Wednesday, 31 October 2007

A not so fun first

We had our first visit to the Doctor today. It was a double-whammy actually, both me and Linnea.

Linnea has had some blisters on her legs, after having fallen over, and being bitten - that she has scratched, and they now don't look very good at all.
We had planned to take her in to the Doctor to see if we could get some better cream for it, than the ones we have at home.

But then, I started having stomach cramps in the middle of the night. Thought it might have been the prawns we had for dinner last night, but neither Nathan or our dinner guests felt any different, so probably not.
This morning it just got increasingly worse, I had to stay in bed, whining from the pain and the cramps. I threw up several times, every time I tried to have just the slightest mouthfull of water - it just came back up.

So we went to the Doctor, all of us.
Linnea got antibiotics, and cream for her leg. She has got a skin infection the poor thing.
I got stop-vomitting-tablets, stop-belly-ache-tablets and some rehydration-sachets. It seems like I have stomach flu, cause it has been going around.

Not so fun. Linnea is ok, apart from the fact that she wasn't too impressed with the medicin, at all.
I have litteraly been in bed all that (thank God for the amah!), with my hot wheat pillow and my bowl next to the bed, cause when it came, I didn't have time to make it to the toilet.
It seems to have calmed down now. On the second attempt, I got to keep the pills, and I have had some water and rehydration mixture.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day...

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Aren't we pretty?

First posh pedicure

Went to the Zen Spa yesterday, together with a friend, to get pampered for a bit. We had the most wonderful foot scrub, and then I got a French pedicure.
(Might be hard to see on the photo, but it's very light pink, with a pearly white on the nail tips.) I have never had this done before, so I feel very posh at the moment!

Tuesday Theme 30 October - Trasig

Todays Tuesday Theme is trasig (=broken). I have chosen to upload an old favorite, which was the first "trasig" that came to mind.
This is Lucas in August 2005, 19 months old, - after I left him home alone with Daddy...

He had fallen over on the corner of the sofa table, straight on his eyebrow. It was bleeding so much, that Nathan thought it was best to take him to the doctor. He was such a brave little man, not a tear or anything.
He got a couple of butterfly stitches and a big plaster, and got sent home again.
His face says it all though..!

Monday, 29 October 2007

First bread baking moment

We have bought a bread maker. "Everybody else" seems to have one down here, and to be honest - it is kind of hard to get hold of healthy bread.
So, we are going to make our own from now on!
I started out today by making a "light wholemeal loaf". Here it is in the making:

And here is the finished result:

At least it looks like bread, and smells like bread! I will let it cool down a bit, then I will taste it, hopefully it tastes like bread too - yummy bread!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Kindy schedule 29 October - 2 November

Term 1 week 9
Imaginary Beings – Focus activities:
Letter of the week Hh – please send items beginning with Hh
Focus story: The Hungry Giant
Comparative mathematical language – tall/short & taller/shorter
Opposites - up/down, in/out etc.
Halloween activities and dress up day
Discuss bees and honey. Where does honey come from?
Visit to the DST tower.

Sound of the week Hh please bring something beginning with Hh for sharing time.
Music with Mr Instone
Extra perceptual motor lesson with Mrs Carter

ICT – Interactive whiteboard activities
PE with Mrs Carter
Assembly Halloween with Mrs Lewis
H - wear a hat day, can be funny, homemade or dress up hat, any hat that you child likes!

H for Halloween - dress up as make believe/imaginary characters, or favourite dress ups.

Library with Mrs Mann
Visit to the DST tower, details to follow

Swimming 10.00 – 10.30.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

Today the kids went to a Halloween Party arranged by the Loan Services. Lucas was Batman, and Linnea was a green monster:

It was great fun at the party, there were a lot of their little friends there; a lot of Spidermen, pumpkins, witches, ghosts, Power Rangers, a dragon, a Harry Potter, a bat, a hula-hula girl and more.
They had a great time, with yummy food and a few party games. Our team won 3rd price in "wrap-up-a-mumie-competition"!


I think we have bread a "why-child"... and it's not "like father like son" in this case - no, it's the daughter!

Linneas speech is really taking off at the moment, she talks all the time. Non stop. And about every second statement is: -"Whosda?", which comes out sort of in one word.
Sometimes it actually means "who is that?", but mostly it means "what is that?", and she is asking about everything...

If my ears are about to fall off already now, imagine how it will be eventually when she will be able to talk properly - someone, give me some earplugs!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

First swimming lesson

I had my first swimming lesson today!
Yes, I do know how to swim, but I still wanted some coaching, to make my swimming more efficient - and maybe finally learn how to do it all properly. I especially want to learn how to do freestyle, so I can get rid of my "old-lady-with-head-high-over-surface"-style I use now...

