Monday, June 24, 2019

Happy Midsummer // Glad Midsommar




This year we celebrated Swedish Midsummer in Düsseldorf and a week early. Düsseldorf Swedish community which we have a membership in organized a very nice traditional Swedish Midsummer in Rosengarten down-town Düsseldorf. Midsummer pole, games, quiz walk and Swedish fika. The weather was great and we had fun and for the first time we actually came in time for the dancing around the midsummer pole. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Snart sommarlov // Summer-break is coming closer


Det har varit mycket åhh nej är det dagis idag inte bara det senaste året här i Tyskland utan hela dagistiden faktiskt. Det är mycket ska bara som 5-6 åring och behov om att påminnas om varje steg och varje moment för att få kläder på sig, håret borstat, äta frukost, bli färdig med frukosten och sedan borsta tänder, få på sig skorna, komma ihåg cykelhjälm och cykeln.
Nu har nedräkningen till sommarlovet börjat och tack och hej till Mila's dagistid som snart är förbi
Helt galet hon börjar skolan och ska aldrig mer gå på dagis.
Så till hösten får jag tjata på en skolunge ist och dessutom börjar hon en timme tidigare då - herregud hur ska vi klarar det ?! Hur ska jag klara det?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Birdhouse present

Mila is leaving preschool and doing the big leap to school in September. It is a big move and a important milestone for every child and for their parents. Here in Germany it is also a lot of ceremonies and fests connected to this important move. In April started the preparations and plannings. The class-parent organized such a nice evening with snacks and wine - yes wine for a parent evening is super cool and not heard of in Sweden. I did my best trying to follow what was said. The main topics were: T-shirt for each kid, group photo, present to the kindergarten on environmental theme, summer fest, presents to teachers, to write a song or performance and balloons or no balloons to let go on summer fest.

We decided that as a leaving present to the kindergarten we would give a birdhouse and I said that I can organize and paint it.  Said something like "Ich kann eine Vogelhaus gemacht.."
We had some inspirations from Internet of how to make it a nice present that will stay in the kindergarten garden. I bought a plain wooden birdhouse in Bauhaus and painted it with acrylic colors. When I had made the base painting of the house I brought it to kindergarten and let each preschool kid to make a fingerprint on it. Green or red based on which group they went to.
Then I made birds with wings out of the fingerprints which are flying away to school. Birds leaving the nest. I wrote the kids name under and added a window and a roadsigns towards school and new adventures. And also the text preschool kids 2019 flying out - in German. Last touch was to put clear lack so the color will stay and protect the house.
This is the result and also picture from yesterday when we gave it away.






Tuesday, June 11, 2019

My first homemade hobby-horse

Käpphäst straight translation into English = stick-horse, but as I was gonna do this post I googled translation and realized is is actually called hobby-horse also in German is it called Hobby Pferd... 
A friends daughter here in Düsseldorf turned two years old a couple of weeks ago and I decided to try to make her a little hobby-horse with pink mane. My last attempt to make a hobby-horse was a big failure so I was a little skeptical that I would manage. I used a blue cotton fabric as the main part and then made ears out of a stretchy jersey fabric. Pillow stuffing as filling and as made I made small mini tassel's from rainbow yarn. I went to Bauhaus and bought a wooden stick and cut it in the lenght I wanted - approx 75 cm. I thought it ended up pretty cute and the right size for a smaller rider. 










When I send a picture to my friend back in Sweden I got a picture back from her daughters hobby-horse she made in kindergarten... I love it next one I promise will look a little more like that - a penis looking hobby-horse :) 

Monday, June 10, 2019

My latest reads// Boktips

I love books and reading or at least I love to read in periods and during those periods I read quite a lot. My plan is to read in average one book per month  (fiction for adults = all kids books I read are extra) I guess I read mix of different styles and authors but lately I have mainly been reading in Swedish. So I will present my latest reads in Swedish.

Här kommer en kort presentation av de senaste böckerna som jag har läst.
1. Silvervägen - Stina Jackson Mycket spännande och välskriven kriminalroman som jag läste dom sista sidorna ur igår sent sent - kunde inte lägga ner boken förrän jag läst klart. En berättelse och ett skrivande som fångade mig direkt och den höll ett grepp om mig som läsaren in i det sista. Jag gillar att den följde två olika parallella stories i varannat kapitel och som sedan kopplades ihop men inte förrän efter mer än halva boken.  Kan rekommendera den mycket!
Från förlaget har detta skrivits om boken:
Sedan tre år tillbringar Lelle de ljusa sommarnätterna med att köra bil. Han kör utmed väg 95 som skär genom landet från Skellefteå i nordvästlig riktning förbi Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog och mynnar vid norska gränsen, den väg som kallas Silvervägen. För tre år sedan försvann hans sjuttonåriga dotter spårlöst och hennes försvinnande gnager sönder Lelle inifrån.

Till den lilla orten Glimmersträsk anländer Meja och hennes mamma. Meja är lika gammal som Lelles dotter var när hon försvann. Medan höstens mörker närmar sig knyts Lelles och Mejas öden ihop och när ytterligare en ung flicka försvinner blir deras liv för evigt sammantvinnade.


 

2. Tiggaren - Sofie Sarenbrant 
Minnesstunden är känslosam. En ung kvinna är död, under ofattbara omständigheter. Men i bakgrunden befinner sig en person som intensivt betraktar de sörjande, mån om att själv inte bli sedd.
Samtidigt faller Stockholms tiggare offer för vad som verkar vara en psykopatisk seriemördare. Polisen famlar i mörkret, och den enda personen som kan stoppa morden måste göra allt för att stanna i det fördolda
Detta är den femte delen om kriminalinspektören Emma Sköld - jag började läsa böckerna om Emma Sköld av en slump för några år sedan - jag tror att jag fick med en gratis bok med en tidning. Jag gillade boken och karaktären Emma och har sedan dess hängt med i böckerna. När jag vill läsa något som jag vet griper tag i mig från första sida och som jag läser snabbt och med spänning väljer jag någon av Sofie Sarenbrants böcker 



3. Bakom din rygg - Sofie Sarenbrant 
Boken utspelar sig på en Stockholms hetaste frisersalong, Salong De Luca. På salongen jobbar Stefano, Jenny och den nyanställda Angelina Silver. Alla bär på hemligheter som inte får komma fram men även svartsjuka och lögner är nya vardagen på Salong Luca.  
Spännande och lättläst bok -ser framemot fortsättningen då detta är första delen i en triologi om Salong De Luca 





 4. Kvinnan i fönstret - AJ Finn 
Kvinnan i fönstret heter Anna Fox och är psykolog. Anna har varit med om en olycka och klarar inte av att lämna sin bostad men håller koll på området hon bor i och på sina grannar genom fönstret. På dagarna dricker hon vin, kollar på gamla svart/vita Hitchcockfilmer och spionerar på grannarna. En dag flyttar familjen Russell in i huset på andra sidan gatan, en mamma, en pappa och en tonårsson. En kväll blir Anna vittne till nåt hon inte borde ha sett, Vad var det hon såg? Har hon inbillat sig? Är hon i fara?
Psykologiskthriller när den är som bäst och jag kunde inte lägga ifrån mig boken. Spännande och mystisk om vem man ska tro på och vad man ska tro. Kan varmt rekommendera denna bok !





Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Out of School and bright memories

This year is running so fast. It feels like yesterday it was February and  I started studying German here in Düsseldorf. Now it is beginning of June and I had my last week in school last week. Very happy that I decided to start studying and grateful for meeting great people and that I have learned a lot. Maybe I will continue B1 & B2 this autumn we will see. 

From this semester in Berliner Allee I will mostly remember
1. The big German map that we used a lot. A way to get a leg stretcher and to navigate through Bundesrepublics and cities in this big country. Also interesting with a for me new view of Europe where focus is on Germany and where Sweden is not even included. 




2. Our lessons with Nadia where she was playing us good German songs with poetic lyrics. The Goethe text we read and watched over and over. And all the art lessons where we learned art history in German. 



3. The Kitchen with many clean up notes which was strictly not for students to enter - but because our class was tiny and mature we maybe trespassed and made coffee in there anyways...

4. The colorful home and the great hospitality when Nadia invited us to her home our last class with her. And cooked an amazing dish. 



5. Rose-Marie my cool classmate who found her Düsseldorfer man on Tinder and decided to live her Golden Age with full glow. A real life Pippi Longstocking in her golden age. Who is giggling like a teenager over words like knüller, fika/fick and many other words which has slightly different meaning in Swedish and German. And who are up for a pilsner and a bratwurst down by Rhein a Tuesday. 

And as a Thank you to teachers and classmates I made this illustration of us a all six. I made copies and put on hard board and gave on our last lessons with the teachers. I think I capture us pretty well and with the Düsseldorf skyline or at least part of it in the background










Sunday, May 26, 2019

Winter in May !?


I made this illustration a couple of months ago. Spring came early here in Düsseldorf. It was warm and t-shirt weather already in February-March. Trees were blossoming and everything going from brown to green. But May has been a very cold month and we have been using down-jackets and gloves again and Summer feels far away. 




Tuesday, May 21, 2019

German progress

I thought I would do an update how my German is coming along. My dream is to read this in a couple of years when I will be pretty fluent in German and smile at this update.
I started my German course week 7 this year and it is organized by Internationella skolorna Düsseldorf which is a language institute and a foundation connected to Folkuniversitet in Sweden. Basically Swedes can move down and learn German language and culture here in Düsseldorf for free and German students can apply and learn Swedish - basically it´s a cooperation between the two countries. The school is located very central in Düsseldorf on Berliner Allee on walking distance from Könings Allee and Altstadt.

I am studying German for beginners, A1+ and A2+. I studied French in school so I have no experience more then that I have been to a lot of horse shows in Germany and can say my names is and I live in.... My German studies are full time which means minimum 4 hours tuition each day and a lot of interesting excursions. I said when I applied that I will not manage to go to school everyday because I am working on other things and also want to make sure I get chance to go to the gym at least a couple of days per week. It was ok to start the course even I could not commit full time every week if i tried to keep up and study at home also.
If I look back I have learned so much in these 14 weeks and I am proud of that, even though I have a lot still to learn of course to be fluent and at times I feel frustrated that I can not say what I want to say... It is funny learning new languages two step forward and then one step back.
We have three great teachers which are native speakers which has a lot of experience and they are good at different things. Nadia has a lot of experience of teaching beginning German and she is using great methods such as listening to songs and read, understand and sing the lyrics of the song. Also she figured out we like art and so she has not only taught German but also a lot about art history and art styles. Nadia is the teacher whom I have learned the most from and I love her pictures she has painted instead of following the book. Haike is younger and she likes a lot of structure and grammar. She speaks Swedish so she can help with the Swedish German connection. Jürgen is an old hippie who has showed us around Düsseldorf and also taught us "real" German as you would hear it on the street and not in the schoolbook.
So What have I learn - well yes I can order in a restaurant. I can communicate with four year old kids in kindergarten ( well I understand most and can pretty bad reply but at least I am trying and testng...) Filip´s teacher gave me an applause one morning for saying what I wanted to say in German and that I keep thinking about when I am having a less good day..
Here some of my work in school:



And these are my great classmates also from Sweden, Sebastian and Rose-Marie


And this is "Kö" Könings Allee - my very nice walk to school from U-bahn 



Friday, May 17, 2019

Easter in Wittlaer

Easter has been and gone long time ago, but anyways I thought I will write a few words about our Easter 2019 here in Wittlaer, Düssledorf. Actually it was our second Easter here. It was Easter time 2018 when me, the kids and my dad came down first time to Düsseldorf to see our new neighborhood and house which Loren had picked and already lived in part-time for a couple of months. He was nervous that we would not like it and I was nervous that we would not like it. The house was pretty empty because our furniture moved from Sweden during the summer but anyways we got a good feeling and felt positive that the move to Düsseldorf will be a good move.

A year later and we feel like this is our home and know our ways around.
Easter 2019 was summer warm - 25 degrees and sunny
A childhood friend of mine and her son came to visit us. Anything special you want to do or see I asked and she said " Enjoy the city feeling and see tall buildings" And so first day we went with U-bahn into citycenter of Düsseldorf. We walked along the Rhein in the hot weather and had beer and lunch in the restaurants right by the river. We walked past Schlossturm it is the last remaining part of the City Palace which burned down in 1882 and an important building in Düsseldorf and today home for a maritime museum. My friends son really wanted to visit the museum and as we had not same interest we said no not right now, probably he will remember the museum he never got to visit forever. Instead of museum we tried ice-cream at a very popular ice-cream place in the city before we headed home and instead of city enjoyed the nature close to us.

I love the little stream down by Einbrunger Mühle (mill) It is so mysterious and calming with the little walking path next to it. It is something about the small stream which slowly flows through the green forest and eventually will join the river Rhein where the water flows fast and far. Kids was throwing sticks in the water and followed them flowing down the stream. And of course they wanted to feel the water and ended up with socks and shoes in the water.




In the evening Mila came to the great idea that we should have snacks and drinks and watch the sunset on our balcony. I have to admit we don't use the balcony very often because we have the garden but this was a very good idea and hoping to repeat it this summer.




The following day was also very nice and warm and we decided to have a bike-ride and to show Kaiserwerth and the beach on the river Rhein. The sun was very strong and warm that I had to go and sit in the shade for a bit and kids had to test the temperature in the water.






The Easter rabbit had hidden Easter eggs while we were gone and kids were happy although a bit  suspicious that it was us and not a rabbit leaving the eggs. Mila was anyways happy it was traditional Swedish Easter eggs ( eggs you can open and fill with sweets) as she had been a bit worried it would be chocolate eggs which she doesn't like. So all happy and quite sitting on the stairs having sweets.

For dinner we prepared a pretty traditional Swedish Easter dinner with herring, eggs and meatballs etc. But added Asparagus and Hollandais saus which is in season now in Germany. 

On the Sunday we got invited to friends in Rittergut Kaldenberg (an old manor here in Wittlaer dated back to 1437 which has been converted into apartments) to go on a egg hunt and Easter breakfast together in the garden. A very nice initiative and the magic of being an expat is that we can create new traditions together with other internationals when we are far away from our home-countries, families and traditions we have there. A mix of flavors from many different cultures and countries and from the the country we live in. I am very grateful for this adventure which we are having here in Düsseldorf. 


We waved bye bye to our friends and hoping they want to come and see us soon again.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Lethna in Prague

I started this post about one of our favorite spots in Prague, Lethna, I think roughly four years ago. I was putting together pictures from different seasons from Lethna and the best view of Prague. When we lived in Prague we spend a lot of time up here in the beergarten, in the playground, walking through the park, showing family and friends the view etc etc. Every season in Lethna is special. Here is some of the pictures I have taken from different seasons, although missing pictures from spring and summer when the beergarten are full of people and dogs which is the most common view of Lethna.
Lethna Park / Letenské Sady is a large park on top of Lethna hill looking down on Pragues beautiful historic center and Vltava River and besides Prague Castle. The hill is in Holesovice and Bubenec quarters of Prague 7. On one side of the park you find a big and popular beergarten with  a great view and on the otherside of the park an open space where today you find a lot of people on skate-boards. Back in the day the biggest statue of Stalin was raised here but torn down after only a few years and on its place a big Metronome was placed which is here today. A great playground for kids can be found on the side facing Sparta fotballstadium and the open grass area where circus tents are put up during the summer. You can reach Lethna from differnet directions, taking the tram up, walking the steep stairs or from the back - Holesovice area.










Last week Team Nikolovski returned to Prague for a few days and we had a great stay although the spring had taken a break and it was really cold, but we had luckily brought down jackets and hats.
Here is a couple of new Lethna pictures









Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spring flowers

Spring has come to Düsseldorf - trees are blossoming and trees are faster and faster transforming from brown to bright lime green. The garden has a lot of spring flowers and yes this season is pretty magical. On the flower theme I made these big (A3) colorful illustrations some time ago. I love when I get an idea and the illustration comes out so easy and fun without having to think. I like the fantasy and playfulness in these two floral worlds.