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My niece, Lilly Blueberry

Very few knew of you.

Din mamma är filippinsk, ursprungligen som jag. Din pappa är svensk. Du har en halvbror på pappas sida. Du har en underbar syster på vår sida.

You had been in mommy’s belly for about three months when you showed up in my dreams. This was between August to September of 2022. It was a time when I was not speaking to your mom, you know.

The first time or dream was seeing your mom in a denim jumper dress. I was surprised to see her and I could tell she was shy to approach. I could see the little bump that was you. No conversation happened that I can recall from that dream.

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Chiefy, you are forever in my heart

Run free and cross the rainbow bridge, my sweet Chiefy baby!

Our beloved Chiefy passed away today, the 27th of December 2023, at RBG1 in Ratchaburi, Thailand. I got the news from Rinse on the drive home this afternoon from our cottage in Härnösand. Rinse is also still in Manila and had to relay instructions to the boys left behind at home in Ratchaburi.

Chiefy was buried at past midnight by Junjun, Janjan and Neil under a spot between an atis and a guava tree there in Ratchaburi, organized by Rinse and with the help of ma’am Janssen. A photo of his final resting place will be added later (most likely after Rinse is back and pays a visit to the place).

I will start the long story by saying that Chiefy lived with me from the day I took him home in April 2016 (Bangbon, Bangkok) until I left for Manila in March 2017. I went back to Bangkok to see him once more before I left for Austria in May 2017. I flew back from Vienna to Bangkok in September 2017 hoping to take Chiefy with me to Austria this time, but he got denied at the last step – AQS (airport animal quarantine station)…

From then on until his passing, he had been living with my always helpful and kind-hearted friends Rinse Galupo and Guilbert Fincalero and their family and staff (past and present) at RBG1 & RBG2 in Ratchaburi, Thailand (Filipinos who have been teaching and doing business in Thailand for almost two decades now). How I met them is another story for later.

Six years of Chiefy’s life, 2017-2023, he spent with them. They housed him, fed him, bathed him, took him to the vet when needed, they cared for him all those years… And then sadly, they had to bury him today.

I am truly truly truly grateful and thankful to Rinse, Guilbert and everyone who became part of Chiefy’s life after I left Thailand. Thank you so very much, guys!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

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My First “Bakluckan”

Backluckan Drive-in-Loppis or simply bakluckan is the name they call the flea market or car boot sale over at Norrskedika here in Östhammar. “Bakluckan” is a Swedish word that literally means the tailgate of a truck or the boot or the trunk of a car.

It was introduced in 1996 by a Swedish man who has been to flea markets in the UK and decided to start a similar thing in Sweden. The word Bakluckan is a trademark registered and protected at the Swedish patent and registration office and is therefore a special term used exclusively for this particulary flea market in Norrskedika. More details in Swedish can be found here. See English translation in the bottom.

Anyway, yesterday evening when we checked the weather forecast for this morning, it said it was likely to be sunny. And boy it is!

We – hubby Mattias, stepson Wille, niece Shauna, my sister Winah and our friends ate Gemma, Joy, Marcy & her hubby & toddler Zoe all head out to the popular bakluckan over at Norrskedika as early as 9 o’clock. Below are my precious finds.

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Once Upon a Time in Vallentuna and Onwards

Year 2018 – Austria-Sweden transition for me.

It was towards the end of May 2018 when I got an offer for a job in Vallentuna. The flight from Austria to Sweden, plus accommodation were provided, the pay sounded okay and I was up for a new adventure. I was to try it out for two weeks to see how it goes, and then we make a decision about staying on. I did end up staying.

On June 1, 2018, full of anticipation, I remember getting a lift to the train station with my luggage but I can not recall whether it was in Linz or in Amstetten (Upper Austria). Anyway, ‘Sweden, here I come!’, I thought.

It was a very hot summer that year. As soon as the plane landed at Arlanda Airport, I looked out and noticed how dry the surroundings looked. Back in Austria, it was still green and pretty with the colorful summer blooms and leftovers from spring.

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On Thursdays, it’s game night with colleagues for the hubby (Mattias).

So on Thursdays, me no work because…

On Thursdays, it’s my turn to pick up our niece Shauna from school and supervise her cross the street over to the Kulturskola for dance class.

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Static Hair

My niece Shauna’s funny experience with static hair. At the time, we were standing at a bus stop in Uppsala waiting for her mom.

Met a TTC Cat Look-Alike Furball

April 23, 2022

I met this furball on the way home from a “mukbang” lunch at my friend Sofia’s house. It was soooooo cute I so wanted to take it home. I was not able to check whether it’s a he or a she.


Do you look like Lucky or Cotton?

My First Valborgsmässoafton in Sweden!