This is how the pool looked when I came:

No one there! Perfect!

I really enjoyed my hour of privat coaching today. We will keep on it once a week for a couple of weeks, until I have got the techniques working properly. Then my swim coach will work out a routine for me to follow, in order to get a proper workout out of it.
I was so proud of myself today, after I "got it" - felt like a little kid who just wanted to show someone "look what I can do!".

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

I love fueling!

Fueling the car has always been a pet hate of mine ever since I took my driving licence 15 (!) years ago, and wasn't allowed to borrow the car if I didn't fuel it...

Here - it's a breeze! You just drive up to the tank station, and there is a little man who fuels it for you! You don't even have to get out of your car, just give him the money through the window!

And check out how much (or should I say little?) money too:

This was when the Fortuner was not quite empty, but it´s about $18 for a full tank (= £6.30 / €9 / 84SEK / 68DKK / 17NZD!)

Off we go!

Linnea seems to like her new bike! She hasn't quite figured out how to pedal just yet, but Lucas is often helping out by pushing her around.

Most of all she enjoys loading the bike up with all her little bags and dolls and toys!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Todays shopping

Thought you might be interested in such a normal thing, as a weekly shopping list!
We try to only shop once a week, at the big supermarket, and then supply during the week with milk (if there is any more by then) and bread (but now that we have the bread maker, that wont be necessary!).
Today we had a BIG shop, my amah and I, apparently lots of things that needed stocking up!
Here are today's currency conversions: $1 = £0.35 / €0.50 / 4.50 SEK / 3.60 DKK / 0.90 NZD

Maggi Light Soya 1.70
Rice Vinegar 1.40
Pesto 6.70 (imported, hence the hefty price)
Can of pineapple 1.20
3 cobs of corn 0.90
Jar of black olives 3.90
Tomato Paste 1.00
Tomato Sauce 1.00
Thai plum sauce 2.95
Green capsicum 3 pcs 2.05
Broccoli 3.55
French beans 1.00
Pak Choi 1.00
Chye Sim 1.00
Parsley 0.80
Chives 1.15
Asparagus 1.50
Celery 2.90
Packet of carrots 2.20
Cauliflower 2.70
Fresh Ginger 1.75
6xSchweppes Soda cans 4.20
6xSprite cans 3.90
6xTonicwater cans 4.20
6xCokelight cans 3.95
4xBitterlemon cans 3.20
Mee 1.35 (A kind of noodles)
Lemon chili powder 0.80
Wholemeal flour 1.60
Breadcrumbs 2.25
Bread flour 1.90
Ribena 3.95
2 ltr Apple Juice 3.50
1 ltr Longlife milk 1.60
1 ltr Cranberry Juice 3.95
1 ltr Mango Juice 1.95
10 pkt Capri Sonne 4.50
Lemons 2.25
Lime 1.35
Softlan 2.70
Dettol Bathroom 4.20
Toilet Duck 2.90
Müeslibars (12 pcs) 8.15
K-time bars (6 pcs) 6.80
Müesli 14.80
Bread yeast 3.90
Tic Tac 0.75
Can of chickpeas 0.90
Toastbread 1.80
Minced beef 750 gr 9.20
12 egg 2.70
Plums 1.75
Grapes 6.95
1/2 Melon 2.50
6 Apples 2.40
Cut up Star fruit 1.00
4 ltr Fresh Milk 13.00 (Imported from Australia)
Butter 2.15
Cheese Dippers 4.50
Babybel 4.90

GRAND TOTAL: $243.90 (= £82/€118/1083SEK/887DKK/225NZD9

Not bad for two trolleys full of yummy food!!

Tuesday Theme 23 October - Saknad

Saknad (= to miss, missing)
This is on my "miss-list" constantly, together with a feeling of missing lots of other places, and people too...
I guess you have to live with that, moving about as we do.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Kindy schedule 22-26 October

Term 1 week 8
Imaginary Beings – Focus activities:
Letter of the week Gg – please send items beginning with Gg
Focus story: Jack & the beanstalk
Comparative mathematical language – tall / short & taller / shorter
Making beanstalks, magic beans and castle shapes
Little Cloud, cloud watching – what is up in the sky?
Hari Raya Festival and activities – dress up day on Wednesday
Growing and planting seeds
Days of the week – today is... yesterday was...

