Nathan has not been featuring much on the blog lately. What is he up to? Well, he is pretty much doing what he always is doing - working and biking.
In November he took part in the 'LOF Cycle Challenge' bike race, as 1/6th of 'Team Anakpanayu'. He only took photos of a whole lot of other people, but here is at least one of him, with his friend Johan:
It was a 98k race and their team came 2nd! Kids were very excited Daddy came home with a medal!
Now he's packed and ready to go and compete in a big cycling event in Dubai - the 'Airline World Cycling Challenge'. The AWCC is part of the annual challenge 'Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge'. It is expected that around 2000 cyclists will be riding the 92 km around the iconic streets of Dubai this Friday. This is the largest amateur cycling challenge in the Middle East, and one of the region’s fastest growing sporting events, doubling in size each year.
More than 80 cyclists from airlines and aviation companies worldwide are gearing up for the AWCC. They will have lots of fun, because apart from the challenge itself on Friday, the weekend happenings comprises of training rides, a special awards ceremony, a brunch and a desert cycle! :)
And - cycling legend Stephen Roche is taking part too!
Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) are sending five members from its 'Royal Brunei Flyers Cycling Team' to this challenge: Jeremy, Will and Nathan with Rosh Othman and Michael Lee. Yesterday they had a team jersey hand-over ceremony, and got interviewed for the news etc, so watch this space!
(Photo courtesy of Geotrax, one of their sponsors.)
Well, actually it has been a really busy weekend! Not only did we go to the Masked Ball on Friday night, but before that Lucas had a birthday pool party and Linnea and I went on a play date.
Saturday there was sleepovers going on, at the same time as the continuous clear out process taking place every free hour at the moment: sorting, clearing, selling, chucking... *Sigh*.
This morning Linnea was down at the 'Saap Stadium' for a sporty birthday party. It was Gemma who hosted a cool and active party for her 8th birthday. They had played table tennis, had a chocolate eating (!) competition, played football and much much more.
Linnea had been the captain of the Silver Ferns, and they had won a few medals! Very cool theme!
In the afternoon we all went to see the "Little shop of horrors", performed by the Secondary Students at JIS. I wasn't very familiar with this musical, so it was fun to see something new. They all did very well, it was a lovely performance.
And now tonight after dinner, I made an attempt at a new recipe of 'lussebullar', traditional Christmas buns with saffron. My Amah's comment when she saw me getting started says it all:
-"Mam, what are you trying to do??"
Well, although they came out tasting alright, I don't think I can serve them up at tomorrow morning's Christmas coffee, as they are not very pretty... ha ha! I certainly am no star at baking, I should stick to my 'kladdkaka' and 'chokladbollar' - I do those really well!
But, I got to use my old Electrolux, that used to be my Grandma's - it's from the 1950s!! It's always a pleasure to give that a spin!
Last night we were invited to celebrate another 40th birthday - our friend Cécile had a 'Bal Masqué' party for her big day.
We only had one mask at home, so I had to ask Lucas if I could borrow his that he had made in school earlier this year. Luckily he said yes, if I promised to be careful with it.
Such a cool idea for party theme, easy for everyone to do, not demanding too much effort. Still
people looked so different and it was actually a bit tricky to see who
was who! This was the party host, Manu, DJing away:
Yesterday the kids and I went to the airport for a quick meet up with a friend of ours - Linnea's Godfather Jason!
He was here only for a quick turnaround, as he flew in some special cargo from Singapore; and us too we had a special delivery to pass to him - all our Lego Duplo!
It's nice when you are getting rid of things, when they go to someone you know. Our kids have had so much fun with that Lego Duplo, and now Wataru and Erina will too!
It made a lot of noise in the arrival hall when we poured the Lego over from our suitcase into his big bag, ha ha.
The other day Linnea got invited to the Principal's office, to have some juice and biscuits and a bit of a chat. She told us they had been talking about NZ and Sweden, and she was very excited. She also came home with this special certificate:
We're on the second to last week of school for this term, and since there are no CCAs the last week - yesterday I had my last sessions of Zumba Kids.
I'm so enjoying doing these Zumba Kids sessions at school. I have done both a Pre-Prep and Prep session this term and the kids are all so into it! Big smiles all around every time.
Yesterday we did a Z for Zumba to finish off our term!
