Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ready, set...go!!

My son is packed and ready to go. We leave tomorrow at 6 am for the airport and then off he goes...
my boy, venturing out on his own.
Though he has done this before with his school in Brasil, somehow this feels different. He has to fly on two planes, then take a bus for 2 hours, to reach their destination.
It sounds like so much fun once they get there though...check out this itinerary:
torchwalk, living with nature and climbing, trek to valley,
visit to Montreux and Chateau de Chillon, visit to Zermatt with glacier study, ice skating, fondue tasting, snowshoeing...
can they cram anything else in?! I think it sounds like such a great adventure and I hope that he tells us about it...usually he is more the quiet type.
Click on the bold, italicized words to check out those spots! They look the best!

All said and done though, it is hard to watch him go. I can only pray that he is safe, in the hands of God, and that the flights, all of our flights, land safely.

And as we pack for this trip, I am already starting the planning stages of the summer trips. It is hard to figure out all of these flight schedules and the prices are soaring. Well, I guess I better be on the lookout for those special offers...
(what special offers you ask, well, one can only hope!)
Atyrau is, unfortunately, not a place to "hang out" for the summer. So, we just bite the bullet and try to find the best prices out there!

I am not sure how much, if any, I will be posting while we are away. Take care everyone...
and see you when we return!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It is finally here..
well, almost!

I have been waiting for our trip to Europe. this stretch from the time we returned from Christmas break, to this next break, is 11 weeks. Most other breaks, besides the long summer break, is about 8 weeks.
So, I have been planning our trip to Europe since, oh...about the end of January, and it is almost here! We leave next Friday.

My son is going on a middle school trip to Switzerland on Wednesday. I think these types of trips for children, where there is some degree if responsibility and learning how to cope without your parents always on top of everything, is so beneficial. I believe they help build confidence and reliability on yourself. He will get to tour the United Nations in Geneva, as well as hike up Mount Zermatt. He will be staying in a secure and beautiful setting...and we are thinking of coming back here for a summer camp for both children.

My husband, daughter and I are leaving a few days later, and exploring around some first. Before we pick him up, we will drive around the southern coast of France, past Monaco and Nice, on our way from Marseille to Genova, Italy. Then we drive over the Alps to arrive at his camp. We continue on spending a night or two in Interlaken and Luzern. We will drop off the car in Zurich and enjoy a few days in Paris and Amsterdam.

It should be a whirlwind tour, but I am so excited. I will have much to post about upon my return. I will take a lot of photos I am sure so get ready for some long posts!
Hope you all enjoy the weekend~

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My latest exercise craze

So, I am used to being active.
In Maracaibo it was easy because everyone loves to dance, do aerobics, step, swim, play tennis, etc...
I was in the best shape there since my dancing days.

Then came Brasil and well...I slacked off some. Though the gyms were beautiful and new, the classes they offered were boringly slow for me, the pool was only allowed to be used for free swims one hour a day (which happened to be the hours I picked my children up from school) and they were incredibly expensive. So, I still played tennis, swam occasionally at the outdoor pool (when it wasn't raining, or cold, or crowded), and my level of fitness dropped some.

Now to the present day here in Atyrau. The camp has a good facility with tennis courts and swimming pool, a gym with dance floor. I still play tennis and do a little bit of weights with the ladies, but now I have found

I love the songs, the movement and the fun that Zumba brings to exercise.
Try it out at a location near you...or buy the DVD set and enjoy it at your own pace.
The fun of dancing for exercise though, in my opinion, is to share it with your friends!
Enjoy :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's a small world after all

For those familiar with the Disney ride that accompanies my title, you can imagine the song I am singing in my head after reading this post.

Case #1
When I first arrived here, and a few ladies were told that I liked to play tennis, I was invited to play doubles. I walked into the court, anxious to meet new ladies, and lo and behold...
there is a lady there that I knew when we lived in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
She is Venezuelan, and was transferred to Malaysia when I first started living in Maracaibo. Our paths crossed a few times on her visits home, but I never imagined living in the same place as her again.

