Best Summer Ever

I might have lived in a tropical country for almost my whole life but now that I have experienced two full summers in Sweden, the summer this year might be hard to top.

It is going to be a challenge trying to fit everything into one post but this summer has been made perfect not only because of the good weather, but because my entire family made their way across the globe to visit.

Some of my favourite moments include:

1.Our time in Gothenburg with the Marklunds where we were treated to kind Swedish hospitality and explored an old village together, had a picnic by the beach, caught crabs, visited a farm and rode a horse, took a boat ride on the lake, a long hike back to the Marklund home and also celebrated my sister’s birthday in the most Swedish way possible.

2. Being tourists in Stockholm together.

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It is great that there was enough things to do to last the month and here was one of the days when we all got together to visit Stockholm classics like the City Hall. Just look at all their chirpy morning faces.

3. Taking on Gröna Lund one game/ride at a time

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What better way to bring the entire family together than to hold a competition in the amusement park right? We challenged each other to five different games in search for the best guy and girl player and then went on a few rides after for the fun of it.

We tried really hard to accomplish two missions – 1) Win a big ball and 2) Win a huge bar of chocolate but although we were not successful on our first visit, the Chngs and I went back again a second time to complete them!

Here is our winning photo:

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4. Attending Weekend Festival

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It has been too long since my sis and I had a night out together and what better way to have fun then with the likes of Martin Garrix and Tiesto.

5. The Cottage Life

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We all squeezed into 2 cottages for some quality time together over homecooked food, a day out at the water theme park and even streaming Singapore’s national day parade!

6. Lots of Fika

What is a visit to Sweden without some fika right? We definitely had a year’s worth of sugar with all the kanelbullars/cakes we had. Although I must say that having fika on a tram was taking it to the next level!

7. Kolmården: Wildlife theme park

Finally we also got to explore new places together like this visit to the Kolmården park which is a combination of animals and rides. It was the best combination for the children and my only wish is that we had more time there.

Looking back at all the pictures and memories created, my heart is so full. I wish I can keep reliving our time together. For anyone in a long distance relationship with your family will probably understand how precious family time is. Even moments when we were all crammed in my tiny apartment eating food cooked by my mum was more than enough.

Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy lives to make time for family. Would not have wanted to spend my summer any other way. Thanks for the memories!

Till the next time we meet again!

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Weekend in London

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It is almost as if I am trying to tick off all the big cities in the world (although I am not). But anyway, I made my way to London two weekends ago to hang out with my hall mates from Singapore.

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I have been to London many times during my exchange days but it is always fun to make new memories with old friends.

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We did a couple of touristy things and ticked off a few of the main London sights.

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And tried free coconut water.

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And had one too many beers.

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And of course, indulged in good food. I finally got to try Burger and Lobster!

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And these scones from the Muffin Man.

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And this random but tasty paella from Portobello market.

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And this Zi Char meal at Gold Mine.

I wish my friends would come to this part of the world more often because it is so nice to be in their company.

Till the next time we meet, here is a video of them reacting to Swedapura videos. How…embarrassing.

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Fallens Dag 2016 Älvkarleby

Last Sunday (19th June), Jens found out that it was Fallens Dag in Älvkarleby and suggested we take a road trip up there to see it. It was probably the furthest north I have been since I moved here in Sweden and it was a lovely day to be out.

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It was quite cool how they made a carnival out of an opening of a dam so there were many stalls that sold food or were game booths etc.

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Can you spot the rainbow?

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We waited for the first opening at 12:30 and we were half expecting the whole gate to open but then realised that the water would have just drowned us all.

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A picture with the dam just so that we can say that we were there.

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After that there was a performance by “Dolly Style” – one of the contestants on the recent Melodifestivalen. They were sharing experience on boys and bullying in between songs and we realised we were just not their target audience and left.

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So we went for lunch instead.

Jens really surprised me that day with how he thought ahead and booked us seats at the restaurant which had a 1-2hour waiting time without booking. We still had to wait 1.5hours for the food because the kitchen could not keep up but it was worth the wait because the food was really good!

Jens had a steak and I went for a Kantarell (Mushroom) Risotto. Highly recommended!

