou just to name a few, have lent artworks to the Louvre Abu Dhabi; both to form the permanent collection and for this opening exhibit, called "From one Louvre to Another". There will be four temporary exhibitions a year.

A selfie with a "selfie" by Van Gogh.

Sculptures by Edgar Degas:

The iconic painting "La Gare Saint-Lazare" by Claude Monet. "My" old commuting train station when I lived in Asnières during my year as an Au Pair. Also a painting I used to talk about when I did the excursion to Giverny (Monet's garden) during my years as a tour guide in Paris.

Sculpture by Giacometti:

Gallery 11 - Challenging Modernity.
Here we found art by Picasso, Pollock and Rothko - and the first piece the museum acquired, the 1922 painting by Piet Mondrian "Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black".

Not a great photo, but just wanted to share that even Sweden was represented! This flower pot was manufactured by Rörstrand.

The kids liked this impressive piece, Ai Weiwei's chandelier-like "Fountain of Light":

In the final gallery, A Global Stage:

We also went to see the Children's Museum part. It wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but the kids liked it a lot, especially the interactive parts of course.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi building in itself is truly a work of art. The galleries are thoughtfully and beautifully laid out. Every so often you get occasional windows to the sky, the sea or the courtyards outside; and there is space designed for you to rest your eyes, give room to the art and let you breathe.
The unique use of light is magical - a "Rain of Light", as it's so amply described.

The dome weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower, 7,500 tonnes, and it appears to float above the galleries, as the four pillars it rests on are hidden within the museum.

This bronze sculpture is by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone and it's called "Leaves of Light". It was commissioned by the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and has been designed to capture and reflect the rain of light generated by the steel canopy:

Huge paintings by Cy Twombly, Untitled I-IX:

Obligatory stop in the souvenir shop, of course!

I already can't wait to go back for another visit!