Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last day of school

Today is finally the last day of school. The kids have waited and so have I. Honestly I don't understand why they couldn't finish last week as all they have done this week is receiving their reports (and both kids did fantastic this year, I am so proud of them), have informal class parties and watch movies. They are tired, Elias was home sick on Sunday and Joli yesterday. It is definitely time for summer holiday after a long, but interesting school year.
Most of our friends have already left Dubai as people tend to in June. We are here of course and I think the kids are just looking forward to hang around at home, doing nothing.
I received great news from my work, my probation time is over (3 months) and they still want to keep me! As I have said before, I love my new job, the challenges, the people, all the new things I'm learning every day.
The other day, I and a few colleagues attended another legal seminar about sanctions in the shipping industry. It was hosted by the law firm Clyde & Co and held at Radisson Blu. The seminar was very interesting, discussing the impact of the EU sanctions on Iran and the new extended US sanctions from 1st of July. After the seminar, there was a networking session with wine and nibbles. I met a Swedish colleague from the same company but different office and we quickly decided to gather a few girls from the office for an after work on Tuesday.
I have promised to take the kids somewhere fun on Saturday. Joli wants to go to Kidzania, which is an amazing place where kids can try out different professions, earn fake money and get fake driver's licenses etc. It starts with a proper Emirates airline check in counter outside where the kids get their tickets and boardingpasses before leaving for Kidzania. A great concept and kids seem to love it. Elias however declared that he is too old for that now, so he wants to go to Sega republic and play games. We shall see.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Swedish Midsummer

One of the most Swedish celebrations ever must be Midsummer. I still remember our first Midsummer celebration in Singapore, which was a wonderful event with a Bouganvila decorated Midsummer pole and all the traditional food on the table. Last year we celebrated at the Swedish Seaman's church, which was quite nice but this year we decided to actually organize something ourselves together with two other Swedish families (we all have our kids in the same school). It turned out to be a wonderful evening and later on, our friends and neighbours showed up with a  beautifully decorated Midsummer pole (and mind you, they are not even Swedish!). We showed our international friends the traditional "Frog Dance" and sang a "nubbevisa", which I'm sure they appreciated....
Today has been just as lazy as a Midsummer day should be I guess. I and Joli went to the pool but left after only an hour as it is way too hot! The kids are looking forward to their last week of school and I am counting the days until our trip to Greece!
The Midsummer table. Joli put up Swedish flags on the wall to make it more festive!

Friend A's wonderful appetizer, cream cheese, lump fish roe and crackers!

My sandwhich cake (smorgastarta)

The buffet table

No Midsummer without a strawberry cake

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

KG 2 Graduation

This is not the first graduation ceremony for Joli, she had one when she graduated from Step by Step nursery two years ago. They had made a wonderful  ceremony where the children entered  a small stage one by one in their graduation attire and the teacher read a poem, specially written for them. Needless to say, I was sobbing through the whole ceremony, even before Joli had even entered the room. Now it's time for graduation from KG and my little girl, my Jollibee is starting Grade 1 this fall. How strange is that! Not to mention, my baby boy will be a fifth grader, his final year in Primary (obviously not a baby any more....).
The ceremony was held in the school auditorium with all the children performing beautiful songs together. All parents were welcomed in Arabic, French, German and English (the languages taught at Greenfield) and Joli went up with two other children from the other classes to welcome everyone in English. She looked so proud and happy and my eyes of course filled with tears. After a short presentation by the PYP-coordinator and the school Principal, all the children went one by one to receive a little pin and a certificate that they had now completed KG2 and are ready for Grade 1. Needless to say, Joli is over excited about starting Grade 1.
Thankfully enough, the kids' school is not too far away from my office so it wasn't too much of a hassle to get there, then I escaped the after- graduation party and went back to work, only to return a few hours later to pick the kids up from their last Swedish lesson and Joli's swimming lesson.
The weather is still being quite "cool" for being Dubai in June but it was been very humid. I had my PT session last night and though I was going to faint.

Happy Joli singing with her class (second row, left)
Midsummer is coming up and as usual, I get a slight "perhaps I should look for a different recipe" panic and I suddenly decide (on behalf of my guests) that they may not like what I have decided to prepare. The best way is to stick with the plan, but I never seem to learn. So this evening I will be googling some more recipes and hopefully be able to make a final decision before Friday! In any event, I am very much looking forward to Midsummer,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Roundtable discussions on compliance in the Middle East

My new job gives me plenty of opportunities to participate in various seminars and discussions, normally held at 5-star hotels here in Dubai. This week it was time for a roundtable discussion on compliance in the Middle East, hosted by TRACE. TRACE is a non-profitable organization that conducts Due Diligence on companies. The topic of the day was how companies in the MENA region (Middle East North Africa) ensure compliance and due diligence whilst conducting their business. A very interesting topic I must say with a lot of interesting input from the various participants. The meeting was held at beautiful Mina A'Salam hotel and as I hurried through the lobby on my way to the ball room where the meeting was held, I had to stop and take a photo Mina A'Salam is part of the Jumeirah Group and Madinat Jumeirah which consist of four hotels linked together through an artificial canal and you can travel between the hotels in a water taxi. The souk, where all the shops and cafes are, is located in the middle with Al Qasr hotel on one side and Mina A'Salam on the other. The sea is just outside with a gorgeous beach surrounded by palm trees.

