TGIT - another week in the books.
In between studies I've managed to catch up with a few friends this week over coffee, both Sunday and Tuesday morning; and played padel all of four times! Monday and Tuesday evening with my British friends in the city and Wednesday and Thursday morning with the Swedish and Argentinian chicks at our usual place. The morning play was very, very hot still though (about 33-34 degrees), can't wait for some cooler weather! We have just dipped below 30 degrees for the morning school run the past two days, about time.
Linnea has got a new hairstyle after two visits to the hairdresser, first the cut, then the colour. Nathan has been working and Lucas has been busy with school, school and more school.
The kids are finishing the week by hanging out with their friends and Nathan and I are off on a hot date to the movies to see the new James Bond movie! I can't even remember when I last went to the movies! It was pre-Covid for sure, so probably about two years ago. I'm all excited!
Finally the menu for this week has been:
Garlic pork chops with steamed veggies and béchamel sauce
Sweet chili pasta with chicken (cooked by Lucas)
Indian vegetable curry
Steak and Greek salad
Mac n' Cheese
Thursday, 30 September 2021
TGIT - another week in the books.
Wednesday, 29 September 2021
It's that time of the year again, although we are about three weeks too early this year - for the first birthday present for Linnea, a trip to the hairdresser!
The dark colour she got last year had faded, and her hair almost had a slight red tint to it by now. It had grown very, very long, and also needed a tint. Even though the hairdresser said that bleaching it platinum blonde (as Linnea really wished for) was not going to be any good for the hair...
... she was super happy with the result this time as well. She got a few blond highlights here and there, mostly around her face. Her hair got new life - and she looks really, really pretty!
Saturday, 25 September 2021
Nathan is first out in our family birthday calendar, and lucky him, his birthday fell on a Friday this year - AND he was off work!
Birthday singing, balloons, morning coffee and gifts in bed. This year he got one big present only, but quite a good one, a new ipad and keyboard. He was happy!
For celebrating we had decided to go to Dubai and have lunch with our ex-door-neighbours McGeehees, now that there is no more border and everything is a lot more easier traveling there and back. Can you believe it, twice in one week for me; and for the kids, first time back to Dubai in almost two years!
They took us to their favourite restaurant Pangolin, which is in the Els Club in Dubai Sports City. What a treat!
We ate and ate and ate... this place make almost everything in-house, all their own cheese, mustards, dry aged charcuterie, sausages and so on. We had a fantastic meal, I forgot to take any photos of it all, but it ended with this spectacular dessert for me, a 'Snow Dome'. The others all had a decadent chocolate cup filled with marshmallows, ice cream and chocolate cake - which was even better..! Amazing!
Then we spent the rest of the afternoon on their sofa trying to digest it all... ha ha! The kids were all so happy to see each other again after all this time.
Thursday, 23 September 2021
Great stuff! We have managed four whole weeks of school - IN school!
So normal, it's fantastic!
Nathan has been busy working all week, I have had Game Night, been to a book exchange breakfast with SwedishLadies and - played padel! I finally dared to take on the humidity on Tuesday night, and actually it wasn't too, too bad. I survived, and had great fun!
Kids are digging their heels in and firmly getting on with school work. Lucas kicked back and hung out with his friends this afternoon, while Linnea and I went to the mall and sorted a few things for tomorrow. Bad idea to do the mall on a Thursday night, but we had to do the needful!
This week we ate:
Poke Bowl (yes, again, such a hit we had to repeat!)
Pasta bolognese (cooked by Lucas)
Saturday, 18 September 2021
We stayed in the Dubai Mall area for lunch, but walked across the water to the Souk Al Bahar because Linda wanted to introduce me to the rather new Time Out Market. So glad she did!
I wasn't familiar with this concept before, first emerging in Lisbon in 2014, and with many other outlets around the world, Dubai is one of the newest locations.
The Time Out Market is not your regular food court, but an elevated version of a food market - a collection of the very best restaurants in the city. I decided to have non-fish vegan tacos, from Little Erth:
It was super yummy! I loved the cool vibe of the whole place as well! Would like to come back here in the evening sometime, or maybe sit out on the balcony next time, with a view to the fountains.
