Tuesday, 26 September 2017

44

Over the weekend we celebrated Nathan's birthday. We were invited to go out with the Irish on their boat, but because of Linnea's foot, her and I ended up staying behind while Nathan and Lucas went water skiing for a bit.
In the evening we had them over for a BBQ at our place, with some great South African meat that Nathan had brought back from Johannesburg; and a birthday pavlova, of course!

Sunday morning on his actual birthday, we managed to celebrate Nathan in the morning before school, as per our family tradition - with singing and presents in bed. Hip hourray!


And while the kids were at school, birthday boy and I went for a yummy breakfast out.
Happy 44th Sweety!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Oh no...

So yesterday I got, another, phone call from the school nurse. I say another because our dear Linnea is rather accident prone and seem to have a loyalty card with the Nurses Office. Case and point - we didn't even manage to finish two weeks before the first visit this term..!

Unfortunately this time it was more than just a few scratches, well she had those too, but I arrived to find her foot splinted since it was really swollen. So off to hospital we went.


She had taken a rather big tumble down some stairs at school. The x-rays showed she had managed to crack a bone on the outside of her foot, so she ended up getting a back slap on it and was ordered not to support on it for at least a week. Argh!


We did have a pair of crutches at home, but as they were child sized I had to source a bigger pair. Managed to borrow some off a friend, so now she is mobile at least. Just like with Lucas, it really looks a lot worse than it is with that big cast. She is in high spirits, so we hope that she recovers quickly.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Hello garden, didn't see you there!

Normally I have our windows cleaned just before we have visitors, to make a good impression. But our first visitors for the season aren't coming for another month - and I just couldn't wait any longer. We could hardly see out through the windows after the long, dusty summer!


So I booked the window cleaning team to come today. Aahhh! They always do such a great job - a few hours of swosching around and all the windows top and bottom outside of the whole villa are sparkling.


Today I also got them to remove the last dead bushes in the garden, and all the weeds. So now it looks, maybe not so green anymore, but at least clean and tidy out there. Much better!

Some September thoughts

I've experienced the return after the summer quite differently this year to how it's been previous years - I was feeling positive, and looked forward to coming back!
(Yes, it might have something to do with finally seeing the end of the "being-together-with-my-kids-24/7-for-those-never-ending-nearly-12-week-summer-holidays"; or with the fact that we now already are exactly halfway between the start of the summer holidays and the start of the winter holidays!)

When we lived in Brunei, I would come back after the long holidays with what my friend Nicole used to call "the European hangover". It's that feeling of having been transported from one place on this earth to another, completely different one, so quickly that the soul takes a few days to catch up.

Here in Abu Dhabi, I seem to have come back and gone straight into something more like a depression. Our first return here I was still hopeful, two years ago I wrote this post, and last year this one. September has certainly previously seemed to equal only doom, gloom, dust, boredom, loneliness and beige, beige, beige.

So, why did I feel differently this year?
I think the trip back to Brunei was rather healthy, for all three of us. As per usual when you leave something behind, you tend to look back and only remember the good things. I guess I did too with our life in Brunei.
Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely AWESOME to come back, and the first many days I was thrilled to once again get to live all the things I had really missed; the rain, the jungle, the animals, the hikes, the smells, having a helper, the hash, the tropical temperatures, school, certain foods and not to forget - the friends. Both the kids and I were so excited to meet everyone, and ecstatic to find that we seemed to just slot back in again, like we had never left! Brunei is a very special place, and we got close to people there in a very different way to here. The friends we have there are in many ways like family to us, and it was great to be back to spend time with them.

But, after that first initial crazy happiness over being back, I started to look at Brunei with my Abu Dhabi eyes, and quietly started to wonder if I would move back? I came to the conclusion that no, no I probably wouldn't. (I would make it work if I had to, but if I had a choice, no, probably not.)
Instead I started thinking about and appreciating all the good things we have in our life here, and surprised myself looking forward to getting home..! Say what?!

I have always said - there is no perfect place.
You have to determine, together with your family, what your priorities are and what is most important to you - and then try and find a place that ticks as many of your boxes as possible, or at least the most important ones, to you. Especially when you are in similar situations to ours, a couple from opposites sides of the world and having lived in four countries since we met; none of them our home countries.

