Sunday, 30 September 2012

Our Sunday special

It's Sunday night and to the contrary of many, I like the feeling of having another fully booked, busy, exciting week in front of me! It might be because I've had a super relaxing Sunday at the Yacht Club.
It has been a while since I've been chilling on my sun bed, since the weather hasn't really been up for it the past few weekends.
Today was beautiful, and it was really the best kind of Yacht Club Sunday: the kids had friends to play with, I had friends to talk to and a book to read; good food, freshly pressed juices, sunshine and all the time in the world...
Aaahhh! I'm so ready for another week now!

Don't sweat it

One question I often get when people hear that I live in the jungle on Borneo:
- How do you get used to the heat?!

Well, you don't. You just get used to the sweat.
Either you hide in the air condition or - you go outside and you sweat. That's a fact.

And when you exercise, you sweat a LOT. The amount of sweat I can produce is something that doesn't stop to amaze me actually. The other day I was sweating so much it kept running down into my eyes and I couldn't see! :)
After about an hour of exercise, no matter what it is, I can usually wring huge amounts of sweat out of my clothes. They look like they've come straight from the washing machine (before the spinning cycle) and I look like I've come out of the shower.

This is how the shirt I wear AFTER Zumba (while driving home, to try and save the car seat) normally looks like once I get home, about 30 minutes after class:

But hey, sweating is healthy, right! And the showers you take here after exercise, especially Hash, are just the best!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Totally SATC

Studio Scene, the dance school Linnea goes to, puts on a big, big show every two years.
We have been to both the two previous shows that have been on while we've been here, the "Cry of the Wild" in 2008, and "The Dancer's Palette" in 2010. Both times it was really impressive and amazing!
This year in November it's time again, so all the little dancers are in hard training at the moment. It'll be Linnea's first big production and it's all very exciting! This year the theme is "Jukebox" and Linnea's group is doing two dances.

Today she had a photo shoot for the program. I had misunderstood and thought she needed to wear her normal dance outfit, with her hair slicked back in a bun - but it was a character photo shoot, in full costume and make-up!

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from this morning, first she got her make-up done:

Then the styling! She got a white tulle skirt and a glitzy white tuxedo jacket with a pretty flower on. The guys got all excited when the outfit came together, and aaah-ed "Ooh, she's totally got the SATC-look!" It did look very cute and funky, and suited her well.

Finally the hair, curls and glitter in a bit of a up-do.

At the set, getting some tips on posing:

Our pretty girl!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


We have two "betweenies" in the house!
Yes, they are far away from being 'teens' and not even quite 'tweens' but they certainly are somewhere in between, or at least, they want to be!

The oldest girl next door has her whole room plastered with posters of the current teen idols. Linnea wanted to do the same thing, but I managed to convince her to only stick things up on the inside of her cupboards, for now... Her collection isn't that big just yet thankfully!

Lucas has also started to display a bit more of a grown-up behaviour.
The other morning at school he wanted to kiss goodbye before we reached our normal "goodbye-spot"... and even though he didn't say - I understood he didn't really want to kiss mummy in front of his mates anymore.
Every now and then he forgets himself, but usually now, we do it this way. It's a little bit sad for the mummy of course, but it's his feelings that count, especially at school.

Slipping through my fingers...

Monday, 24 September 2012

The last year of 30-something

It's 08.30am and all the birthday celebrations for the day is already over at our house!
Today we are celebrating Daddy's last year in his 30s but since he's off to work shortly, it had to all happen very early this morning... Good thing I have my own little alarm clock who came and asked me at 06.20 if we weren't going to sing for Daddy soon...

Daddy got to open a few presents, and he also got some lovely birthday cards that the kids had secretly made while we were out yesterday. A few of the motifs demanded some explanation, like the whale (?) and the Lego star ship:

We also had a cake, of course! Home made this time, a bit of a joint effort between the girls in the house. Not every day you get cake for breakfast! :)

I tried a new recipe and the cake didn't end up looking like I expected it to look, but it was actually very yummy!

Happy Birthday Daddy!!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Brunei style

I managed to get some photos the other day of this familiar sight along "our road", Jalan Muara, which one of the busiest roads in Brunei. Who needs lawn mowers when you have a herd of goats you can let out, right?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The soft side

You wouldn't think so, but our little 'Tiny Tank' usually on full speed ahead, actually has a soft, worrying side to her as well.
Yesterday she was invited to our new neighbours house for their daughter's 9th birthday party. The birthday girl goes to the other international school, so Linnea wasn't quite sure who was going to be there that she knew.

While I was doing her hair, she was psyching herself up in the mirror:
- "Now Linnea, I know it's all ISB kids, but just be nice, smile, and say 'hi' to everyone!"
Bless her!

It was a disco party, so I helped her put together a cool outfit (because it was a 9th birthday party, so it was going to be a lot of "older" girls there), painted her nails with disco glitter nail polish, put her hair up nicely and added a bit of glitter to her cheeks as well.