It was Will's 40th yesterday and Tash had invited the gang for dinner (cooked by Pip, yum!) to celebrate him. It was a great evening and even though it was a happy occasion, it made me a little bit sad too - we know some good people here, and I will miss them very much when we go.
This week the Junior School is holding an Art Sale. Every child in the Junior School, from Nursery to Year 6, has an original piece of work for sale, and all the artworks are on display in the at drop off time in the mornings, all week. A beautiful and inspiring start to the school day!
The artworks are for sale by donation and all money raised goes to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Linnea and Lucas showed me theirs this morning, and they were very excited to have their work on display. I better bring in some cash tomorrow so I can buy myself a couple of original Watson art pieces!
Every Monday, if it doesn't rain, I do Bukit Shabandar together with these two happy people, Tamsin and Harry, 7 months old. Talk about a challenging effort, climbing all those hills with a 8kg+ natural weight belt!
I just love it when the 1st of Advent actually coincides with the 1st of December, like this year!
We cheated this year though, and decorated already last weekend, since we are going to be away for about 10 days this December and wanted time to enjoy it all before then.a
But the 1st of Advent is still special...
Every Sunday we will light a new candle in the candlestick so by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit, and Christmas is near! Advent is a really popular time in Sweden and it engages everybody. In almost every home you'll find the five- or seven branched electric Advent candlesticks or Advent stars hanging in the windows, shedding light in the darkest winter month.
This year our kids haven't got their traditional package calendars, but Lego calendars, as we are going away as I said earlier. Bringing presents whilst traveling, just to open them and bring them back again would just be silly. So instead we are doing the Lego ones this year. They also got an Advent gift in their stocking this morning, a Scottish dog ornament to hang on the tree.
As today was such a hectic day, tomorrow we'll start this years Swedish Television Julkalender, which has been a tradition even since before I was a kid. This year it's called "Barna Hedenhös uppfinner julen", and looks like fun. I love traditions.
It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate while living in a big house with a lot of storage space... We arrived in Brunei with just under 1200kg in 2007, now we have... - well it's a different story!
We are pretty ruthless clearing out though, and today we (well, read I, since Nathan was working) had the first garage sale.
Isabel was a star and came around the other day to help me sort all the things. Last time I priced as I went, but she said pricing up the items was a much better idea, so we did, and she was right.
We had set the start time to 8am this morning, but already at 6.40 I had the first people outside the gate! Going to garage sales is a popular Sunday morning activity here in Brunei, and you can really do good bargains, if you are early. These people knew that!
I had the dogs out to avoid any early birds, but as soon as I opened the gates, people ran (yes!) towards the things for sale!
I would say that pretty much 75% of everything went in the first 45 minutes, and it was totally crazy! After that it calmed down, but I had a steady stream of buyers and I'm really happy with the end result. I got rid of most things, a few bags of clothes will go to a Philippines-appeal at school tomorrow, and some things I'll try to get rid off again in the next garage sale. I must have at least one more, or maybe even two, just before we go with all the last items.
We are certainly not spoiled with cultural happenings here in Brunei, it's been ages since there was a big show put on - so when they advertised that "Sleeping Beauty on skates" was coming, we got tickets straight away!
The show was held in the Indoor Stadium, and the cast of the show came all the way from Australia. We talked to a few after the show, and it turned out the troupe was made up of national and international skates champions!
The classical story of Sleeping Beauty was changed a bit in this version, we didn't get to see the Prince kiss the Princess, which disappointed the girls a little bit..! :)
Still, it was a good show with some great skating routines. Considering they normally do this on ice, and I suppose techniques are ever so slightly different, they did a very good job. I also did love the costumes, they did a lot of changes, and all looked absolutely stunning.
They had a jester who did a few circus acts, such as juggling, juggling with fire and riding a unicycle.
The dark fairy and her entourage:
It got a bit choppy since we had to have an extra
intermission due to prayer time, but I think the kids enjoyed it. Linnea
and her friends hang by the entrance and talked to the cast, and when
it was time for photos - they were already best friends! Linnea and her friends having their photo taken with the Queen, and Sleeping Beauty as a baby:
With the dark fairy:
And - with Sleeping Beauty (her real name was Sarah, the girls informed me!) and the Prince: