Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A new chapter

These past weeks have been busy, mildly speaking. About a month ago, I was contacted by a recruitment agency, asking if I was interested in a position with a new company. As she explained the role and the company more in detail, I realized that this is really what I want. After months of trying to find the inspiration and motivation to go to work, despite interesting trips and other new projects, I felt that I actually need some form of change. An interview with said company was scheduled a week later which cause minor "what shall I wear" chaos. I haven't been to an interview for ages, and had to Google things like "what to wear" (bought myself a nice suit, shirt and a pair of black pumps) According to the website I was consulting, closed toe pumps is the appropriate shoe for an interview... I also had to Google "intelligent things to ask"  as I could just picture myself sitting there like a gold fish with my mouth open. I did a proper research of the company as well, studying its company structure and past service performance like I was preparing for an exam.
So the interview day came up and I arrived on time (despite a small detour around the block as I missed my exit) and it went well. A few hours later, the agent called back to deliver the great news that they were ready to offer me the job. I was over the moon, not quite sure if she was actually joking with me. The following day, I handed in my resignation, something that I had been dreading the most as my Boss doesn't deal with these sort of things in the best of ways...
This is my last week and I do feel sad to leave some of my truly amazing colleagues but also excited about this new opportunity, a bit nervous (what if all goes pear shaped???) and quite anxious to get started. I have prepared all my handover documents and made sure everything is updated and easily accessible. Today I and another colleague who is also leaving, treated the office to lunch.

This morning, I along with a whole bunch of other parents, attended the Grade 4 "Live museum" event. Each child had to dress up as a character from an ancient civilization. Elias chose to portrait Julius Caesar. Hubby and son made the costume together, the only thing we bought was the centurion helmet. The kids then had to make a short speech about their character, what their daily life was like, and what legacy they left behind. The kids were outstanding, without any hesitation, they confidently walked up and presented their characters in front of the whole class and all the parents. And there were some pretty amazing costumes as well!!

Julius Caesar!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy birthday Joli!

My baby girl, my Joli-bee is turning 6 today! I can't believe that my youngest is already in KG2 and will start g=Grade 1 this fall, and I can't believe she is already learning Arabic and French in school. Time goes so fast, it felt like yesterday she arrived, a very windy and cold Saturday morning. Joli spent her first weeks in Sweden and made her first plane trip ever all the way back to Singapore, at the age of 1 month!

Happy birthday Joli, we love you so very much and we are so proud of you!


To all my dear friends

To all my dear friends! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, texts, emails, phone calls after my Dad passed away. I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends!


Friday, March 15, 2013

My Dad, my hero

I am back in Dubai after a few days back in a cold and snowy Sweden. I spent most of the time with my Dad at the nursing home. His condition was already very serious when I arrived and he could barely communicate with us. We sat by his side, holding his hand and I spent two nights there as well. The staff at the nursing home are amazing and they took such good care of him. He passed away quietly on Tuesday evening, the day before I left. His breathing calmed down and it felt like he found inner peace. I feel very sad but I know that he is not suffering anymore. He was such an amazing man, with a big heart and always willing to help. Everyone in our small village knows him from the business he and his brother were running. And so everyone knew me as well, as I was his daughter.

My Dad grew up in a working class home out in the country side. My Grandfather (his Dad) was working in the textile factory and my Grandmother was home with my Dad and his brother.
At the age of 14, my Dad was sitting at home, carving a wooden airplane and accidentally cut off an artery in his leg. He suffered from massive blood loss and they had to amputate his right leg, just below the knee. This didn't stop my Dad though, who is one of the most stubborn people I have met. He got a prosthetic leg and soon he was competing in trial motor cross, even making it as far as District Champion, he also won school competitions in skiing and skating.
Dad and his brother eventually started up their own company and soon became well known around the neighbourhood.
In 2000, Dad found out he had a brain tumour and when they removed it, he became paralyzed in his left side. This was a huge blow and he was struggling. However, being the stubborn person he was, he started his physiotherapy and soon he could walk again with a walking stick. He never regained full strength in his left side but enough to be able to drive a car again and he could walk short distances with his walking stick. As his ability to move around was limited, he spent a lot of time in his favourite chair, reading or watching TV. This eventually led to a lot of preassure on his back, causing a lot of pain. When Dad found out that there was no cure to his severe back pain, he gave up and it all went very fast. The last days before he passed away, he was not able to communicate with anybody, all he did was squeezing my hand or blinking. My Dad is the strongest, and most amazing person I have ever met. He will always be in my heart. I love you so much Dad, you are everything to me!