When she came home after the party and I asked how it had been she was all happy and said:
- "It was nice, I really liked it! I made so many new friends!"
Good girl.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel

Anna and I went back into the jungle the other day to tie up some loose ends around our upcoming hash. We needed to make sure we could get our trails to meet the way we thought they would, and they did, so it's all good.

And, we did find this cool tunnel while scrambling around in the jungle:

Whereas the guys on the Men's Hash are quite evil and always purposely lays their trails through the most mud, the deepest water crossings and the slimiest tunnels they can find; us ladies never really do that. We keep our trails nice, mostly. This tunnel wasn't too long, nor too small - and it only had a few bats..! Perfect! ;)

Top bananas

A while ago I stumbled across this thing on the internet called a Banana Bag. I remember thinking that if it worked, that could be a really useful thing here in Brunei.

You see, I like my bananas really hard, still a little bit green - and it's only on day 1 of buying them they are like that. They ripe super quickly here and I never have time to finish the bunch before they've gone all mushy. Since there is no secret to stopping them from ripening, we've been baking a lot of banana muffins etc with our black bananas.

Well, that was before!
I decided to give this Banana Bag thing a try and ordered one. You are supposed to keep your bananas in it, in the fridge, and the perfect amount of insulation and air stops the flesh over-ripening, while keeping the skin warm enough to prevent it from blackening. And it works!!

These are my bananas on day 5 after buying them, still looking good and having the perfect consistency! Apparently the bag is supposed to be able to keep the bananas for up to 14 days, not that a bunch of bananas ever last that long in our house, but I believe it!

I'm really pleased I found this great little gadget, it's the little things..!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sssssscary first

After 5+ years in this place, today was the day I discovered the first snake INSIDE the house. Not a very pleasant first I must say.

I was going to fill up the drinks fridge and in going behind the bar I heard that "flop"-sound that the chit-chats (=gekkos) sometimes do when you startle them and they fall off somewhere and onto the floor. A second later I felt something run across my foot and assumed it was said chit-chat. I remember thinking "oh my, that felt like a big chit-chat" and I peaked around the corner of the bar to look for it, but instead saw this long, skinny, brown snake slither away across the room!

Of course I was all alone!
Nathan had gone to pick up the kids from school and our maid was in her room ironing. Since I didn't want to loose sight of the snake, who by now was slithering like crazy all over the room not seeming very happy, and risk it going into hiding somewhere I didn't know where - I had to shout for her of the top of my lungs to get her to come and help.

Once she had the snake in sight, I could go to find my winter boots to protect my feet and we then rallied together a couple of wooden sticks and a broom. Since there was no knight in shining armor able to come to the rescue, we were left to our own devices.
Neither one of us felt particularly brave, the snake didn't seem very friendly at all but finally we managed to open the sliding doors and sweep it outside.
We then called on the dogs to see if they could finish it off. They did come to our rescue, but the snake was far to fast for them, and managed to get away.

Ah well, we are having a dinner party tonight so I'm very happy we didn't discover it then! Or that one of the kids did... IIiiiisshhhh.
I'm just disappointed I didn't get a photo of it for you guys but I was a little bit too busy managing the wooden sticks and the broom etc... ;)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Peaceful beginnings

This week it's Peace Week at school, and in the mornings we have been arriving to school to be met by this:

The JIS Orchestra playing live music while we arrive at school! How wonderful!
The other morning they played Pachebel's Canon in D Major, the piece Nathan and I walked out of church to after getting married. I stood there and got a little tear in my eye, because it was so beautiful!
I wish they would sit there and play every morning, it would just get each day off in such a lovely mood!

Big exercise day

Yesterday ended up being a big exercise day for me. Not only did I do the two hour Hash rekkie in the morning, but Nathan and Andrew took me out for a bit of a bike ride in the afternoon.
Nathan and I have signed up for the BIBD Charity Expedition 53k bike race in less than a month, so Nathan thought I needed to get some miles in my legs before that.
The plan was initially to just go out for about an hour. You see, I leave it so long in between each ride, that every time I need a little while to get used to the bike, all the mechanics of it, the road and the traffic again.

Ha ha, check me out, super concentrated!

We went down the coast road and it all went really well, so I thought maybe we should do what the boys normally do and roll down to Bukit, have a quick pit stop, and then go back?
Well, next time I get a bright idea, stop me!! The whole ride ended up lasting 1h45 (coconut stop not included!) and in the end I clocked 44k! Oups...

But apart from a bit of a tender bum and sore shoulders (not used to keeping that posture or being in the saddle for that long), I'm feeling great today! At least now I know I will definitely be able to handle those 53k next month, and I'm already planning the next training ride!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Deep in the jungle

I spent this morning deep in the jungle. Or maybe not so deep per se... but in the jungle nevertheless!
A few of us were out doing a rekkie for the Hash. Anna and I and two of the Loan Service girls, have volunteered to lay it in a couple of weeks, so we needed to get out there in good time to make sure the terrain works where we are planning to lay it. You never know how much it has grown and changed since last time. Last time we were at this site was over two years ago, in June 2010.