Sound of the week Gg please bring something beginning with Gg for sharing time.
Music with Mr. Instone
Extra perceptual motor lesson with Mrs. Carter

ICT – Interactive whiteboard activities

Hari Raya celebration day – Assembly with Mrs. Wei at 8am. Please wear traditional Malay clothes. Please send any Malay foods for children to taste. We will be joining with Panda class for some special celebratory activities

Library with Mrs. Mann
Pirate ship play

Swimming 10.00 – 10.30.

This thing with languages...

The following conversation took place in the jaccuzzi at the Country Club the other day, Lucas and Nathan were in it - and so was some other people (who we didn't know) who sounded suspiciously Scandi.

-Dad (Lucas whispering) they speak Spanish!!
-Oh (confused) do they? Really?
-Yes. (Very proudly) I speak Spanish!
-No pal, you speak S w e d i s h.
-Do I ?!?

Then he thought a bit more:

-No Daddy, I speak svenska! (=Swedish)

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Happy Birthday dear Linnea!

Today it is Linneas birthday, our little girl is turning 2 years old! (Even though she herself insists she is turning three...)

It has been a very good day so far. The day started already at 05.20 when the birthday-girl woke up and refused to go back to sleep, so we had the singing and present-opening in bed then. She had quite a few presents to open, that had been turning up from here and there:

Lucas was very helpful too!

A pair of cool sunglasses from our family in Oz, with the Wiggles, of course!

She got new bedding for her dolls-bed, a Schleich reindeer family and a soft rabbit from Mormor & Morfar in Sweden; and a "Bamse og Kylling"-DVD from her godmother Kamilla in DK.

A Dora-outfit, the sunglasses, a cute little doll in a bag and a UV-suit from the cousins in Australia; some LittlePeople figures from Grandma and Grandad in NZ and a dancing doll from our amah.
We had got her some Schleich animals as well, and a hen house in wood to add to the farm.

Then she came downstairs, and there were even more presents! She got a sink (in wood, to match her Mikki-stove), and a microwave (again, in wood) and there was also a trike waiting for her! (In this picture is ALL the presents though!)

She immediatly took Pooh-bear for a spin!

At 10.00 we had arranged a birthday party at the Yacht Club, with our friends. Kids of all ages had fun, swam and played and had yummy lunch.
The grown-ups had coffees and gin&tonic, and later we all tucked into the yummy chocolate fudge Dora-cake!

We spent about six hours there today (not all our guests stayed that long), and it was absolutely gorgeous! It's a bit weird though, to have a autumn-birthday in over +30 degrees heat!
Linnea recieved some lovely wooden sorting toys from the Sparrows, some wooden biscuits for her kitchen from the Scotts, a LittleTikes fishing rod from the Cummings and a book about fairies with some fairy wings from the Turners.

Here is a little slideshow from the party:

Friday, 19 October 2007

From Lucas perspective

We gave Lucas one of our old cameras to play with today and let him run around take pictures as he pleased with it. He took some both this afternoon, and some now tonight.
At first he was very concentrated...

Then he started directing us, as you will see in some of the photos - and thought it was absolutely hilarious!

The evening photos unfortunately, are not as good, as there was no natural light, but I'm putting some of them up here anyway. So here it goes, a little slideshow for you to see how the world looks like, from Lucas perspective (be patient, it uploads slowly):

Princess Linnea

Here is Linnea in one of her creations from her playgroup on Thursday. Very nice!
She keeps putting it on and pointing at all the little jewels going "Pretty", "Linnea pretty".

Another pool photo

I just had to show you this picture from today too, from the Yacht Club.
Linnea, wants to do everything her big brother does, of course, - isn't she just the cutest with her puffar (=floaties) and Lucas goggles?

Me, a 'Lady of Leasure'?

I heard from a friend today that the big Swedish evening newspaper Aftonbladet was running a small ad (scroll down the right of the page) called "Är du en lyxfru utomlands? Mejla och berätta!" (=Are you a 'lady of leasure' abroad? Email us and tell us about it!)

I don't know... do you think I qualify..? This has been my day:
We went to the Yacht Club this morning to have lunch, and take kids for a bit of a swim. When we came back home, the whole house was clean, all the toys were tidyed away (for the 2nd time today already), the laundry was ironed and put away, the dinner was ready and there were freshly baked muffins for dessert!

Oh, such a hard life! ;)
There is only the champagne and pralines missing!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The value of money

I don't know about the rest of you fellow expats around the world, do you still convert in your head the currency of your country back to the currency of your country of origin?

I don't. For one simple reason - because I have never really earned SEK. (I haven't had a job in Sweden since my last summerjob there in 1991!)

