Monday, 30 April 2018

Valborg 2018

The kids and I went into town tonight, as were invited to the Swedish Ambassador to come celebrate Valborg (Walpurgis Eve) together with the rest of the Swedish community (found out there are 861 of us in Abu Dhabi!). The temperature was perfect, and we arrived right on time to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

The Ambassador held a speech, and we also traditionally greeted spring with some singing.

Also very traditional for Walpurgis is to have a bonfire, so of course there was a bonfire - even though it was about 32+ degrees...

Still very cosy!

Lucas made some new friends:

Once the "official" part was done, we were treated to Swedish hot dogs, personally brought back from Sweden by the Ambassador! Om nom nom! A really good night!

Trusting the program

As I mentioned recently, we are fast approaching the most depressing time of the year here in the sandpit. There is not much to do, my work season is nearly over, someone has really turned up the heat and time seems to roll by really slowly. So I thought I needed some kind of project to focus on for these coming months - and what could be better than my health!

Yes, I know, I'm very predictable... I follow pretty much the same pattern every year: A few months before the summer holiday I start eating differently and amp up the exercise. All so that I will have a better starting point for all the gluttony I will expose myself to during my Scandinavian summer..!
I usually manage to keep the shape and fitness level during the summer actually, as I tend to move around more back home; but then slowly during the year it all creeps back on - and next spring I will be going through the same thing again..!

This year, having quit Zumba, I decided to go for some running. I needed to do something I knew I would be able to finish, and gym work is so boring. I really have a hard time even getting myself to the gym when I'm on my own and not being accountable to anyone. So, instead I went for a "Couch-to-5-km"-program.

I have downloaded an app which has a program that stretches over 8 weeks. As it only has 3 runs programmed each week, I decided to accelerate it a little bit. I mean, each workout is only around 30 minutes long and anyone can (and should!) exercise at least half and hour a day anyway, right!

And believe it or not, after a week of running every morning, I have started to look really forward to this new start of my day!
I'm so grateful for every day I can still run outside. It's usually around 30 degrees already at 7.30-8 am in the morning, but it has been windy lately, so it has still been alright. Even though the scenery around here is far from pretty, I much prefer running on the street and just listen to the prompts from my app when to run and when to walk; than being on a treadmill.

This morning I did my run first, and then I took our little house guest for a walk. I didn't want to take him on the run as I wanted him to get a chance to sniff his way around the neighbourhood.

Hopefully I'll comfortably reach the 5 km mark with no issues or injuries, and then my plan is to keep the runs up while in Scandinavia this summer too. I have trust in the program, so if I just keep running, I'm sure I'll get there!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Nordic Design in the UAE

Wednesday night Linda and I drove to JBR in Dubai for an event organized by the Swedish Business Council - A Evening of Nordic Design.
There was going to be food and stalls, and also a fashion show; so I thought I'd better scrub up a bit - with my new dress from COS and my new gold earrings:

Red carpet entrance! 

We had a good look around all the stalls:

I bought a pair of these Swedish handmade clogs from new brand Hollie Woods. So gorgeous and super glam, fits perfectly in the UAE. I got some pink/gold ones!

After shopping (I also got a pair of pink earrings from Caroline Svedbom and a one-of-a-kind fabulous scarf (my weak point) from Danish designer Mille Rostock) we had a dinner break.
It was really nice to network and mingle, and finally get to meet a lot of the Swedish ladies in the Dubai SWEA. Hopefully we will be working a lot with each other next year for the SWEA World Meet which is going to take place here in the UAE.

Finally we enjoyed the fashion show, also with Scandinavian brands, before it was time to hit the road and go back home. Such a good evening!

Friday, 27 April 2018

And... relax

No, I'm not the most stressed person on the planet these days... at all... Still, there is a difference between "relaxing" at home, where the laundry pile and everything else that needs doing gives you the evil eye - and relaxing by the pool!

I had a pool day Wednesday while the kids were at school. It had been a while, and it always feels a bit naughty, but truthfully you tend to forget that life here can be rather dreamy and vacation-like. You just have to let go and relax a little bit more often!

I tried a new Beach Club to me, the Bayshore by the Intercontinental. Nice with some different views over the ADNOC building and the Etihad Towers, the pool area was lovely; but the service was a bit slow, and we were rather let down by both the quality and the pricing of the food.
Next week we'll try a different place!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A place of gathering

A very good friend of mine from my high school years, Carin, live in Rome since more than 20 years now, and also works as a Tour Guide. She was really supportive when I started guiding here in Abu Dhabi, and gave me lots of great advice.
Although one thing she told me was "Don't stress too much, as soon as you have done ONE trip, you've got it all down"... Well, that might work in Rome, where you usually take the tourists around the same old ruins every time... Here, it's a different story. This town evolves so fast, it's almost a full time job just to keep up with all the changes, new buildings, new museums and happenings!

The latest addition to the sightseeing route here in Abu Dhabi is the new 'The Founder's Memorial':

It was finally opened to the public this past Sunday. Officially it was inaugurated at the end of February, but the public has had to wait to be able to visit this park until now. 'The Founders Memorial' was established to coincide with the Year of Zayed-initiative celebrating 100 years since the birth of Sheikh Zayed.

The memorial consists of a park full of indigenous trees, plants and bushes; with the centerpiece being this large sculpture called 'The Constellation'. It's a rather unique 3D portrait of Sheikh Zayed, made up of 1327 geometrical shapes suspended on 1100 cables inside a 30 meter tall cube. It is one of the largest installations of its kind in the world.

There is also a small Visitors Center on site, where you can find Cultural Guides to tell you more about the monument. The memorial is free to visit and open daily.

It might be getting just a little bit too hot at the moment, but I can really see this park becoming a popular spot amongst tourists and residents. It's beautifully laid out, feels very peaceful, and the monument is spectacular, especially at night. Don't miss it if you are coming to Abu Dhabi!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

U14 Award Ceremony

This weekend it was time for Lucas to officially celebrate the end of this season of rugby with the U14 Harlequins. As per tradition there was an Award Ceremony organized by the club, this year at the Novotel.

Roché and Bevan, the U14 coaches, shared some wise words with the boys before handing out the special awards:

All players got medals:

Then the obligatory group photo, although it gets harder and harder to get these boys to all look the same way and focus, they're too busy fixing their hair and finding the right cool photo pose...