Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Chilly!

Every now and then, not very often, you can get cold - even here in Brunei. To me, it has happened two nights in a row now!

Yesterday we went to the movies, and for some bizarre reason they always have the AC set on highest blow-out possible. It's horrendously cold in the movie theaters here.
First time we went, the friends who took us came in jeans, socks, shoes, fleece jackets and with duvets in their bags! I was laughing at them, until we got in to the theater... brrr... Now I'm normally always prepared from home too.
Yesterday though I couldn't be bothered changing to long trousers, and was counting on borrowing a blanket from the cinema. But since it was one of the first screenings of the new Transformers movie, it was more or less full - and they had run out of blankets!
I was shaking by the time we got home!

Tonight I did the hash in the pouring rain. Got soaked, and never really got my warmth back during shout-up or dinner - not until I got home to my warm shower.

So every now and then it happens, you feel cold, even in Brunei - but it's rare.

A not so fun morning

When there is no school, you get to do lots of fun things... like going to the doctor and having injections!
Poor kids, today we took them for their MMRs. Linnea took hers very well, only cried when the needle went in, and only for a little bit. Lucas on the other hand was mostly upset both beforehand and afterward. It's not nice at all to have to physically hold him down to get it done... But, now it's over and done with (for a while)!

The dogs are not very happy either, we dropped them off at the vets today to get neutered. We left them there at 10 o'clock this morning and picked them up at 3 pm. Bless them, they are not very impressed at all, and have to have big cones on their heads for a week now.

And me, I had to go to the dentist to get a filling in a small cavity she found last week. She was very good though, and she numbed the area - so I didn't feel a thing! Took 20 mins and only cost $45 (a bit different from the dental bills you get in Scandinavia!); only downside was the funny feeling in my mouth for a couple of hours after. It had been so long since I last had anything done dental wise, I had forgot.

So, Nathan is the only one not suffering in our house today! Good for him.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Please welcome my first guest blogger!

Nathan: Started about 6 this morning, into town to sign in and wait for the start. 350 of us headed out on mass from Yayasan to The Empire. This was the first of 4 pit stops. As it was a "ride for all" with the slogan being "Burn fat not oil", the pace was very relaxed.
After stop at The Empire it was 40km down to Taman Sungai Basong for another drink stop. Approaching the turn off I got a flat in my front tire and had to walk it in to make a quick change. After this it was 15km to Bukit Basong to turn around and go back. On the way back we managed to fool the "officials" into upping the pace for a while before the whistled us back in again.

Once back at the Tmn Sng Basong pit stop we lost about half the field to the bus as they were transported back to The Empire. On the way back we worked out that the "officals" had not calibrated their speedometers so their idea of 25km/h was in fact closer to 21! At The Empire we hung around for about an hour as people sat around and counted daisies. From there back to the start where Linnea and Boel had given up the kiddie hash to see us home! Was good to see them and climb off the saddle!

All in all it was a good day and covered about 130km. The organizers had set a target speed and cut off times for getting away from the pit stops. Neither were managed and the day did tend to drag out a lot more than was needed. But I won a free water bottle so there was a bonus to a sore a**!

His first bike race

Nathan took part in the HSBC Heart of Borneo charity bike race today. They left home this morning at 06.00 am, and biked most of the day, since they had forced pit stops and breaks along the way. But all together they did 128km (=82 miles), which is quite an achievement!

Lucas had a birthday party this afternoon, but Linnea and I (and our neighbours) went in to town to see them cross the finish line. It was a bit hard to get a park, cause town was busy, but we got there just in time. Here they come, you can spot Nathan in his fluorescent yellow shirt!




They started and ended at the Yayasan Center in the middle of Bandar. At the same place, the HSBC Family Fun Day was going on with lots of things to do and buy.
There was about 350 riders.



Here he comes!



- Yay for Daddy!



Nathan and his biker buddies, our neighbour Jeremy and John.



An ice cream was just what the supporters needed after their hard work cheering!



Nathan was only two numbers away from winning a bike helmet in the Lucky Draw, what a bugger - but he did win a new water bottle though!



We are so proud of him for doing this!

Nooo!!!

There is no school the next week! NO SCHOOL FOR A WHOLE WEEK!!! Aarrrrghhh... (There goes all my good planning...)

The Ministry of Health have decided to shut down all schools in the country for the next week, to try and stop an outbreak spread of the H1N1 virus.
Apparently, Brunei is relatively hard hit, with (at the moment) 20 recorded cases of the virus, out of the 380 000 population. Compare that to Singapore, who has 200 recorded cases in a population of 6 million+!

Ah well, no school for the whole week gives us more time with our little darlings... or something... hahaha *laughs crazily*...

