Monday, 30 November 2009

To travel in style

When you live in the tropics, your wardrobe only consists of one type of clothes - one layer-as little as possible while still being decent-kind of clothes. We very rarely wear anything else than shorts/cropped trousers and t-shirts.
It's really only if we know we are going anywhere with a crazy cold A/C system, like to the movies or the Mall, we put on jeans and maybe even a cardigan.

And of course, when we are flying!
So, the kids actually call our long trousers and long-sleeved shirts their "airplane clothes". We all have special outfits we wear on our travels, as we have to be presentably dressed.
When we got ready for our NZ flight last week and Lucas saw Daddy put on his tie, he ran into his room to get his tie, cause he wanted to look the same! Bless him, it's just that his only tie is the one I got him for his first Christmas... five years ago... (We have now got him a new one, in the right size!)

He did look handsome though!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Go Team RBA!!

While I'm writing this, the boys are out doing their thing around the lake! Go Team RBA!!!

We saw them (and everybody else!) off in town very early this morning, and after having had a lovely breakfast and warming up a bit, we have come home for a breather before it's time to get back in to the finish line to receive them.

Unfortunately it is very grey, cold and even rainy today - whereas yesterday had beautiful warm, sunny weather... typical...

The kids have been little troopers so far, there was a lot of waiting around this morning to get a snap of the boys when they took off. There will be even more waiting this afternoon, but we are better prepared this time with PSPs and some movies on the Archos.

I will be back with some pics, later!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

'O' for a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

Weather is a bit windy here in NZ today, which makes it slightly chilly, but still ok. We are not complaining, it's rather refreshing!

Actually it's awesome to be in normal temperatures and be able to be outside - the boys are riding, us girls have been going on big walks and the kids are outside until it goes dark riding their scooters (Linnea her new bike!), kicking balls, playing badminton and generally just being kids!

(Unfortunately there is neither lots of time to get on the internet nor a fast enough connection to put up all the photos, at the moment. You will have to wait, they will come!)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Enjoying real life

Weather is awesome here in NZ, just right actually. Nice enough not to need a cardigan, but not too warm to wear jeans - lovely!

The flight went perfect the other day, as we left at 20.30 in the evening the kids actually slept nearly all the way!
The 3,5 h drive was a bit more tidious, especially since Lucas had to point out every meadow with cows and sheep that we passed, and trust me - there are quite a few..! But, I managed to do some shopping already on the way home, in a little place where we stopped for lunch!

Today it was also shopping day, as we think the town will probably fill up the closer we get to racing day. Around 15,000 riders are expected!
Paula and I were let loose on our own, and we covered most of the shops and had a lovely lunch outside in the sun - without sweating at all! It was fab!

Boys have been doing their first ride today, there will be one more tomorrow and on Wednesday we will all go to Rotoroa to pick up the other two team mates and families - and then it's all about the tourist stuff the last few days before the race.
It's all good.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

So long!

Our bags are almost packed, and it's nearly time to go. Tonight we are off on our little NZ holiday, this time all concentrated around the race next Saturday.
I'll keep you posted about the training and the race, of course!

See you in NZ!

Friday, 20 November 2009

I hate packing

I really hate packing, it's so not fun. Even not on the way out, when you have the whole holiday to look forward to, packing is the worst part of it. I always pack too much, this time I'm really trying to get it right, but not holding my breath. Hard to know what to pack too when the weather is totally unreliable at the moment. Kind of need a little bit of everything.

Well, I have the whole day tomorrow to keep taking things out of the suitcases - we're not off until tomorrow night. It'll all work out in the end.

Bomba to the rescue

This morning we had another not so pleasant surprise in the garden, in the form of a big, blackish snake outside the laundry.
I woke Nathan up, and Matt came over again with his stick to help try and catch it. It went and hid in the roots of the tree just outside our BBQ area, and when they poked at it, it hissed and opened it's mouth wide! That's when I called the Bomba (the firemen)!!!

