This morning I slept through all my alarms yet again.

Eventually, I got up and started my morning. Instead of walking through the rice fields I made my way down Jalan Kajeng, the street that we’re staying on. It was still nice and quiet outside. The Balinese were just starting their day many of them were sweeping outside their homes, and lots of dogs were still passed out in the middle of the road. At the end of the street there is this coffee shop named Kahiyang Coffee that I have fallen in love with. The owner Iwan is very wise and has so much insight to offer into life and happiness. The first night we found this shop he told us that if we ever get to the shop before he opens up that he will give us free coffee. I’ve been pretty consistent in showing up before him. Today I sat outside waiting and writing in my journal. A few minutes later Iwan showed up on his red bike with a Japanese friend in the back. I talked to her for about fifteen minutes while the shop was being set up for the day. Soon the rest of the group started to show up. First, Cesar showed up and we sat outside watching the tourists walk by. Soon Jean and Marie showed up and we started making coffee. Iwan was teaching us how to use his expresó machine, when two girls from Wisconsin came in and ordered some lattes. We collectively made the customers’ order and then each made our own coffee.

Back at the hotel I caught up with some laundry and quickly devoured my fresh pineapple, and banana pancakes. We then hopped on to our bemo and headed off to our final dance class. I can’t speak for the girls, but I know that the boys have become masters of the warrior dance. A true act of strength and intimidation only mastered by very few individuals with world class caliber such as Jean, Cesar, Aidan and myself. We hit up our usual lunch spot down the street where Cesar and I finished a whole bottle of Tabasco sauce between the both of us. For our afternoon class I went to my final painting class. I put some final touches on my masterpiece and signed it. I’m very thankful for our painting teacher Gusti. He is a very humble man and has taught me to appreciate my culture. I think it’s beautiful that through his paintings he has been able to keep the traditional Balinese culture alive.

The traffic back to the hotel was jam packed, we only advanced a few meters at a time. Once Gaylon sent Cesar and Jean off to a shop to buy bread for dinner, a few of us kids decided to go off on our own adventure. Tonesha, Aidan, Marie and I somehow ended up in a fish spa. We watched people walk down the Main Street as hundreds of fish ate the dead skin off our feet. Back at the hotel we ate some exquisite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Finally, we headed off to the grand finale to yet another outstanding day in Bali. We went to a performance that was put on by our teachers. It was shocking to be able to see how the basic moves from our dance and the beats from our music are turned into elaborate stories full of life. One of our teachers Oka, had such a wonderful solo piece where he somehow managed to dance and play his instrument all at the same time. It is honestly beyond me and I am left speechless. No words in my vocabulary will ever be able to explain the magnificence of this event I can’t wait to be on the same stage next week performing the version of that dance that 10 year olds do. I hope everyone is doing well back home.


Another ordinary gorgeous morning up in the rice paddies

Painting our shadow puppets

Evening Performance at Belarung (Barong, left, with Durga, right)


3 Comments on “Speechless

  1. Erik, sounds like a fun day! Fish that eat dead skin off your feet……???? I’d like to hear more about that experience! Thanks for the post and pics, Erik!

  2. The humble Gusti, Iwan the wise, a fish spa and pbj! What a wild day that was! Thanks so much Erik!

  3. Like Loretta, I want to hear more about the fish spa—and see some pictures too!!
    from Aidan’s Aunt Kathy

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