After lunch we headed to the next mall, Mall of the Emirates:
It was time for the second exhibition of the day - The World of Banksy. British artist Banksy is considered one of the main representatives of contemporary street art in the world, even though he is anonymous, with very little being known about him.
This is the biggest Banksy exhibition in the world, and it's the first time it has come to the UAE. It shows about 120 of his most inspirational pieces. Here one of the most recognisable motifs, Girl with Balloon, first created in London 2002:
We got to see murals, graffities, pieces from private collectors, video installations, canvases and more. In a very Banksy-esque fashion, this exhibition is apparently unauthorized, with no blessing from the artist himself!
Mobile Lovers, originally created 2014 in Bristol:
I enjoyed these remixes of canonical works of art, like his take on the Napoleon Crossing the Alps, which appeared originally in Paris 2018, taking an aim at the French government:
...and the Show me the Monet, from 2005, one of his most iconic paintings. This repainting tackles the issues of our time, such as the disregard for the environment in favour of consumerism, delivered with a tongue-in-cheek pun of a title. This original sold at auction last year, for £7.5 million.
Still - one not to miss!
Today I went on an ADVENTURE! Or at least, so it felt - after not having been outside Abu Dhabi city since before the pandemic started (apart from the Sweden-trips). Last time I went to Dubai was the first week of January 2020, and since then, I haven't left our home town to go anywhere else in the country!
But today, it was finally time! Linda and I went to Dubai for the day! So excited!
I got my PCR on Thursday to make sure I had the 'E'-status on my AlHosn, to be able to reenter again. Funnily enough, it was then announced this afternoon that from tomorrow, there will be no more requirements for testing to enter Abu Dhabi! Ha ha ha! (I was still actually happy we went today, so I got to experience the famous border crossing..!)
Our plan was to visit two different exhibitions which had been on both of our radars for a while. The first one was 'Infinity des Lumières' at Dubai Mall.
This is an immersive one-of-a-kind experience of art, using the very latest technology.
Currently running at this space was a Van Gogh "show" which took us through the evolution of Van Goghs art. It was so cool to walk around the rooms, and experience every angle and perspective, and become completely one with the artwork.
The art came to life on both the walls and the floor, super exciting and powerful! Quite a sensory experience, especially since there was an especially created soundtrack to accompany the art.
One of my favourites, The Starry Night (1889). It was mesmerising to stand in the middle of these big rooms, as the art swirled and pulsated around us, in sync with the music which was so perfectly echoing all of the artwork. Art coming to life - who would've thought!?
Van Gogh painted more than 43 self-portraits during his short career. Here you can see f.e with the green background Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (1888).
The Wheatfield with Crows (1890), painted just a few days before Van Gogh took his own life. This powerful work became his pictorial testament.
The second part of the "show", was called Dreamed Japan.
Van Gogh and many other artists of his time, as the Impressionists before them, were very inspired by the Ukiyo-e prints and the Japonisme that swept through Europe in the 19th century. This part of the experience focused on prints from Japan, like fish, patterns, floating lanterns and my favourite - falling cherry blossoms. All displayed in a dream-like way, very, very poetic.
The Great Wave (1831).
I can't wait to see which artist they will choose to display in this format next! I certainly will come back! This was incredibly inspiring!
Thursday, 16 September 2021
Another school week done and dusted. About half way done to half term already..!
There hasn't really been a lot of extra curricular activity this week, just school for the kids - and leave for Nathan (yes still).
Lucas passed his driving theory test on Sunday night (yay him!), so now he can start with the practical lessons. We haven't sorted those out yet as we still have plenty of time before January, but will get on it soon.
I had my vaccine booster, lunch with my Louvre Abu Dhabi girls on Sunday and also a looong morning coffee with three friends at the Westin today. Lovely!
Tomorrow Nathan is back to work after his long (forced and unpaid) leave, and I'm going to start my day with - a sleep-in! I have decided, after careful deliberation, to drop out of one of the Uni-courses I signed up for this term, 'The Perspectives of Renaissance', as I couldn't quite work up the right amount of enthusiasm for it. I decided better to drop it and focus more on the other two. Although I have fallen behind a little bit as most of my course literature for those courses didn't arrive until just this week, so tomorrow I have quite a bit of reading to do!
