Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Electricity = luxury?

It almost feels that way after the Monday night blackout nearly all of Brunei experienced. The power was gone from about 19.30 to midnight, and you wouldn't believe how totally BLACK it gets here!

We were quite lucky though because we had just finished bathing the kids, they were in their PJs and had already had a story. They were just about to go to sleep, which they had to do without duvets on, and in cosy candle light!
Nathan and I watched a couple of episodes of 'Royal Pains' on his computer, in the light of even more candles, and then tried to get to sleep too - after having brushed our teeth and got clean with the water from our water dispenser (since of course, the water is pumped electrically too...).

The only thing with these blackouts (we've now experienced three biggish ones only this year) is that it gets really, really hot (obviously!) and it doesn't help that you have to have plenty of tea lights lit all over to see something, which then makes it even hotter! Also, as I said, it gets really, really dark - and quiet!
The worst thing is, you never know when the power will come back, because of course - the hot line of the powercompany, doesn't work...
Well, you just deal with it - and in a way, it's quite cosy!

A Nathan word cloud


- is what I made Nathan for his birthday. A little print to keep on his desk, to remind him why I love him.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Enjoyable work

I'm well into my University Course I'm taking this fall: Photography - Visual Communication. I've done two lessons already and am all eagerly looking forward to the next one.

It's all done over the internet, fantastic for people like me. I can sit here in my Bornean jungle and follow the lectures on my computer.
The course is built up by ten two-hour lectures, and they come online every ten days. You can do them at your own speed, and at your own time. You can view them over and over again if you need to or feel like it - and you have all until June, to finish the lectures and the upcoming assignments and tests. It's great!
I've already learned so much and acquired bunches of new knowledge. I love it!

And when you have course literature like this:

- it's all just enjoyable work!

(P.S Until the 15th of November, you can sign up for the spring course, here.)

Stand-in big sister

Linnea would be a fab big sister. She loves babies, and is actually very, very good with them. She is gentle and caring, has a soft touch (mostly) and understands their needs - loves to bring out the baby toys and looks after them when they come to visit.

Our neighbour Oliver (now 4 months) is someone we see quite a lot of, understandably. Here Linnea is reading him a story:

Bring it on!

October seems to be a busy month in Linnea's year group, lots of the kids have birthdays coming up - so to be sure I would get the date I had planned, I had Linnea's birthday invites go out yesterday.

Last year I did a photo montage invitation, this year I decided I would scrap them instead. Found some inspiration on the internet, and made these cute little lollipops:

I should have taken a photo of all 27 (!) of them, as they were all in different paper and very colourful - but I forgot, and only had the prototype left at home. At least you get an idea!
On the front is the invitation, and on the back a photo of the star herself.

Fresh flowers

I've always loved fresh flowers inside. I don't have much 'green fingers' so keeping pot plants alive have never really been my forte - but fresh flowers who die anyway after a while, I can handle.

For our apartment in Denmark I use to buy big bunches of flowers all the time, because fresh flowers there were so incredibly cheap. We had an old style place with high ceilings, and big vases with lilies looked amazing in there; and in the spring I used to get tulips nearly every week.
In the UK I picked up the occasional bouquet from Sainsbury's, when I remembered, or had time... Not as cheap there, so it was more of a treat from time to time.

Here, it's definitely not cheap as all the flowers are imported from overseas. I would love to have more fresh flowers, but here it's only something I do when I know we are having dinner guests or for special occasions.
Down here, some of my favourite flowers are these:

Ginger flowers. Aren't they beautiful? Although there are only four of them, they look pretty impressive I think.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Hari Raya Open Houses

Ramadhan is over and 1st day of Raya was on Monday this year. That means that we are now in the busiest party season for the locals, their Christmas in a way. They are now celebrating by decorating their houses, both with oil lamps and electrical lights; they set of huge amounts of fireworks and they hold Open Houses.

The Open Houses take part mostly during this first week after Raya. We've been lucky enough to get invited to a few, and yesterday we did two Open Houses in the afternoon.
Here is Lucas, getting ready to go and see one of his class mates (the bear is named Barnaby, he is the class bear and he is with us this weekend - hence he has been coming everywhere...):

It's really exactly what it says, an open house. Usually they set a time of three to six hours when you can come, you show up, get greeted and showed to the food, you eat, chat a little bit (if the hosts are not too busy), and leave! It's not really a party in our sense of the word, more of a kind of "walk-through", ha ha!
Here is Nathan, chatting with the host and Lucas' teacher Mr Jolly and his wife:

The kids were just playing, here Lucas with one of his friends, and Barnaby:

People come and go and come and go, here's a group shot of the kids who were at this house at the same time as us:

When you leave again, the children get small green envelopes with a few dollars in them. (The idea behind the envelope is based on the idea of Zakat, where the Muslims during Ramadhan are supposed to give money to the needy. However, today envelopes are given to every guest.) The kids were delighted, of course:

Linnea and I, dressed for the occasion in some of the Scott-Lin tunics:

We then went to another little friend of Lucas'. Same procedure there, although we actually hung around for a bit because there was so many people and we got into chatting away. You always take your shoes of before entering a Muslim house:

The kids were outside playing, it was lovely:

The Dehlis:

Ida, pretty as always! Check out the princess shoes:

Lucas and Adam:

The boys:

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Curry Night

We had an impromptu celebration dinner for Nathan last night, a Curry Night for some 20 of our friends. It was really nice and relaxed, yummy food with good company.

Welcome to Brunei, the cool bag land:

Ian & Anna:

Tash & Pippa:

The main man himself:


Party continued:

We had cake, of course:

And then the party moved to the kitchen. Why does this always happen??

Misuzu & Matt:


Tash & Nathan reminiscing over a DVD with NZ music from their youth:

The party finished with quite a lot of 'How bizarre', 'Slice of heaven' and other songs from the past...
Happy Birthday Sweetie.

Friday, 25 September 2009


Today when I dropped Linnea off at school, she sat down to draw a picture. And as they do, she wanted to write her name in the corner of her sheet, so they will know who's picture it is.
She started out nicely with the 'L', that I've seen her do many times before; but then I was totally amazed, because she wrote her whole name!!
Look at this:

She's just nearly four!! Amazing!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Nathan had his birthday yesterday. He was working, again, but we celebrated him a bit in the afternoon after work and school.
The kids had made their own birthday cards for him, and we had together picked out a present for him (a single-wine-bottle-bag-carrier-thing), because Lucas was adamant we give him "something he needs" for his birthday, as grown-ups can't get toys apparently. (News to me, Nathan seems to have enough of them though...)

I had also made him a little print that I might show here on the blog later, and put it in a frame.

We then had some chocolate cake of course, you always have cake for birthday, right? That's one of the most important parts of the celebration!
Tonight we are having some friends over for some more celebration, and curry night! Mmm!

Secret squirrel stuff

The kids and I were preparing birthday cards for Nathan before he got back from work yesterday. Real secret squirrel stuff!

Lucas was writing his all by himself:

Then he drew himself and Nathan, playing football:

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I hate the heat

Yes. I hate the heat.

I know, I know - two years into our life here in the jungle, and NOW I come out with this statement. But it's true, I'm really not a hot (hot!) weather person.
I accept the heat, and I deal with living in it - because I have no choice at the moment.
I certainly don't enjoy it though, and I'm going through a period where it's driving me crazy to be sweaty and flustered all the time and I can't stand it. I hurry from AC to AC, but sometimes being outside is unavoidable, and I hate it.


Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Picasso

The last few weeks (maybe since school begun and she has less time to roam the house..?) Linnea's kleptomaniac tendencies have seemed to ease off a bit. We've only really had one incident when Nathan was going off on an overnight and all of a sudden couldn't find his wallet - panic... until we looked in one of Linnea's bags...
So, not as bad as it was actually.

It seems like she has found a new little hobby though. One that has lead to all the pens and crayons of this house now having been confiscated or hidden away:
It started a while back, with her drawing on her little furniture in the playroom, and got a bollocking for that. She (& Daniel to be honest) then drew on the dining room wall in his house, another BIG talking to; and she has also drawn on some other toys - well, too bad, it's her own things.

But, the other day whilst driving home from a birthday party, she and her little friend Gemma got the crazy idea to draw on the inside of the car door with some new pens they had got in the party bag..!!! I can tell you, neither Mummy or Daddy or Gemma's parents were very impressed with that! (It could be wiped off, luckily!)

Today, we discovered drawings on five different walls of the living room/dining room... FIVE! Boy, did we get crossed!!! (Also with the amah actually, because it had apparently happened this morning, and she had "forgot" to tell us... Not easy to tell someone off 12 hours later.)
So, time for another speech about "We only draw on PAPER and nothing else than PAPER". Then she had to help Rhoda to clean up and luckily that too could be removed, after some very hard scrubbing.
She did tell me though, that she had done it because she wanted to make our house pretty...

Go All Blacks!

This afternoon the whole simpang gathered to watch the All Blacks-Wallabies rugby game. All of our neighbours are either Aussies or Kiwis (with of course a Swede and a Japanese thrown in) so game was ON!

Us adults watched the game at the house next door, and here in our house we left all the kids, with the amahs..! There was 10 adults over there, and 9 kids here. We really enjoy having such great neighbours, and all the kids play so nicely together, no matter the differences in ages. They were jumping on the trampoline, riding their bikes, watching a bit of movie, playing Lego, running around... they had a blast!

So did we, with some snacks and wine - and especially as we (well, the All Blacks) won the game! Yay!
It was probably thanks to the eager supporters: