Saturday, 30 November 2013

Merry Movember!

At the beginning of the month we were invited to a 'Movember' party this weekend. It had to come with a lot of notice, because the whole purpose of the party was for the men to grow "mos" in preparation for it. The growing of mustaches during the month of November is to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers; and associated charities.

Nathan certainly has no problem growing facial hair, and by this week he had an impressive mustache and beard going on. Before the party, he trimmed it down to a handlebar/horseshoe looking thing. I on the other hand, was quite content with my mustache t-shirt!

Our hosts had gone through great lengths to decorate the party venue! There were mustaches everywhere!

The 'Mistresses of the Mos'!

Yes, the guy on the left does have a mo... kind of... He did grow it for the whole month of November, you just can't see it! Bless!

Here's some hairy boys!

Of course they had a judging - of who had the best style, and who had the best growth.


Part of the judging panel:

Will's mo getting checked out, and look - "Goose" was there too!

In the end it was down to these four gentlemen - sadly Nathan didn't win, although his mo certainly was impressive! He felt robbed!

Best part of the party for many - two barbers were hired to take care of their mos after the judging, so everybody could go home all baby faced again from the party! Ha ha!

Our Brunei Christmas kick-off

The Yacht Club Christmas Party - the start of Christmas season here in Brunei!

We've been a few times before, our first being in 2008, when the kids were still young and Linnea still a bit wary of Santa; we missed it in 2009 being in NZ; it was total madness in 2010, with far too many kids, and my favourite one was in 2011.

Last year we missed it again, since we were down in NZ for the bike race, so I was really eager to go this time. Also since this is probably going to be the last one where we see Santa arrive on a boat! :) Unfortunately Linnea was invited to a farewell sleepover, and Lucas wasn't all that keen (he's growing up I guess). I did convince him though, and off we went.

It wasn't at all as busy as previous years, and it was raining - so it didn't really feel like that usual big build up while we waited for Santa. Lucas wasn't interested in taking part in the games that were organized, he and his friends just played on the beach instead.
And suddenly - there he was, the big man in red!

As per usual the kids stormed the beach in anticipation as he came closer. Unfortunately he came so late this year, so the pictures are very, very dark... Lucas in green/blue swimmers:

Then it was a long wait, as all the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds got to see Santa before him:

But there - the yearly Santa picture!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A broken record

I feel a bit like a broken record these days, after we have now shared our news with everyone. I keep saying the same things over and over again to different people; I answer the same questions and nod my head and agree on what a big adventure it'll be, and how exciting it all is, not really being sure if I keep saying all that over and over again to comfort myself mostly...

I'm very emotional these days. It'll be such a big change.
Moving here was so much easier, Linnea was not even 2 years old yet and Lucas only 3 1/2. They didn't really know what was going on. The kids and I spent a summer month holidaying in Sweden while Nathan went ahead and got everything sorted here, so we got to move straight into an unpacked house when we arrived - where even the Lego was all built up!
We had two schools to choose from, this one or that one, and there was no problems getting the kids enrolled. We already knew some people and got thrown right into a big social circle.

Abu Dhabi is a different story. I've lost count how many schools there are, and everyone I talk to who knows anything about the place, gives different advice.
Plus, we have no idea yet in which area we will be living, or in what kind of house. Will it be big and spacious, will it be modern, will it be smaller and more compact, will it be more old-fashioned?
Since we don't know, we are selling off all of our furniture here (it's ok, they have IKEA in Abu Dhabi!), and luckily that's going well. But trying to sort out the rest of the house feels like shoveling snow in a snow storm! Every time you think you are done with a room or a space, you open another cupboard and more things keep falling out! Arghhh...

I'm emotional because I know how fast time will go and before we know it, it'll be time to go. I'm glad we are going somewhere else, to experience something new - rather than leaving because we desperately want to get out of here. We are very happy in our life here, but we are also curious to try a different kind of life, and we hope we will be equally happy there. It's kind of a win-win situation, to leave when you feel like this!
But that's also why I'm so emotional and teary. I've had a good time here, and Brunei will always have a very special place in my heart.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Two hundred

Well, let the "lasts" begin... :(

Today was my 200th (!) run at the Hash, and to celebrate, Anna and I had decided to lay it. I reckon this was probably the last hash I will have laid actually. I've always known I want to run the very last hash I do before I leave Brunei, so this was a good opportunity to get to lay one last one too for sure, before the hare line would fill up too much closer to March.

We picked Jln Pimping, an area we are very familiar with, and laid a short and fairly easy run. Only needed to rekkie once last week, which was perfect.

Even though it was weird not having to run around after, and not really having anything to "do" - it was nice to be back to being able to sit down and actually talk to people, and being able to relax and just enjoy the on-on.

It was a busy on-on for me, not only did we get down-downs for being hares, and of course I got one for my 200th run; we also got thanked for our year as JMs with some big bouquets of pretty flowers! A really nice gesture, thank you girls!
Handing them over were Duchess and Glamour, our two most experienced hashers with well over 1000 (yes, a THOUSAND!) hashes each!

Abu Dhabi dooo!

Watson Family Breaking News:

After six and a half years in Brunei, we are soon to embark on a new adventure.
We are moving - to Abu Dhabi in the UAE!

  Nathan will be starting on his new job with Etihad Airways already at 
the beginning of the new year, but the kids and I will most probably 
not follow until after term 2 is finished, at the end of March.

Who will come and visit us there? We'd love having guests! :)

And yes - of course I will continue to blog! No longer at this Brunei blog, from the moment we arrive there, you'll find our adventures on this address: Life in Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Great Cake Mystery

Yesterday we were invited to come and watch Linnea's class Assembly, called 'The Great Cake Mystery'. They had based their play on a book by that same name, by Rhodesian-born British writer Alexander McCall Smith.
Linnea played the role of the teacher, Mrs Flower-Pot (her real teachers name is Mrs Fowler-Watt).

Here she is as Mrs Flower-Pot:

Talking to "Mr McCall Smith" about his life and how he came about to write the books about Precious Ramotswe. Linnea's friend Emily played the role of Precious:

Ben played Precious dad, a role that he took very seriously. Apparently he had practiced this ponderous look for days. He's telling Precious the story about when they once were attacked by lions:

The book is about the first mystery that Precious ever solved, about jam sandwiches and other goodies disappearing at school:

After some investigating, she found out who the culprits were, and made a very sticky cake to try catch them - some monkeys!
Ha ha, could've been a true story from our own school, as the monkeys around school here have been known to come and steal stuff of the kids here too!

Successfully solving this mystery, made Precious start the "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency", and several more books were written about other mysteries she solved.

Ben and Linnea after the performance:

I always like these class Assemblies, the kids always do so well. This time they had enlisted some help from one of the drama teachers, Mr Kemp, so it felt like a proper little production! :)

They were all very focused throughout the performance but at the same time they all seemed to enjoy it immensely too. Well done Linnea!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Founders Day at the Circus

Ok, prepare for a photo bomb as there are just so many good photos to show off from the Hash Circus party! I have to credit our Hash Flash, Yvette, for most of them. Fab job Yvette, not just this Tuesday, but every Tuesday this year! Thank you!
(You can click on each photo to see it bigger if you wish.)
When people arrived back from the run, they got greeted by some welcome drinks, snack ladies and some fortune tellers - who predicted a very good night..! :)

Everybody had done such a good job on their outfits, as per usual. We had set up a photo booth where people had lots of fun:

The first entertainment of the evening were some fire jugglers. They were absolutely amazing! They started out with some glow stick juggling, and then they brought out the live fire:

Check this out! I just had to post this photo extra big here... oaaahhhh...

Thanks to the covered chairs and all the decorations in and around the tents and on the tables, the whole setting looked really nice and festive. I think one of the best comments of the night was:
- "This doesn't feel like a normal hash at all!" No - it's a part-ay!


 Anna and I gave out this years awards:

And then we kept taking more photos..:

"Head Tiger keeper" - ha ha!

The second entertainment for the night, was a magician we had hired - 'The Chupster'. Bless him, it was a tough crowd to try and entertain at this stage, but he did his very best and had many helpful and very willing assistants:

 It looked amazing inside too, where all the food was presented:

Anna and I said goodbye with "Helan går" (a Swedish drinking song..!):

The new Committee for next year - good luck everybody!

One of the many group photos that were taken, unfortunately not with everybody:

It was nice when it was all over and we could finally relax, aaahhh... In the end Anna and I were very happy with the way this evening turned out! It was a lot of fun and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves. Now we're looking forward to another great hashing year! On on!