Monday, 28 May 2012

Getting homesick

Normally I go back to Sweden twice a year, but since my parents came out this year, I didn't make it home in the "winter". I've only not gone home once before since we've been here, and just like then - I'm now terribly home sick... :/

It sucks being an expat in the summer time. I don't care if we are having hot "summer" weather all year around, it's just not the same. It kills me to read on the blog roll about all the BBQ evenings, forest walks and firsts swims in the sea - Sweden really is world champs on celebrating summer (since it's so short!).

But just wait, I'll get my revenge in September-October when everybody starts complaining about the rain, the cold and the darkness... and here we will still have sunshine and chilled afternoons bobbing around in the Yacht Club pool..! :)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bye Licas and Linnear!

No, I didn't slip on the keys - that's how Oliver says it! Very cute!
Here's one last photo of him, just because:

A bit sad to say goodbye when we don't know when we are going to see each other again. I hate those kinds of goodbyes...

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Maths mission at Giant

Linnea went on her last school trip for this school year today, and finally it was on a day when I could come along!
It was a "mathematical excursion", to the supermarket Giant. The kids got split into groups and I was in charge of Linnea and two of her little friends. Each group got a clip board with our mission.

We had lots of things to look for, f.e something that weighed 1kg, 2kg, 10kg; something that was 1 liter, 2 liter and 330 ml. A big lesson to learn, what is measured in liter and what is measured in kilos - and grams!

We had to find the smallest bag of pasta or noodles, and the biggest one:

We also had to locate a bunch of different items on a long list, and write how they were measured; we had to count the number of aisles and do a few other measurements. Big mission!

After our mission was completed, all the kids had lunch at the food court. My group all went for the pasta option.

Quite a nice little excursion - and always easier to learn when it's hands on like this. Now Linnea is all into grams, kilos and liters; baking will be easier from now on!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Last supper

Our last dinner before Misuzu and the boys left was of course - sushi dinner!
All lovingly prepared by Misuzu - and Linnea, who is now nearly a pro! She did amazingly perfect salmon sushi rolls, yum!
We really should do homemade sushi more often, we have all the tools for it, and it's not that tricky, really...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Totally normal

It's so nice to have Misuzu and the boys here. So nice... We have really all missed them so much since they've left.
While they've been here, everything have felt so totally normal. Not only is our own amah now back from holiday (finally!!) but for the birthday party on Sunday, Misuzu had also asked their old amah to come and help. So having those two chatting away in the kitchen, and Misuzu and the boys in the house - felt... so normal.

This morning Misuzu came along to Zumba. Again, so normal exercising together, getting the day off to a good start full of energy and having company and a big chat in the car on the way home.

Tomorrow Oliver is going to visit his old class at school so they are coming along for the school run, normal, and then it's time for Craft Club - which is totally normal Tuesday schedule! Maybe I can even convince her to come hashing, which used to be normal before she fell pregnant with Luca.

Such a shame they leave again already on Wednesday... :(

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Turning Japanese!

Oliver is turning 3 next week, but as he hasn't really been spending enough time in Singapore yet to make any new friends, Misuzu came up with the splendid idea to have his birthday party here in Brunei. That way, they would make sure they would catch up with everyone while visiting, and all in one day! :)

I offered to have it at our house, so this morning - it all turned Japanese, Oliver had invited his little friends to a "Sushi Party"!
It was a great morning, and a fabulous party! Misuzu had (as always) thought it all through perfectly and brought over a lot of props, special Japanese items and things from Singapore and Japan.
We had Japanese decorations all over, we all wore our Japanese t-shirts (thank you Misuzu!) and of course, we had sushi for lunch. The children actually all as an activity had to make their own sushi - and boy did they get right into it!

After a bit of free play, Misuzu had another activity planned, a crafty one - make your own take-away sushi set out of felt. Everyone got involved, kids, parents and all, and they all turned out great. Such a fab idea!

The cake was also in the sushi theme - of course! Beenal had outdone herself totally, each child got a little individual piece of "sushi", ha ha, they loved it!
And when they left, they got a party bag with sushi biscuits (again, by Beenal), a make-your-own-sushi-gummy-set and their sushi mats plus little wooden spoons. Totally themed, my kind of party.

Here's a slideshow from today's big event. Enjoy!