Busy times

Everybody says that June and November are the busiest months here in Brunei. People try to cram as many social events in the calendar as they can before school breaks up, and everybody shoots off in different directions.
Not only are you busy seeing people before you go, a lot of people will actually also be leaving for good around this time, so there are a few farewell parties and different happenings. Sad times.

In school as well it's busy of course. The kids are rounding up one school year and getting ready to move up to the next year group. On Friday we will be getting their school reports, and we will find out which classes they will be in next year (Kindy will have two, Year One will have three) and which teachers they will get - always exciting!
It's a bit strange for me this thing with mixing them all up every year, as in Sweden you spent your first nine years in school with the same class mates. But I guess, there is such a big shift-out in people anyway here; and I do enjoy them getting to know a lot of different friends. Plus, the school is small enough for them to still see and be able to play with the friends they might not end up in the same class as.

I've been busy preparing gifts for all the teachers as a thank you for teaching the children this year, and finally I think I'm done! Feels good to have things under control!

I have also taken out the suitcases and been starting to get ready for our trip. Even though it's still ten days until we go, I like being well planned and there are a lot of things to consider and prepare beforehand.
I've already gone through all the kids clothes so I know what I need to stock up on while at home (it's perfect timing, summer sales are already on!), what the kids will grow out of in the year to come.

I've also already prepared all the presents for everybody we will visit at home! Big job!
I wonder if I will fit any of our clothes in...

Summer feeling

I know we have summer weather all year around, I still choose to think that even the dolls have moved outside now that it's summer!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

En, tå, tre

(I'm sorry, but I have to blog about this, even though it can't really be translated and explained to my readers who doesn't understand Swedish.)
Linnea is so very cute when she counts in Swedish, it goes something like this:
-"En, tå, tre, fyra, sex, skjut, också, nio, tio..."

Friday, 26 June 2009

Fast i vinkelvolten

Here's a little clip, of the kids in the Junior Bumper Cars. Linnea is a bit stuck, but seems to enjoy it!

video

Discovering Jerudong Park

This afternoon we went to Jerudong Park for a picnic and a play. Me and the other PLG (Parent Liason Group) mum had sent out an open invitation to all the kids in Nursery and Kindy, but unfortunately only seven came along (including our own...).
Ah well, we had fun anyway!

We did the usual round around the playgrounds and climbing frames, made our way to the rides - and when we got to the Pirate Ship, both Lucas and Linnea wanted to sit up the top, for the first time! They thought that was great!




Then it was off down to the Bumper Cars. It's pretty sad how they have let this park go, it must have been so great in it's glory days!



We were lucky today though! There was a whole group of teens at the Bumper Cars at the same time as us, so we were NINE cars in total! Oaw, felt like on a 'normal' amusement park!



But since there are no people ever waiting, they let us drive around forever... and I'm not exaggerating if I say we were on it for over half an hour - even the kids had enough in the end.

Tonight we wandered off to a part of the park we had never been before. And guess what we found there!? A Junior Bumper Car ride!! Linnea and Lucas could drive all by themselves! Jiha!
They had a little bit of trouble though when they got stuck, but gosh, did they have fun!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Lucas singing at the Celebration Evening

So, here it is, the movie I promised you from the Celebration Evening yesterday. I'm sorry if the video is a bit shaky, but it was my first attempt at filming with my new camera (the Canon EOS 500D). It's just a short clip but you wont miss Lucas..!

video

Say 'aaaaa...'

I don't know why, but it has taken me forever (well, we've been here two years soon, that's how long!) to organize for us all to go and see the dentist. In UK Nathan and I went every six months, but here, it's taken me quite some time of research before I found a good one.
Today was the day anyway, for us all to go and have a check-up!

The kids were both amazing! Lucas started off and jumped up in the chair and opened up like he had done it a million times! He can impossibly remember the few visits he did to the dentist in the UK, but he does remember the Kindy excursion he did last year, to the dentist.
He got lots of praise for his beautiful teeth!



The dentist's room was cool, she had a light show in the ceiling for the kids to look at!



Even Linnea was super brave after she had seen Lucas do it. She opened up too, without any hesitation, and was happy for the dentist to check the teeth, clean them up and suck with the little suction hose.
We got warned that one of her teeth in the back had a little black spot on it, that could be the beginning of a cavity - so I guess we will have to help her a bit more with the brushing for a while still...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Celebration Evening 09

Wise from last year's totally overheated and slightly overfull Celebration Evening, this year, the Celebrations had been split up onto four different afternoons. So today, we went back to school at 4 pm, to watch our little ones - when Nursery, Kindy and Reception had their turn.

It was all together better than last year - it was actually fantastic! The hall had been decorated beautifully, there was refreshments arranged for the parents and the show itself, the show was super!
Before each year group went on stage, they showed a little slide show of what they had been up to this year. You might get an idea how nice it was from this photo. It's Linnea and her friends, but she's on the left hidden from the camera:



Linnea and the other little Unicorns from Nursery, played the claves, acted out the story about "Three Billy Goats Gruff" and sang "Hot Potato" (from The Wiggles). Unfortunately Linnea was standing on the wrong side of the stage (well, from where we were sitting), so I didn't get any good shots of her at all. But she was doing a great job, especially with the claves, and seemed to enjoy herself a lot!
You can't see her, but you can see her purple hat, to the left, behind the girl in the white shirt:



Lucas and his mates also did three songs, all with a 'countdown' theme. They were so good, didn't have any teachers with them on stage at all, just got on with the singing and the actions all by themselves! They were great, and we could hear Lucas singing with his loud voice all over it. He really enjoys performing.
Here he is on his way up on stage:



On stage, singing a 'tooth brushing song':



It's super to see the kids being so confident on stage, in front of their friends and all the parents! They are so cool!

(I will try an upload a little film clip tomorrow too!)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Proud

Nathan brought back one of his Dad's old bikes when we came home from NZ in December. Since then, he has been doing quite a bit of biking and has become quite fit! He has raised the intensity lately since he is participating in this on Sunday, together with a few of his biking mates; and also in this (in NZ) in November.



He has lost a lot of weight and is back to the skinny Nathan I first knew, and he has also got a lot of new muscles (me like!); but above all he is feeling great, and he is really enjoying it!
I'm so proud of him.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Look at HER!

Lucas was just over four years when he did this, Linnea is catching up really fast!



It's so cool to see the kids and all their little friends, some barely three years old, being so confident around water. They all know how to swim already, they can do 'canon balls' from the side of the pool and are happy to be in the pool, even though they can't touch the bottom.

For our Daddy

Being a mixed family like we are, you get pretty spoiled when it comes to Mother's Days and Father's Days. Both Sweden and NZ celebrate on different dates (mid November and early September) - AND, in school and in the rest of the country here, they celebrate the UK one, which is today!

So, here's a little something for our Daddy today ♥♥♥:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Commotion in the ocean

I landed just in time yesterday, to get to school and watch Lucas in his last Assembly for this year. The Reception classes had prepared a really good Assembly, about all the animals of the ocean.

At the Assembly, they perform in front of all the other children of Junior School (=up to Year 5) and in front of all their parents. I was so completely impressed again, by how all these kids sit so nicely and quietly, and just listen to what is said - it's amazing!

Lucas and his year group did so good! It was a big difference from their first Assembly actually. This time, no one hesitated, forgot their lines or even seemed shy; they all spoke with high, clear voices, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves so much! It was a joy to see!
Lucas was very pleased with his performance, and told us afterward that his teacher had told him that "I sang the goodest!". Well done Lucas!




Meanwhile, back home - part 2

Another exciting thing happened back home while I was away, Linnea had a school excursion, to the Fire Station!
Nathan came along, and he said that she wasn't really in the mood for it, but they all seems to have been having a good time, on these photos anyway:

Meanwhile, back home - part 1

Meanwhile, while I was gone - Nathan got himself a new look... and for the record, I did like the beard, but no - I don't like the biker handles...



(Photo: Lucas!)

The Brunei Swedes in Singapore

Anna and I had a cracking time in Singapore on Thursday. I really, really enjoy Singapore, it's a nice break from Brunei, with lots of people, lots of buzz, lots of variety, lots of shops, lots of things to do, lots of everything! I'm not sure I could live there, but it sure is great to go there for a day or two every now and then!

We started our day in Chinatown, power shopping for gifts. I hadn't done Chinatown before, so it was really exciting! There were so many little shops selling all sorts of wonderful things. We did super well, got everything done in just about an hour! Back to the hotel to unload, and then up to Orchard Road for some lunch, and more shopping!





We were lucky, because the sales were on, and we did some good bargains! Here is the result of our day:



The other reason we went over was to participate in a Swedish Midsummer Party at the lawn of the Raffles Hotel, organized by the Swedish Business Association of Singapore.
Here we are, outside Raffles, just arrived:



Inside Raffles somewhere, on our way to the party site. I was dressed in blue and yellow:



It was a nice evening, with plenty of gorgeous Swedish summer food; we had Toast Skagen, herring, gravlax (=cured salmon), smoked salmon, salmon tartar, kavring (=special dark bread), herb omelette with smoked trout, prins sausages, Jansson's Temptation, dill potatoes, meringue rhubarb pie and strawberries with ice cream of course!
We were slightly disappointed there was no midsommarstång (=may pole), but hey, you can't get it all, we did get snaps!





We met up with the Swedish Ambassador and his wife again, and the priest from the Swedish church; these were the only people we actually knew there. We did get talking with a few others as well, who were really nice; although I'm surprised at how little people know about Brunei - even the people living so close!

All in all, we had a fab day!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Time to go!

Bag is packed (very lightly) and tomorrow very early I get picked up to go to Singapore. After we have enjoyed our day shopping, we will celebrate Swedish Midsummer together with some Singapore-Swedes! Nice!



See you!

Palm trees



The other day at the Yacht Club, I was sitting there looking at all the pretty palm trees, reminiscing a bit. I remember vividly the first time I saw a palm tree, in it's natural habitat so to speak.

I was 16 years old and was going on a school trip to Rome, with my latin (the language) class. It was the first time ever I went on a plane, and the first time ever I was going to stay in a hotel! If only I'd known then, that was going to be what I was going to do for a living in the future!
It was also the first time I saw a palm tree. Along the road side, from the transfer bus to the hotel. I was in awe.

If only I'd have known then I was going to live in the jungle when I grew up...


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I'm singing in the rain!

In Sweden, this month of June so far, has been the rainiest and coldest since they started to measure weather! I've felt sorry for everybody back home who have got their skolavslutning (=last day at school), Student (=graduation) and other summer happenings ruined. Now Midsummer is also threatened by the extremely bad weather. Shame.

Here, we've had the opposite problem now for a while, not enough rain. There are loads of wildfires in the jungle, and it's been getting rather worrying.
This afternoon though, there has been some rain, and I can hear the thunder continue so I hope the rain will too! Makes me really happy and cheerful, it was very well needed this time - plus, I've always liked rainy days.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Before the farewell

Our very good friends Claudia and Fredrik are on their way home to Germany very soon. Their 3-year contract is up, and it's their time to go. This is one of the really hard parts with being an expat, especially in a country like Brunei - where there is really a big shift-out constantly, of people. You make good friends, but sooner or later they have to leave, and farewells suck.

Anna and I have the privilege though, to get Claudia to ourselves this Thursday, the whole day! (She has been so busy packing and organizing lately, we've hardly seen her.) Actually, we're doing a girl's day out, in Singapore - we'll do some shopping, and visit Chinatown (which will be great, since I haven't been there yet) AND... we're going to a Swedish Midsummer Party on Thursday night, at the lawn of the Raffles Hotel! It's organized by the Swedish Business Association of Singapore - and there will be all the Swedish delicacies necessary for a proper Midsummer celebration; and hopefully some really nice people too!

I'm so looking forward to this little trip! It'll be fab!

What a puzzle..!

It's taken Nathan and me days and days to try and sort out the summer vacation puzzle. It's proven nearly impossible, to figure out what to do, when and how to do it - to be able to do the most exciting things, see the most friends, and still try to keep it on a reasonable budget...
We still have hotel rooms, airplane tickets, train tickets and rental cars to book; but at least now we have a plan to follow.

Unfortunately, this year, it'll be another "gypsy holiday" for a couple of weeks, where we travel around and stay a couple of nights here and a couple of nights there. It's nice yes, to see people, but it's also hard work to be on the go and live out of our suitcases for so long.

The kids and I will start and finish at my parents, so at least we will have a bit of a base station there.
Our plan (sometimes in the future) is to get our own place, a summer house of some sorts, where we could stay whenever we go back to Sweden - and then people could come and see us there! It's only fair we get to stay in one place, when we have already traveled across the world to get there!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

My little farm

Check out my latest craze, my little farm:



This is an application on Facebook that lets you plan your farm; plow, farm different crops, buy more land, harvest, plant flowers and keep animals. It's an interactive virtual world, where you have to hire other people to harvest for you, and keep up with when the crops are ready etc, so they don't go to waste.
Anne is all into it too, so every now and then I'll get a message "Come harvest!", and I do the same to her! Then we pot around together in our virtual little farms!

Yes, I have too much time on my hands.
Yes, I need to get a life.
Yes, I need to get off Facebook.

But it's so much fun..!

007 Summer Ball

We are in a real Sunday mood in our house today. I'm not feeling too bad at all actually, just tired. I'm really happy I was dancing more than I was drinking yesterday - but I still didn't get much sleep since the little darlings were up at 06 am, and I had only got into bed a couple of hours before that...

The ball last night was fantastic! The party committee had done a fabulous job with the decor and the setting, and you really got the Bond vibe already from the start. There was dinner, dancing, roulette playing and a raffle - and apparently I have won two prices! Hourray!

Not so many had gone for fancy dress, most men were in tux and most ladies in nice dresses - but there was a few Bond characters around. Not that I'm that much of a Bond fan that I actually knew who they were supposed to be (...), but still captured some of them on photo.
Here is a little taster of our night: