4

(A Rather Long) Highlight of 2018

I’ve seen so many bloggers wrote their 2018 highlights on their blog, and I can’t help but feel, ‘I want to do that, too!’ (Yes, I’m easily influenced 😅) so here goes…

January

It’s our wedding month, so I wanted to do this post-wedding photoshoot (again) with the winter wonderland theme. Luckily, we had enough snow and the weather was really good on our wedding date, so it was really lovely.

February

We traveled to Poland to arrange the new residence permit (more story here). Turned out to be a nice trip, after all. Poland was lovely.

Sunny day in Gdansk

Gdansk covered in snow

Dream comes true! Visiting Marie Curie’s Museum

Also, time for some winter sport, obviously. Tried skiing for the first time (and probably last 😂) Honestly, I would choose ice skating over skiing any time.

Skating on the lake. Not the easiest thing, but fun!

Tired face after try skiing for the first time

March

I don’t think many things happened in March, actually. But it was still snowing in Stockholm so it was cool. I did visit the Natural History Museum for the first time because I wanted to see Erik Johansson’s exhibition (it was the last day when I visited). Let me say, I was hooked by his works 😍 I really love this ‘Full Moon Service’ picture and keep on dreaming that someday someone will give it to me 😂 The museum itself was nice, with beautiful building, but I saw that the it was targeting children more. Eh, but it was still fun to visit anyway.

Erik Johansson’s Full Moon Service

April

SAM SMITH CAME TO STOCKHOLM!!!!!!!!!! OH. MY. GOD. Fangirling so bad. It was amazing. Hands down.

Also, met my high school friend Dixie who just recently moved to Sweden! We hadn’t met for, like, a decade? It was unbelievable 😆

The cherry blossoms just started blooming at the end of the month.

And I also took this 1-day self defence training for girls. Highly recommended!

May

It was a beautiful period in Stockholm, because all the flowers were blooming. I had my first violin performance since forever (it was awful, I had to say), but it was fun anyway. Also, the new Karolinska University Hospital was inaugurated and I accidentally came at the right time to see the King cut the ribbon (important moment!)

Beautiful campus in spring

I always make this funny face when performing

King of Sweden!

June

Eid Mubarak! My mom sent me 2 beautiful dresses, one which I wore during the celebration at the embassy.

Also… WE WATCHED WORLD CUP IN RUSSIA!!!!

Although it was definitely a sad moment for team Germany 🤷🏻‍♀️

Happy face, before we knew the fate of team Germany

But it was a fun time (aside from seeing Germany lost and trouble with the passport). Kazan was a wonderful city, and so was Moscow. We took the free train provided by the government to travel between the cities and it was comfortable. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but they did a good job arranging the World Cup.

Kazan. See the green roofs? Super love!!!

Moscow. Look at the colours!

Also watching opera in Bolshoi Theatre, because why not? 😀

Also, Russia can be very hot in the summer. Just saying. I did not expect this at all, to be honest 😅

July

It’s time for a trip to Cyprus!!! I really can’t thank my best friend Marios and his family enough for letting us stay in their apartment throughout our stay, and having him driving us around THE WHOLE ISLAND for the rest of our holiday (since, well, none of us could really drive 🙈).

But seriously, Cyprus has some of the best beaches I’ve ever visited in my life. I’m so glad I bought that swimming donut 😂 (I’m suck at swimming), but some of the water was really shallow you can technically just walk to the middle (it was amazing). Of course we did not only go to the beaches, although that was the big proportion of what we did there. The archaeological sites there were also magnificent. Although be prepared for the hot weather if you visit in the summer. At some point it reached 40 degrees Celsius, but when I asked my friend if we should just stay at home he said, of course not. So that’s that. 40 deg is fine. With right precaution 😅 (to be fair we visited the mountain that day, so it was cooler. By cooler I mean 36-38 deg 🤣)

Larnaca, the seaside city where we stayed

Cape Greco

Fig Tree Bay. Of course it was full of people.

Lunch under the grape tree (?)

The bakery in the traditional village

Kourion Archeological Site (just a part of it, the site is HUGE)

Larnaca Salt Lake. You could see the mosque to the left

Aphrodite’s Rock

Meeting this fur ball again *love love love

August

It was Risan’s birthday, and we celebrated at home. I did not have a decent picture to post here, unfortunately 🙈 Also, I attended the Europride Parade in Stockholm.

September

Time for a trip to Lisbon! I read somewhere that it was the sunniest capital in Europe, yet it was mostly cloudy during our trip there 😅😅😅😅 I am not sure if I like it or not. I mean, Lisbon was fine overall, but nothing has a really wow factor for me. But don’t let my judgement affect yours! The oceanarium and monastery were wonderful, though.

Jeronimos Monastery

The famous yellow tram

Also, I participated in the election in Sweden for the first time! So since I’ve been residing here for a number of years, I got to participate in the election for the kommun and landsting. I am not sure what the English translation should be. Municipality and county? One thing I liked about the election here was that you could take a lot of different valkompass (literally: election compass), an online ‘quiz’ (usually by news agency) to determine which party has the closest vision with you. And honestly, it helped a lot!

October

Time for an autumn photoshoot! It was another wonderful time in Stockholm since the leaves were changing colours and there were plenty of sunny days.

Also, I attended my friend’s Dr. Lisa Blom’s defence and afterparty. So, it seems customary here to hold an afterparty after your defence and invited your supervisors, opponent, family, and friends for a nice dinner. Some even said this is like a second wedding. And honestly, I am freaked out a bit because this kind of party is never cheap in Sweden. And as strange as it might seem, it is apparently common for the host to ask the guests to pay for the foods (not for my friend’s party though). But coming from where I come from, I can never think of asking my guests to pay for their foods! But we’ll see…

Speech from the supervisor

November

MY BIRTHDAY!!! Although technically the celebration was done later 😆 We went to an Indonesian restaurant and for some of them, it was really the first time they tried it. I had a hard time describing the food, there should be a guide to explain this 😂😂 How would you actually explain the differences between rendang, gulai, and kari?

December

My first debut as a violist! Funny enough, I was placed early in the program because the person who arranged the schedule, upon seeing the name and the song I was gonna play, thought that I was a kid 😂😂😂 (the kids were put early in the program and adult students were put later). Well, I couldn’t blame her, since I only played a Christmas song with my teacher 😂😂

I also visited the newly renovated National Museum in Stockholm. I loooovvve it! Now it’s number 1 on my must-visit list in Stockholm!

Entrance to the museum

And last but not least… Winter trip to Italy!! We were originally only planned to stay in Rome, but we saw all the major highlights in 3 days and so we thought, why not make a trip to another city? So we also went to Venice!!! So excited!! 😆 Rome and Venice were absolutely wonderful! The foods were also amazing! (Well my favourite food has been spaghetti since I was 5, so it was absolutely a trip of a lifetime 😂)

My favourite site: Trevi Fountain

Vatican

Colosseum

Roman Forum

Grand Canal

Sunset in Venice

So that’s pretty much my adventure throughout 2018. I sincerely hope that 2019 will be a good year for all of us! 💚

Advertisements
0

Watching Concert in Gröna Lund… Finally!

Every summer, the amusement park in Stockholm, Gröna Lund, arranged a series of concerts in the site. The lineup is usually good, a mixture of both Swedish and international artists. And you can attend all the concerts freely (?) once you have this seasonal ticket (gröna kortet).

I have had my seasonal ticket since years ago because Sam Smith was scheduled to have a concert there. But then it was cancelled and I almost never use it ever since. This year, I was planning to attend the tango lessons that were arranged there (yes, they have salsa and tango lessons too for the whole summer). But as usual, as we say in Swedish, det går inte (it doesn’t happen)… 😅😅😅

So as a backup plan (not really), I have listed all the artists I would like to see at this year’s concerts. It has started since May, for God’s sake, but until this month, I have not even stepped my foot in the park. This cannot continue. So last Thursday, I actually went to see the concert. It was Molly Sandén.