I have already started here, to just "compare prices with eachother", if you know what I mean? Thinking that "oh, the latte here is this much more expensive than the latte at the other café" or "the bananas were a lot cheaper at the other supermarket" etc etc.

It took me quite a while in the UK, to stop converting GBP back to DKK, and I still did it every now and then, even after four years.
Here, I convert the BND back to GBP (and them in their turn back to DKK sometimes too!), but I still have to keep the SEK exchange rate a little bit in the back of my mind as well, for every time I have to explain to a fellow Swede how much something is here... and don't even get me started on comparing prices on things with the family in Sydney or NZ...
Adding to this, we have all the trips Nathan is doing, where he finds interesting things to buy, in THB, YEN, MYR or SGD!

Can you keep up? Yeah, I know, it gets confusing...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sunday, 14 October 2007

In holiday mode

This weekend have been a real "feels-like-we-are-on-holiday-weekend"!
All day yesterday we spent at the Empire, bobbing around in the pool and building sand castles on the beach, slurping yummy smoothies and playing with friends.
All day today we spent at the Yacht Club, both in the pool and on the beach; and playing with the cute puppies they have there.

Nathan and the kids, in the small pool at the Yacht Club.

Lucas, with his "gobbles".

And Linnea, with her trusty floaties.

I guess most weekends will look like this actually. This is quite simply life here in Brunei - in the pool, at the beach, chilling and taking it easy. Enjoying good food in good company. It couldn't be better!

A little story

A professor stood in front of his philosophy class with some objects lined up on the table in front of him.
When the lesson started, he showed them a very big and empty glass jar and started to fill it to the brim with golf balls. He asked his students if they thought the jar was full. The students all agreed that yes, it was.

Then the professor took out a box of gravel and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the gravel rolled down into all the little spaces between the golf balls. Again he asked his students if they thought the jar was full.
Again they said, that yes it was.

He then took a box of sand, and emptied it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up the rest of the space. Once again the Professor asked if the jar was full, and all the students answered loudly "yes!".

The Professor then took out two cups of coffee that he had been hiding under the table, and poured the contents into the jar.
The students laughed. "Now" said the Professor, "I want you to remember that this jar represents your life".

"The golf balls represent the important things: family, children, health, friends and other things you keep close to your heart. Things that, if everything else was lost, would still enrich and fill your lives.
The gravel represent the other things that mean something, like a home, a job, a car. The sand represents everything else".
"If you start out by filling the jar with the sand" the Professor continued "you wont be able to fit in the golf balls and the gravel. Life works the same way. If you put all your energy into the small things, there is no space left for what is important to you. So... spend time with your children, take your partner out for dinner, meet up with your friends. Spend some time every day with your hobbies. There will always be time to clean the house and everything else - just make sure you look after the things that really matter to you first! The rest is just sand..."

One of the students raised his hand and asked what the coffee represented. The Professor smiled. "I am glad that you asked. The coffee is there to show you, that no matter how full your life feels, there is always room for a coffee with a friend".

Multi-Culti land

One of the things I enjoy most so far here in Brunei, is the totally multi-cultural environment.

Every where we go we meet lots of new people, and almost all of them are from mixed backgrounds of different sorts; or they are expats who haven't lived in their own countries for a very long time - hence they too are a bit "mixed" (like me!).
Many, many of the children our kids play with, are bilingual or even trilingual!
It is sooo cool!

Actually, out of all the years I have been living away from Sweden, I never had as many Swedish friends as I did in the UK - otherwise my friends have been Danes, Norwegians, Spanish, Greek, French etc.

I am really enjoying being back in a very mixed society again, it is great fun!

Kindy schedule 15-19 October


Saturday, 13 October 2007

Selamat Hari Raya!

So, this is it, the moon was sighted yesterday so now it's time for the three-day long Hari Raya, celebrating that Ramadan is over for this time.

Hari Raya means 'Grand Day', this is the biggest and most awaited holiday for the Muslims. They have been preparing for it for weeks, putting up colourful decorations everywhere and all buildings have been decorated with lamps, predominantly in green, often in combination with yellow and gold. Everybody have been sprucing up there homes with new furnishings and decorations. People have stocked up on food and drink for weeks, so they can have big parties now the next few days.
It is a little bit like our Christmas, with lots of Muslims going back home to be with their families. Children often receive presents and gifts at this time. There are big hampers for sale in the shops, and many families hold 'open houses' to invite everybody in to celebrate with them in lavish style.

School is off next week, and apparently many government and private offices are closed for this holiday too.

So Selamat Hari Raya! Enjoy the holidays!

Friday, 12 October 2007


I like our new car.

