Welcome Note

img_5148Hi there,

Welcome to my site where I write everything and anything.

I’m a random thinker who is always passionate about writing, traveling, and taking picture. Those are, for me, some of the best ways to capture memories in life.

Continue reading “Welcome Note”

Get to Know Me

For more story about me, what I do and my everyday life in general, kindly visit my profile here and here.

Copenhagen is always a good idea

4d71dcdf-2a07-4ea3-92bc-96572848a040-4044-00000243847548ba

For the winter break 2019, we initially didn’t plan to go anywhere. The period between October to December was quite a hectic moment for us because Zaki had so many things on his plate: journals, book chapter, manuscript, seminar, conference to name a few. As a result, the daily loads that we usually share were suddenly on me and myself, there was no time (and energy!) to plan for any kind of trip. But then prior to his third-phase PhD Seminar which was scheduled on December 19, right after he submitted his manuscript to the reviewers, he said: “Can you find a good deal to go somewhere? Just a day or two. Not too far and most definitely not too expensive. I think we’re all deserve a short escape.”

The answer was of course “no” 😄

Continue reading “Copenhagen is always a good idea”

On K’s birthday

Last month in 2019, Baby K turned 1 year old. It feels cruel, sometimes, how a year can passed you by in the blink of an eye. She was just this tiny red blueish baby not so long ago. Now she’s not a baby anymore, she’s officially a toddler.

She already has four teeth. She’s very messy independent when it comes to eating, but clingy when it comes to socialising :D. She’s a strong willed little girl. She drives me crazy with her unlimited energy that keeps her awake till late. Every. Single. Night. And yet, she makes me laugh with her funny behaviours, and warms my heart whenever she hugs me tight.

Continue reading “On K’s birthday”

Third Year Reflection*

As the year-end is approaching, I would like to use this blog post as a medium of reflection. A look back to where it all started three years ago. This month in 2016, I moved to Sweden from my home country. Time has passed by and many things have happened ever since, including having an additional member in the family. So it just feels right to see how it was and how it has been as a newbie living in Sweden.

And here are some random facts about Sweden that I learnt during my first three years of living in the country:

Sweden is a good place to raise kid

From free education to nearly free healthcare, Sweden is one of a few places I can think of when it comes to a “family friendly” country. Yes, the system is bit frustrating sometimes and requires lots of things to do—filling out forms, queuing, making calls to name a few. But once you got in, the safety net is always there.

Sweden also seems to care about and is willing to take part in children development. One tiny example is when my baby turned 6 months old, she received a free choice book from Lund’s state library. From what I understand, it’s a part of the program to encourage reading and literacy (such important skills for kids to have indeed).

Apart from those, generous parental leave, celebrated equality and recognition of universal values are the things that Sweden offers. And those are the list I would love to tick as a parent. Anyway, read more about the rights as parents in Sweden here.

Continue reading “Third Year Reflection*”

Hang Out Ideas for Newbie Parents*

IMG_7282

I often say to myself, when you’re a parent, life is what happened between fresh brewed coffee in the morning and reheated coffee in the afternoon: you barely have time to enjoy your coffee, decently 😀 Especially when you live away from home, far from the supporting system called family, the struggle is real.

Luckily in Sweden, there are some hang out places that are designed and dedicated for parents so parenting can still be fun. Here are the highlights:

Local library

If you’re new in Sweden and not sure where to go for a day-out with your baby, a library could be a good starting point. The state library in Lund has special section for kids of all ages. There’s this small play area where you can read books with your children and also meet other fellow parents.The library also has baby café and book-reading events for kid in various languages (read more about the events here). The book reading is held in the reading “closet” which is set up nicely and comfy for the parents and the kids.

Open Preschool

In Sweden, due to its generous parental leave, kids are not going to preschool or day care until they turn 1 year old. But, they can join open preschool without registration (just pop up when you feel like it) and it’s free of charge.

There are two open preschools in Lund, Kulan and Söderlek. I go to the first one with my baby and we’re having a really good time there. In Kullan, I get the opportunity to meet and socialise with other adults, while my daughter gets to meet and play with other children. So it’s good for both my kids and me. I can have a social life and talk to those who are on the same boat with me and my kid is enjoyed being surrounded by friends, toys and books.

The open preschool also has interesting activities such as painting and foot or hand casting but the most loved one is the singing section. Most parents come around the singing time (10.30 and 13.30 depending on the day) and leave soon after. That’s the thing about open preschool. We decide when to come and how long we want to stay. We are also responsible for our child(ren) during the stay.

Parents’ Group Play Date

I consider myself lucky because the health centre where I’m registered at provides parent’s group for international parents. We met regularly during the first six months of our postnatal period and I found the meetings were really nice and useful. The scheduled meeting at the health centre has concluded last summer but the parents still continue to meet for a play date every now and then.

If you don’t have parents group at your registered health centre, try online parents groups in your area (such as Facebook Group) or you can use this website to search for local parents group. They often have various activities range from fika to book club.

Barnvagns Bio

I received an invitation to a Barnvagns Bio last June and thought that was a smart solution for parents who want to watch movie without leaving their baby at home.

Barnvagns Bio or stroller cinema is a convenient way to watch cinema in an environment where it is okay for babies to cry 😀 . During the show the sound is muted (or down a bit) and the light is dimmed (instead of completely dark) which is perfect for napping. In the middle of the movie, we take a break for any diaper changes and eating times. Microwave and changing table are available and the stroller is parked outside. Some cinemas even offer coffee. In short, it sounds really cozy.

