On Friday, May 10, as soon as we got out of school, we headed to Zenia & Gaylon’s house for our overnight stay. As we arrived, we feasted on some snacks and waited for the others to arrive. We went over the trips flight schedule, as well as some things to expect during our trip.

After a bit of talking, we separately looked at some Balinese/Indonesian related books and came together for our weekly Bahasa Indonesia class (Indonesian Language). During our class, we went over market terminology to aid us during our stay. Within this class, we became familiar with numbers, and bargaining. Todays class was mostly to help us refresh our minds and become more familiar with terms to help us communicate and shop.

Dinner! Tonights dinner included an assortment of various pizzas (2). We enjoyed this meal with a glass of nice, cold apple juice from Trader Joe’s. Once finished, we gathered around the television to watch a video from the 2011 Bali trip. In this video, we were able to see what the Balinese culture has in store for us. The video included a traditional warrior dance, a welcoming dance, and not to forget, a musical performance as well.

Ice cream! With a mix of vanilla and mint chocolate chip, we gathered around the bar to enjoy a delightful dairy product. With the ice cream out of the way, we came together to play a game called “Break The Ice”, a game meant to teach us more about each other. We learned about Gaylon’s time travel ideas, which decade we’d each want to travel back to (mostly the 70’s), and we talked about which candy bar most correlates with our personalities.

With dinner, ice cream, and games out of the way, we readied ourselves for bed. However, it was not until much talking with our newly made friends, that we finally chose to go to sleep. A wonderful way to end a wonderful day, as well as another day closer to our departure!


Home Safe & Sound :)

Dear family and friends,

As most, or all of you, will know by now, we all made it home ~ safely and soundly ~ not without a few twists and turns along the way!

The group of 12 landed at Albuquerque airport just after midnight last night and were greeted by a large smiling, loving group of siblings, parents, and grandparents. We trundled into Santa Fe around 2/2:30 in the morning.


Enjoy listening to your young people’s stories as they trickle and gush over the next days, weeks and months. For even these stories, and their significance, will evolve over time…

With such abundant gratitude to each of you,

for journeying, accompanying, fundraising, financially contributing, listening, reading, writing, driving, supporting, loving, and on and on.

May these first days home be extra gentle…

With love, as we close up this year’s blog,



Update from Narita, Japan Airport

Well this is it, time to head back home. At first as most of you all knew, our flight was close to being cancelled because of the Mt. Agung eruption. Luckily, it was just a delay that occurred. We boarded our plane at night and arrived at Singapore three hours later. Now we just have to wait nine hours for our next flight to Japan. Can’t wait any longer to be back home, I miss the food. At the same time, I’ll miss Bali. Well it’s time to take a nap, goodnight people. See you soon!

(Update: posting this in Japan airport, where we are on layover waiting for the plane to be cleaned. Boarding shortly for Los Angeles!)


Chillin in Narita Airport after a looong time with no sleep


Beach reflections

As I was one of the first to write on of these blogs, it is oddly fitting that I should be (with luck) the last. I write this the day after, and thus several events have occurred that I would not have known about yesterday.

I’m sure that other people have described the beauty of the beach, and done it justice. I will say, however, that I think this was my favourite place, in terms of scenery and nature. I love the sea, and I’ll miss it terribly. I’ve been enjoying doing the touristy beach activities, like scrounging around for shells, catching crabs and swimming in the lovely warm Indian Ocean. I also tried snorkelling for the first time, which was enormously entertaining, even though my eyesight permitted a limited view. So much life, just within fifteen feet of the shore. In one instance, I ended up popping a squat over a sea snake, oblivious to the predator between my legs. We’ve also been getting our fix of morning walk-esque activities. The previous couple of days, we’ve been hiking too a small temple perched on the edge of a cliff, the sides dropping off steeply, into the sea, which gnaws at the shore with even greater voracious need. The full moon drastically increased the tides ebb and flow, seemingly flinging the waves at the shore.

As the trip draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on this past month. I have great difficulty describing how I feel, much less trying to encapsulate all the changes to myself. I don’t think I can, in the setting of a blog. What I will say is I leave feeling loose, and a longing to stay, but I do not leave carrying regrets. When I applied to this program, so long ago, I was seeking change. That meant anything to me then, I didn’t care what. I found it: my adventure. Now, I carry these experiences, relationships, and memories with me. Onwards, to wherever my path leads.

(PS: This may not actually be the last blog, as many of you know there was some volcanic activity that may effect our departure.)


Sunrise from the clifftop, and more monkeys!


A Pleasant Day at the Beach

As you all know, we made it to the beach! After a long month, I am finding this to be the best time to relax and reflect but also to swim and go snorkelling of course! So let me tell you how today went.

This morning started with a good breakfast. Most of us had tea or coffee and eggs with toast. Can’t forget the fresh fruit either! As all 12 of us sat around the table, we talked about many things: from airplane and airport experiences to what we were going to do that day.

Now it was time for swim and relaxation! Most of us went to the beach and started to swim. It was high tide so the ocean was going a little crazy. Then Gaylon broke out the snorkelling gear. Now all you could see were our feet sticking out of the water because we were all looking at the sea bed. This was my first time snorkelling in a while so it was a great experience.

It was now time for lunch and as usual, it was very good. After lunch, almost all of us sat on the beach and either read or wrote in our own personal journals. After a hour and a half went by, we were either asleep, swimming or playing soccer. This lasted till about 5:15 p.m. Then as a group, we walked to the top of the cliff not far from where we were staying. It was about a 10 minute walk going uphill. It was such an amazing view of the Indian ocean. The ocean was a nice deep turquoise color and you could just see the sun rays coming from behind the clouds with a nice ocean breeze on your face.

Then it was time for a filling dinner! After we finished eating, we walked down to the beach and we sat in a circle and began sharing our gratitude. Many nice things were said and some tears were shed but like Hank said, “Don’t let the important things be unsaid” and we did just that. See you all very soon!


Afternoon in the water and on the sand

Sunset at a temple shrine, looking over the Indian Ocean

Another New Home Away from Home

We started our day off in Sideman and ended our day in Candidasa. At our hotel, breakfast was served at our normal time, which is usually eight o’clock. After we all finished, we proceeded to our rooms to finish any last minute packing. Most of us had a little free time to ourselves after we finished packing so…some slept, some wrote, and some read.

Around twelve o’clock, we met up again, one last time to eat lunch at our hotel. I had one last grilled chicken dish that reminds me of something that my brother would love to eat. After finishing up our meals, we headed off to get our luggage. We took them to the front where we met our cars to take us to the beach that awaited us.

The drive over to our next destination can only be described as thrilling and eye-catching. There was just so much to see…as we drove down the windy-steep mountain, I sat back and watched the way the trees looked in certain areas. I saw the many different types of rice paddies; it is so green and beautiful here. Of course, I also looked at the people around me. It’s interesting, how much you can notice about the way of people’s life by just looking. One particular moment in the drive over that I found kind of funny, yet scary at the same time was when the driver was attempting to pass a big truck in front of us. We were on the opposite side of the road for a minute, at a curve a motorcycle came out of nowhere and was coming straight ahead and so the driver had to accelerate the speed just a little so that way we were on the right side again. Do not worry parents, no one got hurt…just thought it would be nice to give you some insight on the driving system here.

Now, that we have reached our destination. We got our rooms and after barely settling in at all, we headed out to the beach to go explore. The water here is so beautiful, the colours and the sound of the waves are so calming. Not to mention, the temperature is absolutely perfect. I stayed out at the beach all the way until dinnertime just because I found it so alluring. It is impossible for me to leave it because you never know what you might miss.

Today we had dinner at our new hotel around a big table all together which was a nice change. The food was amazing as usual; some of us couldn’t stop getting more and more bowls of rice. For desert, we had big pieces of watermelon, snake fruit, and biscuits.

It is now dark out and we are all out on the beach again. For me being out here at night was beyond beautiful. I watched and listened to everything around me. The night was lit up by the most amazing full moon that I have ever seen. Since it was a full moon night the waves were even more alluring and the sound is just indescribable. I can’t really say too much about this though because most of everything I did see and felt, I feel like was just for me.

I hope your night comes with a full moon as well and we will see you soon.

– Tonesha

Our new home

Afternoon in the sun


Wow! Today was a busy day. We started with a lovely breakfast looking out into the Balinese landscape, filled with trees and rice paddies. After breakfast we went to a school. There weren’t many kids there but the ones who were there taught us new Gamelan songs, dance and how to make offerings. It was such a magical experience. It was yet another reminder of just how welcoming the Balinese are. They always want you to jump right in and participate with them.

Once we got back to the hotel, we had lunch and then went on a hike to a beautiful temple. It was about a two hour hike in the mountains. We walked through a few little villages, where everyone said halo to us and waived. Toward the end of the hike we had to climb up a lot, and I mean A LOT, of stairs to get to the actual temple. We all got to the top and were exhausted (I got a little too out of breath and had some trouble but everything is A-okay now). We ended up taking a truck back to the hotel since we were so tired.

As our time here is coming to an end, I am realizing just how incredibly lucky I am and how grateful I am to have been offered this opportunity. I am sad that we have to leave Bali soon, but I miss home too. I miss New Mexican food so much! Being here in Bali has truly changed my outlook on the world and made me more appreciative of everything around me. I never knew I would have learned so much and created such great friendships here but I’m so glad that I did. I hope all is well back in the Fe,

Playing Gamelon & dancing with our new friends




Invited into making offerings




Time with Bebe (Auntie) Putuh 


and our friend Ayu (far right) and Ayu’s cousins


Views from our walk to the temple, and from the top

Post-mud soccer exhausted happinessDSC_0326

Discovering, Resting & Recovering

I had really good slow paced day in Sidemen. I woke up this morning around five o’clock in order to catch the sunrise from my balcony and I’m very happy I did. Our hotel is positioned perfectly across from a vibrant green mountain range. The mountains, The jungle, the misty clouds in the valley, and the glowing sunrise all combined together to create the greatest view that anyone has ever seen. The best way I can describe the view is to compare it to what it must be like to see Beyonce in real life. It definitely is something out of this world.

We had a chilled day here in Spiderman (Sideman). We did get a chance to visit a Balinese weaving factory which was for sure eye opening. These women work 6 days a week in a dusty, dim lit shop. They do the same tedious motions to make sarongs, which will only make them a few bucks a day. Walking around the factory, I realized that some of these girls were my age or younger. These made me very grateful for the freedoms and opportunities that we have in America. It also made me very sad to remember that people all over the world still have these work conditions. And people work these jobs all their life because they have no choice. I definitely learned a lot from this.

The rest of our day we spent resting and recovering. Many of us are dealing with colds and one of us has a disgusting toe infection. Down time was definitely needed. At dinner we got to meet another awesome Balinese girl who was 16. She was super cool and we’re going to go dance at her school tomorrow, so I need some sleep. Goodnight Family!


(P.S. I’ve just added a bunch more photos to “The Top of the Hill Has Been Reached” and “Arrival in Sideman”!)

Walking in the rain to the Sideman Weaving factory


At the factory


Arrival in Sideman

I woke up this morning feeling pretty bummed out that today is our last morning in Ubud. I had one final banana pancake and headed down to the harmonious coffee shop for one last coffee. We took pictures with all the employees of the shop and said our goodbyes. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to meet Iwan. Not only did I learn about Indonesian coffee. Every morning there was a new life lesson to be learned. I have a whole page in my journal filled with quotes from this wise man. I will never forget him and how he kept trying to convince me that football (soccer) is a stupid sport.

Back at the hotel I finished packing up. I gave some final gifts to Koman (one of the hotel staff) and Sophie (the daughter of the hotel manager, Wayan). Their faces, when they received their gifs, were priceless and it made me feel warm inside. I started to tear up when my new friends at the hotel called me “bro” as I got on the bus. We hit up our usual lunch spot that we went to in between classes. For my last meal in Ubud of course I had to get a chicken pizza and French fries, that I later drowned in Tabasco sauce and instantly devoured.

We started our drive to our new home in Sidemen, or as Jean likes to call it “Spider-Man”. I have become familiar with the streets of Ubud and as we were driving out of town I recognized many places, such as where we had our classes or many restaurants and stores I had gone in to. It was at this point that all those feelings of melancholy hit me. It’s shocking to see how close I got to this village in the span of a few weeks.

The drive up to Sideman was the most beautiful thing ever. It was nice to listen to some chill music and enjoy endless views of nature in all directions. Our hotel is probably the nicest place I’ve ever stayed at. After looking at everyone’s room I have to say the boys lucked out on this one. Our room is a cute little two story house. Jean and Aidan share the bottom floor while Cesar and I stay upstairs. We have a spacious balcony that looks over an expansive landscape of hundreds of trees and shades of green. It was going to be hard to get me down from up here while most people were down to the pool. I decided to stay in my room and write in my journal.

Last night, it was raining all night long. Before bed I decide to take a shower it was soothing and meditating as an amalgamation of hot water from the shower and cold rain water fell upon me. I went to bed to the sounds of rain pouring down onto our roof and had the most amazing sleep of my whole life. Definitely a big change from the motorcycles back in Ubud. I can’t wait to relax and reflect over the next few days.


Last games & Goodbyes…


Our new home in Sideman…