Brunei's Next Top Model

Our neighbour Kate turned 10 this week, and this afternoon she had her birthday party.
It was a true dream party for any girl that age, as her Mum Nicole had hired four beauticians from a nearby salon to come and do make-overs on Kate and her little guests. They all got their hair and their nails done, and then they applied their own make-up.
I had been asked to come down to do a bit of a photo shoot when they were all done, and the girls got all into it and posed away for me - they all looked stunning!
Here are a few of the girls - even little sister Gemma had been allowed to access to the make-up..! :)

The group photo turned out fab, as they were all colour coordinated in the chosen colour theme of purple, white and black.

Happy Birthday Katie!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Best kind

Some of our very favourite people are in Brunei and staying with us at the moment, this gorgeous boy and his big brother and Mummy:

Our Godson Luca.

Boro Boro

After starting at JIS last year, the last two terms I've been taking the Zumbatomic After-School-Activity at both the JIS and ISB schools.
At ISB the age group is slightly older, so we have been able to do more "proper" routines. Also, the girls being a little bit older, we have all along had the aim to at some stage do a performance at school. Last term we got off to a late start, and didn't have time to rehearse; so these girls have been very keen for a long while now to perform in front of their friends.

Last Tuesday it was finally their time to shine! They did a performance in the ISB "Brunei's got Talent" show. Here they are, costumes on and make up done - waiting for their turn:

Starting to get a little bit nervous... Me too!

We have had a recurring theme of dances and rhythms from different countries this term, so we chose for them to do a Bollywood routine - Boro Boro.

They were absolute stars, so proud of them! Well done girls!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Crack that whip!

This mornings CrossFit session was awesome! A couple of really good rounds of really good workouts. Today it was lots of skipping and working on the core, which is always good, and needed.
We also did this one, a circuit training with a minute on each station: mountain climbers (not in the photo), squat lifts, burpees, kettlebell swings, swing the rope and squat jumps (not in the photo) - twice!
Action shots:

Sure a good way of getting rid of any hidden aggressions! :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mothers Day surprise

I didn't even notice when Nathan got out of bed this morning, so I got really surprised when I got woken up with this Mother's Day tray, breakfast in bed and lovely cards from the kiddos! What a fab way to start a Sunday!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Early morning

Kids were super excited that we were the very first ones at school this morning! First car in the car park!

Well, that happens when you are there at 06.30 I guess... We actually left home as my normal alarm went off on my phone, for waking up...

Lucas is on a school trip today, his first full day school trip, all the way to Temburong! So all the kids had to be at school at 06.50 to catch the bus. Here's the whole of Year 3, really excited!

They had been split into groups of 5, each with a teacher, so lots of supervision which felt good since they are planning on going up doing the canopy walk.
Lucas was in a group with his friend Adam, very giddy!

I'm really looking forward to picking him up from the Bandar Jetty later this afternoon, and hearing all about his hopefully successful, fun and exciting day!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ship Ahoy!

We had a really good hash tonight at Morley Movers.
It was very familiar parts of jungle for me. The first half was the one I've laid right there twice with Anna (we did the one that rained away, and the re-run of the same one six months later); and the other half was part of the Japanese run I did with Nicole and Misuzu two years ago.

I had promised Anna to take on the role of 'Front Horn' tonight, as I'm now a rather firm participant in the group of front runners, but have still only done that once. So I sound the horn, and off we went!
It was pretty easy to find the checks and our way around, until we came to the water reservoir, and spotted the paper far, far over on the other side of the muddy waters...

I have swam over this reservoir once before while doing the rekkie for our Japanese run, and it wasn't very pleasant. It's deep!
Just when we stood there contemplating if the hares were pulling our leg, a little dingy came sailing up - with Melissa in it!
Ha ha, so two by two we got sailed over to the other side, how cool was that! (A couple of the hens still chose to swim... crazy ladies!)

Unfortunately the on-on got rained away a bit, it's seems this site is jinxed or something, it always buckets down when we are there! I did have time to tuck into a yummy lasagna though before I decided to give up and brave the rainy drive home.
Such a nice different run!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Got the look?

While waiting for the last participants for the afternoon Zumba session today at school, one of the girls (they are about 15-16) while chit-chatting asked me if I was married. When I answered yes, she said in astonishment: "Really?! You don't look married!".

I asked her if married people have a special look and she continued "Well, you don't look... like... old enough, at all".

Ha ha, must be the colourful Zumba wear - but I took it as a compliment anyway!

To amazing results

While quite a few girls from the 12WBT Team Brunei were up in KK over the weekend to run in the Borneo Marathon yesterday (the half and the 10k), four of us met up at the Yacht Club late yesterday afternoon to celebrate the end of this round - or more importantly, all our amazing results!