At the moment I am just happy that I might have broken the cycle of depressed returns, and have started to see, enjoy and be grateful for the good things here too.
I am still lonely, but hopeful this might be the year when I find a new friend, or two. Until then, I celebrate that we are more than halfway through September - and I'm happy to be exactly where I am!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

First day of school 2017-2018

So, as of this year we no longer have any children in Junior School! Linnea is now in Grade 6 and Lucas in Grade 8 - both kids in the Middle Years Program. Time flies.

School has certainly grown, apparently they have accepted nearly 450 new students this year, bringing the total amount of students to 2060! There are 84 different nationalities at school and over 20 different mother tongues, what a gift it is for the kids to educate in such a multi-cultural and diverse environment!


Some were smilier than others about going back to school!



He is not too happy about the new timings at school, but I'm sure he'll be just fine once he gets into the swing of things. I think this is just the general teenager look actually, because this is all we get at any time at the moment.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The never ending holidays

We have finally reached the last day of these never ending summer holidays. Yes this year we had 11 1/2 weeks of holidays!! That is EIGHTY days..!

Somewhere along the way I must admit I wondered if we were going to make it all the way. It's not easy to keep everybody happy and entertained all that time. But we did make it, and we have had really great summer holidays with a lot of traveling, friends, adventures, experiences and fun happenings!
I am so grateful for all the lovely memories we have made, but I am also ready for the kids to go back to school and for everyone to get into some normal routines again.

The tour guiding season kicks off properly in October, so until then it is a bit of a soft start for me. I will start teaching a few new Zumba classes in the meantime, so I am looking forward to that.
We are ready! Bring on the new year!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Thank you Brunei

After our nearly two weeks in Brunei it was time for us to leave again. A little bit sad of course, Brunei and the people there will always be very special to us; but we felt ready to go home. Maybe mostly me... after an 80 (!) day summer holiday I am ready for school, work and routines..!

Brunei International Airport is another thing that certainly has changed since our time in Brunei, and the new mosque just by the airport is really beautiful.


Time to go!


I had booked us a bit of a roundabout way home. Back via KL yes, but then to Singapore again - even though Etihad flies from KL... *Duh*. (I booked the tickets so long ago I can't even remember why I did it this way?? I hope it wasn't a total brain fail on my part but some other reason.)
Anyway, even though we weren't stopping over in Singapore this time we had enough time to catch up again with these ones, who came to the airport to have a Starbucks with us!


And after already having traveled for 12 hours, it felt really good that evening to put my feet up and sink into my BC seat with a glass of champagne - the last leg of the journey was a piece of cake!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The only way

I had planned to return to the H3 hash on the Tuesday night but Lucas really wanted us all to have a last dinner all together at the Yacht Club, so that's what we did. And honestly, there really would have been no better way to finish off a lovely stay. This place ❤️.




The Magnum experience

One thing they do have in Brunei, that we actually don't have in Abu Dhabi (as far as I know?), is a Magnum Café where you can design your own Magnum ice cream. Linnea gave it a try on our last afternoon in Brunei.


Check out the cool lamps, they look like runny chocolate:




Tough choices when it came to deciding on the best toppings:



Finished result!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Soaking it up

When we get back to Abu Dhabi it will still be very, very hot and I can't really see us spending any time outside much for another month, and a bit probably. So we have been soaking it up here in Brunei, where the temperatures are a bit more comfortable.
The Turners have a great outdoor setup, they say installing the pool was one of their best decisions.


Lykke and the kids came down for a swim, as Monday was another day off school thanks to a Public Holiday. They got treated to one of Tash's Pavlovas, yum!




Lush life!

Sunday funday

Lucas had arranged with some of his old school mates to meet up at Regent Square for the afternoon, and hang out. There was still nothing in these shop houses when we lived in Brunei, now it seems like it is really the place to be!

Lucas and his mates went to the Escape Room together:



Apparently they didn't make it in time... but they still had lots of fun!


While they were there, Nicole, Beenal and I took the other kids to Nerdee Café. A really cool concept café with a scientific theme. The kids could play board games while they enjoyed their treats.








Then, not to spy too much on Lucas and his friends, we dropped Linnea and her gang at the Escape Room while Lucas and his friends came to Nerdee Café to eat.


Nicole, Beenal and I went to yet another new café - Alter Ego. I was speechless, it was a such a beautifully decorated place and they had gourmet coffee drinks, cold brewed coffee and much else on the menu. We shared an Afternoon Tea, aaahhh... gorgeous!





This was such an enjoyable experience, far from the time when I ordered a double espresso at another café here in Brunei a few years ago... What a beautiful afternoon we had!