The moment I arrived in front of the stage, I knew I was totally out of place. I came from work, with all this work attire (not that formal, actually), but everyone around me was TEENAGERS!!! 😂😂😂

Oh no, wait. I actually saw a mother beside me accompanying her teenage daughter 😅

Anyway. It seemed like everyone around me knew the lyrics for ALL THE SONGS. While I can only remember 1 for the whole songs. And 2 other refrains #fail 😂😂😂

But it was fun anyway. Molly was really energetic and interactive. And she brought a lot of guest artists. And the staging was great. But the best moment was of course when she sang my favourites: Större, Utan Dig, and Rygg mot Rygg 😍😍😍 I think I could scream on top of my lungs for that (which I did, obviously 😂). She even went back to the stage to give 2 encores after the final song.

Overall, I would recommend going to these concerts if you really like the artists. Or if you are just regular concertgoers. Then it would certainly worth the amount of money you spent on the seasonal tickets 😂

0

Watching Sam Smith’s Concert in Stockholm

One of the perks of living in Stockholm is that you have an abundance of entertainment choice. And by entertainment choice here I meant concerts. You see, people (artists) come and go to Stockholm and gave a performance here and I had to exercise a lot of self-constraint not to spend my monthly salary for the tickets. But some artists I would be more than willing to spend my money on their performances, and one of them is Sam Smith.

It was funny to think of how I got to know his works. You see, I followed this group on YouTube who often made classical covers from the popular songs. And one day, they posted the cover version for Sam Smith’s ‘I’m Not the Only One’. It was good, but somehow it made me curious to find out about the original song. It was almost a year since the original song was released, and I had to admit that I had not heard about him up until that point #shame (facepalm)

So I googled his song and… BAM! I immediately fell in love. I think it was the rare occasion when I actually like the original artist’s version better than the cover. (You know, being a hard-core classical musician (not really ^^’) for me usually meant anything with the classical music format, i.e. strings and piano ensemble, is usually a winning choice).

But not that time.

Not that time.

So then you could also imagine how excited I was to find out that he was going to perform in Gröna Lund (the amusement park in Stockholm). Of course, I immediately bought the ticket, which back then was in the form of a season ticket, with the thought that I could watch other artists’ performances as well throughout the season. Sadly, some days before the actual concert date he had to cancel it, due to some health problems. My thought back then was, ’Oh no…! He’s never going to go to Stockholm, ever!’ 😥 The more troublesome thought was, what if his health problems were so severe that he would never be able to sing again? 😥 It was a scary prospect that I am sure the artist himself had thought.

Of course, I wrong on both account: 1) he continued singing and 2) he eventually came to Stockholm!!!!!

I arrived at the venue approximately 1 hour before the concert started. If you counted until the time he actually performed on stage it was 2.5 hours. (Don’t ask me why I came so early. Out of habit, perhaps 😛 ). But of course, it was worth the wait.

He opened the concert with ‘Burning’. The moment I saw him sitting on the stage, singing, and being projected on the black-and-white screen I was all 😮 😮 😮 I couldn’t believe my eyeeeesssss!!!! He was really there!!!!!!!!

It was super awesome. I think I could burst with happiness. He moved on and sang some of my favourites: ‘I’m Not the Only One’, ‘Omen’, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’, ‘Midnight Train’, and of course, ‘Palace’. The staging was awesome, the crews were awesome. I was glad he took some time to introduce all his band members. It is always good to give appreciation to fellow musicians. ❤

He sounded just like the recordings. It was amazing. Boy, this man can sing. (of course ^^’) and he was really interactive with the crowds. I don’t know how he did that. It seemed so natural. But probably that’s one of the traits you should have (or train) when you’re such an artist. And of course, the crowds were happy to follow his cue. It was such a wonderful atmosphere. ❤

I wish him luck for the rest of his world tour. I am happy that Stockholm is (once again) chosen as the opening city for such a wonderful artist’s tour (despite the fact that I arrived home late that night and suffered from sleepiness in the class and the office the day after) . 😀

But it was worth it.

It was definitely worth it.

 

20180419_213409

Sam Smith, Stockholm, 19 April 2018