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(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! 💚

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Self-defence training for girls

I am not much of a sporty person, honestly. All of my life, I have been trying to avoid dropping a single sweat (read: exercising). However, for the past few weeks, this has changed. I have started with the swimming lessons again, AND I joined the ground training from the ice skating club.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ground training: it’s basically the same condition, strength, and flexibility training (lots of running, push up, etc.). But sometimes it was incorporating elements of ice skating, i.e. jumps. To get an idea of how the ground training looks like, you can watch this video. It differs for every session, but needless to say that I was about to die the first time I joined and almost fainted the second time I was there.

Now, as if that experience was not enough, I tried another physical activity yet again last week: self-defence training.

I was never a fan of the fighting sport, really. Or martial arts, for that matter. While some of my friends joined such extracurricular when we went to school, I went with scouting. So, it came to me as a surprise that I was ACTUALLY interested when I saw this ad on Facebook about self-defence training for girls. I thought this might be a good skill to learn, honestly, but I could not stand having extensive training for weeks, or years. And this one was only a one-time training, although they do offer regular training as well. So then I signed up.

It was a 3-hour session and there were around 50 girls who participated. Actually, I was a bit worried in the beginning. I mean, I could not even stand 45 minutes ground training, how would I survive 3 hours defence training???

But it turned out better than expected actually. There were 4 techniques that we learned for this basic course:

  1. Hitting with the palm
  2. Hitting with the elbow
  3. Kicking
  4. Getting out if you are pinned to the ground

Of course in this class, you learned more about building your techniques, and not as much using extensive power from the beginning to the end. There were certainly times when we were asked to hit or kick with all our might, repeatedly, especially when we were sparring with the instructors. But for me, it was manageable. And the instructors were really helpful, motivating, and certainly knew what they were doing. So I would really recommend this training. (And I am not being paid to say this!)

What about you? Have you ever attended similar training? Leave a comment! 🙂

From the session yesterday. Taken from Självförsvar För Tjejer Facebook page. Can you spot me? 😛

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Finding my favourite sport/physical exercise

When somebody asked me what my favourite sport was, I used to answer, “Watching football. But only world cup.” A bit older, I would answer, “Running,” although the only time I ever run was when I had to get the grades for P.E. class in high school.
I did basically no physical activities whatsoever during my 4 years of university. Same thing when I started working.

But it all changed (kind of) when I moved to Sweden. Countless of times had I listened to the lectures on physical activities and its association with various health outcomes. Not to mention that people here, at least in Stockholm, exercised A LOT. Like, I once saw a guy running in the middle of WINTER night (with snow and everything). As a couch potato, it all made me very uneasy. It became worse because I was surrounded by health conscious friends who hit the gym every now and then.

Perhaps due also to social pressure, I finally gave in. I signed up for the gym.

Gym

Now being the nerd I was, I needed to know what kind of training they offered. I had decided since day one that I would be better off joining one of the group training classes rather than trying to figure out what machine to use for what. So in the end, I found out that they recommended us to do at least 1 cardio, 1 strength, and 1 flexibility class every week. They also gave the list on which classes trained what. I decided to try the cardio/aerobic class first, because it seemed more familiar to me. I booked a bodystep class.

It was a disaster.

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