Friday, 27 March 2009

Sweden: Crown Princess Victoria to marry a commoner

I was in Stockholm on Tuesday and as I was looking at the Royal Palace the taxi driver told me, "they're getting married in June." I realized that he was talking about Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling. Well yes they are getting married in June but in 2010.

Daniel Westling is a fitness trainer and gym owner. He is a commoner and he will be a prince one day. It's just wonderful how one can find love in unexpected places. Princess Victoria enrolled in a gym owned by Daniel Westling; they became a couple in 2002; and the rest is history.

Read more about it on the local Swedish online newspaper.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sweden: Playing badminton and other types of exercise

It's been a long time since my husband and I played badminton. This afternoon we played badminton at our company gym and after only 30 minutes, I was already tired. I'm soooo unfit.

I've started walking at lunch time a few weeks ago. It's not the same as playing badminton but at least I came to realize that I need to have some physical activity to stay fit/healthy.

Swedes are fond of walking, biking and other forms of exercise. They are so into fitness. It's just amazing. When I was still in Manila, I only biked from one block to another and it's just for leisure. Whenever I needed to go somewhere I always drove a car. Here in Sweden, people bike to go from one destination to another. I tried it for a few months when I first came here. It wasn't easy. Last autumn, my husband and I bought bikes and started biking; we haven't biked during the winter though. It's just too cold.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Sweden: My Swedish piano teacher

I've been playing the piano on and off since I was five years old. I kept on cancelling my lessons whenever I didn't like my teacher. I guess I didn't really have motivating teachers at that time (or I was just a super spoiled brat when I was young)

When I moved to Sweden more than three years ago, I bought a Schimmel piano in Malmo- to entertain myself when I'm not working. I must say that I really really like my teacher. She makes our lessons entertaining; sometimes she even sings while we're playing the piano! She happens to have a good singing voice as well. It also seems that she's not counting every minute of our lessons. More often than not we exceed the alloted time. Three years ago, I went to a piano school where I met her. And she did the same thing for her other students. I think teaching piano is her passion and she'd like every student to learn - and fast!

I don't go to the piano school anymore. Instead, my teacher (same one from the beginning) comes to our flat every Saturday to teach me piano. On the photo you'll see our Schimmel piano with bear stuff toys from my husband and camel stuff toys from my cousins in Dubai. I got that chair for free when I bought the piano.
Here are my favorite piano pieces:
What a wonderful world
Let it be
In the mood
I'll learn Pink Panther next week!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Sweden: Shopaholic's list of favorite shops

Shopaholic is defined by Merriam Webster as a person who is extremely or excessively fond of shopping. I must admit that I used to fit this description. However, I don't think I can say that I'm a true blue shopaholic anymore. I'm just fond of shopping.

Here's my list of favorite shops for clothes and shoes (my husband likes these shops too) in Sweden:

I shop at Marty in Nova Lund and in Hansa Malmo. The brands that I patronize in this shop are Tommy Hillfiger, Hugo Boss and Sand (Copenhagen).

A Swedish brand with American heritage, Gant is in over 60 countries around the world. I shop for Gant clothes in Lund, Malmo and Copenhagen.

Ecco is a Danish shoe brand with more than 3,000 shops around the world. They're very comfortable and trendy.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Sweden: Joining a Photo Club... Passion for Photos

Over a week ago, I found out that our company has a photography club here in Sweden when I saw some photos taken by members along our office hallway. I got so excited. I have a passion for photos - taking them and being in them! :-) I met the president of the club this evening and he explained what it takes to be a member. Being a member entitles me to attend monthly meetings, use the printing equipment, receive newsletters and more!
Here are the photos I've printed using the photo club's equipment tonight:

Opera House, Australia
I've taken this photo in April 2008.

I've taken this photo in June 2008.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Nigeria: Lagos Part 3...Where we ate and shopped

We were so amazed at how prices are higher in Lagos compared to Sweden, where we live. It's actually a fact that prices in Lagos are higher than in Europe (read an article about on the CNN website)

We ate at the following restaurants: Jade Garden (Chinese), Il Sorriso (Italian), Eko Hotel Sky Bar (fusion) and Protea hotel lobby.

For shopping (more of window shopping), we went to Lekki Market(open-air market), Park & Shop (shopping mall), Shoprite (shopping mall), Goodies (supermarket), Quintessence (African art and souvenir) and Signature (African art and furniture).

We bought a souvenir and a book called "Nigeria Gems". Our colleagues also gave us a book called "Lagos, A city at work".

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Nigeria: Lagos Part 2...Where we stayed

We stayed at the Protea Hotel, which is a South African chain. It was really nice. The staff was friendly except for one lady who probably forgot or don't even know what customer service is about. When we checked in, the male receptionist informed us that our booking was cancelled! We were doubtful about what he said. He told us to wait for a few minutes while he checks what he can do to accommodate us. We asked if they had an available room anyway. The guy said they're overbooked. How fascinating! It turned out that they've already checked in for us - so that we don't have to go through the hassle of checking in! Well... the plan backfired. I'm not complaining. I'm just amazed that the information was not in their system.

Our hotel bedroom.

Toilet and bath section of the room.

They even had a gym...

And swimming pool.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Nigeria: Two faces of Lagos

What do people think about Lagos, Nigeria? Well a few people I know don’t even know that Nigeria exists. Some people’s knowledge about Nigeria only extends to the fact that the locals there are black. Due to the abundance of oil in Nigeria, it’s also known as an oil-rich developing country plagued with corruption and conflicts along the Niger Delta region.

What were my impressions of Lagos before going there last week? I tried to be neutral but of course when one goes to an unfamiliar country, one creates a picture of expectations. I thought it was a chaotic, busy city with lots of traffic jam and poor people which turned out to be true. But there are also rich local people with Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other luxurious cars. I thought there were no big buildings and houses. I was wrong. Although there are slum areas and poor living conditions which are typical in developing touristy countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, there are high rise buildings and lovely houses.

I’ll tell you more about our exciting Lagos experience on my next post. Hey, I forgot to tell you... this is the 26th country that I've visited so far!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Germany. Frankfurt Airport...My husband's necktie

We got married over a year ago and my husband wore an orange necktie. Last week while at the Frankfurt airport, my husband and I saw orange neckties on the shop window of Hermes. Talk about trendsetting. :-)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Switzerland: Reminiscing the time I lived in Lausanne

I was in Switzerland this week. Aside from a series of business meetings, I had dinner with my colleagues in Le Chalet Fraisse; the cheese fondue was lovely! I reminisced about the time I lived in Lausanne and how I enjoyed every second of it! I lived very close to the lake and across our office. I usually shopped for foodstuff at Migros in Ouchy and my clothes, bags, shoes etc. in Saint Francois.
I also thought about how I really miss my former boss. She helped me achieve my dream of gaining an international experience by offering me a job in our headquarters. She believed and trusted me. She allowed me to grow my wings and fly! Now I'm taking a higher responsibility at work and learning so much from it (and hopefully contributing as much as well). I still keep in touch with her although she left the company to set-up her own consultancy business. She helps women (and even men) to shine... We admire her; we are so fond of her. She was not just a boss; she was and still is a friend.

By the Lac Leman (Geneva lake) in Ouchy...

Migros in Ouchy, where I used to buy my foodstuff

Amazing view... Lac Leman

Ouchy shops and restaurants

Beau Rivage Hotel