More photos & Departing Ubud…

Dear all,

I’ve just added a bunch more photos to the past few days. We’re all caught up!

As you know, we’re preparing to depart Ubud around noon today. It has really become a home away from home… It will be hard to say goodbye, even as new adventures await…

We’re not sure how internet connection & speed will be where we are headed next in Sedeman and Candidasa. Hopefully we’ll have enough bandwidth to continue having the crew post a message each night. We’re not sure though if photos will be possible to load. We’ll give it our best shot!

Enjoy this last spell of time, before our return home in the blink of an eye.

We are so grateful to be journeying with your magical group of young people. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Palms together,

Kineret

Coming to an End

Hello everyone! Hope all is well and intact in America!

We all miss our families so much and hope you all are doing great. Here in Bali, since we’ve gotten back from home stay, its been very relaxing yet kind of sad that our time here in Ubud is coming to an end. Today was a very unique and restful day for us. This morning we of course woke up for morning walks and breakfast. But a unique twist happened after our banana pancakes; we were completely free the whole day. We were given the opportunity to finish spending our money at the market or at the ice cream stand (depending on what kind of child you have), we also had to pack and got to go to lunch by ourselves or in small groups.

Today, Marie, Hank and I left early to the market and finished our shopping. It has been raining so much here for the past 3 days and so today while going to market Marie and I had long sweats and our jackets on so by the time we got to our second store in the market, Marie and I were grossly dripping sweat and about to pass out because of the humidity and the “not that bad” heat. After our time in town, we came back to the hotel. Marie and I should’ve started packing but instead we just wanted to be lazy and watch videos. After being lazy and typical teenagers we took our clean but still wet clothes to a laundry place near by just to get dried because with all the humidity our clothes weren’t getting any dryer. While they were being dried, we went to eat lunch and went to a mini-mart. We then, came back to our hotel and I took some naps and by the time I woke up it was time for dinner.

Dinner tonight was amazing and a great way to end our stay in Ubud. We went to Anom and Nonik’s house. They served us a delicious soup, rice, tofu, pork satay, vegetables, tempeh and peanut crackers and a delicious sticky rice and coconut desert. It was truly a treat to eat all that delicious food but also sad to take final pictures. Our time here in Ubud was such an amazing experience and a place we can call home away from home.

Sadly, tomorrow morning (Saturday) we will leave Ubud and head to a new hotel in Sidemen. Although it will be hard saying more goodbyes, I am very excited to make new memories and experience another part of Bali for a few days. Please forgive me for my blog being a little bit shorter than usual but now I really do have to pack because my pillow rudely pulled me away from packing earlier. Hope you all have a great weekend! Love you all!

-Deanza

Shopping!

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Dinner and puppets with Anom and Nonik

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The Top of the Hill Has Been Reached

Today was a really busy and exciting day as any other but this time it was a little extra. I started off the day by going to the coffee shop and then returning to eat my banana pancake breakfast. After that we all headed off to give our performance.

The performance was really nerve-wrecking yet really amazing. The performance consisted of three different scenes which were the Gamelon, tinklet, and the dances. The guys and I had to wear makeup and we were low-key embarrassed, but what happens in Bali stays in Bali! The overall of the performance was great, especially because our audience consisted of the local students from the village where we stayed during our homestay.

After the performance, we all ate together as a family. We also spent time together because the rain had trapped us luckily. The students gave us presents and made us feel very special. This is what I love from the Balinese people, as they accepted us beside being different in certain aspects. They welcomed us to become part of their family. They made us feel at home. I will always will be grateful for having the opportunity for meeting these amazing people! They will always have a place in my heart.

-Cesar

Getting ready 

Ready to dance

Our friends from the village who came to support us

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After the Performance

Final Day of Homestay

Halo everyone! As you may already know, we had just returned from our home-stay yesterday and I want to take the time to talk about the second full day we were there at Munduk Pakel.

It started off with a small walk up a hill and a beautiful sunrise early in the morning. Then, each of us returned to our designated homes where our lovely Bali Mothers awaited for us with out breakfast. Let me just say, it was the best food I’ve tasted so far!

Then, around eight o’clock, everyone met up at the “big classroom.” Right after we arrived, the local students had just gotten there too. Not soon after, our guru (teacher), Ibu Ari started her presentation about Balinese healing and medicine. It was a very detailed topic to discuss so I think I’ll leave that to the students upon our arrival home. However, I do want to mention the one thing that really fascinated me. The Balian. In the Balinese culture, the Balians are chosen healers who use mostly herbal medicine to cure mental illness, joint pain, headaches, and other minor sicknesses. There are also two kinds of Balians, the left-handed one (who practiced black magic) and the right-handed one (who practiced with goodness). This certain topic caught my eye because we have a similar kind of Balian in my culture. We just call them medicine men, though.

After this lesson, we went to collect different types of plants with Ibu Ari’s mother and another elderly man (Pa Gusti). We didn’t know what we were looking for but Aidan held the basket for medicine herbs, Dee held the basket for herb offerings, and I held the basket for cooking herbs. I can’t remember all the kinds of plant we collected altogether but I know it included a piece of bark, turmeric, and lemongrass.

After this, we returned to Ibu Ari’s mother’s house and we made Sambal with the plants that were categorized as “food” . I’m not sure what Sambal actually means but it was served on sticky rice and it was absolutely delicious. We even made our own plates out of banana leaves! It was a real homemade meal. Before we knew it, it was time to eat for lunch. More food!!

Eventually, it was time for a Balinese/English language session. This time we played games like telephone where you whisper a sentence in one person’s ear and you pass it on the next person on the other side of you. These sentences were in Indonesian so it was twice as hard. It ended with a game of Defenders & Attackers. The defenders would line up with enough space in front and in back of them for people to run through and basically, the defenders would try and not let the attackers pass them. It was fun but very tiring.

The day winded down with making coconut bowls. Most of us finished carving our coconut bowls out and those people went on and played volleyball with others. The ones who did not finished stayed back. Oh and guess what, it was raining! It had only started raining when we were playing games. So I’m not sure how muddy volleyball was but it was peaceful watching the rain while finishing my coconut bowl.

Finally, we all returned to our homes and ate a nice home cooked meal. By then, I called it a day! I hope every one is well! Sumpai jumpa lagi!

-Toni

Collecting herbs and learning a little bit more with Ibu Ari

Making sambal and an herb topical ointment with herbs we collected

Time with new friends and carving coconut bowls

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A New Way of Living. (Day 2 of Homestay)

Today was our very first full day in Munduk Pakel; the village in which our homestay is located. So far staying here has been a bit challenging, yet it’s still pretty amazing. It has been interesting to truly experience the way of life in Bali and really get to know what it’s like to be engaged with the people here.

At 7:00 am my day started off eating breakfast at my new house, in my new room. First off, let me just start off by saying that I have never had so much food fed to me in my life! My mother, Ibu Puspa cooked me a nice bowl of rice and noodles with an egg on the side. For my desert, I had these really weird green square things; which names I can’t recall, or what it was made of for that matter. Either way, they were good and I’m still alive. Oh I also can’t forget to mention her amazing sweet tea.

After breakfast, I made my way over to the main building in the village were our classes take place. Immediately, when we arrived we were sent back to ask our parents for a hoe and a hat for the work to be done in the rice paddy fields later on in the morning. However, before we could actually experience hands on we had an introduction presentation on the irrigation/agricultural system here in Bali, and what it actually means to the people.

Finally, it was time to “work” and actually experience. In all honesty, this was one of the things I have been looking forward to in the trip. Why, well because I wanted to see the differences between working in my family field and working in a rice paddy field. I really enjoyed it here because the whole time you get to be in the water that fills the entire paddy. Our job was to make the ground flat in order to prepare it for the newly planted rice seeds. We did this by breaking up the big chunks of mud in the water, putting them into little pieces and then stepping on it with our feet. My favorite part of the whole experience, though it didn’t actually involve working, was when we had a mud race/fight with the local kids in the area.

Now that we were all muddy it was time to mundi (bathe) in the river. Before, we could actually get in though two local girls in the village had to give an offering at the temple next to the river. The purpose was to ask permission and to make sure it was okay for us to be in there, and after this was done we may enter.

It is now noon time, which means lunch time at Ibu Ari’s house. Ari, is our teacher and main host here in the village. She is also one of the best cooks in Bali. The food she prepared for us was always sooo good!

After eating, we headed back up to the class to learn more of the Indonesian language from the local students. This class was really enjoyable because it is where we really got to know more about the students themselves. All had very different names to remember at first and a friendly welcoming aura. All of them were pretty funny and smart. After getting to know everyone a bit we said our goodbyes so that way they could head back home at a decent time.

We then started to work on some some coconut bowls that were given to us by our families, that you soon will see. Working on the coconut bowls was quite challenge. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool to see the progress we made by the end of the class.

When we all got tired we moved on and headed to the villages local volleyball court were I watched a very funny and intense game between the locals and the rest of the group. My favorite part of watching the game was when Aidan joined me and we started making weird noises every time someone would hit the ball (don’t ask why). We stayed here for a good amount of time, and when we got back home we had ourselves a bit of downtime before dinner.

When I arrived to my house I was immediately greeted by my little sister Krista, her friend Kutu, as well as, another little girl who was way too shy to say her name. They all gave me flowers with a nice smile and continued to follow me around. I then thought to myself that this would be an appropriate time to give them my gifts I had brought which was; a box of crayons and some paper to draw on. Seeing their faces light up when they received their gifts instantly made me feel so happy inside. It really was a special moment for me that cannot be explained through words on a screen, it is something that I definitely won’t forget.

I then received my dinner from mother. While eating my dinner, I watched my little sisters color some amazing pictures that they ended by giving to me when I was all finished with my food. Each one had a message inside that I was very happy to read.

After dinner, me and my Ibu (mom) went into my room where she dressed me up in my sarong. I have never felt more comfortable in one! I then proceeded on going to the building were we to play gamelan and learn from new teachers in the village. Learning from them was a whole new experience, nevertheless they were the same from our other teachers in some aspects. I enjoyed learning from them because we now some new songs that are specifically tied to the village.

Now, it has been a full day of way more experiencing and learning and I’m ready to wrap this up so good night to us and good morning to you in New Mexico.

-Tonesha

Welcome dinner with Ibu Ari (far left) and Ibu Ari’s mom (second from left) at Ibu Ari’s home

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First glimpse of light and Mount Agung …

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Enjoying the early morning together

Working in the rice paddy… sort of…

After a little bit of work… satu, dua, tigga!

The temple by the river where we offering is made before bathing

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Afternoon volleyball game… a few minutes before it got serious! 

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Home Stay Day 1

Once upon a time in a land far far away, there were 8 kids going to a home stay. They were all nervous and excited to have this new adventure but none of them really knew what was in store.

We went to a little village in Tabanan that was quite beautiful and nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Local teens met us and walked us into the village. They all were so kind and joyous to be around. Everyone we saw smiled and welcomed us into their village. We met in a big class called (you guessed it!) “the big class” and had a nice little introduction to the village with Ibu Ary, the woman who organised the home stay plans. The families we stay with speak minimal English so we have to figure out how to communicate with the limited Indonesian and Balinese we know. Learning about how to live in the village, even for just a few days, was very cool and different.

Since there are no sit-down toilets in the village, we had to watch a video that showed how to use an Indonesian toilet. That was definitely some quality interesting-ness, to say the least. We also learned that, in order to take a shower, you have to bathe in the river or with a ladle in the bathroom.

After the initial introduction, we all met at Ibu Ary’s house for dinner and then to listen to Gamelan afterwards. The guys playing the Gamelan let us play and we tried to play the songs we had learned in our classes in Ubud… we were pretty successful. They then taught us some traditional Gamelan songs which was really interesting and fun.

Even being here just a day has been so eye-opening. We are seeing how the Balinese people really live their lives. It is so cool and I know we will learn so much more and experience new adventures during the next few days.

Hope all is good back in the Fe!

-Marie

Welcome to the village…

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Evening ended with dinner and Gamelon

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A Brief Recap (Post-Homestay)

It’s Aidan again. Hello everyone.

So, the homestay. We left in the morning, on monday. We drove for about 2 hours through beautiful scenery, most of which I missed cause I was asleep. I cannot explain why cars make me so sleepy, but they do. The actual village itself runs on one long street, and is occupied by 500 or so people.

Upon arrival, we where greeted by a large group of Balinese youth our own age, and walked for another 40 minutes to the village, talking with them. They belonged to an English club, and spoke better English than many americans I’ve met, myself included. For the majority of the walk, I talked with a boy, who oddly enough was named Mike. We talked a lot about movies. At the village, we met Bu Ari, our teacher from the village. We also drew paper slips to see who we’d be staying with, then proceeded to meet them at Bu Ari’s house.

My own mother was a gruff sort, but very kind, keeping an endless supply of crisps stocked in my room. Later, we ate dinner at Bu Ari’s house. Something to note: the food was delicious, and there was too much of it. After dinner we played Gamelan with the villagers, and ended up embarrassing ourselves. After that, we went home for bed, and I ended up sleeping well, for all three nights. The bed was indoors, and comfy.

The next day, the main activity was working in a rice paddy, and smoothing the dirt there. We also had a mud race, which was fun. We also got to wash down at the river, which was too COLD. After language lessons, we started work on our coconut bowls, and I’m proud to say that after two days I completed my very own bowl. We also had lessons, and got to hang out with the Bali kids more. In the evening, the villagers performed the “flirtation” dance. This involves a woman going around and getting people to dance on the stage beside her. This ended up including old women, babies, even Bu Ari. And our own group of course (Erik got pulled up 3 times, by 3 different dancers).

Something I forgot to mention was watching the sunrise. I got up early to watch twice, and it’s beautiful. Muslim/religious singing echoes around the valley, stark white herons glide and settle among the tops of the trees. THAT was definitely something I will remember for a long, long time. Anywho, the third day was similar in schedule to the second. Activity in the morning, lunch, then afternoons with lessons. Truthfully, there’s too much to type, at least in a timely fashion. What i will say is that the homestay was radically different to the Bali id already experienced, on top of the whole “other country” thing. Something magical.

That’s all i can write, INEEDSLEEP.

-Aidan

More homestay photos!

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Photos added to last 4 days!

Dear all,

A few more photos still to come to accompany Jean’s post from yesterday. Will aim to post those (if possible) before we leave for homestay in a few hours. We want to leave you with lots of photos to enjoy during the days we go quiet here.

We’ll continue writing blog posts while on homestay, which we will post once we return to Ubud (inshalla) on Wednesday, our time.

Love all your comments coming through!

Great blessings from this magical land of ocean, lushness, delicious coffee, ceremony and heart-opening welcome…

Kineret

we got ice cream

In this blog I’m going to explain the day backwards because I’m a little bored and I think it might be cool. About 5 minutes ago we got some ice cream and ate it as we walked back from a pretty good dinner on Kajeng street. We were joined by an awesome Balinese girl named Uchi who is attending college in Denpassar. She is studying to become an English teacher so it was very easy to talk with her, which was a nice change. She explained a little bit about living in Bali from the perspective of a college student which we hadn’t heard much about before. Then halfway through dinner she asked us the dreaded question, “What will you guys do after high school” to which not a single one of us had an answer to. We all cried as we began to think about our futures and the big changes that are coming.

My group had our last painting class today. I had a lot of work to do but with some help I managed to finish inking my entire picture. Balinese-style painting is something that I really enjoyed doing and it’s sad that I probaly won’t do it agin for awhile. I’m also going to miss our teacher Gusti who I’m sure must be a god. Our paintings came out kinda good, I think, and I like the work we did in his class.

We spent our morning at a huge market 35 minutes south of Ubud. We did a little shopping for some stuff to bring back to America. I really enjoyed doing this but it’s not because I like buying stuff. It’s because of the interactions I had and game of bargaining in Indonesian. I am horrible at saying no when someone asks be to buy something so I suck at bargaining. But I was successful twice and I loved feeling my Indonesian get a lot easier.

This morning after a quick walk through the rice patties I headed over to my favorite place in Ubud, Iwan’s coffee shop. Today, when we arrived, he had about five pieces of equipment spread out on a tiny table. He explained to us that to own a coffee shop you only need these five things, which aren’t expensive at all. And then he demonstrated it by making us the most amazing moccachino in the world. Then we all took turns using the new equipment to make ourselves coffee. By the time I left I felt like I should buy those five things and start my own coffee shop. Iwan’s attitude, work ethic, and wisdom make me inspired every day. My only problem with him is that today he said soccer was a stupid game : (

That was my day in Bali today and I hope everyone is well back home. If you didn’t already know, tomorrow we head to a small village for three days so this will probably be the last blog for a while. Also communication there is difficult so if you don’t hear from your kid its not because they hate you. Sampai Jumpa Lagi!!!!

-Jean

At market in Sukawati

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Coffee a la Ewan

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With paintings & Gusti