Joli with a sun hat at H&M

A meeting with a view

Yesterday we celebrated American Father's Day with the neighbours. Joli had a play date earlier that day and after I dropped her off, I went straight to Jumeirah Beach Hotel for some sun. I have to say it is pretty nice to spend a few hours there, near the beach and with Burj Al Arab just in front of you. The sea is warm and the beach is not that crowded as most expats have already gone home for the summer (or simply find it too hot!). After my well- deserved beach time, I picked Joli up on the way home. She had a great time with her friend O and we are already planning for the next play date at our house!
This Tuesday, it is time for the KG2 graduation at Greenfield and I will of course be there, along with a box of Kleenex as I suspect it will be very emotional. The KG class have had an amazing teacher and it will be very sad to say good bye to her. And I can't believe my little girl is actually starting Grade 1 this fall!
Friday is midsummer, so we are hosting a small gathering of Swedish families on Friday for the usual summer buffet, including herring, and of course strawberry cake for desert! The kids have two more weeks of school and on Thursday, Elias' class have their class party at a nearby venue and next week, it is Joli's turn. Hectic, as usual by the end of the school year, but lots of fun stuff going on.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Birthday parties and a relaxing day at the beach

Elias finally decided to get a hair cut!

Tapas dinner

Salami and jamon serrano

We added some boiled eggs with lump fish roe to our tapas menu

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Cocal cola break

Gorgeous view over Burj Al Arab
The three day long weekend has come to its end and I have to admit, I could easily have added one more day! The weekend never seem to be long enough. On Thursday evening, I and friend T went to a wonderful birthday party. Our friend and previous colleague N celebrated her last year as a 30+ year old (any reason to celebrate is a good one!) and had gathered friends at their gorgeous villa in Jumeirah. We enjoyed sparkling wine and lots of good food! Friday was a lot more quiet, much due to previous day's bash. After the weekly grocery run, I and Joli went to the pool for an hour and then hubby and I enjoyed a quiet tapas dinner.
Since I haven't seen the beach for months, I and Joli decided to hit the beach yesterday, just the two of us as the men of the family prefer to stay indoors when it is hot outside. We went to Jumeirah Beach Hotel and had a very relaxing day. The hotel has one large children's pool with a slide (and it is not too shallow) and another pool for both kids and adults and of course two beaches with a wonderful view over Burj Al Arab. It was quite windy and the red flag was up so we only admired the high waves, built a sand castle and went back to the pool.
Joli had a swimming gala this morning which I attended before going to work. I decided to move my PT sessions to Sundays and Wednesdays instead so another session awaits me tonight.
Elias finally decided that he would have a hair cut so off he went with a friend and came back looking much older without all that hair on top of his head!
The weather is very hot and humid outside, it's like walking into a wet blanket every time you step outside. Summer is definitely here!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blog date in NYC and a hectic week!

I have said it before, and I will say it again! The blog world is amazing and I could never imagine that I would meet so many interesting people through my blog! I have followed Saltistjejen and her life in The Big Apple for quite some time and whilst in New York, me and friend M had the opportunity to meet up in real life! We spent the afternoon at a small café, not far away from Bloomingdales, chatting about everything and time just flew away! Thank you Saltis!!
We have entered the month of June and there are loads of activities going on for the kids. End of year parties, birthday parties (Elias has just been invited to a yacht- and limousine party), Kindergarten graduation, swimming galas and conventions. It is busy! And I have trouble to keep up with birthday cards, money for field trips and end of term gifts for teachers. Most of the summative assessments are done and I think the school reports are all completed by the end of this week. Another academic year has come to its end and I'm wondering how time can go so fast!! In September, Joli will start Grade 1 and Elias will do his final year in Primary.
The summer heat has eventually reached Dubai and it is now really hot outside. We are already looking forward to our Greece holiday and yesterday, I found a nice little hotel on the small island of Poros, just ouside of Athens. I and the kids will spend a few days there before meeting up with friend T and S and the kids at our rented house. Hubby doesn't have any summer vacation at all, it is not every year we are lucky to have the summer together.

Happy Joli with her new hair do

The roof top bar at The Pod 39 with a great view over NYC
This week is a short week as it is an Islamic holiday on Thursday (Leilat Al Miraj) and hence a Public holiday. I am looking forward to a three day weekend, much needed after last week. I think I managed to overcome the jet lag pretty fast but I was still a bit tired a couple of days after and it took the entire weekend to get back to some sort of normal routine.