Saturday, 28 February 2009

{365:59} Matching

Nathan had found Lucas a pair of board shorts same as his last time he went to Perth. Of course he had to get them for him. Good call though - Lucas got super excited! Now they are "just the same"!

Friday, 27 February 2009

{365:58} Woe is me

Woe is me.
Time for a bath today, for the puppies. They get washed nearly twice a week at the moment, because Mocha had a skin infection when we got them so we are treating that with a special shampoo, and also washing them with "tick-shampoo".

Mocha doesn't mind too much, he actually sits nicely in the tub to get hosed down, lathered in and rinsed off.
Jay (in the photo) is not impressed at all. He doesn't like the hose nor the water. He is getting so big and strong, and today he put up such a fight that both Nathan and I were soaked before he calmed down and accepted defeat.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

A good nights sleep

Getting a good nights sleep is really something I can hardly remember how it feels...

It was actually a lot easier done a few years ago than it is now, even though we hardly have any babies in the house anymore! A few years back, both kids slept so well.
At the moment, we have at least one child in our bed every night. Mostly it's Linnea who comes in straight away if she wakes up, or has had a wee (even if it's in her diaper, it seems to wake her). Sometimes I take her right back, but mostly I'm too tired so I let her cuddle a bit. Sometimes she crawls up by herself and just nestles in without us even realizing.

Every now and then Lucas comes in too, he doesn't say anything either, just cuddles in. He is rather insisting too, even if we take him back, he tend to return again after a while... if it's one of those nights.

Even if the kids don't come in, I rarely sleep well. I'm used to the AC yes, but I still heavily dislike it, the strange temperature it creates, the "wind" and the never ending sound it makes.
Plus, we haven't really made the bedroom very cosy yet. I'm actually a bit stuck about what to do, but we need to get something up on the walls and make it a bit softer, comfyer and nicer. One of the many projects on my to-do-list...

All this is funny, because when I was a kid, I always slept all night. I never got up, for water or toilet - I can't even remember ever waking up at all during the nights. I remember my parents always said they had been (and still are) awake several times and I couldn't understand, I slept so well!

I wonder now if I ever will again..?

I wish

Since my last post with this guy, my friend V in Hong Kong has been hooked too. She tried to convince me to come up there on Monday for his concert - but my economic conscience (read: my husband) said no unfortunately.
I really wish I could...

I have to share another clip I found with him, where he not only sings one of my favourites, but he does it accompanied only by his guitar; while walking about in the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. (It's the lively area of Beaubourg, where I myself used to spend many afternoons while living there many moons ago...). Enjoy!

I found a CD yesterday with remixes of his songs, mostly a cappella or in very subtle arrangements. We played it during the school run this morning, and get this - the kids were quiet and just listened, ALL the way to school!! Fantastic!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

{365:56} At the DVD store

At the DVD store.
We have a tradition at least once a week, that after we pick Linnea up we go for sushi and then across the road to the DVD store, to check for new movies or TV-episodes. DVDs are cheap here, but of course, they are all copy DVDs. You have to be wary if they are still "cinema-copies" (=not so good yet), but otherwise they are as good as normal ones.
A while back they wrote in the newspaper, that some American guy had been investigating the DVD market here in Brunei, and found out that 95% of all CDs and DVDs that are sold here are pirate copies. Well *duh*, what I would like to know is: where do I found the other 5%?!?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Brunei's birthday

Linnea's class and the two older Kindy-classes had a little party today, to celebrate "Brunei's birthday". They had decorated super nice, with a big sign they had all helped to make, balloons and table cloths in yellow, black and white - and other Brunei themed decorations that the kids had prepared for the occasion.

They were all seated along one long table, and all the parents had brought a little plate of food each. There was so much food as usual, and kids had a feast - as usual! (Especially check out the fruit sticks, and the artistically carved melons they are mounted on!)

Daniel and Linnea inspecting what's on offer today:

It was lovely, the kids think it's great with these kind of happenings, and as usual I enjoy being a part of it too.
Linnea was a bit disturbed at first that there was no party bags at this birthday party (...) but was kind of happy with a big iced biscuit and two Brunei coloured pens she could take home.

And then they lived happily ever after...

It has just become official in Sweden, that the Crown Princess Victoria is now engaged to her long term boyfriend Daniel Westling.

