The joys of Spring

Now that I have been through the first full winter of my life, I feel like I can finally fully understand and appreciate the joy that spring brings. It might just be my favourite season because we can celebrate the fact that winter is over and enjoy longer sunny days that are neither too cold nor too hot.

I must say that spring has been treating me very well so far and I cannot be happier and more thankful. In fact I managed to escape the “bad” spring weather when I was in LA because it was snowing in Stockholm and I don’t believe the snow would come back again but who knows?

So we got our barbecue parties going…

20160514_165553

My tummy is so grateful for all the amazing cooks I know here. These were some really yummy pork skewers that was complete with a spicy dipping sauce.

It is also picnic and ice cream weather now. I feel like I have come full circle eating the exact same ice cream almost one year ago (refer to Gröna lund post from last year).

20160521_125426

The city has also been buzzing with festivals like the Eurovision song contest and this was from the Indian Festival from yesterday. I do not eat much Indian food in Singapore but I am more than happy to eat any Asian food now (with extra spicy sauce no less).

20160522_124058

And I also did my first run of the year, which was none other than the happiest 5k on earth – The Colour Run.

It was probably the easiest 5km to do since we had to stop whenever there were human jams and so many people came just to take pictures so trying to jog past the walkers is not that easy either.

But nonetheless it was like one big dance party and everyone was so colourful and happy.

So the sun usually sets at around 2130 and rises by 0400 now and the days will just keep getting longer till July. Sidenote to the Lee Family coming in July, you can expect days to last about this long while you are here!

Looking forward to what the rest of the spring/summer would bring!

Till the next time!

Swedapura is One

Exactly one year ago, I made the big move from Singapore to Sweden and it is really amazing how quickly time has flown by.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote on 4th March 2015:

But in spite of all this (referring to the difficult decision of having to leave everything behind), I have made the choice to go because I genuinely believe that this is a great opportunity for me to grow, to learn what it means to struggle, to exercise the true meaning of faith, of hope, of love. I don’t know how life in Sweden will pan out but I trust that God is already before me on this journey.

I have to say that when I wrote this, I did not know or realise the true extent of what I was saying. It was something I believed in but today, I can testify that truly this one year has been a true test of my faith, of what it means to love, of starting from ground zero and completely trusting that everything would work out according to God’s plan.

For that, I am thankful for everything, whether it is the tears or the joys, and with a joyful heart I can sing, God is so good.

Looking back at the pictures from last year, it is so nice to remember how far we have come.

IMG_5393.JPG

This was us making our way from Jens parent’s home in Sätila with a car full of stuff to our new apartment in Stockholm and having to sleep on the floor for a few days because we had no bed.

IMG_5395.JPG

And yes, wow the apartment was once empty!

And of course now if you look at this video, our apartment is anything but empty, even if I only highlighted 8 random things in my apartment.

There is so much more that I want to write about but in essence I just want to say that God works in mysterious ways and there are so many things that our human minds would not be able to understand or “figure out” till it happens and I just want to thank the Lord for putting me in a place where so many times He has spoken to me to “Let Go and Let God.”

I would also like to take this time to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey whether emotionally, spiritually or virtually. It is going to be a long unpredictable road ahead but if anything this year has taught me, it is that whatever happens, God will always be in control.

And with that, here is a brand new Youtube video on Swedapura where I answer questions that you may or may not have been curious about.

Click on the image to be directed to Youtube!

IMG_9800-1

p.s. As a heads up it is 27 mins long so if you make it all the way to the end, I would like to give you a virtual high five!

The journey of figuring out who “Swedapura” is and being the girl with her heart in two places continues but today, we celebrate.

Till the next time!

 

Winter Vibes

So coming back to frosty, snowy and dark Sweden after spending three amazing weeks in sunny Singapore was definitely not the easiest thing. I am not going to lie but the first few weeks of the year have been pretty rough for me, which partially explains my absence on this space. I am not sure if it was the cold, or the darkness, or the homesickness or just everything rolled into one but all I wanted was to either wake up when winter was over or (more rationally) fly back home and be back in the warmth of my family and friends in Singapore.

IMG_9128

I guess winter depression is real and being the girl who grew up in the tropics her whole life, going through my first full winter is no joke at all. Based on my conversations with other Swedes or people who have been living here for awhile, this is probably the coldest that Stockholm has ever been (yay?). Before I left for Singapore, the temperatures were hovering around 9-11 degrees and when I came back it was a nasty -15 degrees.

It almost feels like you can never win when my friends back home are telling me about how unbearably hot it is in Singapore and here I am trying to figure out how many layers I should throw on to ensure that I will not be shivering in the cold.