I haven’t tried it myself but a friend of mine went to one and she loved it. The fact that there’s a break in the middle of the movie and that you can stand up, bounce, rock or even breastfeed if needed, are just perfect for her. And I agree. I’ll definitely go to Barnvagns Bio as it’s already in my soon-to-do list ☺ .

For more information about Barnvagns Bio in Lund, check this and this.

*originally published for The Newbie Guide to Sweden on November 7, 2019

Swedish Sayings I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Sweden*

Like many other countries, Sweden has plenty of expressions, idioms and sayings rooted in history and tradition. Some of them can be found in other languages, or at least share similar meaning like “Beat around the bush” and “Gå som katten kring het gröt” (English: walks like the cat around hot porridge). Some others are quite exceptional.

Despite its hilarious literal meanings, these sayings are actually relatable to everyday life in Sweden. Personally, I found some sayings are helpful in understanding Swedish values, and for that reason I wish I knew them earlier 😀

img_2658

Continue reading “Swedish Sayings I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Sweden*”

Berlin, I’m in Love

02e6f069-5f08-44f7-84f6-5c0127b6d67d-1049-0000009b7dcbe115Germany had always been in our travel list since the first day we arrived in Europe. But we were bit on and off about the right time to visit the country. Mainly because we wanted to visit some cities in a row. Haha! What a plan indeed!

We wished we could travel to all the cities in Germany where our friends live. Like for example: 2 days in Hamburg, 3 nights in Berlin, couple of days in Frankfurt, stopping by in Cologne, Nuremberg, and so on.

But that ambitious plan isn’t so budget friendly of course 😆 So we ended up just going to Berlin last July.

Why Berlin?

Geographically speaking, Hamburg is much closer from Lund and we do have friends who live in Hamburg so we could have started from there. But, there’s no direct flight to Hamburg and we wanted to try a short and easy first flight for Baby K. So Berlin is a perfect choice as it’s just 40 minutes flight from Copenhagen. Besides, it’s BERLIN. The capital of Germany. Famous throughout history. Do we really need a reason to visit it? I don’t think so 😄

Continue reading “Berlin, I’m in Love”

What’s On Lund?*

Despite its petite size, Lund is the home for many interesting regular events. From January to December, there are always some things going on in Lund. I put a compilation of events in Lund below so you can mark your calendar and plan everything in advance as Swedes do ☺

Lundaloppet

This is a race for all ages that has been organised since 1982 and is claimed as the largest exercise race in Skåne. Join more than a thousand runners in this annual event. Lundaloppet has three races: 850 metres for kids, 5 kilometres and 10 kilometres. It is like a running party in Lund’s IP where organisations set up their booths and provide foods, playground and even face painting.

Lundakarnevalen

Lundakarnevalen is one of the biggest events in Lund that only held every once in four years (quadrennial). It is arranged by the students of Lund and it transforms the city into an area filled with festivities in tents and stages. Also, there is the most awaited carnival parade marching through the streets of Lund.

The first Lundakarnevalen was arranged in 1849 and has since loved by many. People are come from outside Lund to see this event due to its historic story and the fun it offers. On last year event, I met an old lady who came from central part of Sweden just to watch the carnival despite her illness. She said that she didn’t want to miss one of the best times in Lund.

However, since the last Lundakarnevalen was just held in 2018, we still have 3 more years to wait ☺.

Lund Comedy Festival

Believed as Sweden’s most fun festival, Lund Comedy Festival offers humour in any forms range from stand up comedy, improvisation, music, sketch, to talk show. This event is usually joined by over a hundred artists both international and national. The event also accommodates popular artists as well as new talents. Don’t miss it!

Lund Human Rights Film Festival

It’s an international festival run by The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law since 2016. The festival is held in Kino with programs including films screenings and talks/discussions. All films are in English language or English subtitles.

Litteralund

Born in 2005, Litteralund is Sweden’s largest festival for children’s and youth literature. It’s like literacy festival as it gives opportunities for children and young people to read, write and create. Although the focus of the festival is literature,  it also includes theater, music, film and dance.

Kulturnatten

Kulturnatten is a culture event created by and for Lund’s Residents. There are many associations and organisations involved in this event, including the university. Traditionally, it takes place on the third Saturday in September and is filled with activities from morning until late night. This year, the event will kick off on September 21.

Held for the first time in 1985, visitors are given the opportunity to experience everything from music, dance, science shows, crafts, exhibitions, guided tours, and so on. My favourite from last year event is the laser show held by The Physics & Lasershow Lund University.

Lunds Studentsångare hälsar våren

How to welcome spring in Sweden? In Lund, one of the possible answers is by singing ☺ .

And that what the event is about. Lunds Studentsångare hälsar våren is an event when a male choir perform in Lund University House staircase on May 1. This annual event is broadcasted nationally and joined by both active singers and veterans of the Lund Student Song Association.

Kalvinknattet

Usually held around May or June, Kalvinknatet is the race where everyone up to grade 4 is welcome to participate. The distance ranges from 400 to 1500 m depending on the kids age. In this event, the participants receive medal, T-shirt and chocolate milk from Skånemejerier. No wonder it’s really popular among kids 🙂

 

*Originally published for The Newbie Guide to Sweden