Monday, 31 January 2011

An unusual day

It's been cold today.
Yes, it has!!!
Well, for Brunei at least...

It started raining just before 10 o'clock this morning, and to everyone's big surprise it continued all day. Quite unusual.
The teachers all looked rather relieved when the school day was over though, as they hadn't been able to get the kids outside during break time all day... :/

I did the school run in shorts this morning but had to put on jeans when I got back - because I was a bit chilly! A nice feeling for a change, if you ask me.
I even made an apple crumble for dessert, on a normal Monday! Felt like a rainy day like today was the perfect day for some comfort food!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

JH3 CNY Hash 2011

The Kids Hash this weekend was one of my favourite ones of the year - the Chinese New Year Hash.
Last year for some reason I can't remember now, we weren't allowed to celebrate with Lion Dancing unfortunately; but I vividly remember the mesmerizing Lion Dance from the Kids Hash two years ago, which was so fantastic that I was so looking forward to today.

But first, a hot dog and a drink after the run, as usual:





I surely wasn't disappointed with the lions this year either..! They were amazing!
First they walked around the tent, the cars and all the people to bless them.

Lucas and the lion:



Linnea giving the lion the red envelope, ang pao:



Very popular lions (and very patient too..!):



Linnea and her new friend Emma getting up close:



The yellow and the red lion:



The yellow was doing a lot of tricks...



While the red one was busy "eating" the oranges:



The yellow one jumped up on this platform:



It continued to amaze us with great agility, oaw!



This is what was left of the oranges!



Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Going, going - gone

The Kids Hash today was at a familiar site not far from us, Morley Movers. In fact, the first hash I ever laid was at that site.
Unfortunately, it doesn't quite look the same anymore. The hash today was mostly through a very gloomy open landscape of ravaged jungle, and acompanied by the roaring sounds of the bulldozers, diggers and trucks working hard.







The destruction is vast, and fast. They are planning to build 4000 new houses here apparently.





It made me feel really sad today walking around what used to be beautiful, lush jungle... Such a shame.

Sk8er boi

Lucas got a skateboard for his birthday, and have actually tried quite a bit to get moving, but it's proving a lot harder than he thought I think.
Yesterday he got some pro advice from Misuzu, who turned out to be pretty good at the skateboard! There is hidden talents in our simpang!





Saturday, 29 January 2011

On paper

This is the perfect life - comfortable, easy, relaxed.

We have sunshine every day.
Sea and beaches all around, a boat at the yacht club.
Superb restaurants with cheap, delicious food.

A husband that is more home than at work.
Someone to do the house work.
All the time in the world to myself.

It is the perfect life.
At least on paper.

In reality, not always quite.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Life in Brunei - On the go


I stumbled upon a pretty good blogger tip today at this (Swedish, sorry) blog, about how to get your blog to appear in a more friendly version for the small screens of mobile devices.

So, I'm going to do a little trial and see how it works out. What do you think? You guys who follow me on your iPhones etc, do you prefer this adapted version, or the original web version?
Let me know.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Teppanyaki delight

Last night the girls and I went out for dinner. We had heard about this new teppanyaki room in one of the Japanese restaurants so off we went to try it out.



We let Misuzu order for us, and we ended up trying some different things from the extensive teppanyaki menu, such as vegetables, white fish and beef. We also had to have "the usual" - some salmon sashimi, sushi, tempura prawns, edamame etc.



I'd only done this teppanyaki thing once before (in Athens actually of all places!) a very long time ago. I remember it being quite a show.
A teppanyaki chef usually would do all sorts of tricks while he cooks, like throwing the knives around, cutting the food in decorative ways, making big flames etc. Unfortunately there was none such actions last night. We weren't too sure if it was because there were only the three of us in the room or if they just wont do those things here.





Maybe I was just young and easily impressionable back in the day, but I remember that meal in Athens as one of my best ever!

Anyway, it was nice to have food cooked fresh right in front of you, it all tasted lovely and was presented beautifully. It was nice to discover a new place to go for dinner. We will definitely return, fill up the room with some more people, and hope for a bit of a performance then maybe!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The dreaded question

This morning on our way to school, we talked about our UK life and were placing in time when certain things had happened. At one stage, we were talking about something that had taken place when Linnea was in my tummy - and that sparked the dreaded question, from Lucas:
- But Mummy, how do babies get into mummies big tummies?