IMG_9103

I guess you could say that a part of me is very happy to have grown up in Singapore because I don’t feel like I “missed out” on anything growing up without snow. It is just not as fun in reality as compared to in the movies.

It took awhile but I must say that now that we are close to end of January, the days do seem less bleak and there is that hope that the days would just keep getting better with time.

I started trying to look around and appreciating what was around me versus constantly thinking about what I am missing out on (in Singapore).

IMG_9099

I must say that my favourite bits are:

1) When the snow is fresh and the sun/moonlight is reflecting off the snow and it just looks like a glitter explosion everywhere.

2) Catching the sunrise (because the sun rises so late) and the sky is a colourful paddlepop hue of pinks and blues.

3) When the snow comes in handy and can be used as instant ice packs in times of injury.

IMG_9114

So while these pictures are not the best representation of how I look/feel everyday, there are always moments to smile about.

Although I have been quiet on this space, I have been keeping up with Youtube and if you have not already seen my latest videos, do click on the thumbnails below to check them out!

Taste-1
Haul tex 4

Am so glad that my parents were so spontaneous and made one of the videos possible (thank you Mum and Dad!). I had so much fun editing the videos and I hope you have as much fun watching them as well. Do keep a look out for more videos in the weeks to come!

Till the next time!

Swedapura in Singapura

It was a lovely time to be back in Singapore and in the company of family and friends. There are way to many pictures to go through but before the year comes to an end, I just want to take some time to reflect and be thankful for all the amazing people that God has placed in my life.

IMG_8812

Life in Singapore has always been a crazy hectic and this time around was no different. However in spite of the madness, there were so many moments when my heart was just bursting with joy to be present in the moment, to be surrounded by the people I love, to connect and reconnect.

There is truly no place like home and Singapura will always hold a very important place in my heart because of each and every one of you.

IMG_8934

Thank you for being my cheerleaders and pillars of strength from many miles away. This trip made me realise that Swedapura is so much more than just a mishmash of two words, but a journey for me to discover what it means to have two homes and hearts in two places.

IMG_8939

My trip home may have been really short but thank YOU for making it so memorable and till the next time we meet, I will be missing all of you!

Here is a new video up on Youtube capturing moments of my time in Singapore. Click on the image below to watch!

IMG_8773.JPG

Here’s to a great new year ahead!

Swedapura’s Autumn Essentials

Coming from a tropical country with no seasons, I must say that this changing seasons has been quite a learning experience for me. I knew that the days were getting shorter and colder but I did not really know how to “get ready” for the new season. All I was told was…get ready for the most depressing month of your year. Haha!

Anyway, I decided to put together a list of things that I have either purchased over the last few weeks or have been using a lot of and would consider them my autumn/winter essentials!

I guess this post is highly irrelevant for anyone living in Singapore but if for some reason you find yourself having to go through Autumn for exchange for example, perhaps this would be useful.

1) Vitamin D pills: This was my first purchase because I knew that I would be getting less sun and would need some Vit D to help out. What I did not know was that I would be getting close to NO SUN at all. Anyway, I don’t know if it is pyschological but I do feel better eating a pill a day.

IMG_8352

2) Gloves: As some of you may know, I cycle almost everyday and I always cycled without gloves until it got too cold to do so. Sometimes I even wake up to ice on my bike!

I decided to go for the most functional and cheap pair that I could find ($7 only!) and while they do not look the most “fashion forward”, they have been doing an awesome job by keeping my hands warm when I cycle.

IMG_8340

3) More moisturizers: I have to admit that I got lazy over Summer with moisturizers but had to break them out again when my skin started…cracking. I also decided to buy a few new ones like the Origins overnight mask and the Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream.

This is probably one of my most hated things about the cold weather because the last thing I want to do after stepping out of a shower is to slap on cold moisturizer all over my body.

IMG_8339

4) Cosy slippers: I am used to walking around barefoot at home but now that it is colder, I knew that I needed to get some cosy slippers/socks. It took me awhile to find the “right one” but finally settled on this one from ASOS because I had a discount code. Yes they are very cutesy but they do their job.

IMG_8322

5) Wellies: This is my latest purchase because Sweden’s autumn is famous for rain and hence I wanted to be ready for it. These Hunter boots felt like just the perfect answer to making a rainy day suck less.

IMG_8323

As a bonus, the most important item to me would be…a gym membership. I was initially quite hesitant to extend my gym membership because it would be a waste when I am back in Singapore in December but I am glad I did. Working out has been very helpful in keeping my energy levels up, especially when the sun goes down half an hour earlier everyday.

To everyone back home, I hope you are enjoying the sun and warmth and from cold and dark Sweden, I can finally say “See you soon!”

Till the next time!