Sidemen and the shore

June 28, 2019

By: Victoria Alarcon 

Waking up I checked my phone and was eager to see the score against USA and France. It was 5:30 and I ran to Gabe’s room to let him know that USA won. Both teams played great but the US was better.  The score was 2-1 in the FIFA Woman’s World Cup. Kiera, Zoë, Gabe, Sage and I were thrilled to hear the news. Soon after all the excitement some of us went on a morning walk and some stayed. It was great to see the morning view of Sidemen once again. 

After I returned from the walk I went back to the girls room and got my luggage ready to leave. Thankfully breakfast came  fast enough, I knew I was hungry because my stomach was speaking to me “feed me”. I had 2 boiled eggs with a side of toast, a tasty banana pancake, a mixed fruit, and tea. This definitely made my belly happy. 

Not long after Gaylon took some of us on a stroll (more like a hike) to a temple. The cool thing about it was that we where able to see it down by our hotel peaking through the green view. The hike for me felt like hours it was all uphill but every second was worth it. Sadly we had little time to walk all the way up so we decided to walk back. On our way down we feasted on 2 different cocoa beans. We enjoyed each other’s company and it was great spending time with wise Gaylon, and our new friend Ayu. 

Returning to our hotel we ate lunch and finished our last second packing. We were ready to leave as we said our goodbyes to the workers at the hotel and our dear friend Ayu. We were sure to get each other’s social media so we could stay in touch. Leaving Sidemen was a drag because I couldn’t get enough of the view. But I also was looking forward to the beach. 

Once we left Sidemen the ride to Candidasa was breath taking. I remember being tight in the middle seat between Savannah and Kiera and I had the best view. I was able to see the ocean from afar and I couldn’t wait to get in. Once we arrived to our new hotel we enjoyed our welcoming dinner and a fascinating sunset on the shore. 

Terima kasih Bali 

Green God
A stroll
Sunset at Candidasa

Hey Hey with the Monkeys!

By Savannah Palmer

June 26, 2019

Sorry for the late update, difficulties in communication

Today I started the day off with a morning walk. Afterward, we all enjoyed one of our last banana pancakes. We know that no pancakes in Bali will compare.

It is our last full day in Ubud. We started the day by going on a short trip to what Zenia and Gaylon call “Silver Town.” The town had silver smiths on every corner. We drove down a teeny tiny road, where we parked in a large open garden. We walked around the property before we went inside the silver shop. Zenia and Gaylon have been coming here for a long time, so we kept the tradition alive and bought some jewelry.

After losing some wallet weight, we headed to the restaurant Dian for lunch. Thai teas were ordered and I’m told they were very good. The food was also yummy and everyone’s orders varied. I had a chicken sandwich with an iced tea. The iced tea was delicious. It came with a little sugar syrup that I could use to make it taste the way I wanted. My iced tea was borderline diabetic.

We visited a coffee shop after our meals and we played with an animal that aids in the creation of coffee. I don’t remember the name of the animal, but he was so darn cute.

After our little visit with cutest animal ever, we walked over to Monkey Forest Ubud. There, we bought tickets and headed inside. Even in the entrance, monkeys were everywhere. Inside, there was so much more. There were monkeys walking around, monkeys hanging around, monkeys eating. It was just so crazy. We all split into separate groups to explore the forest.

On our adventure we saw monkeys doing several things: pulling women’s hair, trying to attack people, eating sunscreen, rubbing women’s breasts, and stealing people’s AirPods. The monkeys were so mischievous. One grabbed my shirt. Two were crawling all over Gabe. They really wanted his backpack.

Once the hour was over in monkey forest, I went to the post office to mail a couple postcards and to buy a newspaper. After, I went to the market, bought a couple things, then got and ice cream bar with Kiera. We walked back to the hotel and chilled until it was time for dinner.

We walked to the bus stop in order to go to Anom and Noniks. We ate a delicious meal there. There was fried rice, fries noodles, shrimp chips, and egg rolls. So yummy!! She also made some iced tea that would make anyone smile.

Anom gave us our finished shadow puppets, and used them to give us a performance. It was unbelievable to watch him perform, and I definitely would like to see again. Everyone was silent and totally engaged in his display. He also performed with the masks, and it was so unreal. I was captivated, as were the people around me.

Several people on the trip bought masks from him, because he is very talented. We talked to Anom and Nonik and everyone was throwing thanks you’s back and forth. Appreciation, gratitude, and love was surrounding every one of us. Meeting and working with these extraordinary people was magical and eye opening. We all gave our last pets to Monkey, Anom and Noniks chihuahua. We had all grown to love him, he was our daily dose of dog.

Anom and Nonik drove us home in the most depressing car ride over. I can say with absolute certainty that everyone was starting out the windows dramatically. Once home, we packed and got ready to depart. Ubud was amazing and I love all my teachers.

This blog is written in appreciation for Anom and Nonik. Thank you.

Everybody monking around!

Victoria and Gabe with Anom
Group with Anom and Nonik

Our Last Day

By: Kiera Mermejo-Varga

Some of the group started their day off at 5:45 am for a sunrise walk to the cliff side where we went the night before. I was still sleeping, but I heard that it was beautiful sunrise. It was 7 am and time for breakfast. We all enjoyed the tea, coffee, pancakes and of course toast with peanut butter and jelly. After our delicious breakfast, Gaylon and Zenia briefly went over the agenda for the next two days of traveling. Then, we all wrote our reflections about the whole trip. Writing the reflections brought many positive memories I had with this trip and I will hold onto them forever.

After writing our trip reflections, some of the group cooled off in the ocean and went swimming for awhile, the water felt great. It was already time for lunch, and we left the table feeling stuffed with good food made by the hotel staff. Once we finished lunch, some of the group went snorkeling again finding shells and looking at different types of fish. 

Since William was at another hotel, he invited us to swim in the hotel’s pool. It was a really nice hotel and we also enjoyed some virgin pina colodas beside the pool. 

After our eventful day, we went back to our hotel and began to pack our suitcases. Then, before dinner some of us went to the beach to look at the sunset. It was beautiful, like the other sunsets we have seen here in Bali. The group enjoyed another meal prepared by the hotel. After our last dinner, we talked about what we were all grateful for about this trip. 

The time has come where we have to depart from paradise. But, we are going to make the most of it in last few hours we have here. I am forever thankful for this group and what they have done for me. Bali has been fun, onto our next adventure.

Grab Your Goggles!!!

By: Gabriel Alarcon

Today I woke up on a soft mattress, with a few blankets, right next to the ocean. I decided the previous night to sleep beside the sea. As I woke up, a few of us watched the gorgeous and vibrant sunrise Bali had to offer.

We each went our separate ways to get dressed and or shower and met up at the dinning area for breakfast. During breakfast we enjoyed of a simple but delicious meal the hotel had made. We talked about how delicious our toast was with some peanut butter and jelly Gaylon had bought at a supermarket; and discussed some safety precautions and boundaries of our swim in the ocean for the day.

The time came to suit up and get fitted for our snorkeling equipment. A few of us were beyond excited due to the fact that for some, it would be our first time swimming in the ocean. Once fitted, we all got ready to jump in the water to have fun. It was truly a blast!! We spent around an hour out there and were somewhat tired after we had gotten back.

We cleaned up, and all headed to the dinning room for some lunch. Delicious as usual, we talked about Bali and our experiences with one another as we shared stories and memories from our trip. Once finished, we had a relaxing period where some folks went back to the water for some swimming, played volleyball, and went to get groceries.

After some down time, Gaylon and Zenia took us on a short walk to a cliff side high enough to see a variation of islands, Mt. Agung, the gorgeous sunset, and the extensive blue sea. It was quite peaceful and soothing to be up there; to simply take a look at the beauty this world has to offer. We walked back and and relaxed before dinner. Once dinner was served, we took the time to thank one another for this trip. We talked about the various reasons of how Bali has impacted us and how great full we are for the people and teachers we have met along this journey.

I finish this blog beside the roaring, dark, and vast sea.

Thank You Bali🖤

Ayah & Ibu(Dad & Mom)❤️
Pictures Pictures!!📸

The colors and stars in the sky

By: Victoria Alarcon
I woke up this morning because of 3 crazy alarms. It was about 6:00 am and breakfast wasn’t until 8:00. There was no way I could go back to sleep because I was able to see Mt. Agung watching over us. The view from our room was mesmerizing I had never seen anything like it before. An explosion of colors painted the sky with pink, orange, green purple and blue, and it kinda reminded me of home.

Soon after we ate a filling breakfast to start of the day. Many of us including me, got Balinese coffee which was a bit strong and different. After breakfast, Ayu our new friend lead the way to her uncles house where we danced, played gamelan, and learned how to make offerings. Having meet new people and saying goodbye was hard everyone is so friendly and outgoing.

We came back to the hotel and rested around the pool. At 3:18 we were all ready for a walk around with Gaylon leading the way. We came across some breath taking views and enjoyed a great fruit drink. After the walk the weather was really nice and I wanted to take advantage of that, so Zoë and me took a swim in the pool. I learned about backstrokes, butterflies and swimming techniques (Zoë is super talented).

Dinner came along and we all enjoyed each other’s company at the table. We shared some laughs and some memories. It was great to be around people you learn to love. Everyone parted ways, some were tired and some were wide awake. Savannah took a swim, the others went to sleep. Gabe and me watched the stars glow bright. We were very impressed that the sky was clear and happy that we were still in Bali.
Good night:)

Hello, Goodbye

By Savannah Palmer

Everyone woke up around 6:10 in order to get ready for the day ahead. Many of us decided to go on our last morning walks in Ubud. We watched the sunrise above the morning patties. The reflection of the sky in the water was sublime, but a little bittersweet. We ate our last Ubud style banana pancakes and packed everything we needed for departure.

Before leaving the hotel, we took many pictures with Wayan, his family, and the hotel workers. We have many group pictures to ensure the memory would live forever. Once we said our goodbyes, we walked to our bus stop with all our luggage, with the help of Wayan, Made, and Made. We packed up our van, and gave our last hugs. Wayan, Made, and Made waved at us as the bus drive away.

We stopped at the same market we got our sarongs at. Some of us were in search of some fabrics to take home, while others explored the street a bit. We met at the van 45 minutes after our shopping and explorations. We headed to Sidemen for our 2 night stay. When we got to the hotel, we had lunch with our new Sidemen friend Ayuu.

After lunch we had an hour of free time. Some of us played volleyball, rested, or put our feet in the swimming pool. We met at the pool at 3:00 to go on a walk to a weaving shop. There, we watched women weave sarongs and we watched men design/dye the sarongs. After watching for a bit, we came back to the hotel and chilled. Many people swam while other hung out by the pool. At 7:00, we had dinner, and it was awesome. Now, I’m ready to swim.

Musik dan Menari

By: Kiera Mermejo-Varga

Today was the big day, we all have been waiting for. Our performance, including the Gamelan, Rindik, and the Warrior/Welcoming dance. It was also our first morning back in Ubud and we enjoyed our usual breakfast meals. I can’t forget about mentioning the delicious banana pancakes.

After breakfast, the group had a meeting, everyone shared their individual experience within the homestay. Also talking about what the most impressive thing was at the homestay. I said that the community was the most impressive thing I witnessed at the homestay. Seeing the whole community welcoming our group was great. They were all friendly and had such positive attitudes. Everyone said wonderful things about their experiences in the homestay and we won’t forget our time there.

Once the meeting concluded, we headed over to the community theater, and saw our music and dance teachers. We put our sarongs on and rehearsed for the performance. Everyone got used to their instruments again and we were ready to go. The students and chaperones went backstage to begin getting ready. We all had to go through make-up and putting on the Balinese regalia. Everyone looked great!

It was time to begin our performance, and we all were excited to show everyone in the crowds hat we learned. First, we began with Gamelan and played the instruments we were assigned to. Next, was the Rindik and we performed with our dance group. Our musical performance was out of way and know we are halfway there. We took a quick break backstage and got our flower petals. The Welcoming dance was first to go on stage, then the Warrior dance. We all danced hard, and I am proud of everyone that participated. After our performance, the theater prepared us an appetizing meal, and we enjoyed it.

Since we had a free afternoon, Zenia and Gaylon arranged a class with Gusti, to finish our paintings. Not everyone got to finish, but they made a lot of progress on them. In the evening, some of the group went out on the town and explored more of the city. It was already dinner time, and we went to Savannah Moon for some pizza, pasta, and their roasted peanuts. It was another great day in Bali and we are all enjoying our time left here.

Sunday Funday

By: Franki Maestas-Chavez

Sunday , our last full day here in Munduk pakel. Breakfast is at 7 in our homestay, after breakfast we had a lecture about the irrigation system and the different types of farmers , non organic farmers and organic farmers. After our lecture, we went to go work in the rice fields and finished one whole section , teamwork!!

When we finished we washed up and some went to the river to take a swim or wash up more then we had lunch. There was Nasi (steamed rice), Ayam (chicken), Pisang Goreng (fried banana) and other foods that were all so delicious!

We had some down time before we had our language class with Dian. We learned Bahasa Indonesia while the girls from the village learned English. We played a game of telephone and ended with talking and asking questions with the girls.

We then had some more downtime before dinner , for dinner I had steamed rice, noodles with spinach, chicken, pork rinds, and some roasted peanuts. I really enjoyed dinner! After dinner most of us hung out in the front of Wayan Ariati’s house with some of the girls and then we moved to the classroom to hang out some more. We all talked about songs and movies that we liked and suggested to each other other songs and movies to listen to and watch.

With it being our last full day, we are saddened because we know we have to leave tomorrow. It was a great adventurous day filled with lots of laughs and love!

Goodbyes Are Always Sad

By: Gabriel Alarcon Macias


Some of us began our day with an early alarm clock to see the beautiful sunrise. After awhile of sitting and talking with one another, we each separated to eat breakfast at our home stays and enjoy our last few hours with the people that gave us a home.

We all gathered at the classroom area and discussed a few stories and moments that were impactful during our time with these wonderful people. After conversing amongst each other, we began a new activity focusing on personal ideas and thoughts called reflections. It was a nonstop writing exercise to simply put thoughts about our trip on paper. Once we finished, it came time to gather our things and say our last goodbyes.

The hardest thing about our farewells were hugging and thanking the people we called mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and even teachers. As we got onto the bus, we watched everyone wave goodbye and it made us even more appreciative of the three days we spent with them. Our ride back was also very nice and fairly quick but a bit slow because of the city traffic.

Once we arrived we were thankful to be back to our other home. We all settled back into our rooms as well as take a quick swim for some of us. The rest of our day was a free day for the afternoon. Some of us enjoyed our time to go for lunch and for some shopping. Once we got back, we enjoyed of a little break time to enjoy talking to kids from a village not too far from here, and to play badminton. After maybe an hour of having fun, we got ready and dressed appropriately for a dinner with one of Gaylon’s and Zenia’s close friend.

We arrived at the restaurant named Moksa and had a large table reserved for our group. Made Janus Yasa is the name of Gaylon and Zenia’s friend who joined us. I was beyond great full to have had the opportunity to meet him. The dinner was amazing; we had a variety of plates starting with an appetizer course leading into a few main course plates, and to end it with with some “raw” desserts meaning completely fresh and not baked or handled. During the various conversations we shared with Made, we learned about the history of the significant Chinese coin, the journey of his life, and we heard some words I will never forget; those words were live life “ learning, earning, sharing, and having fun”. I end this blog with those few words.

Thank You Bali:)