Homestay in the village 

Because we are in a small village we are not sure we will be able to update the blog everyday. However, we will continue to write a new blog for each day and upload them when possible.

The Mixer 

Today we started off with our usual breakfast and chit chat. Then we rushed to our rooms to make sure we packed everything we needed for the homestay. At 9 am, we all grabbed our stuff and headed out to greet the bus. All of the kids, Paige, and Randy drove about an hour and a half to Munduk Malang, getting directions on the way, and were greeted by Ary and a group of local high school students from the English Club. We all nervously introduced ourselves and made conversation while we took a beautiful hour walk to the small village of Munduk Pakau. Upon our arrival, Ary’s father served us fresh coconut drinks then split it open for us to eat the flesh. When we finished we walked a small ways to Ary’s mothers house where we were served a very delicious home made dinner. When we were all done eating, we drew small pieces of paper from a bowl to decide which families we would stay with for the remaining three days. Then we met at the community meeting space and did activities with the local students. After saying good bye to the students, we returned back to our home were we took our first ladle shower and settled in. At 6:30 we returned to Ary’s mother’s house with our sarongs for dinner. After dinner, to end our night, we went down the steeet to play the Gamelon where we impressed the local adults with our decently developed skills from the previous classes. 

Today started off a bit nerve-racking because we didn’t know what to expect for the homestay. When we got here everyone was unsure about how they were going to survive the next three days. Now we are ending our first day looking forward to everything the next couple of days could bring. We love and miss you all! 

Teya 

Monkeys and Tabasco

The sound of rain awoke us, but not a rain that we were familiar with. The light drizzle that we have come to think of as a torrential rainstorm back home, is nothing compared to the downpour that awoke us. Upon getting up, the rain let up and I decided, since this was the second to last morning in the hotel before the home-stay, it was a perfect time for a walk. It was perfect, until about halfway through when the rain returned. More water came down in the fifteen minutes it took to return home than all of New Mexico will get in the next year. The rain persisted all through breakfast and beyond, forcing us to hide in our rooms. Within thirty minutes the rain let up, and within another thirty the sky had opened up and cerulean blue sky was above. Sitting in the dining area, we discussed the home stay that seems to loom ahead of us. Nervous energy shifted more and more to excitement as we listened, but the prospect is still daunting. 

We started to mobilize, preparing for something all of us were excited for since the first meeting; The Monkey Forest Temple! The walk was hot, and a perfect contrast to the rainstorm earlier. As we entered the forest a huge sign of rules was posted, listing what we should not do with the monkeys. The forest was massive, and an impressive plethora of fauna greeted us. The trees became quickly unimpressive as soon we saw monkeys scurrying about, mothers carrying their young, adolescent monkeys hopping about, agrresive males wrestling and howling and monkeys playing everywhere you could imagine. The deeper into the forest, closer to the ancient monkey temple, the amount of monkeys increased. Soon the statues and trees were not the only things the monkey climbed on, and they soon started climbing up our arms, sitting on our shoulders, and tactfully opening the zippers of our backpacks. The sign posted outside warned us not to look into the monkeys eyes, but it was difficult as their little eyes beamed with their intelligence. All of us had at least one monkey on us at some point, and one of us was unlucky enough to have a monkey pee on him. We left the forest excited, and found out that lunch was just as exciting. We arrived at by far one of the best restaurants we’ve had so far and we were blessed to find Tabasco sauce. The only way the day could have been better would be if we had found Tapatio.

After lunch we had almost two hours to explore and relax. Most of us went downtown and traversed the hectic market. The market is not exactly a pleasant place in Ubud- noisy, slightly aggressive and smelly, but it holds a certain charm. Weaving between the many stalls, exploring the winding maze, and dodging the unpleasant salespeople was fun, and my little three man group was laughing and joking the entire time. Soon the hours melted away and we returned to the hotel. After dinner we packed our things, and we are now ready for the home-stay. I know it’ll be an experience I’ll never forget and I’m excited, but I’m also a little apprehensive. 

We love you all.

– Liam Kuziel 

Relaxation 

Today was such a wonderful day. We started it off with our daily walking and for some, running. When we left the hotel we had such amazing weather as it had rained all morning. We had dance class in the morning; where we continued working with our brilliant teachers. We then headed off to painting class and puppet making which are very calming classes.  We got back to the hotel at 4:30 and were able enjoy the rest of the evening. It was extra enjoyable because the weather was cool. Now we are beginning to gear up and getting ready to leave to the homestay Monday morning. We are excited about it and even a little nervous, but we all know it will be an awesome experience. 

-Jordan Quintana

Shopping and Celebrations 

Shopping in Bali can be something both fun and overwhelming. There is so much to look at and all the things here are beautiful. Bargaining is another thing that comes into play, you have to be confident and willing to talk in order to get a good price or you could get ripped off.

Today we went shopping in the town of Sukawati about 45 min away from Ubud. Their market there is pretty big and you find yourself stopping at almost every store because there’s cool stuff all over! However, it becomes tough when you find similar things in various shops and you have to determine where you can find the best deal. Sometimes you find yourself stuck in a situation with a seller and you have no way of saying no and leaving so you stand there awkwardly. But that’s just part of learning to be a better bargainer, and in the end it’s an experience you enjoy. We all seemed satisfied with our purchases today. We bought various things, from masks to blankets, to necklaces, and flowy pants as the girls call them.  Everyone also had a funny story to tell from their day of shopping and we shared these stories during our special dinner tonight. 

As the last activity of the day we went to a special restaurant to celebrate Audrey’s 17th birthday and the 10th anniversary of Paige and Randy. I have to say the food was amazing. I ate more than I should have but every bite was worth it. I haven’t been this full in a while. As Gaylon says every day is twice as good as the previous one, and I’m beginning to notice that more and more. Today was special, we all seemed to grow a little closer to each other and to Bali. 

Hope everyone is doing well! 

-Gabe 

Rain Drops 

Today we woke up to the soft sound of rainfall on the roof. The air was fresh and sweet as we took our walk though the rice paddies. The rain was warm as it sprinkled on top of us. We had a wonderful breakfast with fresh fruit juice and yummy banana pancakes. Then we set off to Gamelon class where we strengthened our music playing ability with our wonderful teachers. Next, we all hopped on the bus to go to lunch. After lunch we split off to puppet making class and painting where we worked on creating wonderous works of art. After class we all went down to check out the market to see what caught our eye. At dinner we all sat down to enjoy corn noodles and other dishes with a little bit of laughs. Today was a fun day here in Bali, can’t wait for the next one.

Celine 

Self reflection at the temple 

Walking into a huge temple and connecting to your inner self is an amazing way to start the day. All of the beautiful views and amazing company of super close friends made the bond even stronger. Starting with a ritual in honor of Turis’s grandfather who just passed away and also getting the opportunity to recognize the loved ones each of us have lost. 

Going onto gamelan and learning how to play one of the most challenging patterns really makes your mind work. However the amazing teachers made it possible for us to enjoy the frustration and keep working at it till we finally sounded amazing.

This trip has been so eye opening, showing us the different things that we can accomplish that we never in our lives thought we would try. Finding who we really are inside is an adventure that we will never forget. 

– Audrey Gonzales 

Finding our purpose 

Our daily classes have thaught us an abundance of lessons. We have learned how to play different melodies at the same time and the intricate steps of a welcoming dance-right down to the movement of your fingers. However the most valuable lessons have come through the conversation we share with our teachers. They take us on a journey through their culture and understanding of life. Today the reoccurring lesson revolved around happiness. They talked about the emptiness a life with no happiness offers, they talked about ones purpose. Which is exactly what we are doing at the moment-we are finding our Purpose. We probably won’t find it in a month but we are certainly on the road to self discovery. We are finding ourselves within walks, music and dance.

-Anna Martinez

Dancing 101

Waking up in Bali does not feel like waking up halfway across the world, but rather waking up at home. While the feeling of missing family is ever present it does not feel out of place to be here. It feels like we’ve bee here for ages but in an inviting way.  

Instead of Gamelon the boy’s day began with the Rendik a bamboo xylophone like instrument and the girls began the welcoming dance. The boys are training/struggling to perform the warrior dance. Oka, one of the most incredible artists I’ve seen, is teaching the dance. He moves with grace confidence and something that is hard to define and transcends the human being. A second nature comes out through his dance. The dance hurt, keeping your arms up is hard. It’s going to take a lot for me to feel like a warrior with our sad feeble attempt. 

After puppet making and painting I along side Anna did an incredible job creating beautiful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The day ended with an unimaginable experience. The Kecak/monkey dance was one of the most awe inspiring performances we’ve seen. The dance based on the Ramayana showed what actual good dancing looks like, worthy of any spot in National Geographic. 

Turis Jessen 

ps. Clothes are finally beginning to be dry.