Friday, March 8, 2013

I'm off to Sweden and it's all for the wrong reasons...

My Dad's health has been up and down for the past couple of years. In May  2011, it was really critical and I went home for a few days. He managed to recover miraculously and returned home from the hospital. After that it has been pretty much on the same level until a month ago, when he ended up in the hospital again. To make a long story short, he is suffering from severe back pain due to some of the discs have been either dislocated or "erased". He has great problems walking so he therefore ends up sitting in a chair most of the time, which causes a lot of stress on his back. This time he seem to have given up though. He is not communicating at all, hardly eating anything and seems to have lost all will to live. It is very sad and especially when you are far away, you feel even more helpless. So yesterday I asked hubby to book me a standby ticket to Copenhagen so that I could go home and see my Dad before it's too late.

Me and my Dad
This week has been turbulent, lots of things have happened and I have walked around with a constant headache. However, making the decision to go home has made me calm. It will be a very sad journey but it is something I have to do. The kids will stay in Dubai and hopefully my Dad will cheer up a bit so that we can come back and celebrate Easter as planned, although I don't expect him to live that long to be honest. We are taking one day at a time right now. Time will tell.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My little Mermaid

Joli loves her swimming and has just been moved up from Beginner 2 to Improver 1! That is fantastic, considering she only started her swimming classes in April last year! The timing has also changed and is now on Tuesdays at 2.30. If the Swedish class starts soon, then both kids will have their activities on the same day, which saves me a lot of trouble. It is ok to leave early once in a while, but not every week. At the same time, I do want them to participate in some after school activities, especially physical activities. Always a bit of logistics headache but usually we find a good solution.
My little Mermaid Joli. By some reason it looks like she has enormous triceps on this photo..
I have invested in a new suit and had it altered the other day. Me and my short, Asian legs can never fit in any dress pants or jeans without serious alteration. The waist line also had to be adjusted slightly and now it  looks great. There are plenty of good places here in Dubai for alteration. I am using Megastich in Al Barsha, just behind Mall of the Emirates and opposite of Dubai American Academy. They do a fantastic work and it costs next to nothing!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What happened to February?

It is March already and the temperature is rising. This morning it was 21 when I drove to work, significant improvement, about a month ago it was around 14 in the morning, a bit chilly for us thin-blooded creatures.
I spent the morning by the community pool yesterday and by mid-day, it was quite hot. Winter is definitely gone and summer is on its way. March and April are generally pleasant, but May tends to get a bit too hot with highs at 44 sometimes.
This month is busy, lots of things going on, our trip to Sweden end of March, two birthdays, two birthday parties, cup cakes to bring to school, presents to buy (and the 10-year old doesn't have a clue of what he wants for his birthday). Some important meetings, some planning that needs to be sorted out but still in limbo as everything is depending on the outcome of this meeting.
Yesterday friend S hosted another lovely BBQ at their house. Gorgeous evening, children playing happily in the garden, delicious meat cooking on the grill, excellent wine in our glasses...
It was quite difficult to get up this morning, the weekends just go so fast, just like the weeks. Which is a good thing I guess but I can't keep up. It is already March, what happened to February? I realize it is the shortest month but I hardly noticed it! Scary!
No immediate trips to remoted areas on my agenda, which is quite nice. I was supposed to go to Kenya last week but the meeting was postponed (the elections are coming up tomorrow, Monday which will probably be a bit messy). Elias was relieved that I was staying home, I think he still remembers how he ended up in hospital last time I was in Kenya..
International Day is coming up this week at the kids school. I have prepared a folder about Sweden with lots of photos about our traditions, food, language etc. We are a few Swedish families (there are three Swedish children in Joli's Kindergarten class) and every year the Swedes partner up with the Finns and the Norwegians and arrange our own Scandinavian/Finnish display table with Christmas trees, Angry Birds (didn't actually know that they are Finnish!), fake snow, Midsummer decorations and flags. It is a great event, kids dress up in their national costumes, Elias is wearing a blue and yellow football outfit and I still need to find something for Joli. We don't have the proper national dresses for the kids. it is way too hot and expensive for a once-a-year event. There are performances on stage, dancing and singing and samples of traditional food.