Ehm...
I didn't have time to start explaining before Linnea answered for me:
- Silly! It's when mummies eat a lot of food of course!

Lucas seemed happy with that explanation, so we have left it at that for the moment! :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

BAM!

I'm not quite sure where the last two months have gone..? Last time I was just remotely 'with it' was in the middle of November..!
It was then Nathan took off to NZ and I was "single mum" for a week; a day after he got back the kids and I went to Sweden for three weeks; the day after we got back Grandma and Granddad arrived - and, it's just now things will (well, kind of, do they really ever in Brunei..?) go back to normal.
Grandma left last night, after over a month here with us - and she has, honestly, had a blast!

You should know that when we first moved to Brunei, all we heard was that she would never set her foot here again, it was - and I quote - "over her dead body" that she would ever return here. She just wanted to move forward, Brunei was more of a "been there, done that"-thing for her.
Well, it took her 3 1/2 years to finally come, but upon leaving last night she said herself that she will be eating some big slices of humble pie when she gets back home to tell her friends all about it. This place sure have changed a lot since her time here, and she really both settled in and fitted in quite nicely in our lifestyle here.
I hope it wont take her another 3 1/2 years to come again..!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

How to spot a real Star Wars

After the initial excitement, and for some, utter chock - over the impressive Star Wars visitors; the kids had many questions for them. Lucas was clever though and found out pretty quickly they weren't "real", because, as he said:
-"If you were real Storm Troopers, you would kill us!"

Linnea took another approach to prove her point. When the guys retired back into the guest room to get changed again, she quickly snuck past one of them into the room, and exclaimed:
-"Look! I told you! They ARE humans, they have shoes!"

The big galactic adventure

The winter months are pretty intense party wise for our family. We start off softly with Nathans birthday end of September, then Linnea's in October, Halloween and Christmas of course; then we finish off with the double birthday now in January.
It always feels rather good when it's all over for a while... phew.

The party yesterday was a super hit though. Super hit!
We woke up to a big thunder storm and most of the morning it poured down with rain, something that's not happening very often, usually it rains in the afternoon. I thought, bugger, bugger, bugger... but hey, what to do?
At ten o'clock we were ready anyway, Star Wars music playing loudly, the water slide connected, the amahs in control of the food, the Star Wars spaceships suspended in the ceiling - and all the dress-ups on!

Once all the little jedis had arrived, we took them outside for their first Jedi mission - to control the light sabers. They had to keep some balloons in the air for a certain time to receive their first star - and by now, the sun was shining, so it was all good!
I've never really done party games for the kids before. At younger ages, they tend to be perfectly happy with just free play, but this time I thought it we should give it a try. I was a bit worried, I didn't think I was the "party-game-person", but hey - it was so much fun!

After that while they were playing on the slide and upstairs on the Wii (Star Wars... of course) our special guests arrived, we snuck them in through the back door and they went to get ready in Grandma's room. It took them about 40 minutes to suit up, but gosh was all this secrecy worth it!!
We had organized the 501st Legion to come - and they turned up in full force, with a Storm Trooper, a Clone Trooper, Boba Fett and Darth Vader! You should have seen the kids, the excitement when they saw them come out! They were jumping all over!

We had a bit of a photo shoot with all of them together and the kids got to talk to and pose with all the 501sts. It was awesome!! They looked absolutely fantastic and the kids were electric!

After our special surprise, it was time for the next Jedi mission, and all the kids went outside to defeat the Death Star. Grandma had painted it up on the garage wall, and the kids made it disappear with water balloons. They had so much fun, and it worked like a charm!

The final mission was to find the cake, which had gone missing!
The kids followed a bunch of clues around in the house, upstairs downstairs, inside and outside, to find asteroids to lead them to the cake. Finally they found it on the patio, an amazing cake made by the Kitchen of Jasmine, of course. Yum, yum, yum!

Some more playing, and then home-time. Three hours passed so quickly!
For their goodie bags, I gave them all a photo frame each with the group photo with the 501sts (that I had printed out quickly). All the kids just loved that, and went home buzzing, telling their parents all about what we had been up to.