Have been driving it a few times now - and it feels good! It has a diesel engine, so it sounds like a big truck, *vrooom*.

Have to look for bigger parking spaces when I'm out and about though, cause although it has parking sensors at the back, I'm not too sure about "where I have the car" just yet. But that's ok, better safe than sorry.

It's cool to sit high, and I just love that new car smell!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Mama's got new wheels!!

Yes, it is true, we do have our new car now - and it feels really good!
It is such a relief to now have each our car, and be able to go in different directions, do different things. Yay!

Picked it up earlier today, and now it is proudly parked outside our house. The kids both had a trial sit in it - and me too (haven't been driving it yet, will go to the pool shortly for the first trip!).

Feels good though, and I think it suits me, no?

First border run

Last night I went on my first border run! That was quite an experience - I can't wait to share it with all our future visitors!
My friend T had told me that the first time she did it, she had expected an air conditioned tax free-type shop... mmm, yeah... that's not quite what it is...
My expectations were slightly lower, and kind of about right:

First you have to park the car, quite a bit away from the actual border, to avoid getting towed. Walk over, show your passport twice - first for exiting Brunei, then you walk through no-mans-land, and then show it again to enter Malaysia.
On the other side, there are loads of little shacks that sell all sorts of things if you are interested, mostly food and snacks.
You make your way to the "bar". All the expats apparently go to 'Linggis Place', cause he has the best selection of booze, and the best toilets (more about them later...).

So, seated at Linggis, you then order your esky with beer, that is kind of a laundry tub-thing full of ice and as many beers they have been able to cram in there.
You also get a box of tissues with it, with which you are apparently supposed to wipe your beer off thoroughly, because of where it's stored... (I didn't want to know more than that...)

Most of the time, when you go to the border, you bring a few friends and make a night out of it. Yesterday there were eight of us, and we spent a few hours there, with some fries, satay and cold beers. It was really nice!

Then, they bring out the "menu", of alcohol - and you make your order. The menu consists of nice little pictures of all the alcohol they offer and the choice is not all that bad actually.

I was in luck yesterday, cause two of my friends were not bringing back their allowance of beer, so I got to buy 36 cans, 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of Campari - it all came to $90. (We paid $3 each for the beers and food we had had while we were there!!) Here is Anna and me:

Then, after we all got merry and happy and had received all our black bags full of alcohol it was time to go home.

First, a visit to the toilets. They were literally just a box of corrugated iron, with the door hardly hanging from it's hinges. You had to have a really good singing voice... Luckily my friends reminded me to bring my own paper before I got in, and then you "flushed" by pouring water down the toilet from a bucket... Not for the weak hearted...

And then, back the way we came. Here I am with some of the purchases, just at the border:

Looking forward to many more!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


We have no idea when we will be getting our car at the moment, it is ready to be picked up at the dealership; but they can't release it to us without Nathan having a Bruneian driving licence. He can't get that until he has his IC; and he can't get an IC without a work permit - which he can't get without a work visa, and he can't get that until... It's just never ending!

Patience, need more patience... Time for another coffee...

Monday, 8 October 2007

New Kindy photos

I just checked the Kindy homepage, and they have updated their photos on there, if you want to click in and have a look! There are a few new slideshows, of the MoonCake Festival, Recycling and their classroom. Just click here.

More 'firsts'

This past weekend we had another couple of 'firsts'.
First visitors, although, they didn't stay at our place but the Scotts, since they are mutual friends of ours. It was the Parrott family - Ulrika, Alex, André, Oliver and Liam.
They live half the year in the UK and half the year in NZ, so on their way back/home now, they stopped here in Brunei for a couple of days.

It was great seeing them again, we went out for dinner all the adults on Friday night; and the kids have been playing and having fun. Their youngest, Liam, is the same age as Lucas.
Yesterday we all went to the Empire, and literally spent all day in the water, apart from a half hour lunch break! The boys were having a blast in the lagoon, and in the different pools at the club.

Here is Lucas and Liam, the buddies.

Lucas and Liam at the lagoon.

Lucas and Liam waiting for lunch.



Linnea having some milkshake at lunchtime.

Lucas chilling a bit.

It was also time for Lucas first birthday party in the afternoon. His friend Abbie from school celebrated her 4th birthday, at the local Jungle Gym. Fun for the kids, hell for the parents...

The kids got to play, got some lunch, got some balloons and got to meet the Jungle Gym Elephant - to Lucas great excitement!

We were all so tired after this long day, that we slept in this morning by accident, and actually didn't wake up until when we normally leave home to go to school... But we made it anyway!