The kids were sitting safely just inside the window watching, but unfortunately we couldn't wait for the Bomba as we were getting late for school. When we left Nathan, Matt and the dogs stood guard to make sure the snake didn't move until Bomba got there (turned out they came just 2 mins after we left...).

Two guys from the fire department turned up and when they started trying to get the snake out of his hiding place, it spit at them! "Cobra, cobra" they shouted. Then it flared it's neck and they yelled "KING cobra, King Cobra"!
For a short minute they thought they had lost it, when it slithered away from the tree, but finally they caught it and took it away in a rice bag.

As I wasn't there, I missed the Kodak-moment (bugger!), but here is a photo I found on the net of a King Cobra about the same size as the one we had, which was about 4 ft long (about 1,5 m). Our one was slightly more black though, so maybe it wasn't a King after all? Doesn't matter really, this photo will give you an idea:

(Picture from

Well, we do live in the jungle... I know... but still, I don't like snakes much. Especially not venomous ones that can kill humans with a single bite, and has a 75% mortality rate... Yuk.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

He's ready!

Today we saw the team shorts and t-shirts for the race for the first time! They are looking good! Although there is only five of them in the team, it looks impressive when they are all dressed the same. (Remember us girls when we climbed Mt KK in our team shirts, getting mistaken for "The Swedish Professional Mountain Climb Team"?? Ha ha ha!)



I'm very proud of my little contribution, the "lake-picture" on the right side of the chest. As they weren't allowed to use the official race logo, we had to come up with something else to symbolize the race - so this is the result of some of my newly acquired Photoshop skills!

9 days to go! Go boys!!!


They have started a new thing at the library at school this year, "Playaway"-machines. It's audio books for the kids, on pre-loaded machines, all ready to be listened to. All the kids need to do is take them home, plug in the headphones and press play.

At Linnea's library session today she won a draw that got her the privilege to bring one home, and tonight both the kids sat nicely at the sofa upstairs and shared some stories off the Playaway. Such a nice idea!

Little & big

Another little project in the Kindy class, to match big things with small things.

The sensitive one

Grandma and Granddad's dog Kiwi died a few months back, and we hadn't told the kids about it yet. We wanted to wait until just before we went down, so it was a bit more fresh in their minds and maybe there wouldn't be so many questions for Grandma and Granddad like that. It was of course very sad and very hard for them, to say goodbye to such an old friend.

So today at dinnertime we told the kids that Kiwi-dog wont be there this time, because he had gone very, very old and had gone for a very long sleep.
Lucas immediately put two and two together and asked if he was dead, and if someone had buried him. Then he put his head in his hands and mumbled:
-"But he was so soft... I will miss him very much... He was so soft on his head..." very slowly and with a sad voice. No tears, just a very sad voice. He is such a sensitive little soul.

Linnea on the other hand exclaimed:
-"I won't!"

She receives sad news a bit more on the light side.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Looking good

I love going to the hairdresser! Especially when you are badly in need of some re-colouring... it just feels so good afterwards!

I also love the chit-chatting and the pampering, the head massage and the yummy coffee - but mostly I like the way I look for the rest of that day, when the hair is still nicely styled, just the way I want it!

Founders Day 2009

I've just had a huge sleep-in after the Founders Day hash last night, mmm... lovely!

It was a fab night, so colourful, glam and glitzy, everybody were looking great!
We did a run at the Tasek Lama Recreational Park which is situated right in the middle of town, and ended up at the Sheraton Hotel, where the Hash had hired the ballroom for our party. It was decked out and decorated according to the "Mardi Gras"-theme and looked fantastic.
After we all had changed out of our muddy hash clothes and got into some more appropriate Mardi Gras-attire we were treated with welcome cocktails and gifts for all the hashers (this year we got a cool bag, a bum bag, a sarong - and a calendar to arrive by Christmas!).

The outgoing committee kicked off the shout-up with a song and then it was time for the Award Ceremony. There were awards for, amongst others, "Best hash", "Wettest hash", "Muddiest hash", "Best hash stunt", "Most lost hashers", "Best outfit of the night" and of course - the "Most hashit of the year"-trophy, awarded to... *taaa-daaa*... yours truly with a smashing amount of FIVE hashits! *Sigh*

The new committee got welcomed and after dinner the DJ fired up the smoke machine and the disco music - some were even brave enough to karaoke it out on stage!
A good night had by all! Here's a slide show:

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hash Mardi Gras

Today is our yearly Founder's Day Night at the Hash - the hash we all get together and party! We change committee and generally just have a good time, celebrating another year of hashing!
This year we are having our party at the Sheraton Hotel after the run, and the theme for this year is "Hash Mardi Gras".

I'll be back tomorrow, with some photos from tonight! (If you want to see photos from last year's Founder's Day, click here.)
Now I have to go and get my gear on!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Who walked who?

Phew, I've just come back from my the first walk with our dogs!
I know, it's awful it's taken this long to get them out. To be honest though, our two dogs doesn't really need the walking to keep fit. They run around, race and play with each other in our big yard and are very healthy looking dogs.
But, since they keep breaking out we thought if we walk them they would not only be more tired out, but also get their curiousity stilled a bit by getting to sniff around the neighbourhood.

So, after having bought two very sturdy training leads, I took them out at the back of our house, along some local gravel roads for a bit this afternoon. They both seemed to like it a lot! Jay pulled the hardest with full steam ahead but poor Mocha kept getting tangled up because he wasn't walking straight.
I guess we will be doing this a bit from now on. Although at one stage I was really wondering who was walking who..!

Sunday, 15 November 2009


After a week (I'm not kidding, a week!) of intense proof reading and numerous failed upload attempts; finally today I managed (with Nathan's help) to upload and order my blog-books (from here). Hopefully they will arrive in NZ while I'm there!

Here you can see the cover of Volume 1 (Brunei - the first year). There is also a Volume 2 of course, the second year.

It will be really, really interesting to see how they turn out, I'm very excited!

On a Sunday!

Oaw, for the first time I think since I've been here - have I actually exercised on a Sunday!
Normally the weekends are for the kids, but while they were chillin' at home, Matt and I went and played squash this morning. It was cool, we were only away from home 1 1/2 h (and Nathan was home with the kids anyway), very time efficient!

The reason I needed to play on a Sunday was mostly because I can't do any exercise Tuesday or Wednesday this week, so I thought I'd squeeze some in today instead.
Plus, I'm on a roll with the squash at the moment!
Feeling good!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The mermaid's dream

One of Linnea's little friends goes to ballet not at school, as Linnea, but at one of the ballet schools in town. Tonight they were having a big showcase concert, and her mother arranged some tickets for us to see the show - "Ballet & Beyond - The mermaid's dream".

It was geared up to be a fantastic night, at the Empire none the less, and with lots of performances from all different age groups. Both the kids and I were very excited!
Lucas and Judie's big brother Louis:

It was supposed to start at 7 pm, by which time they hadn't even opened the doors to the concert hall yet..! It got started about 7.40 pm, only with a short bit of dancing followed by a looong awards ceremony for their students, that took nearly an hour!!!
By this time, the kids had already had more than enough of sitting still, and no dancing (=no Judie!) even though I had bribed them with popcorn and everything!

We did stay on for a little while longer, just enough to see (unfortunately only the first of her two) Judie's performance, and then we just had to go. I thought they would stick out a bit longer, but to be honest, the show (and foremost the award bit) was neither well planned nor well executed. It did have a lot of 'dead' time and some confusion - so both the kids fell asleep on me...

Judie is 6th from the left:

I think it's a real shame they planned a beautiful event like this, what could've really been something the whole family could've enjoyed, so late in the evening. They should've scheduled it for 4 pm, that would've been perfect, it's a Saturday after all, no one is working.
Also, I felt for the little ballerinas - some were only 3 years old! Staying up so late... trying to perform... Bless them!

A good friend

Moving up from Reception to Year 1, has meant that school is slightly more of a serious business for Lucas this year. Now it's the real deal, with quite a bit of homework and not so much play anymore at school either.
Still, they are very good at school at making things fun for the kids; and encourages them a lot in all different areas, not only academically (Lucas has received several 'Reading Star'-awards f.e) but also like this:

Lucas came home with this yesterday, and told us he had received it for being a very good friend during playtime at school today; making sure that one particular boy was involved in the play.
That's our boy! Being a good friend is really something to be proud of!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Family fun

This last week I've been playing squash every morning after dropping the kids at school. The kids have picked up on this, and have been wanting to try too. So this afternoon after school, we took them down to the sports club and had a bit of family fun at the squash court.

Lucas seems to have a bit of talent, he hit the ball really well and his hand-eye-coordination is really good! He never wanted to stop too... could've continued all night!
Linnea enjoyed it as well, even though she had a bit more trouble actually hitting the ball.

Most importantly, we spent this afternoon doing something active and sporty together all of us, and it was really, really nice!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Things that start with...

In Kindy they are starting to get into sounds and letters at the moment. Last week they were supposed to bring in a thing each that started with "f". Linnea took a "feh-feh-flag".

This week it's "n", and Linnea proudly brought in today a:
-"Neh-neh... diaper!"

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Morning has broken

You know it's time to get up when first one little one is waking you up before 6 am wondering if our friends will be here now (no, they'll come at 3 pm...), then the other little one comes in having a total meltdown because his sister is calling him 'poo-poo'... and finally you hear someone calling in a very loud voice, from the downstairs toilet (of course) - "FÄÄÄÄÄÄRDIIIIIG!" (=I'm finished)...

Coffee. I need coffee.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

You know you are an expat when...

You bump into friends at international airports.
You are a member of at least one recreational/country club.
School trips nearly always involved a passport and a visa.
You have to take at least one plane to get 'home'.
Your school was big, international and has closed for SARS/bomb threats/bird flu.
There are police outside your school.
You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?".
You flew before you could walk.
You have a time zone map on your telephone/computer.
You don't know where home is.
You sort your friends by continent.
Rain on a tile patio -- or a corrugated metal roof -- is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.
Your wardrobe can only handle two seasons: wet and dry.
You won't eat Uncle Ben's rice because it doesn't stick together.
You go to Pizza Hut or McDonald's and you wonder why there's no chili sauce.

Yes - for our kids, this applies to 100%!!!

Friday, 6 November 2009

International Day 2009

Today was one of the biggest days of the year at school - International Day. Both the kids and I have looked forward to this for a while, they were keen to get into their costumes, and celebrate.
Lucas wore his viking outfit again, it still fit, but next year we will have to come up with something different. Maybe I should dress him up as Björn Borg..?
Linnea had a new dress made for this year, a sort of copy of the Sverigedräkten (=the Swedish National dress), she looked very pretty.

As usual, the day kicked off with a parade for all the classes (16!) in Junior School. Class by class, they got up on stage and introduced their class and all the different nationalities. It's always so fantastic take part in this, the field is full of parent paparazzis!
I'm amazed at both how patient the kids waiting for their turn are, and how brave the kids on stage are! Not to forget all the different costumes!
The parade is so colourful and really interesting to watch. Many parents make such an effort with their kids costumes, and I especially enjoy those who have been thinking a bit outside the box - although, they are all beautiful!

After the parade, Nursery, Kindy and Reception came to do the "trip-around-the-world", as previous years. This year we had 15 different tables, it was a great spread!
The kids got to smell incense from the Gulf, listen to music from Colombia, have an English tea party, play with Danish Lego, receive Chinese spinning drums, watch Irish rugby and taste Swedish Ahlgrens bilar - amongst many other things!
Of course, the kids didn't really pay much attention to the fab displays, they went straight for the goodies and cookies! But the parents enjoyed it just as much, and we all had a fab morning!

Here is a rather big slide show from this morning, enjoy!

If you are interested, you can see the 2007 International Day photos here, and the ones from 2008 here.

Happy and sad

In Kindy they are talking about emotions at the moment; and today we saw a board they had done with all the kids saying what made them happy, and sad. This is what Linnea said:

Hm... Doesn't sound very nice, but of course, I would be sad if someone punched me too...
Linnea's little friend Gemma, said this:

Very sweet!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bonfire Night 2009

We got invited to the beach and one of the Loan Service functions tonight, to celebrate Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes.

Unfortunately they weren't allowed to light a fire, but they had loads of firework ready to go:

There were hot dogs to munch on and the kids had a ball playing down at the beach.

Lucas got caught by a very big wave..:

And, they set off a huge amount of very loud fireworks! It was great!

The evening finished in rain (just like two years ago), but it didn't matter. This time we packed up and left just before the big downpour anyway, the kids had to get home and in bed, school again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fun, fun, fun!

I've been spending quite a lot of time on/in one of these lately:

A squash court.

I used to play squash way back when I was still flying. Some of my collegues got me into it, as it was one of the few things we could entertain ourselves with while on long stop-overs, mostly in Dubai. Everybody played back then, and we had big leagues going on! It was great fun!
Since then, I haven't played at all for years - until now.

It's still great fun! We are a couple of girls who get together as often as our busy schedules allow us, and play for an hour or two at a time. We are rather even in our play at the moment, and we get quite a few good rallies in so it's good exercise too. Mostly entertaining though!
This is really my kind of game, fast, explosive and fun!

Wiped out

So, Halloween is over for this year and all the decorations have now been packed away. We won't be decorating for Christmas until we get back from NZ, so we have a couple of weeks now of just "normal".

Anna and I had a lovely day in Singapore on Monday, as usual. Singapore is always fab! It's so nice to get over there, experience some civilization and buzzing life around town. We did the Embassy-thing for Anna's passport, shopping around town, had nice lunch and a couple of coffee breaks - and, we were happy to discover that Ikea had indeed already brought out their Christmas stuff! Apart from lots of Christmas goodies we have also now stocked up on tea lights, napkins, Ahlgrens Bilar and other necessities, of course!

Yesterday was the Halloween Hash, and we had a run in the dark, down at one of the beaches. It was rather scary to come out when it was totally black, I was glad I had my torch! It was a good run but Nicole and I didn't stay for the on on - instead we went back to hers for a lamb shank-and-profiterolles dinner that was waiting for us... Mmmmmm!

Today I went to Lucas' class in school, to talk a bit about Sweden (since it's International Week). I made it easy for myself, and read the book "Svea's Sweden" that I had got from the Embassy on Monday. I thought that was a good way of keeping it on a 5-year old's level. Lucas really enjoyed me being there, and I enjoyed taking part in their work, as usual.

The rest of the day I've been totally wiped out and in bed. I've had horrific stomach pains and cramps every time I've tried to eat something. I've experienced this before, maybe I'm over sensitive to something? I'll start noting down what I eat, to see if I can trace a pattern. It seems to have calmed down now though, thank God.

Tomorrow there is no school. It was decided on Tuesday to make this Thursday "Teacher's Day"... thanks for the heads-up! Well, it's no big deal, more time to catch up on some home work, get ready for International Day and have a play date or two! Rather nice!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

More Halloween

Last night it was our turn to dress up and celebrate Halloween, the kids thought we looked cool:

But now Halloween is over for this year... phew... We are having a relaxing Sunday, gearing up for this next week. This Friday it's International Day at school, one of my favourites! Looking forward to that.