It's really HUGE news in Sweden - HRH Victoria is only the third Queen of Sweden (in 1980 Sweden adopted equal primogeniture, meaning that the eldest child of the monarch, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. Sweden had previously (since 1810) used agnatic primogeniture, meaning that only males could inherit the throne. Source: Wikipedia), the first Swedish monarch in over 500 years to marry someone Swedish and the first to marry "a common person".

All I can say it's about time! Congrats!

National Day 2009 Slideshow

Monday, 23 February 2009

I was there!!

Thanks to some very special last minute arrangements, I was able to take part in the National Day celebrations at the Stadium this morning!
I dressed up nicely (=covered up) and was ready to go very early this morning. I was escorted there and was seated in the big Stadium by 07.45.

The parade was supposed to start at 08.30, and I must say, everything was organized perfectly. The Crown Prince arrived at 08.10 and HM the Sultan arrived ten minutes later - at 08.30 on the dot it all started!

Some 25,000 people were involved in the celebration, including a huge amount of children/students along the driving-in route of the Royals, waving the flags.
It all started with a huge march-past with participants from the government, the private sector, non-government organizations, various associations and different educational institutions. There was over 100 different groups marching in on the field, just like in the Olympics.

After the very long march-past, there was the reading of the National Day oath - and then almost 5,000 volunteers were on the field performing, moving as a single body to form six various designs depicting the flow of development of the nation. It was quite impressive and really beautiful - but then they have been practising for months too!

I was very impressed with the whole arrangement, I'm really happy that I was able to take part in these celebrations!
(The internet is not cooperating at the moment, so I will be posting some photos tomorrow!)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

{365:53} Tomatoes!

I had no idea (of course, those of you who know me are aware I have no green fingers at all... I'm lucky to have an amah to look after my plants) about the tomato plant in my front flower bed. It was only today I realized it was there, as I sat just next to it and could detect the distinctive scent. I wonder if it will give us any tomatoes to harvest any time soon? It sure is big, and has got flowers on it!

Jubli Perak Hari Kebangsaan

Tomorrow is a big day here in Brunei - it's the 25th National Day celebrations. Preparations have been ongoing for weeks and weeks, and the whole country is decorated - at every roundabout, every street corner, every lamppost there is a signpost or a big flag. Most cars are sporting mini-flags as well, we are off school of course and everybody are well and truly geared up for tomorrow.

The day will be celebrated with a festival and a theme that recollects 25 years of achievements since independence from Britain on 1 Jan 1984. The Sultan will host the Asian leaders at his 1788-room palace.
There will be a big parade and celebration tomorrow morning at the Stadium - read more about it all here.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

In the news, again

It's hot stuff apparently when the royals are out and about in this country. The other day we were in the news again, after our visit to the Sultans Flight Helipad.

Of course, it's all about the prince, but still - it's quite nice to have this newspaper clipping as a memory, for us too! You can read the article better here.

{365:52} Sorting

Since "Mr Lego" is arriving next month, we thought it would be a good idea to try and sort out all the Lego (again, Mormor did it in November when she was here, but somehow that didn't last long...). We are trying a different approach this time, colour sorting it before building. We hope that will facilitate the building process!

Friday, 20 February 2009

{365:51} Big mama

Big mama.
Tonight I have been to a very funky Baby Shower. It wasn't the usual 11 o'clock tea & biscuits, no - it was a fairy-party in a private room at one of the restaurants here. Everybody looked really nice, and we had a fab time - playing 'musical chairs', 'musical statues' and other more baby related games.

The mother-to-be, is actually expecting her third child, in just three weeks, and she looks absolutely fantastic!

Here is a bonus picture, of most of us:

Thursday, 19 February 2009

School trip to the Sultan's Flight Helicopter Hangar

Today we went on another school trip with Linnea's class, both Nathan and I. This trip went to the Sultan's Helicopter Hangar at the Istana, to conclude the theme they have had for the last weeks, about traveling and flying etc.

This time we were all slightly more prepared for what was awaiting us, both the kids and the teachers/helpers and parents. Although today we got escorted by two of the royal follow-cars on the way there and back!

