Sunday, April 28, 2013

Better late than never, birthday party at Chuck E Cheese

Joli's birthday was in March, 17th to be more exact (St. Patrick's Day). Since that day she has been waiting and waiting for her birthday party to take place. Due to the events in March and also because of the Spring break, it had to be put on hold until now and finally, Saturday was the day and she was over the moon. All her class had been invited and a majority of the kids showed up. You never really know here in the UAE as people are generally quite crappy with the whole RSVP thing. I found the most amazing cake lady in our compound and she made a pink ocean themed cake with a gigantic Ariel head in pure chocolate! Surrounding it, there were fish shaped butter cookies, sea shells and sea weed made out of green coloured chocolate! Truly amazing! And the kids seem to love it cause there was nothing left of it at the end of the party! I had suggested another party venue for her but she didn't like that one as "they had to put make up on" and she'd rather spent time in the climbing area. Chuck E Cheese is a rather convenient place as they arrange food for the kids (pizza and fries and a juice), parents can buy coffee or even leave the kids supervised and go for a stroll in the mall. The first two hours were dedicated to various games like musical chairs, dancing and other very loud activities and at the end, Chuck E Cheese came out to meet and greet with the children. After the party, goodie bags were handed out and they also received a complimentary token card with a smaller amount charged on it so they could enjoy various games and rides in the play area. This was a huge success and I saw several desperate parents trying to get their kids home but failing miserably. Eventually, we managed to get out of there, loaded with gifts and balloons and with Joli's dear friends R and S who joined us in our car.
I spent the rest of the evening in the sofa with a well deserved glass of wine in front of me whilst Joli was opening all her presents. There is a pile of amazing gifts in her room now and she will be very busy when she gets back from school this afternoon. All in all, a very successful birthday and Mummy is very pleased that is about a years time til the next one!
The cake!!

Very excited little girl

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wine and tapas

Last night, I and friend N were invited over to Mitzie Mee in Dubai Marina to enjoy wine and tapas. The view from their balcony is stunning and the location absolutely perfect! I really like the Marina area and hadn't it been for my lovely kids, I would definitely opted for an apartment there.
Delicious tapas

Kiddos in winter outfit in Sweden

Brother and sister
Today the school arranges student led conferences, which means that you sit for half an hour together with your child in the class room and go through all their school material. It is a great opportunity to see what they do in class and you are supposed to interact, ask good questions and be generally supportive. They always send out these guidelines to the parents prior to the conferences. Are there really parents out there who need a reminder to be supportive of their children's work? I have booked the first session with Joli's teacher and then she is off for her weekly swimming lesson and during that time, I'll sit with Elias. After that I promised to drop them off at the community center where Elias is going to buy a few more fishes for his aquarium and perhaps a small treat at the café before they head home with Teresa and I'll return to work.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strange weather

The summer has definitely arrived in Dubai with temperatures up to 42 this weekend. Way too hot! The evenings are still nice though and yesterday we had a wonderful BBQ at friend T's house. The weather has been strange with clouds and rain every second day, sunshine every other second day. Yesterday, as we were sitting under T's lovely gazebo, lightning struck the sky and we had thunder and rain. It only lasted for a few minutes but it was quite cozy to sit there, listening to the rain on the gazebo, enjoying a glass of red. T had made delicious skewers and we all contributed with baked potatoes, potato gratin, couscous salad and more. It was a great evening! Hubby is flying to Copenhagen today and I have given him a long list of items I need! Mostly Swedish food, falusausage, Swedish Estrella or OLW crisps, cheese, a Swedish dictionary for Elias who just started taking Swedish lessons and some interior magazines for myself.
I have to apologize for not being so active anymore. I am sharing room with another colleague so no time for the morning blogging procedure, something that I do miss. My routine with my coffee, my blog, reading other blogs.... The good news is that my new job keeps me busy, there is no time for blogging during the day. I have started to get my head around some things, still have lots to learn and even more waiting around the corner. It is interesting, I am very happy and my new colleagues are great. Last week the company driver bought cinnamon buns for all of us. And mind you, he is from India but still went all the way to the Nordic Bakery to get us this special Swedish treat! Most of the management are Swedish, which is both nice and a bit unusual to hear Swedish in the corridors.
This weekend, Joli has her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, Dubai Outlet Mall. She invited the whole class and I am waiting for parents to RSVP. I found a lady in our compound that makes wonderful cakes and ordered a round, pink cake with small sea creatures in marsipan and a huge Ariel Mermaid made out of chocolate on top. Joli will love that. And I will try to remember taking some photos! The good thing with outsourcing the birthday party is that it is minimal trouble. You arrive there, they entertain and feed the kids and all you need to bring is the cake. Great!
The other day, as we flicked through the TV-channels, I came across the movie "Julia and Julie" again. And realized that my recipe project has really gone out the window. I don't think I have cooked anything interesting for months. We'll need to do something about it. I'll keep you all posted.