Everyone has done so great this round, and when we talked about what was the magic ingredient in the program that made it work so well for everybody the conclusion was actually... the Team Brunei!

So yes, the 12WBT program works and the next round starts in four weeks (pre-season today!) if you are interested in trying it - but, make sure you surround yourself with supportive friends, apparently that's the big secret to success!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Party ready

The kids had a birthday party this afternoon and where Lucas couldn't be bothered any less, Linnea has really got into dressing up extra nice when it's party time. She really enjoys making herself pretty.
This was her party outfit for today:

I must say, very coordinated! The hair clip matched the dress, and the shoes the cardigan. My little princess!

We've only just begun

It's the end of the 12WBT challenge today. The very last day of twelve weeks of... transformation? (Pre-season for next round starts tomorrow, if anyone is interested. Check out the link above.)

Well, I guess it's time to sum up my experience and see where these 12 weeks has taken me since I started, back in January.

Did I reach my weight goal? Yes, and some! (Have now set new goal, of course!)
Did I become fitter and stronger? Oh yes! Huge improvements, again, at the Fitness Test the other day.
Did I enjoy the SSSs (=Super Saturday Sessions)? Yes for sure. I didn't make it to as many as I wanted though, sickness, visitors and amah on holiday came in between. Planning on keeping the SSSs up with the gang though, until we all go on holiday in July.
Have I reached the right mindset, to sustain this new "lifestyle", for good? Hm... I sure hope so! Time will tell I guess!

(Just before the last Fitness Test on Thursday)

A friend of mine asked the other day what made me succeed this time, when I've failed so many times before in loosing that weight.
I had to think, because to be honest, I actually don't think Michelle Bridges (the creator of the 12WBT program) has all that much to do with it to be honest! :/
I haven't followed her exercise plans at all, since I do so much Zumba it was just no room for much else. I haven't followed her diet plans other than using her recipes for dinners every now and then. I haven't taken her weekly videos and pep-talk much to heart because I didn't really warm to her (I don't like the aggressive style...).
Well, signing up for this and taking on this challenge, this change, was maybe the kick-in-the-butt that I needed. I guess, I just made up my mind this time.

I have to give a lot of credit to the Brunei 12WBT Team though. Having like-minded people around you helps a lot, and the encouragement and support we have all supplied for each other has been invaluable the past months. Everyone has done so incredibly well on this challenge, personal goals have been smashed over and over again and big milestones have been surpassed.
I've been so impressed and inspired by all these girls and I'm very proud of our team!

So, is this "the end" now when the 12WBT is over?
Not at all. This is just the beginning!
The only thing that will end (for me) now, is the weekly emails from 12WBT - everything else will continue just as it is.
I will continue to make healthy and conscious choices when it comes to food, and monitor my calorie intake. I will continue to exercise daily and try to vary myself in my workouts; I will continue to manage my weight weekly to make sure I stay where I want to be and I will set new fitness goals, to become leaner and stronger.

The biggest challenge for me from now on will be to maintain. This time, I'm not letting it all creep back on again!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Swimming Gala 2012

First week of May always sees the yearly Junior School Swimming Gala at JIS. This year Nathan had to take on the role of doting parent, and sat through all four hours of it... I missed Linnea's races because of Zumba, but made it in time to see Lucas swim.
Linnea came 3rd in her year group in one of her races and that won her a ribbon. Lucas did really well too but since there are a lot of really strong swimmers in his year group, he didn't win any of his races this year. (Hence the grumpy face, see below.)
As always, a good morning though, and the kids enjoyed themselves.

Cake Pops

We're so spoiled at our Craft Club.
This week Beenal had experimented a bit in her cake kitchen, and we got to be her guinea pigs for a new product of hers. She treated us to these pretty cake pops!

I assure you, they were every bit as yummy as they look!

Friday, 4 May 2012


Linnea and I hung out at the Yacht Club this afternoon. I read my book in the sun, and she played with her friends in the sand. They found these pretty starfish:

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Zumba gift

I am so glad I chose to become licensed in Zumbatomic as well as Zumba Fitness last year. Working with the kids is so much fun, and very rewarding.
The kids give so much back, they LOVE it and are smiling their way through the whole session, every time. They are right there, absorbing it all and give their all, every time. I feel like we share something really special each time we groove to the funky music together!

Last week I actually also got a gift, a Zumba drawing from one of the little Year 1 students - can you see, it's Beto! (The Zumba inventor.) Lucky me!