Our menu so far this week has involved:
Roast pork belly with oven roasted veggies
Chili con carne
Salmon Poke Bowl
Creamy buffalo chicken pasta
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Today I finally had my appointment for my vaccine booster shot. Just in time before the grace period ends next week! When they implemented the new regulations on the 20th of August (which says that all over 16 years needs to be vaccinated to enter anywhere), they also decided that if you had got your Sinopharm vaccination more than 6 months ago, you needed a booster shot. Only for the Sinopharm, not for Pfizer or Moderna which has also been used here in the UAE.
As we all had our vaccinations in January-February, we now needed a booster shot to be considered vaccinated - but it proved quite a mission to get appointments at first. Turned out Lucas could get his as a walk-in a few weeks back, Nathan got his at his work, and I finally managed to book one for today, yay! (There was only a one month grace period, so after the 20th of September I would've been stuck at home otherwise!) Linnea will get her booster as soon as she turns 16.
We decided to go with Pfizer this time, as being vaccinated with Pfizer would be beneficial for us, especially if/when traveling to Europe. Sinopharm is not yet recognised by many European countries where you need to show proof of vaccination. So to have the booster here is mandatory, but it's voluntary to go for the full course. We have decided that we will have the two doses though, after thorough research and consideration. Although it does make you feel a bit like a pin cushion, or a medical experiment... - but hey, we all want this to end, don't we?! You do what you gotta do!
Sunday, 12 September 2021
Today I had another kind of kick-off, with my Louvre Abu Dhabi guide colleagues! Well, not quite a kick-off per se, as none of us have any work booked, ha ha! But we decided to have lunch together and share some pep talk at least, in hope of at least some work this coming season.
We are all so ready to work, so ready! Now all we need is - TOURISTS!
In the car this morning going to school Linnea said "It already feels like we are half-way through the term", and I agree - it sure does! The kids have settled right back into school rhythm real quick, although we are all still super tired both in the evenings and when the alarm goes...
So we closed the book on the second week of school and I am still unsure if it was a better week than last or not.
I did spend four hours of my Sunday last week chit-chatting with my friend Frida over coffee and cake. A great start to any week obviously! I also really enjoyed the Swedish Ladies breakfast morning on Thursday, but that was about all the fun I had last week.
Other than that, last week was about boring jobs, and watching 'Schitt's Creek'. Took the kids for their PCR-tests for school, took Lucas for his eye-test for the drivers license and to the Driving School to open his traffic file and for his theory lessons. I sat at the hairdressers a whole morning, only to end up with a way shorter style than I meant to, and Nathan had his vaccine booster shot.
Linnea was the only one being a bit sociable this weekend. I took her to the mall on Thursday afternoon for her to hang out with her friends. Instead of dropping her and picking her up I decided to stay behind, which was a bad idea as I got bored already after half an hour... So I spent a while people-watching in a café, then another while walking round and round closing my rings.
Anyway, somber September continues and I wish I could say I'm doing my best to beat the blues, but the reality is that I'm just trying to at least roll with it.
This weeks menu for the archives:
Cheese-filled meat loaf with lemon roasted potatoes and tomato & pepper sauce
Sausage stroganof (A complete failure. I can't seem to find the right mortadella to replace the 'falukorv' needed)
Chicken satay with vegges and rice (Apparently was a success as Lucas wanted the leftovers in his lunchbox the next day)
Fish & Chips
Sushi at the mall
Saturday, 11 September 2021
I don't know what happened.
I blinked - and this cute little one...
... is all grown up and studying the theory for his drivers license!
Earlier this week he went to do the eye test, opened his traffic file, uploaded all documents and got his drivers license handbook. Today he had a two-hour theory session at the driving school, and as soon as the theory exam is done he can start taking driving lessons out in Mussafah. You are not allowed to practice driving privately here, it's all done with driving lessons at the driving school.
Before we know it, we will have our own private driver, although I'm not quite sure how I feel about that!
Thursday, 9 September 2021
This morning the Swedish Ladies Abu Dhabi had their kick-off at Jones the Grocer in the city. It was a super successful breakfast event with 20+ ladies and enough food to keep everyone full all day after!
We had coffee and pastries, fresh fruit, smashed avocado on sweet potato with feta and chili, and pancakes and French toast.
Nice to see all the ladies again, and also quite a few new faces. Lovely with some fresh blood!