Once again, there were loads of photos taken, and we were (well, the prince was...) filmed throughout the whole visit. We got to sit and have a look around both the helicopters (BlackHawk UH-60s, same as the US army is using); and then we got invited to have some food and cake - yum!

Some snaps from today:

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

{365:49} Bye bye

Bye bye.
We had a big farewell session at the airport today. Our neighbours were going to Hong Kong on the same flight as our guests, and so did the sister of one of our friends here. The Turners were off to NZ on another flight at the same time so "everybody" was there!

Our friends have spent six days here, and they managed to cram so much in to those days. They did the "monkey-trip", visited the city mosque and the Regalia buildning, spent two days at the Empire, swam at the Yacht Club, went for massage and a bit of quick shopping; came to eat at most of our favourite places and hung out and played here at home.
Unfortunately the youngest son of the family left us not feeling very well and had to visit the Doctor when they got back to Hong Kong - we wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he is back to 100% very soon!
Thanks for coming guys - see you in Hong Kong next time!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

{365:48} Jump

Ion and Linnea had loads of fun at the Yacht Club this afternoon. We were having a last swim before they go back to Hong Kong tomorrow.
They both loved it when we counted "Ett, två, tre på det fjärde ska det ske, på det femte..." (=traditional Swedish counting rhyme).

Supermodel for a day

One of my friends here have a little home business selling handmade tunics. Until now she has only been selling from home to friends and friends of friends, but now she is about to set up a website, and she needed someone to take some photos of the garments.
I offered to help, thought it would be a good opportunity to practise my new photographic skills - and also, Linnea was asked to be one of the models!

We spent an hour down at the Empire (that's about how long the patience lasted on our young models...) yesterday; walking about, playing in the shallow pool and doing some "posing" too. We actually got quite a few really good photos, I'm very pleased! The girls enjoyed themselves, and so did I!
(And yes, I will be sure to post the address for the web page as soon as it's finished of course.)


I can't keep up.
Having had visitors here for a while means that I've lost all control and is totally out of the loop. Totally not on top of things, like I normally would be.
There are tons of emails that I need to answer, photos that need sorting, a couple of projects I need to finish off, the house needs tidying up and re-organizing, etc etc etc...

The other day I went to the petrol station to fuel the car. Somehow I managed to completely miscalculate the contents of my purse and ended up not having enough money. Of course, they don't accept card payments, so I had to tell the sweet little lady (who probably didn't understand much of what I said) that I would be back, and zoom home and get some more cash... Lucky I look trustworthy! :)

Same thing happened when we were going to vaccinate the dogs, neither one of us had any cash and he didn't accept cards either... Had to go back with some cash the next day... *Sigh* Just not with it at all, and I don't like it.

Monday, 16 February 2009

{365:47} The "Noddy clock"

The "Noddy clock" (As Nathan's parents used to call it for some reason, don't know the full story) has been decorated for Monday (Brunei National Day). They sure have a special sense for fun decorations in this country!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

{365:46} Hard work

Hard work.
Lucas, Linnea and Ion were "helping" the next door kids (and their dad) to wash their car today. The car got clean, and the kids got soaked and had so much fun! But apparently it was pretty hard work, they needed a rest.

Welcome Dam Family!

Erika left on Friday. Dam Family arrived on Friday:

Yes, crazy busy here at the moment! :)
They spent a few days at the Empire Hotel and today they moved up to us. The kids made friends in about 0,5 seconds when they met and have been playing in the pool yesterday and inside and outside at home here all day long.
It's nice to hear about how their expat life in HongKong is, compared to here, and the next few days we will be showing them the best Brunei can offer.

I so enjoy having guests!

Happy Valentines Day

Thanks to school mostly, the kids know everything about Valentines Day. They have been spending this week making hearts for each other in class, and on Friday the kids came home with some lovely gifts for us. Both of them had made pretty Valentines Day's cards. Here is Lucas' card:

And the inside, saying "Dear Mum and Dad, Happy Valentines Day, love Lucas xxxooo". Very cute!

Here is Linnea's card, saying "Happy Valentines Day. This one is for my daddy, mummy, mummy's friend & Lucas. I love you... Because I want to."

They had also made some heart shaped cookies, and since I wasn't there on the Friday they woke me with mine, served on a plate, very solemnly on Saturday morning. Cutie pies!

