Monday, 30 June 2008

Turtle, man, pizza

Here is Lucas' own take on "The year that was", from Kindy:

(Click to enlarge)

I'm not quite sure how I should interpret this "turtle, man, pizza" summary..?

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Kindy Schedule - Last week!

Yes, next week is last week of not only this term, but this whole school year. Lucas' last week as a Kindy-kid. Next year he is moving up to "proper" school, to Reception - already a big boy!

This last week is all about moving up, and reflecting on the past year.
On Monday afternoon, they have the big Celebration Evening, where they all will be performing and us parents are invited. We are going back to school at 16.00 to watch their show - it's going to be fab!

Tuesday they will be meeting their new teachers, at least 1/3 of the kids. Lucas' teacher for next year is new to the school and wont be arriving until just before school starts, so unfortunately he wont get the opportunity just yet to meet her.

Friday it's Party Day, and the kids can come to school in their favourite party clothes or dress up clothes! All the parents will be providing party food, and they will finish slightly early.
Another year has passed... gosh, how time flies!

Lucas' School Report

On Friday we received Lucas' School Report from Kindy. It's a two-page letter with a little comment from every teacher about how Lucas has been doing this year, what level he is on now, and what he needs to work on etc. A very interesting read indeed! Here is a short version of what it contains:

- Personal, Social and Emotional Development:
It says that he is interested and excited to learn, but often needs some support to settle into activities as he often moves quickly from one activity to another. His listening skills have shown improvement and he has a good awareness of his own needs, views and feelings and is sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

- Communication, Language and Literacy:
He listens and responds well most of the time, initiates conversation with others. Enjoys stories, rhymes and singing activities; reading and sharing books and asks relevant questions about stories.

- Creative Development:
He is becoming more interested in exploring colour, texture, form and space in two and three dimensions. He enjoys role play and is very enthusiastic.

- Knowledge and Understanding of the World:
Lucas particularly enjoys being in the outside areas. He is able to discuss events in his own life and those of his family and friends.

- Mathematical Development:
He can recognise, count and order numbers up to ten. He is beginning to relate addition to combining two groups and subtractions to taking away. He can recognize and follow simple patterning activities.

- Chinese:
He is learning to be a better listener during lesson. He is able to complete simple speaking activities in Chinese with encouragement.

- ICT:
He enjoys using computers. He can enter his name and pass word in the log on area; has good mouse control and can navigate the school intranet.

- Music:
Lucas really enjoys music lessons and has developed a strong awareness of beat and accent; he can play most percussion instruments appropriately and has memorized many nursery rhymes.

- Physical Development:
He is eager and enthusiastic during PMP. He executes an excellent forward roll, a good straddle jump and first steps towards a handstand.

- Swimming:

He has developed his confidence in the water, is able to submerge his whole body under water and is using a kick board with confidence.

It's amazing that we get this kind of elaborated evaluation of our children already from this young age. It's actually very nice, I have really enjoyed the parent-teacher contact we have had during this year. I hope that continues all the way up through their whole schooling.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

A rare moment

I'm actually not sure whether the kids were hugging or wrestling when I took this photo... I choose to think they were hugging!
They are really huggly and cuddly with eachother, sometimes. When both of them wants to be. Most of the time lately they bicker and pick fights with eachother though, so this pose is a rare one!

The Crop

I have had an absolute blast this afternoon!!

I have been to my first scrap crop, and if I thought I wouldn't be scrapping, I was wrong - I have been doing one layout, one card and an altered file folder!
It was all part of the crop, they held three challenges, time limited and also with different conditions to meet. Even though we all got the same instructions, all our creations came out so different, it was so amazing to see!
I even won one of the challenges! I was one out of three chosen file folder winners, so I got a little prize (a tool case)! Jiha!

Here I am with my winning file folder:

Here are the others:

Jessie and Jazz, two of the members of the S*I*C Creative Crew:

It was so great to be a part of this first big crop here in Brunei, everybody were so talented and I got a lot of new inspiration! They had arranged it really well, we had some lovely nibbles and coffee, and also got goodie bags when we arrived - it was great!
Here is my table, with my friend Adeline just on the left:

The jury looking at the layouts:

All the cards that were made, we had to use at least one punch doing them:

A group photo:

(Photo c0urtesy of

I was the only ex-pat there, and I had such a nice time making new friends! I'm already looking forward to the next crop!

Can't wait!


... is what I'm doing this afternoon! Can't wait!
This is the first really big crop (gathering of people who scrap together) being organized here in Brunei, and it's great to see the scrapping community take off in this way.

I'm not sure I'm going to get a lot done, because I'm more the kind of person who needs the peace and calm of home, and really submerge myself into it when I scrap - but I'm sure it will be a great afternoon with lots of inspiration and fun, and I'm looking forward to meeting some of my fellow scrappers here in Brunei and maybe make some new friends!
(Yes, of course will take some photos that I will show you all here later today!)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Watson Travel Agency

I feel like a proper travel agency. The last days I have been busy piecing together all the trips we will be making during our summer vacation, booking all the tickets and hotels etc. Quite a task!

(Picture borrowed from

I've now booked the SAS tickets from London (we only have a weekend in Horsham, which is already nicely booked up) to Copenhagen (for people in DK, we arrive on the 21st, leave on the 25th and are only booked up on the 23rd - get on to it!).
Nathan has made sure we get a lift to Jylland (Thomas are you sure your car can fit the four of us, our three suitcases and our buggy..?) and I have booked the train tickets back - needed to been done separately from Kolding to Kastrup, and then from Kastrup to Falköping. A very long trip.
Then it's Nathan's flight back to London, and hotel in London before he gets on the flight back to here - and our flight to London, and hotel... *Pheuw*.

It's hard being an expat, so much to do and so many people to see! (I wish some would come and see us here, too...)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

JIS House Extravaganza Day

This morning we were invited down to the big field at school, to support the children during the JIS House Extravaganza.
All the kids in school are divided into different houses: blue, green, yellow and red - Lucas is in the yellow house - and today they had an "Extravaganza Day".

It wasn't really a competition, but the Kindy kids were teamed up with kids from other classes and yeargroups - and went around a little course with different stations where they had to perform simple tasks.
They did an obstacle course, smashed bubbles, transported water to fill up a bucket, rode a trike, had a moon-hopper-dress-up and carried trays with ice.

It was a really hot morning, but all the kids were thorougly covered in sun screen and had their hats on. They also got reminded every 5 minutes to have a drink. After about an hour, they were done and went back to their classrooms for a bit of a chill, and ice lollies!

Here is a little slide show of this morning:

Monday, 23 June 2008

Familiarization visit at Nursery

Today Linnea and I went to school and participated in the Nursery session, in the class where Linnea will be going next year, Unicorn.
It's for children who are turning 3 during the next academic year, which means that Linnea will be amongst the oldest ones in the class, since her birthday is already in October. (Some kids might only have turned two just before beginning in August!)

Her class will consist of 20 children, and there will be one teacher and 4 help-teachers. They don't have any organized learning activities in Nursery, it's all free play. Although they will be having some of the subjects that Lucas has been having this year, going to music (we did that today), library, PE and swimming.

I have no worries at all about her starting "school", none at all. She knows what it's all about after having come with me to drop off and pick up Lucas almost every day this year. She is so ready and eager, and it's just four hours a day (07.30-11.30) so it's not long days.

I look forward to her getting some little friends and a little life of her own, but at the same time it's a bit sad cause it's the end of an era. No more children at home with me, I'm going to miss that a bit. Also, it feels very early to already start their long school life; but I keep thinking, that kids like routines, and that they do so many fun things at school that I wouldn't do at home.
Also, four hours a day at the age of 3 is nothing when you think about that back home in Scandinavia, most parents leave their 1-year olds in childcare, 8-9 hours a day - to go back to work...

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Blue + yellow = green?

Yes, yes, I know all about how it really works - but sometimes it amazes me anyway that two kids, that come from the same two parents, turn out so different. You would sort of think that the mix of me and Nathan would produce the same kid over and over - and yet, we have two totally different animals in our house.

At the moment, the difference is noticeable above all in one thing: the independence. Lucas "can't do it" (that is anything - getting undressed, getting dressed, getting into the bath, getting out of the bath etc etc..) mostly because he is lazy and if someone else can do it for you, that's better!
Linnea is the complete opposite. You are hardly allowed to help her do anything at all. You just utter the words "let's get dressed" and she will zoom off to pick out her clothes and get dressed all by herself, she goes to the toilet all by herself (which spurs a lot of discussions daily about who better does the wiping...), climbs in and out of the car by herself etc etc.

Lucas whines and whinges and often wakes up in a foul mood that takes a long time to shake in the morning.
Linnea is all go from the moment she opens her eyes in the morning.

Lucas is the sensitive one, the soft one.
Linnea is the tough one that can handle anything.

It's really intriguing, I love observing all these little differences.

Kindy Schedule 23-27 June

Term 3 Week 12 – Pets

Next week they will continue to talk about pets at school. They will be visiting the fish in the fellow Kindy class, Panda; and also be designing different fish and talking about floating and sinking etc.

On Wednesday they have a House Extravaganza for two hours in the morning. The kids are supposed to wear house colour t-shirts and there will be lots of fun house activities participate in. Us parents are welcome to come along and enjoy it too so hopefully we will both be able to take part in that.

Friday they are having a run through for the End-of-School-year-Celebration-Afternoon that is on the last week. I am very curious about what they are going to entertain us with then!
We will also get to know on Friday which classes our kindy kids are going up into next year. There will be 3 Reception classes (with only 11-12 kids in each!), and we are all eager to know which teacher will teach which class.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Team SWE/Midsummer/GoodBye - dinner

Yesterday the 'Team Sweden' went out for a little dinner. We had brought our own table decorations:

We had many reasons to have a nice night out.
Firstly, it was Midsummer, so what better way of celebrating it than with the fellow Swedes? Secondly, it was about time - we have hardly had time to catch up at all since our trip up the mountain. Everybody is really busy now the last weeks of the school year.
Last but not least, it was also a kind of Goodbye-dinner to Maria & Andy, who are leaving Brunei in a week's time (boo-hoo) to go for a posting in Germany.

It feels really sad, but that's Brunei for you. Most people do come here on limited contracts and they know already when they get here, when they will be leaving again. It's a big turn-around in the expat society, which is good and bad. Good, because it's always nice with fresh blood, bad when someone you actually care about and get along well with is leaving.

Maria opening her goodbye-presents: a painting from Brunei, a CD with Mika and a scrapped album with our adventures on Mt KK.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Today, it's Midsommarafton (=Eve of Midsummer) in Sweden. Wish I was there...
I've sure had my fair share of strange, weird and odd - but at the same time beautiful and fun Midsummer celebrations, in different parts of the world. But nothing beats a real Swedish Midsommar in Sweden.

Midsummer is one of the only pagan holidays that are still celebrated in Europe (if not the only?). Midsummer certainly rivals Christmas as the most important holiday of the year for the Swedes, and it's one of the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated, even if it has been influenced by other countries long ago.

The main celebrations take place all over Sweden today, and the traditional events include raising, and dancing to traditional music around a huge midsommarstång (=maypole). Before the maypole is raised, everybody helps using greens and flowers to decorate the entire pole.
Raising and dancing around a maypole is an activity that attracts families and many others. Every town will put on a celebration, and everybody will get together and enjoy the dancing and singing together.

Food is also very important, and traditionally the year's first potatoes, pickled herring, sour cream, and possibly the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Not really something that we have out here, and even if we did, it wouldn't taste the same.

I have been lucky though, the last two years me and the kids have actually celebrated Midsommar in Sweden! In lack of Midsommar pictures from today, I will show you some from the previous years. Here we are in Skara 2006:

And this is from Helsingborg last year, unfortunately in the rain. But that didn't stop us from dancing!

Glad Midsommar!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Give us chocolate!

The other day after lunch, we all experienced a sudden and urgent need of chocolate. With a team effort (yes, even Nathan was involved) we quickly whipped up a Kladdkaka (a yummy Swedish chocolate cake) - that we in joined force finished off in one go before we were off to do the Kids Hash... It was scrummy!

Kindy Schedule 16-20 June

Term 3 Week 11 – Pets

This week in school, they are talking about pets. They will be reading pet stories at book time, talking about which animals will be good pets, making pet masks and cooking pet-shaped bisquits. They will also be studying animal movements, and apply that in rhymes and songs.

Today, they have been on a school excursion (again!), this time to the Petlink Petshop and Vet in Kiulap. Nathan was with them, and he took some photos of todays adventures:

The turtles:

The hamsters:

Visiting the vet, at work with a cat:

It's really neat that they do so much extra stuff in school. I know I have said that before, but I'm really so, so pleased with this school! Lucas is very happy and I hope that will continue next year as well, when he moves up to Reception.

Us parents are going to a big information meeting on Friday, about that - Reception. They will tell us all about the curriculum, the changes from Kindy etc etc. It's going to be a big change for them, now it's more "for real"; and also longer days (07.40-14.00). They are big kids now.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Masquerade Ball 2008

Yesterday I went to one of the most anticipated happenings in the expat community here in Brunei, the British Loan Service Summer Ball. They arrange one every year, and apparently it's always a very good party.

The theme this year was "Venetian Masquerade", and you could choose if you wanted to come in character costume or just black tie. I opted for the latter. I had a dress made, and bought a masque in Sydney, that I blinged with some glitter glue and pimped up with some peacock feathers. The Ball was held at the Empire, in their huge ballroom.

Unfortunately Nathan had to work, so I had to go by myself, but the good thing with a small community is that even though you are by yourself, you are not alone. Everybody knows everybody, it's like one huge school dance!
I went up to have a pre-drink in Marias room, with a beautiful sunset view over the Empire and the coast. Most people were taking the opportunity to stay over at the hotel for the night, so they could have a bit of a sleep-in the next day.

Everybody weas really looking fantastic! I thought I had pimped my masque, but some were really in a different league:

It was so nice to see people all dressed up! Everybody gathered in the lobby for a welcome drink and it was actually a lot harder than I thought to recognize people with their masks on! Here is Anna in my favourite dress for the night (mind you, she would look fab in a garbage bag!), Amanda (in a little Elizabeth-Hurley-inspired number) and me:

Some more lovely ladies:

We had a fabulous dinner, and all throughout the dinner there was a band playing classical music, and music from famous musicals.

The whole setting was perfect, and everybody seemed to have a great time! After dinner we danced the night away down at the nightclub.

It was good fun, but next year we will make sure Nathan requests this night off. Would have been even nicer if he would have been there too.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Friday the 13th

No, nothing bad has happened to us today at all! (So far! *Knock on wood*) Luckily, we have all had quite a nice day actually - even though it's been Friday the 13th. It's been an unusually busy day though. Check this out:

This morning Linnea and I went to a Babyshower for one of our friends, Michelle. Her son goes to school with Lucas, and she is expecting again in a few weeks. She had no idea what we had planned for her, and she got quite a surprise as she thought she was just going for a quiet coffee to catch up with one of the girls. When she opened the door, there we were - about 15 of her friends, and lots of yummy treats, presents and some party games!

After that, Linnea and I still had time before we needed to pick Lucas up from school, to visit two furniture shops AND - I placed an order for some lovely furniture for the new house! (Not long now, we will be moving within a month, yay!)

Nathan is telling me not to jump the gun with furniture etc, but I don't think I am! We have been living in this "shoe box" now for almost a year, with moving boxes in every corner... And during all this time I have been dreaming about what kind of furniture I want, when we finally move.
I've also known now for a couple of months exactly which house we are going in to, so I have been furnishing it in my mind over and over again. I have been looking for furniture in every place there is for furniture here in Brunei and planned it all. I'm not jumping the gun, I'm just putting all my plans into effect, finally! I can't wait!
To give you a little taster, we are getting one of these, amongst other things:

Nathan went wakeboarding this morning, so he was happy too - always good to get out on the sea for a bit, and work those arms!

Lucas had been on an excursion today with school, to a Dentist. They all had their teeth checked up on, and his looked very good! He got a little diploma for brushing his teeth well, and a new toothbrush with a panda on (very suitable, it's a Kung Fu Panda, of course!).

After having picked Lucas up and brought him home, I had to shoot off to one of the scrapbook shops to emergency buy some supplies for next weeks happenings, and to a crafts shop to buy some small things to pimp up my mask for tomorrow - for the Masquerade Ball.

This afternoon we went the whole family, to a birthday party at the Jungle Gym. Always fun and games, high decibel levels and headache... Well, the kids had a great time with all their little friends and are ready for bed very soon! :)
Lucas and the birthday boy:

Linnea and her good friend Scarlet:

All in all a very busy day. As soon as the kids are in bed, I'm going to make myself a cup of tea and watch the two last episodes (so far) of Grey's Anatomy. I'm sure ready to put my feet up and relax!, this whole weekend is going to be crazy busy as well - so better stock up on some energy!