On April 30th, a Saturday, I spent the day with my mommy, Mario and his daddy. I saw my tita V and my tito Mattias shortly when they came to park their car at the hotel where mommy and I were staying. We took the bus into town together, then they got off to meet with lola Margareta who was waiting for them.

We went to watch the boat race in the morning. Everywhere was soooooo crowded.

There were people selling balloons and Mario and I got one each. I got a heart balloon while Mario got a dragon. Of course I wanted the dragon balloon but mommy suggested I take a different one. This is what it looks like right now, the 7th of May.

valborg balloon

Afterwards, we went to Mario’s house and played on the PS4 and Xbox. After dinner, we went to watch and play around a giant bonfire. It was so much fun! Please click on a photo below to zoom it out.

The boys I played with that evening came and picked me up the following morning (Sunday) and I spent a few hours with them. We also had lunch together. After that, mommy took me back home to my tita and tito in Östhammar because it was school day for me the following day. Hope you liked my photos.



Valborgsmässoafton och Mösspåtagningen i Uppsala 2022

Valborgsmässoafton i Uppsala, 2022-04-30

We intended to leave Östhammar for Uppsala at around 8AM and head straight to the river to watch the rafting first before walking around. We were able to leave on time, however, when we had to turn back to fetch my UP “sablay” that I meant to wear at some point during the trip to match Mattias’ outfit.

Massa folk…

The railings by the river were full of people waiting and cheering whenever a raft was in sight. We could not find a free spot and so we gave up and walked around towards the end of the race where the participants got off their rafts and were helped ashore.


Scroll down for move videos and photos we took during the day. I ran out of battery before the famous wave at the Carolinabacken, but luckily, Mattias still had enough on his phone which I used for the countdown and the most-awaited moment when the rector waved. I will post my niece Shauna’s fun bonfire souvenir shots on her own page on this site.

An estimated 80,000 people attended this year’s event including myself, Mattias and my mom-in-law Margareta. We ended the day with a buffet dinner at Pong in Gränby before we dropped off mom and headed back to Östhammar. Exhausted from walking all day, but it was all worth it. My first time to witness and take part of the Valborgsmässoafton, Forsränning and Mösspåtagning in Sweden. :))

Waiting for the Rector


How did this Valborg or Walpurgis Night celebration start? 

Walpurgis Night is the year’s largest student festival in Uppsala with rafting, herring lunch, gasques – and much more. Valborg or “Sista april” (last of April) as it is also called, has been celebrated since time immemorial especially in the eastern parts of Sweden. Uppsala students over the past centuries like to celebrate the evening, and there are old bills preserved that indicate a rather intense partying with food and drink.

During the early 19th century, the students in Uppsala during the evening of April 30 began to go up to Slottsbacken to look at the flaming huts of the plain. Those who were able to sing took the opportunity; this was the birthplace of student singing. It is confirmed that in 1823 the song “Spring has come” was performed next to the castle. Eventually it also became customary to bring a living for the king and the motherland and perhaps give a speech in the spring.

At the end of the 19th century, the ceremony was fully developed, the entire student union marched up and it became the rule that the student union’s vice chairman would hold the spring speech . This often highly acclaimed speech has been broadcast on radio since 1926 (with one exception, 1951). Since 1971, the Curator Curatorum, chair of the student nations’ cooperation body, the Curator Convention , has been giving the speech. The Gunilla bell rings and Allmänna Sången still participates. Many have claimed that the Slottsback tribute, which always starts at exactly 9 pm, is one of the finest student ceremonies in Sweden.

The “Mösspåtagning” (that ceremony with the students’ hats) takes place below Carolina Rediviva. Exactly at 3 PM, the Rector raises his/her white hat and this is the signal for everyone to put on their student hats and run down Carolinabacken (backe means slope/hill). Countless times there has been talk of the “white-backed hill”. Balloons rise towards the sky and a general spring cheer erupts in the crowd. At the beginning of the 20th century, people contented themselves with putting on the white hat for the first time after the winter when they went out on the morning of April 30, but then it became customary to gather on Drottninggatan and not put it on until just when the clock struck 15. Over time, they moved further and further up towards the library. Sometime in the 50s, the then Rector Torgny Segerstedt got the idea to raise his hat as a starting point, and so that tradition was created.

A few years later, in 1975, Forsränningen was added , started by students in the current Uppsala Technological and Natural Sciences Corps. A variety of vessels, more or less imaginatively equipped, glide down the Fyrisån. In the same year, the now popular Champagne gallop was added , which was started by two students at Stockholm’s nation. Both of these elements are today as obvious as the spring speech and the Mösspåtagningen.

Note: The above is mainly a Google Translate version of the Swedish text from this post.


The Traveling Cats

The Traveling Cats