From Nathan, I got a lovely heart charm for my Pandora:

Thank you sweetie - and Happy Valentine!

Bye Erika!

After almost two weeks, we said goodbye to Erika on Friday. Finally the rain stopped and she got a few good days with sun and heat at the end of her stay.

On Friday we went together to Singapore for the day, as her connecting flight to Europe wasn't until in the evening. We spent the whole day cruising down Orchard Road, shopping, browsing, lunching, enjoying the hustle of the big city. It was great!
And yes - I did convince her to got to the 'mothership' (IKEA) with me even though she wasn't really keen; she did see how important it was to me (good friend!). We finished off with a (not so yummy unfortunately) semla in the restaurant, before going back out to the airport.

Thanks for coming my lovely friend! I'm so glad you have seen a bit of my life, and enjoyed it!

Friday, 13 February 2009

{365:44} Heavy load

Heavy load.
This is how we crammed our arms were with bags, after a whole day shopping in Singapore. Felt great!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

{365:43} Casual clothes day

Casual clothes day.
"Casual clothes" means different things to different people.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Girlfriend pampering session

This morning I took Erika to the Zen spa, for some serious pampering. We had booked in for an hour of back/neck/shoulder massage, which was fab - and then when we were sitting there relaxing after it was done, having our green tea, we thought "Why not go for something else while we are here?". Since none of us had ever tried reflexology, we gave that a go!

Well, it was an hour of really good, deep foot massage, basically. I almost fell asleep a few times, until the girl pushed her knuckles into the ball of my foot as hard as she could... Felt good afterwards though!

Then we had sushi for lunch, and as usual it was delicious. What a lovely morning! I seriously should do this more often!

{365:42} Teamwork

Today we did some quick baking with the kids. The simplest recipe of them all: chocolate balls. The kids got right into it and we had a proper little assembly line formed, everybody helped. We tasted a few just before bedtime, and brushing our teeth - and they have been promised a few more when they get back from school tomorrow...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

{365:41} When you're smilin'

When you're smilin', the whole world smiles with you.
Doesn't it sure look like this croc is smiling? He wasn't big, but he was looking pretty happy with himself, like someone had just served his lunch up for him. We didn't stay long...

Monday, 9 February 2009

{365:40} Better than a spa treatment

Better than a spa treatment.
Today Erika and I went to Temburong. The weather has changed (halleluja!) and it was a beautiful and sunny day. We sailed in the long boat, climbed up to the canopy walk, did the canopy climb, had lunch on the riverbank, walked to the waterfall and Erika later 'tubed' downstream in a big rubber ring!
But here, on the photo, I am getting my feet done, by little fish. The pool at the waterfall is full of them, they nibble at your dead skin - just like the 'doctor fish' used at some flash spas around the world. It was a weird, but fun, feeling.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

{365:39} Marked

Today we saw the sun for the first time in what seems like weeks! We hurried down to the Empire for a swim and to soak it all up - and I did the ultimate tourist trick, forgot to put on sun lotion... I got slightly red, and even managed to get a mark after my (new, thank you Erika!) necklace. How silly.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Chinese New Year Hash

I brought Erika to the Hash on Tuesday, even though it was raining like never before, the downpour was crazy. But it was the Chinese New Year Hash, usually a good one - so I thought it would be nice.

We got told at the start only to go to first check and back because of the weather conditions. Only the front runners were allowed to go all the way around, but once we got to first check all I heard from Erika was "Please lets go all the way around, please, please, pretty-please!!"
We were already completely soaked through at this stage, so we certainly couldn't get any wetter! We picked up some speed to try and catch up with the front runners, and since they had been busy looking for a check we were able to tag on.

The on-on was held at one of the Chinese girl's house. They had put on a lavish dinner for us, and decorated very nicely. The hares were in traditional clothing and all the hens were dressed in red. We had the usual announcements and Erika got her down-down (as you do when you are a first time guest) - and, we tossed the noodles!
Yes, apparently something you do for good luck, good health, prosperity etc in the new year! We all stood around and tossed noodles in the air, lot's of fun!

Here are some snapshots:

Erika thought this was the best thing ever! She really enjoyed the run and she said she felt a bit like a child who was allowed to be out in the mud and play without any reservations!