Burj Al Arab, early morning

Elias celebrated his 10th birthday on the flight back to Dubai

Future Emirates hostess?

Thursday treat, cinnamon buns!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sandstorm and birthday party

A very nasty sandstorm passed by Dubai this weekend and left us all covered in sand. On Friday, the sky was cloudy but the weather was unusually warm. Everyone feared that summer had started early this year, with temperatures up to 37.
On Friday afternoon, our neighbours' wife and children had arranged for a surprise party for him so we showed up at his house for a nice BBQ. It was great meeting up again after the school break and we had such a lovely evening. Again a good reminder how lucky we are to live in this community.
On Saturday morning, I and hubby went to look for a typing office. It is a small office where you can get your document attested, make photo copies and have letters typed for you in Arabic for various pruposes, like getting a NOC for your Driver's license or labour card. They charge a small sum and it takes about 10 minutes. We found one in Al Quoz, not far away from my previous office. After that we decided to drive by Max Burger at Oasis centre for some lunch. I have to admit that I do miss Oasis centre sometimes and especially Max Burger...
Elias and his friend A had their joint birthday party that afternoon and the sandstorm got worse. The theme of the party was nerf gun fight so it actually didn't matter that it was sandy and windy, it just added to the party theme! Friend T (the hostess of the party and A's Mum) made wonderful Margaritas and we were chatting while the boys ran around like mad with their nerf guns. When we got home later that evening, we were all covered in sand and the wind had increased and it was actually a bit scary at times as I feared all our outdoor furniture would literally fly away.
It was still cloudy and rainy on Sunday and we saw some heavy rain showers during the day, together with more sand. My small car was all covered in mud when I got home! Since Sunday also was my birthday, I and hubby had a glass of wine in the garden before my girls came over with more wine and presents!
Yesterday, friend S had her birthday and we attended another surprise BBQ, which was just as nice! Lovely food, wine and good company, what more can you ask for?
This week has been quite busy at work and I am getting more and more things on my desk, which is great! I managed to extend my corporate wardrobe over the weekend and came home with a pen skirt from Zara, a pair of dress pants from G2000 and a shirt. That should do for a while. It is funny, when you are actually looking for something, you never find it, whereas when you have convinced yourself NOT to buy anything, you run into gorgeous clothes wherever you go.
My cooking project has gone out the window, there is no time but hopefully it will be resumed soon! And I need to take some more photos. Next post, I promise!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The first day

We are all back in Dubai after a week in Sweden. The weather was sunny but cold but the kids were quite happy to see some snow. The train ride from Copenhagen to Varberg was also exciting and I have to admit it is very convenient to just hop on a train, right at the airport that takes you all the way home (more or less). My Mum met up at the train station with winter clothes and we enjoyed a nice dinner at her place before heading to my Dad's apartment, where we stayed during the week. My task for the week was to sort out the apartment, make sure all the bills and various accounts were closed so we can do the proper hand over by the end of April. The funeral was on Wednesday, a day I had dreaded but it turned out to be a bright and memorable ceremony. A friend of mine came all the way down from the capital to be my support during that day and for that I am very grateful.
As we were travelling back on the 29th, Elias birthday, we had made sure to celebrate properly the day before with an Easter buffet and his favourite cake. And the wonderful Emirates crew made his day very special too by singing to him and presenting a nice cake surrounded by 10 small Godiva choclates! When we got home, hubby and Teresa were waiting with some presents and yet another cake!
Sunday the 31st was supposed to be my first day at the new job but since it was Easter Sunday, the office was closed and I instead enjoyed the day at the beach. I and hubby also managed to find a second car, something we have been talking about for some time. I found a small Toyota Yaris, in great condition and easy to park in small spaces and we picked it up on Sunday afternoon. The premier tour was on Monday, to the new office.
My first day was overwhelming. I met all my new colleagues (I don't remember the name of even half of them) but the majority of them are actually Swedish! I set up my desk (sharing office with another Swedish guy) and started working on some smaller tasks. Everyone is very nice and helpful and the office is wonderful, lots of windows, very bright and a gorgeous little terrace outside the lunch area where you can enjoy your lunch or some coffee. It is located in the free zone area but very easy to access so eventhough in a different part of town, it still only takes me 20 min to work, which is a relief as traffic can be horrible here in Dubai.
I also realized that I need to update my corporate wardrobe so this weekend I have to do some shopping!