Case #2
We were invited to a Scottish Society Burns Night. It is a chance to dress fancy and go to an event...something that does not happen very often here in Atyrau, I am told. So why not...
we arrive at the event and I saw a lady that looked familiar, but really only gave it a shrug and figured she looked like someone. I saw her closer to me a few minutes later, and the nagging feeling that I knew her crept into my head. Her husband was next to her by then, and once I saw him, I thought, I need to go up to them. I walk over and she says, Ballerina Girl? Oh my gosh, I can't believe you are here in Atyrau!
Funny thing is that I couldn't recall her name...you may ask now, why is that funny?
Well, she has the same name as my daughter and she lived a few floors below us in Maracaibo!
Her and her husband are Dutch, and I'm not sure where they went after Maracaibo...but once again, never expected to see them here.

Case #3
Sunday, my friend from Case #1 calls me to play tennis outside of our camp, in a sports club here. I jumped at the chance seeing as I have not been there, it is a nice to leave camp and be with other people every once in awhile, and it was on a clay court...which I much prefer to the hard courts. I asked who was all playing and she mentioned one lady I didn't know and another that I knew....
yep, in Maraciabo! I could not believe it really. This girl played tennis a lot in our club there, and we knew her fairly well. We also played Mah Jongg together. They are also Dutch and left for Dubai when they moved out of Venezuela. I told Case #1 girl to not let on who they were picking up this morning.
So, when they came for me, I had my big coat and a hat on. I opened the van door and she said hello and went to introduce herself until I took off my hat. She could not believe her eyes...
A lot of expats say that the oil world is small, and it is true. The funny thing about these stories though is that these families are not with the same company as my family. I find it to be even more of a coincidence that we would all end up here in Atyrau.
I feel like I am riding on the Disney boat singing the song....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My review of Black Swan

Black Swan...
the dancer movie...the psycho drama...
the best actress award for Natalie Portman

Well, I guess that I have a little bit of insight into this movie. For those of you that haven't figured it out from my "name" or read about it from a previous post yet, I was a ballet dancer. I danced professionally until I was 4 months pregnant with my son.

I enjoyed this movie. There were parts that were so over the top that I was really laughing out loud at them, but overall, I thought they made a different type of psychodrama.
They gave us the Hollywood extreme of how obsessed a dancer can become with her role.

Though I have never known anyone to drug a fellow dancer, nor pull feathers out of their skin,
I did relate to the intensity of a dancer when depicting her role...especially as the infamous
white swan/black swan duel role.
I personally did not dance this role, but I watched my friends dance it and have to become the opposite personalities that it requires.
I also watched as fellow dancers portrayed a particular role in a ballet that they would cry when their character died...or would really laugh out loud on stage...
(or maybe that was me, laughing at some silly joke someone told me when the peasant girls, aka-me, were in the corner supposedly giggling about the cute Romeo or whatever character! hahaha...this actually happened and my director once told me that she could hear me laughing from the audience...oops!)

I also watched fellow dancers be...well, let's just say, not so nice to another dancer that got the role they wanted. I hated when the casting went up on the board...I would always wander over after people left so that they wouldn't see the possible disappointment in my face because I hadn't gotten a role.

I have heard of dancers getting involved with their directors...though never experienced it with my company.

So, in a general sense, I thought they did a good job...taking it to the Hollywood extreme, but the underlying theme and the way they portrayed it was good. I never go to a movie and watch it because of the Oscars. You expect too much and are usually disappointed, which is how many of the women that I watched it with here felt. They thought it was terrible and horrible story line and blah, blah, blah...
they never asked me for some insight though! Oh well, their loss!
I did speak afterwards to two of my closer friends about it...and they liked the insight that I gave them about the
"life of a dancer"

and now you have my thoughts too...
let me know what you thought!