You need the right equipment if you are going "deep" in the jungle! Hydrapacks, gloves, machetes and - secateurs! Here I am with Clare and Hana, the two virgin hares:

It took us a good two hours to wander around, chopping a bit here and cutting a bit there, to find/make some trails that will work for our run. After having gone back on ourselves a couple of times, it all came together nicely in the end and we all felt content with our plan.
I'm pretty sure not every rekkie looks like ours, ha ha! Anna and I usually do this kind of "trial-and-error" rekkies, until we are happy with how it connects together! So far I've been proud of each and every run we've laid, and I'm sure this one will be a good one too!

Wow, I just realized I haven't blogged all week! That must be a first!

Truth to be told, I have just been so tired. I know we've been back now for more than three weeks so I can hardly blame the jet lag anymore, but I honestly don't know what's been going on with me. I have been so, so tired and been taking a nap nearly every day. I have been grumpy, antisocial and in general just totally off - everything.

I have been aware for a while that I have seriously been needing to snap out of it, but I just haven't been able to find anything that perked me up. It didn't make it any easier when I got a gastro infection at the end of last week and suffered through quite a few days of stomach cramps before I finally went to the Doctor to get some medicine.
Now that I'm on the mend from that, I do hope my mood will spark up soon too.

Apart from the general blues going on, everything else has just rolled on as usual. After school activities started last week. Linnea is doing "Fun with stiches" and "Nessie" (a computer based learning activity); Lucas is doing tennis and football and I'm taking the Zumbatomic ASA. So every day it's different bags/outfits/sports equipment that needs to come to school and a different pick up plan and pick up time. Lots to keep track of but so far it's been all under control!

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Reading Journal

One of the things new for Lucas in Year 4 is that he needs to keep a diary of his homework and other things going on at school, and a journal of his reading books.

He brings a new book home every day, and after he has read it, he's supposed to write a couple of sentences about it in his journal, and rate it if he wants to.
Luckily he is into reading at the moment. He makes himself comfortable and gets on with it:

Here's last week's books, the first ones were commented on on the left page which is why it looks like he didn't read them:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A topic close to home

Look here what the topic is for Linnea's next 7 weeks of IPC:

Aaahhh... we might have some special knowledge to contribute to that! :)


This weekend has been one long DOMS fest (=Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Not only was I sore after our first CrossFit session back on Thursday, and after my own Zumba sessions, believe it or not. Then I went to another extra CrossFit session yesterday morning, which now has prolonged the pain even more. :)

I guess that's what you have to suffer through, when you get back into daily exercise after 7 weeks of slacking off!

Yesterdays CrossFit session was designed as a bit of a "taster" for the Brunei 12WBT team. (No, I haven't signed up again, but still welcome as an old member).
It was held by a new contender on the CrossFit scene here in Brunei, Reebok CrossFit 673. It's a new CrossFit Box opening next month and it's run by an American guy called Mo.

We got a bit of an introduction to CrossFit, and Mo talked us through their philosophy and what makes CrossFit different to other forms of training.
I found it really interesting to get to know more about the theory behind why CrossFit is so successful, and why CrossFit people are often considered to be the all-round "fittest" athletes in the world.

We did three WODs:
5 min of burpees - RFT
100 ft bear crawl, 100 ft 5 broad jumps+5 sit ups x 2 rounds
400m run + 20 PVC thrusters x 2 rounds

This is how my hands still look today (over 24 h later!), after that bear crawl on the running track...

We also talked about "what is fitness?" and looked at the scientific formula that some people think define "fitness". Quite interesting I might say.

I'm planning to try and implement more CrossFit into my exercise week. I've truly enjoyed that one session a week I've been doing so far this year, and I can feel it has really made a difference to my fitness levels and abilities.
It will be tricky with the intense Zumba schedule, but not impossible!

Thursday, 6 September 2012


I was a bit scared this morning when it was time for the first session back at CrossFit after the holidays. It's such a different workout to the Zumba, and even though I normally love it, it felt daunting today.
It's been so long and even though I'm at about the same weight as when I left for Sweden, I've lost quite a bit of fitness over the last month and a half...
There was only four of us this morning, and I think we all shared the same feelings!

It wasn't the toughest session we've done, but tough enough, and I'm now glad it's behind me. The first one is always the hardest, now we're back into it again!

Todays program:
Squat clinic
One Tabata round of bottom-bottom squats, "rest" at the bottom
And the WOD, "Room Service" = 5 push-ups+5 squats+5 situps x 20 rounds

I'm sure I'll feel the ouch, very soon.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Respect one a nather

Linnea has done some nice work at school already. Outside their classroom they've posted all these ice creams, and us parents can "get a scoop on their holidays"!

"I went to Sweeden on a plane when we got thare I bort a bike. Wen we bort the bik I rod it. We went shoping for clods for my mum. and thare is a playground."

Translation might be needed?
"I went to Sweden on a plane. When we got there I bought a bike. When we bought the bike I rode it. We also went shopping for clothes for my mum and there is a playground."

And today she came home with this:

"If you see sum won siting aalon, gow and be there frend. and respect one a nather."
= "If you see someone sitting alone, go and be their friend. And respect one another".

She told me she had got an extra house point for the respect one another part, which was something she had added herself. If only she would walk the talk too..!