A great party, we were all very happy about how it turned out, and especially Lucas of course. He had the best time!
I'm just wondering, how are we going to top this next year..? :)

Party you must

video

(I'm trying the slide shows made straight in iPhoto. I think it's unfortunately a bit small and hard to see. I hope still you get the feeling of the party!)

The 501st Legion

All the parents were so surprised to see these guys at the party. I don't think any of us thought such a thing existed in Brunei! Amazing to find out that they have a whole Brunei-Malaysian outpost!
The 501st Legion, is in fact the biggest Star Wars costume group in the world! You can read more about them also here.

I don't quite remember how I found these guys, I remember reading this article about a year ago, and I bookmarked it, for future use just in case. Then I googled them and found out more, emailed a couple of weeks back - and yes, they could come! I was ecstatic!

They were so amazing, their costumes were fantastic and they were so good with the kids - who of course were beside themselves with excitement!
For sure the best party entertainment ever for any little boy's birthday party - our little boy definitely was in heaven!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

A teaser

I'll put up a slide show with a lot more photos of today's events tomorrow; but I can safely say that the birthday party was a roaring success!

Here's one of the photos, just to let you know what's coming!

Recycling

Facebook is good for many things, f.e if you have a query or is in need of something, you can always get an answer or help via your FB friends.
The other day I was asking if anyone here in Brunei would happen to have a dark wig with long plats I could borrow. A friend back in Sweden then commented and said "You having another Indian party?" - and I thought to myself... *duh*... I have such a wig myself..!

Well, today it was put to a another use.
Recycling is cool!

Book Week finale

Book week finished on Friday with a dress-up day for all the students in Junior School, on the theme 'Superheroes'.
Lucas went dressed as Wolverine, and Linnea (after much debating, and after we couldn't find our cat ears for Catwoman) went as Spidergirl!
Here's Batman Oliver and Linnea ready to go:





Wonder Woman Hannah and Lucas:



Grandma and I asked if we could join the assembly and were welcomed to take part. I thought it could be nice for her to see how the weekly assembly happens here. This time it was Book Week themed of course, and not only the students had put on dress-ups, the teachers too!

The "Supasave Superhero" Mr Williams, ha ha:



Ben, Linnea & Gemma:



There were tons of Spidermen, Batmen, Wonder Women etc; but also quite a few innovative home made heroes:



Lucas was the only 'Wolverine' in the whole Junior School:



Head of Junior School, the "Hat woman"! :D



Alan Gibbons was there and got thanked for his great work with, and inspiration to, the kids this week. He told the kids about his favourite super heroes, here he's channeling the 'Hulk':



And to top of a great week, Lucas came home with this amazing certificate! We're very proud of him!

May the force be with us

This whole week, and much of last week to be honest, we have been busy party planning for the big bash this morning. Ever since Lucas changed his mind and didn't want a Jungle Gym party after all, it was decided that his party would be a Star Wars party this year. So I've been busy googling and googling for inspiration and creating the best Star Wars party ever!
It's a bit easier when you have a theme, to get ideas for food, games, dress-ups etc; and if I may say it myself - I think we have come up with a great party!
The food looks good, the cake is amazing, the decorations are awesome, the games will be super fun AND... we also have a huge surprise planned that I just can't wait to experience!

Check out this years invitation:



The badges for the Jedis, with the tasks they will be completing:





The little place cards for the food:



Our home made R2D2! We are especially proud of this one!
Here in the making... It looks a bit different now, will show you a pic later!



The goodie bags, that will be filled with something extra cool too..! (Will show you later!)



Very shortly about 20+ little Jedis will descend on us, and all I can say is:
May the force be with us..!

Friday, 21 January 2011

2011 double birthday MORNING, better late than never...

Birthday boy getting woken up, rather sleepy still...



Quickly woke up and got in to the presents!



Demonstrating how the 'smellies' work:



A big smile, he had wished for a Magic 8 ball:



The signed book from Alan Gibbons made him happy too:



As did the red light saber and the Star Wars figurines, of course:



"Halvan och rymdskeppet" - a new book for his collection:



A Bionicle from Uncle Thomas:



And last, a real skateboard, happiness!



Then it was Mummy's turn; it's lovely to see the are just as happy giving presents as receiving:



Inspecting one of the new charms:



A lovely morning, as always!