I got to present myself quickly, as we are planning to have a some tours with me added to the program the next few months. The only work I have booked so far, but let's hope it's only the beginning!
Sunday, 5 September 2021
It's a bit bittersweet to celebrate the NZ Fathers Day, since our kiwi Dad doesn't have his kiwi Dad anymore. Also since it falls the same week as we commemorate Granddad and Grandmas passing.
Nevertheless, this Dad still deserves all the love, on Fathers Day, and every day! He is, as it says on the balloon hidden away, a rad Dad.
I took the kids to the mall and Linnea picked out some new sweatpants and very cool shirt for him, and Lucas sorted the balloons (cause you know, you always need balloons for celebrations!). A bit of freshly baked chocolate cake as dessert after dinner, and his Fathers Day was complete. ♥
Saturday, 4 September 2021
First week back, and first week of the school year done. We have two rather tired teenagers in the house, the early mornings hit them hard, ha ha! At least they are back in routine, which they actually seem to enjoy.
For me September sucks. It's just a long, long wait, above all for better weather, that's the same Covid or no Covid. But at the moment I am also holding out for more changes in restrictions so that it will be easier for all tourists to return. I miss working and really hope this season will bring some more work.
All my UNI courses have had their kick-off introduction seminars this week and I have ordered all the literature I need. This term I'm studying three courses: 'Women artists and the Surrealism', 'The perspective of Renaissance' and 'Costume- and Interior history'. But I must admit, I'm not as excited as I have been previously for my studies. I do still have the hunger for deepening my knowledge, but - I really miss working... So badly! I want to USE and share all the new knowledge I have acquired, not just stuff my brain with it. I. Miss. Work.
So, I'm currently just spending my days managing the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cooking and all the other boring stuff. It's too hot to be outside to be playing padel or going for walks. It will all have to wait a few weeks. In the meantime I make real good use of my 'Escape Room', having that is the only one good thing with not having visitors.
Nathan is still on leave, and went out to see some friends last night. Lucas went to the movies on Thursday and to a Challenge Chamber yesterday with his friends. Kids and I went to the mall today to do the groceries and some other quick jobs, but other than that we have just been having a really lazy weekend which was well needed.
And because I know I'll enjoy reading about what we once ate in the future, I will keep writing down our weekly menus, for me, myself and I! This week we have enjoyed:
Lamb keftedes, tzatziki and couscous with vegetables
Pork loin, mashed potatoes and bearnaise sauce
Pumpkin, chicken and pine nut risotto
Pasta with skinny carbonara
Wednesday, 1 September 2021
So, we are back in the sandpit, and time for another monthly report on what's been going on here in the past few weeks regarding Covid. There has been quite a few things happening since last month.
To start, Sweden was put on the Red List at the end of July, only to fortunately end up back on the Green List in the middle of August, in perfect timing for our return - thank you very much.
Operating capacities of some activities have been increased, and the nighttime curfew ended in the middle of August after having been in place for about a month. Glad we didn't need to worry about that either.
Prices of PCR-tests have been reduced from 65 AED to 50 AED (118 SEK) as of yesterday. Take that Sweden! Our pre-travel PCR-tests before returning were 423 AED (995 SEK) - each! And that was only because we were willing to make a 4 hour round trip to Göteborg (it's cheaper in the three big cities, Stockholm, Malmö and Göteborg), otherwise we would have had to pay the double..! Crazy!
The biggest new change while we were gone were the new entrance rules implemented all over Abu Dhabi from the 20th of August. To be able to visit museums, shopping malls, tourist attractions, parks, beaches, hotels - or even go to school (if you are 16 and over) you now have to be fully vaccinated. Luckily, we are.
BUT, since it's been more than 6 months and we had the Sinopharm vaccine, we now do need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. Lucas had his booster yesterday and Nathan has an appointment coming up through work. Me on the other hand, haven't been able to get an appointment until October, which will be two weeks after the grace period is over. One step forward, two steps back.
In good news, this month we saw the daily infections dip, and stay under 1000 for a 7 day average for the first time in 11 months. Finally!
Here are the UAE numbers from today:
* 985 new cases discovered from 259,569 tests.
* 2 people passed away. Total death toll in the UAE is 2,043. Globally it's now close to 4,7M.
* Over 87% of the UAE population have received their first dose of the vaccine, over 76% have received both their doses.