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We stopped over at this failed project nearby which is the “Dragon Gate” meant to be a hub to link China and Sweden. It is so weird to see such a massive project just abandoned like that but I guess it makes for a good photo opportunity to look like you are not in Sweden at all.

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Till the next time!

Hokkaido June 2016

I cannot complain about how the first half of the year has unfolded for me. I definitely was not expecting to be travelling this much at the start of the year but I am thankful for many different trips to spend time with friends and family. Yes I traded 1 LDR for many LDRs but I am happy to be able to create memories with my loved ones in different parts of the world.

Last week saw me flying from Stockholm to Hokkaido to meet my parents for a week. It might not have been that many days but it was enough for me to fall in love with Japan (even more than I already do). Before the trip even ended, my parents and I were already briefly discussing about meeting up in a different part of Japan next year.

I did not take a day by day log of what we did but perhaps this jumbled lot of photographs would summarise our trip succinctly.

Left: My first meal at the airport with my parents who so patiently waited for me. And even though my luggage was missing, seeing my parents again and having fresh sashimi and perfectly marinated beef made it all okay.

Right: Sightseeing stopovers while on the road and this was the Oshinkoshin Falls. We were shivering, can you tell?

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And then we eat more again. What else. This was a mixed dinner from a food court.

Left: Stopover to do a quick footbath onsen in acidic water in Kawayu.

Right: Take more touristy pictures and eat loads of Hokkaido soft serves.

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We randomly stopped the car whenever we spotted animals. This trip we saw many horses, a baby fox and deers while on the road.

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Eat again, of course.

This was us feasting on King Crabs which was caught in the morning. It was so fresh and sweet and good. I need to eat this meal again.

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It was nice that other than having fixed destinations, we kept our itinerary relatively free and easy so we could just go with the flow as we travelled around the island and stopped whenever we saw something interesting. While we may not have covered not have covered ALL the tourist attractions (which is impossible in one week), we definitely had a good time just exploring a new place together.

SWEDAPURA RECOMMENDS

My Hokkaido attractions recommendation would be: 1) Visiting Furano Flower Farm when in season 2) Take a boat to the tip of Shiretoko (UNESCO Heritage site) 3) Try an onsen 4) Go hiking in Shiretoko (would go back to do that to be honest).

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If I could fly one airline for the rest of my life, I would say that it would be JAL handsdown. It might be a close call between JAL and Qatar but really, this AirMos burger just took the cake for me.

Maybe I have not flown enough but a burger in the air? I love how I had to assemble my meal myself!

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And oh yes, one can never leave Japan without a stash of snacks. There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to snacks (for me).

Ending this post off with a cute picture of my cute parents and if you click on it, you would head over to our video filmed in a Japanese convenience store!

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See you in a month!

Swedapura in LA Part 2

Just because I really want to note down my memories in LA before it is too late…here is Part 2 of my week in LA.

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A few people asked why I would choose to go to LA for just a week and on hindsight I sure was not expecting to be in a perpetual state of jetlag for so long but family time is really more than anything.

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Was happy to be able to share my 26th birthday with them and it was definitely made more fun because of the kids who enjoy birthdays. I got a special balloon from Caity because it was my birthday. It was a real treat to be able to catch mum on Skype so that she could be part of our little party virtually.

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It was also so nice to see how much the kids have grown and how much closer the Chng family is now through their time in US.

And to have them be my tour guide around some of their favourite hangouts like the Aquarium. “Yee Yee Jan, look! The seal will swim under and come up from there!”

And time to reconnect with this not-so-little one whom I used to spend so much time with back in Singapore. I wish I could be a bigger part of seeing her grow up but seeing her now already makes me feel like such a proud aunt.

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It is a bit ironic that I spent a lot of my meals eating Asian in LA but I have no regrets because the Asian food in LA was just on point. This plate of Spicy Nasi Padang was SO GOOD. Partially because it was exactly what I was craving for. Spicy, comforting Indonesian food.

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We were almost on a food tour, covering places like Din Tai Fung, Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack to name a few.

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But more importantly, it felt like we were recreating our usual outings in Singapore in LA and getting to spend some family time with the Chngs.

Check out our cute little foodie video here!

Looking forward to the next time I see you all again.

Till the next time!