Friday, March 1, 2013

One large "Trollhättan" please!

I sometimes miss Swedish pizza, maybe not the pizza itself but more the pizza salad. The cabbage salad you get on the side at every Swedish pizzeria. Seems to be a Swedish concept, nowhere else have I seen this salad. I love the fresh and "crunchy" salad, the taste of vinegar and pepper, it just goes so well with pizza!
A few years ago, while we were still living in Mirdif, they opened up a Swedish pizzeria just behind our little mini compound (right under the flight path). The owner was Iranian but had lived many years in Sweden and he knew how to make the cabbage salad. I was over the moon and we ordered Swedish pizza with lots of salad, so delicious. However, then we moved from Mirdif to Al Waha and our immediate access to Swedish pizza salad stopped. Until a few years ago when the new pizzeria Verona opened up in Al Barsha. The owner is Syrian but he grew up in Sweden. And he knows how to make the pizza salad. Apart from the more traditional pizzas (Quattro Stagioni, Calzone and Margarita), they also offer typical Swedish pizzas (Swedish Kebab pizza, Beef Fillet pizza with kebab sauce, Banana pizza...) and all with typical Swedish names. Hilarious and makes you feel like home. So tonight we will order one large "Goteborg", one "Trollhattan" and a classic "Hawaii" for Elias and his friend!
The weather is wonderful now, it is getting warmer but the evenings are now at their best. Not too hot, not too cold! I am planning to take Joli to Jumeirah Beach Hotel tomorrow for a bit of beach time while the boys will stay home. Husband is busy planning for his new green house and he isn't much of a beach person anyway.
Happy Friday everyone!

Pasta on a Thursday

If hubby is home on a Thursday (which is when the weekend starts here in the UAE), we normally have a BBQ. I just love to sit outside on our terrace, enjoy a glass of wine while the meat is cooking on the grill, kids playing outside and knowing that tomorrow morning, I CAN SLEEP IN!
I am not a morning person, however, since I had children, I seem to be up around 8 anyway, but at least there is no stress, no clock ticking, no meetings. I can just walk around in my PJ's, have a late, and long breakfast, coffee outside in the garden....
Last night hubby declared that he didn't fancy doing a BBQ at all, he wanted pasta for dinner. And so it is, tonight we are having Spaghetti Carbonara!
Teresa made an amazing dinner last night (yes, Teresa cooks during the weekdays and most of the weekends too). She baked broccoli and cauliflower in an oven dish, covered with cream, lots of garlic and let it bake for about 20 min. It was divine! We also enjoyed hubbys homegrown tomatoes with red onion and cilantro together with marinated chicken fillet. Delicious! I forgot to take photos, sorry.
I haven't been in the best of moods lately. There are so many things going on at the moment I think my head will explode soon. My Dad is back at the hospital with the same back pain he suffered from a few years ago. He is very depressed and seem to have lost all his will to live. I and the kids are going home for Easter and I hope this will cheer him up  a bit and I am also trying to arrange some meetings with the hospital and other involved parties to see what we can do for my Dad to improve his situation. And then there is a lot of work stuff also going on...

Beautiful Bavaria.
This weekend, I'm hoping to take Joli to one of the resorts and just relax. Some sun, quality time with my kids, read a book, have a nice lunch in the sun...

Ah, yes...and of course I forgot to take a photo before we started eating...
Today it's our Teresa's birthday! We sang for her yesterday and enjoyed some cake that one of her friends came over with. Today she is off and they are all off to church and then to Satwa for some lunch and shopping. Elias has a friend over later today and we have promised the boys to order Swedish pizza tonight. And this time I will take a photo, promise...!