Tuesday, 31 August 2010

1st day of school 2010

Although I had set the alarm super early this morning, we managed to get away really late for school, which is a very bad idea on the first day... Took us forever to just get into the school grounds and to get a park.
(Of course we still had to do the obligatory 1st day photo shoot before leaving home though! You can see last years here, two years ago here and three years ago here...)

The Year 2 boy:

My lovelies:

We made it in time and I hardly managed to get any photos of them actually at school, because they were just so excited and couldn't wait to get to their new class rooms!

The Reception girl:

It was two happy kids we saw off this morning, and two happy parents who went to celebrate with some coffee and breakfast!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Dan före dan (=the day before the day)

This is actually a saying when you count down for Christmas, but I find it quite suitable for this day as well - it's here! It's finally here, tomorrow!
School is back! Yay!

I think everybody is a bit enlivened. The kids had trouble settling and falling asleep tonight; the sight of their uniforms being laid out and their lunch bags getting ready was just so exciting! They are both so ready to go back to school, they've really missed their friends and are excited about their new classrooms and new teachers.

I'm excited about getting some time to myself again, and to get a break from the endless "Maaaaammaaaaa!!" that kind of rings in my head, even after they've gone to bed...

Saturday, 28 August 2010

It's loose!

Linnea proudly came in and told us at 07 o'clock this morning, that she now has a loose tooth! Not the optimal time of day to process such important information (especially not the morning after a big party) but once we were up we all had a little feel and could share this very exciting moment with her!

Better make sure the tooth fairy is prepared!


I have always liked autumn. I've written about this before, even though it's been many years since I was in school myself, August and school start still feels like the beginning for me.
Also, since we arrived in Brunei on a 3rd of September, this is also the time for us to "turn another page" every year.

So, yesterday we went to this years last party which very suitably also was a Farewell-party by some of our friends who are leaving Brunei for good this weekend.

A nice way to send off the past year, I'm looking forward to start this new one!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Rötter och fötter

(=Roots and feet, it just sounded funnier in Swedish!)

One of my favourite fellow expat bloggers, Sara in Corsica, wrote a post the other day that hit me right on and hard. It was like she put words on some of the feelings I've had for so long, but never known how to express.

She talks about how she for so long have never gotten attached to any of the many places where she have lived, but kept on going, kept being on the move and kept on longing away, in the need of a home to long to.
She says she's nearly been on her way again sometimes even before arriving; been proud of having feet, not roots.

Now she's found her place on earth and fallen in love with Corsica. (The explanation of love to that island, her blog, is so beautiful it nearly hurts...)

I don't think I have just feet, I'm pretty happy where I am; but I'm also sure I don't have any roots yet - and that I would like some. I just don't know where yet. I still haven't found my Corsica...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Local celebrities!

Morfar just emailed over a picture from today's local newspaper back home, recognize anybody?

The article is about a big party they're having this Saturday in my home town and they did this photo shoot last week, just randomly in the playground when we were there for a play. There were not really many other kids there, so when they needed some kids to participate, these two jumped straight at it! They knew what to do after all!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The jetlag of the heart

The last few days since getting back I've just enjoyed being at home, in the house, just us.

I've realized that I really need some time after each long trip away, in just my own company, to mull a bit about the summer that has passed and slowly get used to being back.
You always feel a bit homesick and sad to have left; empty, tired and now bored after an eventful vacation - but at the same time you're glad to be back in your "own". It's really mixed feelings, and might be hard for some to understand.

I prefer not to see anyone the first few days. I don't want to start talking about the summer too fast, it makes it so definite that it's now over! I just want to keep feeling those happy, relaxed vacation feelings for just a little bit longer. I need to "land" back here in my own time, both physically and mentally.

Today was the first day I ventured properly outside the house (for something else than just getting groceries), it was time to burst the bubble!

We had a wonderful summer back in Scandinavia and the UK, once again. A big THANK YOU to everyone who opened their homes to us and took time out of their busy vacation schedules to see us!
It was
lovely to see you all, we will cherish our beautiful holiday memories for a long time!


During a conversation yesterday at the hash, I realized that school doesn't start on a Monday at all this year - it starts on Tuesday! (Apparently there's a Public Holiday on Saturday, so we are getting Monday off in lieu.)

Hadn't we talked about that, my kids would've been dressed up and all ready to go Monday morning at 07.30 at school... wondering where everybody else were..! Lucky!

The Voyage of the Balangay

The kids and I went to the Yacht Club today while Nathan was at work. We had perfect timing because as we arrived, so did these guys:
The Voyage of the Balangay.

Their three ships had sailed from Labuan today, and the crew are now going to spend a few days here in Brunei before continuing their voyage.
They come from the Philippines, and have set out to retrace the migration of their ancestors across the oceans using only these native Balangay, built exactly like the ones used in ancient times. They also navigate with methods that was used back then - steering by the sun, the stars, the wind etc.

It was beautiful seeing them sail in in all their glory, but unfortunately I only had my iPhone to take pictures. Also they took their sails down before they came close enough to get the photos.

There had been a big welcome committee arranged and they were patiently waiting around quite a while before the crew came ashore:

Finally they crew came and to the music of the drums they could walk through the welcoming party, and receive some gifts.

There must have been some spares, because the kids managed to score some too!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Rumble in the jungle

Tuesday afternoon, back in Brunei, that means only one thing - hashing time!

It was really nice to be back in the jungle! It was uplifting to see everyone again, the temperature was just right and tonight's hash contained all the elements that make up a really great hash: mud, water crossings, steep hills and good checks to keep the pack together!
Only 15 more runs, and I'll be hitting 100!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Heathrow Hoppa Happy

At Heathrow we just missed the shuttle bus to the hotel, and I mean just - we saw it drive away just as we arrived to the bus stop. Such a bummer, it was half an hour until next one. So what do you do to make time pass a little quicker? You do this:

Mormor's nemesis

This little fellow turned up one day in Mormor's garden, and although the kids thought he was awfully cute, Mormor didn't quite share their excitement when we spotted him.

Apparently he lives around their house somewhere, and has been quite a frequent visitor since he was a tiny little leveret. He comes along and eats all the pretty flowers and even though they go chasing him to scare him off, he just jumps a few meters away only to jump back again once their out of sight! :)
Clever little thing!

Noisy nights

When I was young, we lived in the city. I was used to falling asleep listening to the traffic outside in the street with the street lights shining in through my window. When we moved out to the countryside I had so much trouble sleeping at first, since there was absolutely no noises at all and it was completely pitch black!

Now, I really appreciate that silence every time I'm back home in Sweden. It's blissful.
Here it's a different story... night time is actually really noisy. I don't think I've realized that until now, but gosh - frogs are croaking, dogs are barking, the neighbours plays karaoke, the rain falls heavily on the roof and not to forget the endless humming noise from the air conditioning... It always takes a few days to get used to all this again.

Front page stuff

One of the very last days in Sweden we met up with a journalist from the local newspaper. They had heard about us (it's a small town) during our visit in March, and ever since been pestering Mum & Dad to get to meet us, and hear all about how it is to live in Brunei.
To make it easier for everybody, we met up at a playground so that the kids would be busy and I could answer the journalist's questions in peace.

The interview took nearly an hour, but to my surprise the journalist was more interested in getting all the facts straight about how I ended up in Brunei and my life path (all the way back from age 12!) in general - than he was about how living down there in the jungle is difficult to life in a small town in Sweden.

The article was in the newspaper the same day we left, and the kids were very pleased about being in the newspaper and everything. Unfortunately the angle of the article was more "Local girl lives in Brunei which is far, far away", than "How's life as an expat in a muslim Sultanate on top of Borneo".

(Ha ha, I'm really not looking my best in the photos, the photographer took them from my "bad" side!)

Ah well, we were on the front page!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

What does the future hold?

The last week at Mormor and Morfar's house, the kids had two favourite games they played. First they packed their suitcases and played the "going-on-an-aeroplane"-game, in preparation I guess; then they played with my old (Rubik's) Snake-toys.
We made them into all sorts of things, phones, balls, guns, animals - but most of all, cameras. I helped them create cameras, and then they spent hours "taking pictures" of everything!

Lucas went out in the garden with Mormor one day, "taking pictures" of all her flowers. He had one favourite that he came back to over and over again, because it "smelled so nice" apparently!
Hm, I wonder - will he be a photographer, or maybe a gardener when he grows up?


After another long trip we're back in our own home again. I'm not quite sure how I feel. Like I normally do I think, a bit blue, a bit lonely and a bit empty and worn out after a summer full of fun.

The flight was full of people we knew. Actually already at the hotel we bumped into a class mate of Linnea's and her family, at the shuttel bus to the airport the school librarian. At the airport some more friends, a fellow hasher and Lucas' new teacher! It was a bit unexpected, and it felt like Brunei appeared a bit quicker than I was prepared for. Normally I have the long flight to change my mind set.

Because of problems at Heathrow they had to leave some of the luggage behind, luckily not ours! I wasn't too worried at first, we were going home after all so not really missing any of the contents urgently - but then I remembered the coolbag full of Swedish goodies..!!
It was nice to unpack. I got a lot of nice things this year. I feel refreshed.

Now we have just one more week left before the every day life sets in again. I can't wait.

The truck

Mormor and Morfar have a camper that we usually drive around in while we are there, since it's got space for all six of us at the same time. It's actually rather nice traveling this way since the ones who sit at the back then have a table, it feels a bit like a train compartment.
This is how we do it - kids play their games or watch movies on the Archos, Nathan plays with his iPhone and I read magazines!

Two years ago the kids and I spent a short week with Mormor and Morfar in southern Sweden, sightseeing and living in the camper. It worked out alright for those few days and ever since the kids have been nagging us to sleep in the "truck" again. I'm not so keen on it anymore since they are both bigger by now and take up that much more space - but Mormor offered to sleep with them one night, on the yard!

Although it turned out to be "the sleepover that never happened", 45 minutes later they were back inside again after Mormor had had enough of their bickering and fighting... Maybe next year!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Last walk

Our last day in Sweden for this summer, and this afternoon the sun even came out to say goodbye! So I took the opportunity to take one last walk around my usual route, and I brought the camera along too.
Here are some snapshots from my walk:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Very vintage

Today was a glorious, sunny day (and apparently tomorrow it's supposed to rain) so we went to the playground.
Linnea wore one of my old dresses today, very vintage, very cute!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Grey skies

It all feels a bit grey.
It's grey skies and raining outside (*duh*) and the mood these last few days is also thick and grey, as always.
Packing has begun and everybody are a bit uneasy. Sort of ready to go, but not really.