Back to Bali and Home Again…

After a teary eyed morning of good-byes and a last coffee at Cafe Mama, an airport drop-off, lunch and a Starbucks, I arrived to my gate to board to Bali to meet my dearest friend of 21 years from the states. Back to Bali. How lucky am I? To explore my heaven on earth and share it with my friend! The best feeling!


Our first stop was the village of Ubud. Nestled among the rain forested mountains, our homestay was quaint and had the cutest balcony for viewing the starry night sky, feeling the breeze above the orange rooftops, seeing the sunrise, and hearing the morning roosters! We started the day with power yoga at the Yoga Barn and cooled off with organic juice and energy snacks. Our early afternoon walk took us through the town and to Monkey Forest, where a monkey climbed my leg and stole my water bottle! Naughty monkey. (Third water bottle gone in about a year! Sorry Lori…) Later in the day we shopped at local stands, ate Indian food, and got pedicures. Let’s not talk about our awful waxing experience.



























The next day we woke up early to call a taxi to drive us to Sanur. We had arranged for our very first…SURF LESSON. After some instruction, we paddled out with our instructor, Eka. Amazingly enough we popped up and each rode our first wave! We continued to do well…granted the waves were only 1-2 feet, but both of us do yoga and work out, so am thinking that helped our surfing success. We are basically pros now you know. 😉 Cheers with a Bintang at 11 a.m? I think so! Off to snooze a bit before grilling freshly speared fish with my friend’s brother-in-law and his guests on the beach. Met a lovely Dutch couple and a surfer from Hawaii. Great company and Great food—and I don’t usually eat fish. But this fish. No words…so delicious! Spices and lime, vegetables, rice with the waves splashing against the sand at a local beach bar.
We headed to Padang Bai the following morning and took a fast boat to Gili Trawangan, where we stayed for two nights at Tir Na Nog hotel. A delightful, comfortable room with a cute patio and a bar that had fabulous drink specials. We met a couple Canadians and Dutch travelers and spent the day hanging out with them and watching the sunset. Sweet Sea Sunset Serenity. My favorite thing…watching the sunset with a cool cocktail in hand. We left the group and went back to freshen up before dinner and meeting an Australian friend who we talked with the rest of the night. Cheers mate!
Rode bikes around the island of Gili T before our snorkeling adventure. Laura had never been snorkeling before, what an experience in the clearest teal waters! We headed to the Pearl Beach Lounge for happy hour and beach relaxation before our seafood dinner at Scallywags. Yum!

we couldn’t decide on a drink… 😛
The next day brought a round of sickness after watching the sunrise, before boarding the fast boat back to Padang Bai. We arrived and went back to the Lemon House, a place I previously stayed over Christmas. They welcomed me back and were happy to meet Laura too! We got coconut and coffee scrubs at Bloo Lagoon Spa and ate at Naya’s Warung. The lady recognized me too…it was so sweet! Her husband also was able to be our driver for the next day’s trip to the airport. A chill night for us.
Set our alarms for sunrise. Beautiful and calm. A stunning site to see to end our last day in Bali. Headed to the beach for coconut pancakes and pineapple juice. Wonderful to see my Warung friends there too; how special it was to introduce them to Laura and chat with them again! Perfect beach sun and waves. Scouted for shells before having a coffee by the port and packing up to head to the airport.
And just like that. 8 hour flight from Bali to Doha (Qatar). 8 hour layover. 15 hours from Doha to Dallas with me at the window and Laura on the aisle and an empty seat in the middle. Thank goodness. 2 hours to get my bag and go through immigration and customs in Dallas. And an 1 1/2 later I landed in Dallas about 8:30 p.m on Thursday May 28th after 7months of teaching and exploring Indonesia. My life just went from 100mph to a screeching halt.
I’ve been home just a week now. The summertime freshness of rain and green grass fills my senses. I can feel coolness again. There are no goats. No slamming metal doors. No calls of “mister.” No street stands. The quietness and peacefulness against the past craziness soothes my soul. I need time to stun, to swing on my porch swing. To slow down. But I miss my friends. The colors. The random things that caught my eye. Home is sweet. Home is wonderful. It is also disorienting. Like I don’t know what to soak in…my eyes are adjusting to the surroundings I have always known but have become unfamiliar with as my time abroad increases. For lack of better words…it’s weird. I’m grateful to have a home to come back to, a family who loves me, and friends who support me. I know that I am blessed. and loved. So thank you all. 🙂

Oh darlin’ my heart’s on fire…

Pardon the delay in posting this blog.

Well I don’t know how and I don’t know why
When something’s living well you can’t say die
You feel like laughing but you start to cry
I don’t know how and I don’t know why

Well, I don’t have many and I don’t have much
In fact I don’t have any but I got enough
‘Cause I know those eyes and I know that touch
I don’t have many and I don’t have much

Oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire
For you
Well I don’t know where and I don’t know when
But I know we’ll be lovers again
I’ll see you someday before the end
I don’t know where and I don’t know when
But oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire

You know those love songs will break your heart
You know those love songs will break your heart
You know those love songs will break your heart

love love love this melodic tune. This one too.

how to explain my life? well the day started bright and sunny, saw a goat slaughtered on my way to the gym, worked out in a half lit room because the electricity went out, missed getting sideswiped by motorcyclists by centimeters while walking to drop off my laundry that will be expressed and ready by 8p.m. all pressed, folded, and sealed in plastic, hailed a taxi, spoke Bahasa to say the directions while on a whatsapp call with a friend back home, met my Australian friend for coffee as the day clouded up to pour rain, got out of a taxi, walked to my gate- stepped over the sewer- and a chicken crossed my path, for dinner, I will probably walk to the neighborhood warung to get rice and vegetables, and to top everything, for the week we are on standby because of immigration inspections so I’m not allowed to be at the office.

And the next week I walk along the street and grass because there is no sidewalk  and a bunch of kids carrying a makeshift fishing pole and net call out ‘bule’ (meaning foreigner) to me as I walk to a donut shop with free WiFi for reading and coffee. The old men in their street stand stalls and the becak drivers wave a friendly hi as well.

The day before I went to church and sang “Amazing Grace” in Bahasa Indonesia. My friend the translated the sermon for me over coffee and traditional snacks, our Sunday ritual. A little boy came over to where we were sitting on the patio and started a simple English conversation with me. So cute. He left and brought me back a flower “I picked this for you Miss” and I promptly stuck the flower in my hair. He ran over to his mom and whispered, then returned and said to me, “Miss, you are so beautiful,” heart melt  from a five year old.

I only have 10 days left in Makassar and on Thursday I will be going to Singapore for another visa run. I will meet a friend I met last year in Taiwan who moved back to Singapore to live with her family.

Blue skies radiate my Google weather app…bright sunshine… and 90 plus degrees. And I’m wearing pants. Because that’s the norm I’ve been accustomed to alleviate stares even though my hair is now light from being bleached blond and red with mixes of light brown by the strong sun and my skins glows white against the tanned locals’ and they still stare.

A hot mess I will be, coming home to my 5,000 population town in the Nebraska countryside. Where the only noise is the passing midnight train, an occasional siren or car alarm triggered, and birds tweeting in the trees. Where the air is fresh and rich, especially after a springtime rain, lucious and fragrent,reeking of earth and flowers. Where my white porch swing sways in a calm summer breeze or bangs against the siding in a storm. And I’m torn.

Torn between each country I’ve left and where I belong. Or at least where I hope to belong. But don’t. Because I belong everywhere and nowhere. And I struggle. With wanting to tell every story and burying all my adventures in my mind. With guilt of experiencing the unexplainable and jealousy of everyone’s  settled lives. The emotions I feel I often ignore and can converse politely  with anyone that asks “how was your trip?” My heart is burned  with wanting to tell every good and crazy thing instead of brushing the question with a “it was good. I had fun.” Because who really wants to know about how I think it’s so cool when a taxi has a rockin’ sound system that blasts the entire Westlife collection on repeat  or when I can bargain with another taxi driver for a lower fare by speaking Bahasa. Not to mention seeing shacks and shambles with people smiling and going about their business. Because life is too short not to smile. And that’s not even touching the surface of what I have known these past 4 years of traveling.

I spent the past weekend in Singapore. (May 14-16) And I felt out of place. Out of place among the glittery modern city skyline. Out of place among the organization. Out of place among the throngs of people looking down. While I’m looking up. Looking up at the giant skyscrapers towering over the 100 year old buildings in Chinatown with their quaint colors and shuttered windows opened for an afternoon breeze. Looking up at the dusky sky after the noonday rain clouds streaked with orange and pink of the setting sun. Looking up at the greenery, palm trees, and city parks. Looking up at the glamourous bustling city. My eyes had to adjust. What a stark contrast to where I’ve been living for the past 7 months. My favorite part? Flying in. Flying in, over the harbour and a 100 plus boats lit up, reflecting on the water…the skyline sparkling, lights bouncing and shimmering on the calm waters below. Amazing site to see.

Now I have two days left. Two days of Makassar. Two days of kids, of friends, of my cafes, of becaks, of goatman, of my house, of this life I’ve built. And I’m enjoying every second. Soaking up the sun and laughter…

Rich_O Donuts and Coffee

my crazy vantage point

easy Sunday  morning

we love pretty hair after
traditional Creambath!

Singapore airport

local food shop

my favorite!

bubble tea! another fave!

rules are real here

China town

sleek city skyline

love the colors of China town

stark contrast…traditional and modern

another skyline…

Two of the funniest kiddos EVER!!!

"Real Connection with Poor Connection"

Kuala Lumpur. This city has been on my radar for a few years now. See post a couple years back when I did a blog title series on country capitals. Went for a weekend to renew my visa. Sat by a Malaysian on the way and we chatted about his life in Malaysian and his Indian heritage and the food and what to see. He bought me Malaysian food on the plane since I didn’t have any Ringgits (Malaysian currency). How nice. He introduced me to his friend who helped me navigate the public train from the airport to the city center since it was at night.

I took a cab from the central station to my hotel. Arriving at night is my favorite time…Sparkling City Lights of skyscrapers and the Petronas Towers from KL Sentral down Jalan Ampang…

I stayed at the Nomad SuCasa. It was a bit more like apartment style rooms and a tad older. However, it was located on Embassy row, a prime location for international cuisine and right across the street from a yoga studio. During the day I shopped (yay Victoria’s Secret and H and M!) and walked around the city. In the afternoon I did yoga. Then had to decide what to eat…I had Arabian cuisine…hummus and Turkish marinated grilled chicken. Yumm. I probably should have had authentic Malaysian cuisine. But I wanted something different than rice. And I just wanted to take it easy…having a huge room and comfortable bed…half the time I just wanted to relish in the comforts of my hotel room! After that I walked back to the subway station to go a station over to view the famous Petronas Towers. Beautiful city lights and fountains surrounding the area. Very modern and shiny. It was fun to be in the city for a day! Such a switch up from my current location. (I mean the taxi driver wanted to give me change back?!! and there were sidewalks!) It was a good 36 hours in the city…back to Makassar on Sunday!

morning perch at DOME cafe

am I the only one who notices how the light
hits the building windows
and sends diamonds cascading down?

Sitting outside at a usual cafe (Zodiac Cafe). I found this song playing on the stereo. Fabulous. Makes me want to dance and feel free on this Friday afternoon of recapping and thinking about the past couple weeks and the weeks ahead. Today started off breezy and cool, even a few drops of rain…soon it turned to blue skies and heat blew through the cool breeze. hot hot hot! So glad I don’t have to work until 2 today. Allocating hours for an event on Saturday.

Real Connection with Poor Connection.” My dear Taiwanese friend titled this blog so perfectly. No matter where we are in this world the connections you make with people should be real…the conversations. the laughs. the words of advice. Real. No matter how often technology shakes up the connection to blurred words and fuzzy pictures…I know she and others are real friends. For communicating with me despite challenging connections. For listening to my real stories of the goats, bugs, everyday happenings, and so much more.

Hard to believe I only have 3.5 weeks left here. You all know how I get when I leave a country. And this time is no different. A mixture of anticipation, excitement, sadness, and other emotions that basically make me crazy. Advanced apologies are in order. You know how hard it is to leave the kiddos, friends, and the life I’ve made for 7 months? It’s a challenge and struggle that is hard to explain to most people. Despite being pretty sick my first few months and the rocky start and ups and downs throughout…I have made this place livable and “home” in the end.

Lazy Saturday night. Rain. Old Photos. Peace and Quiet. And My Reflections. I danced in the pouring rain today. Sometimes you just gotta do that. Yesterday I tried a traditional afternoon snack from a cart called Es Putar. Ice-cream, avocado, jack fruit, tapioca, and brown sugar powder. Yummy! My friend calls me “completely and totally” Indonesian. To me, this is the highest compliment. For immersing myself into another culture can be awkward. I don’t fit in and people stare, ask questions, and perhaps don’t think I appreciate things about their culture. But I try. So hard. To blend in. To try new things. To learn. To be apart of their everyday lives as a friend. Because the people are the most important thing about living in another country. I am privileged to have met each and every one of them. 

OH Yes! I almost forgot…last Monday! One of my kids had said to me in a previous class (the Unit is on Food)

“Miss, donuts are yummy, I like donuts. And coffee. I like cafe.” You know what kiddo? Me too. “Miss I will bring you a donut.” Fabulous. So we had donut day with these silly kids.

And during progress test grading I found this reading gem…Nebraska History!


Midnight Daydream


How quickly I come undone 
Like melting ice on the sun 
Why would that stop when I’m falling free 
Midnight daydream
Falling free. A whirlwind of everything. Minutes. Hours. Days. Months. Only seven weeks til I’m stateside. But first. I melted down. You know when everything around you adds up and you don’t have the mental capacity to hold it in any longer and the tears just fall. And you don’t really know the exact reason. They just fall. Like I couldn’t pass by another homeless person without picturing their story or look another kid selling me a newspaper without wondering “why aren’t you in school?” Or holding my breath on my run because of the sewer stench. I just need to keep my eyes focused on the blue sky and bright morning sun colors. That day. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. The day I wished my room was all glass so I could see outside from my bed. The four walls were claustrophobic that morning. Oh how I wished for so many windows. 
The next day was better. And the days that followed I regained mental strength. Because how else is a person supposed to keep living in a perfect bubble without a reality check? A realidty check of personal strength, depths to love, and a clearer vision of this beautiful world. I couldn’t contain the bubble any longer. I had to pop it. Again and again. To fully know myself. To know the world. To see people. and be able to look them in the eye. Maybe somedays I don’t want to pop the bubble of my world. Somedays I want to hide behind my own reality and not enter into someone else’s reality. Because that’s tough. Allowing yourself to be exposed into judgement and criticism that’s often returned with unexpected love and kindness. Forgiving your own selfish judgements and in return trying to love the first time before the judgments sink in and take over. 
Good Friday. The day He died for us. Let it continue to be a Good Day. Because Life took our place. And Love redeemed us all. For our sins. For our judgments. And then He Rose Again; on the third day. Easter.

And this year. We don’t have to work. My dear friend and I will go to Friday morning Good Friday service. I am so excited. To be able to be surrounded by a community of believers. For the first time in my abroad travels. I am so blessed.

My Australian friend and I did a “stay cation” at a local hotel. We ate at local side street restaurants and found a new cafe. Watched the sunset and ate dessert. Got pampered with a pedicure too. So relaxing and wonderful to spend the night away from my house. The hotel was clean and smelled lovely!

Sunday Morning. Easter Morning. Woke up at 3 am for 4am service. I found myself seated in a red plastic chair under a dark sky. Colored lights changed to light up the outside stage area. Church. Guitars strummed and the piano played. Scriptures were read. I brought the English translation. Songs sung in Bahasa mimicked those ones I grew up with. Sacred singing in a foreign language with words I have trouble pronouncing sometimes. I do my best. Holy Morning. Sun breaking through the darkening sky. We prayed and the next thing the sky had split to blue. Amazing. A cool breeze against the warming day. Our Lord Has Risen!

Coffee and cafe chat afterwards. A beautiful sunny morning. Ran in the park later. And now the thunderclouds roll in to pour down the rain and cool the earth again. Fresh breeze. Island smells. Dirt. Fish. Flowers. All perfumed together.

The past month has been filled with sunrises and sunsets…Cannot believe it’s April~

kids waiting for cake at
I-Care Community Saturday event

cafe signs.

my lovely students

Good Friday lunch
voted Makassar Favorite Culinary…

red velvet cupcakes

splitsky sunset

Easter Morning

Come Mister Tally Man…
Tally me banana
Daylight come…

looking up from a park bench on Easter Sunday…

"Let’s Take a Photo"

Background on the title: “Let’s Take a Photo” is a Small Star Level (age 4-6) video in Unit 2 about Family. My co-teacher and I made a joke about it one day and started saying “let’s take a photo.” The video is silly and fun…it’s about the Small Star characters pointing out family members in a photo and then taking one of their own and describing themselves as happy, angry, or excited…

Bara Beach

Taking photos. Taking good photos. Taking candid photos. Taking landscapes photos. I love capturing a moment. To remember. To share.

But taking photos does not replace the emotions swarming in your mind when the photo is being taken. It doesn’t replace the depth of the valley or the vastness of the sea. You must feel, see, and be captivated by this yourself. A photo is merely a memory to reflect on these senses deepening your capacity to feel and understand and see things beyond normalcy.

I will never fully be able to capture the slivers of teal or the shimmering crystal clear water or the millions of sunlit diamonds. But I took a photo to try. To try to show the colors, the depth, the beauty. I am awestruck.

Because even though I smile and take photos…in my mind there are a million emotions flooding through. Of places I should be. Like Home. With family. Especially during these days.

A photo doesn’t do the streaming sunlight through a cafe window on a clear blue sky day justice. The happiness feeling…the joy felt despite the sadness…it doesn’t show the strength…the mentality needed to live each day to the fullness. It only provokes these feelings when seen.

Provocative photos. Of brilliant colors, lights, smiles, dimples of laugh out loud smiles…not the provocative photos you may think of, but the unbelievable amount of beauty in a photograph that provokes extreme feelings.

Kirana~ formal Bahasa used in literature…
meaning light and rainbow:
a symbol of hope and promise
Thanks Lini for your handwriting!

kids just wanna have fun!

8 am smiles!

strength. endurance. breathe.
peace of mind.

my Indonesian bestie
love this lady! 
rambutan!! yum~

Just a goat eating durian
in a trash pile on the beach

breakfast at the beach bungalows

my dear dear friend…you inspire me so!

breakfast view

just a random boat trip
morning snorkeling
clear water…sunshine!

Bira and Bara Beach are located about 5 hours from Makassar by car. We stayed at Nusa Bira Indah Cottages. We arrived late on Friday night. The next day we spent lounging around Bira Beach and a beach near a coconut grove. The beach was floury white sand…once you got past the bit of trash and a couple goats rummaging through the piles…it was beautiful. Clear and clean waters all around! It was so relaxing and the perfect getaway from the busy city of Makassar! For dinner, we ate at a decent restaurant called Salassa…we made our dinner order a couple hours in advance. It was delicious traditional Indonesian cuisine. The next morning a few of us in the group woke up early so we headed to Bara Beach Bungalows to have breakfast overlooking the ocean. YUM! They served an American-style breakfast complete with eggs, toast, fresh orange juice, and smooth black coffee. And an absolutely stunning view! During breakfast, a man offered to take us out on his boat for swimming and snorkeling. A delightful morning even though I went swimming in my regular clothes because I didn’t wear my swimsuit to breakfast! Ohh well…the water was incredible..the clearest I have ever seen. Such a peaceful sunny morning at the beach. On the way home, we stopped at Appalarang, a place for cliff diving… don’t be fooled by the internet pictures; though it’s beautiful, there was a lot of trash in the ocean and it was a dirty area with lots of people…the drive down was a bit tricky too. We stopped a couple more hours later at a quaint seaside resto called Kampoeng Nelayan. A good selection of traditional Indonesian dishes and according to the others, (I don’t eat fish) great seafood. Pretty views of the sunset to end our weekend road trip to the beach!

lime green and teal.

group photo!

back to the basics.

Sometimes. You just need a moment. At the cross. Draped in purple cloth. Awful fluorescent lights glowing behind it. But the simplicity. Of a random room in a government building. A foreign language understood only through urgency, expression, and emotion. A message translated by a dear friend at our favorite cafe on this sunny Sunday morning. I needed this.

Chinese New Year Coffee at Esprezza.

Sometimes. Waves of homesickness crash in unexpectedly. Usually over a song. A memory. A photograph. A joke. And the curable solution is to get out of the house and take my mind from the safe space of wallowing. Much better.

Sunday Sunset

Sometimes. The little things make me giggle for the longest time. My friend bought me coffee from a “fancier than a warkop, but not as fancy as a cafe” shop. They don’t do to-go coffee…so they cleaned out a plastic bottle and poured the latte in. Delicious. And it left me giggling throughout the day. Not to mention it was only 15,000 rP or $1.16.

Sometimes. Listening to the waves after a hectic day soothes the soul. So taking a taxi through rush hour traffic is worth it. Sunset vibrance and shimmers cascade on the waves. And ice-cream on a rooftop above the chaos is enough to cure the pounding in my head.

Wednesday Sunset

Sometimes. The smiles and laughter and chatter of the street kids brighten the rainy days…no matter how tired or sweaty from the gym I am. Dozens of high-fives all around. Maybe I should be concerned when they started begging for money and pulling on my clothes…and the goat guys shooed them away…I love the glitter in their eyes and excited shrieks…trying not to worry too much and being extra careful when I have my purse.

Sometimes. Getting up early no matter how restless the sleep is feels better. I have started running 2-3 days a week. It’s getting easier to A. wake up B. dodge traffic C. actually run fast. without stopping (so much).

best day to run? Chinese New Year morning!

Sometimes. It’s the sweet moments. Like finding the cutest decorated cookies at a local cafe. A hug from a student. Cards in the mail. A comment from the boss and his wife telling me thank you for all I’ve done and that they are going to miss me! (I replied saying I have about 3 more months and they responded with, yes we know, but time- it flies!) Fancy latte art on the best caramel latte in MAK. And coloring “example” art works for class.

Sometimes. An easy Friday night is the key. Fresh clean sheets. A shower after a hot day in the school. (AC went out in the teacher’s room and half the classes.) A cup of tea and Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea. And the best…calling a best friend’s now 7- year old to wish her a Happy Birthday before she goes to school. Love her.  This is her “I will see YOU in May” face; pointing finger included. 
Sometimes. Giving up something you’re almost addicted to, or have constant cravings for is tough. But not having chocolate for 20 days (minus one cheat day, but don’t get me started on that silly story!) is considered a huge accomplishment for me. You all know my slight obsession with chocolate…cookies, cakes, donuts, drinks, pancakes, Beng-bengs (Indonesian crunch chocolate wafered candy bar)…the list goes on. So going forward I am going to moderate my chocolate intake. Four Being-beng Maxx’s in an hour is completely unnecessary. 🙂 I have also been able to run 2-3 times a week. The past few mornings have been sunny…so hopefully we are nearing the end of the rainy season! Yay! It’s wonderful to see clear blue skies and bright sun. I’m feeling so much better!
~Always. Always smile. Always shine. Always live. Always dream. Always love.~ Through all the sometimes’s always look for the good. Always appreciate the challenges, for they are what make you stronger. For this is what I learn over again each day. Each day that I’m frustrated, hurt, disappointed, or any other negative feeling, I must remember to do these things.~

Where I Am Right Now

Sunny Sunday…Catching up on the past few weeks…

my perch

caramel latte

February 1st. The first month of 2015 is complete. For the past month I have been sick on and off and one week I took a day off of school, which I have never done. Being sick abroad is the worst. Luckily my classes were able to be covered by teachers who had breaks at that time. There are no paid sick days unless you have a doctor’s note so my DOS (Director of Studies, also interchangeably used with manager) took me on that Friday. The doctor spoke some English. Her office was in a building shared with a pharmacist and another doctor. It was not at a hospital, but down a side street in a neighborhood. She prescribed antibiotics and gave me some other stuff for my stomach. Since I am hesitant to take meds (especially in a foreign country) I decided to just continue resting and staying away from street food. So far I felt like more myself in the past week than almost the whole time I’ve been here. Thank You for all the get-well wishes and prayers!!! 🙂

We have started working two Saturdays a month. The first Saturday (in January) we had a dance practice for the EF 50th Hello Dance. View headquarters dance here. We have to make our own video for EF Makassar. On the second Saturday (31st) we had an event for our older students at the mall. My team Won!!! The prize? Cash to be used to hang out. We also did the dance on Sunday to close out the educational fair.

Monday night conversation with my winning team!!!

My friend Lini introduced me to the traditional Indonesian cream bath. So lovely. What a treat: scalp/back/neck massage, blow dry and straighten. It’s beautiful. I must admit, I love getting my hair done!!!

Sat at my Warkop on Sunday morning before going to the mall. Gray skies from night rains, cool breeze. Random strangers approach me and ask where I live. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Beggars asking for money. I don’t know what to do. Somedays I feel I just walk around in a daze. The other day my roommate pointed out the sludge on the spigot in our bathroom is what we shower in. Somedays I just want my shower to smell like flowers and have steam rise from the water. Days like today I am homesick. Usually when this happens I know I need sleep and everything will be fine.

Lini and me!
What a sweet friend~

And now it’s the 8th. Happy Birthday to my baby brother today. Love ya Jake! At a new cafe called Esprezza. It’s fabulous. Cozy, variety of seating, delicious food, and delightful caramel lattes. I am catching up on this blog. I wrote on receipts yesterday at Cafe Mama. It was a sunny afternoon for patio sitting.

Cafe Mama

So it goes…my thoughts…

This song. Where I am Right Now. Describes every thought I’ve had. I’m so ready to be moving on, in my head I’m already gone. But your voice is crystal clear. I’m called to be…where I am right now. I have things to do here. I have challenges to overcome. And love and laughter to share. Somedays I don’t want to be strong and face the outside world, but when I see the sunshine peak through the trees in our backyard from the outside bathroom. I am so thankful for the warmth and blue skies. The storm is not just the torrential rains during the rainy season, but monsoons of thoughts pouring in my head trying to prevent them from spilling over into an unconfined space potentially causing floods. Looking for a hundred ways. For an excuse, a better option, a different path out of this storm. Lord make me single-minded. You are here with me. I know deep down in my heart not to doubt. It’s just my mind thinking I should be somewhere else doing something else. But You have called me to be- Where I am Right Now- And the enemy that tells the lie~I’m missing out on a better life. A better life. What am I missing out on? I will admit it’s easy to imagine a life that is “better.” “Better” meaning luxuries and things such as hot water, paved roads, organized traffic, no sewage in the streets, a room with windows, and a million other things. You know where I need to be. A better life with you means freedom, beauty, love, joy, and peace.

Opening my eyes and heart~ You can move me anytime. What a prayer to pray! I mean really, because if I pray this prayer it means I’m letting go of myself more and clinging and trusting and becoming closer to Him. My ambitions become trivial compared to His plan that I ultimately seek. Each country. Each experience has prepared me for the next. Every friend I make…has been on purpose. Will I end up in my state or city of choice? (And the endless questions of what job will I have? who will I marry? etc etc.) For every country has been a mystery, an uncharted decision; but with a draw. A feel. A whisper to go. I can’t explain. And some days I complain about everyday nuisances. Maybe I feel like I have to cover up the joy I feel, the beauty I see; that I can’t allow myself to fully be happy in a place because those I love aren’t here to share it or won’t understand… how somedays I love the chaos and other days it makes me want to cry. That maybe you catch me when I’ve seen children with no shoes roaming the muddy streets or given a mother begging a smile or maybe you catch me me on a day that the kids were making me laugh with their antics. Bear with me and my roller coaster. I want so badly to share, to write, to tell stories. Like how my 5 year kiddos exclaim to me; “Miss I am freaking out! I can’t draw a niece or nephew!” or how I understand basic Chinese that my students think is so funny so speak because it’s “not Bahasa.”

This author, Jen Hatmaker... in one of her recent blog posts she talks about becoming a writer. Because sometimes my spoken words fail me, cause destruction by inconsideration, get jumbled when they are said…writing for me, signifies clarity in my mind. Because even if my writing is a jumbled mess, my mind is cleansed. I need days when I don’t speak to anyone for most of it and then go to a cafe with a dear friend to laugh in the evening. I need these days to refresh my thoughts and to focus.

cozy cafe
lovely friend

I want to start running again. I miss it. Lifting weights and plyometric activities just aren’t cutting it. And treadmill running for a minute feels like an hour. I can take a taxi to a nearby park or start getting up earlier, before the morning rush hits to run in the street. A slight inconvenience, but I need to get back to me. No more of this sleeping late and laying in bed all morning. I also want to consume less chocolate…less sugar in general. I eat so much of it and this habit needs to be modified. Hopefully with these revamped habits I will continue feeling more like myself and prevent me from getting sick again. February goals!!!


Selamat Tahun Baru~ Happy New Year 2015!!!

December 31st
Final part of my trip to Bali…

I met a local at the end of the stairs going to get food for New Year’s Eve. He wished me a Happy New Year in English and I responded in Bahasa. Selamat Tahun Baru. He shook my hand. And had the usual “Where are you from?” conversation.

Ate gelato by the harbor after getting a pedicure and ordered take away pizza from Naya Resto to take back to the hostel. Dozens of kids were in the streets popping fireworks as I waited for my pizza. Music was blasting from the stereos that these two guys set-up. They have their laptops, beers, cigarettes, and plates of rice and chicken. Total New Year’s Eve jam sesh for them.

Headed back to the hostel. I felt like I had my own private fireworks show above the rooftops. Bursts of color lit the sky and people played random Indonesian melodies and American pop songs to accompany. Hindu temple chimes sounded at midnight.

January 1st 2015

Sunrise around 6:15. Cloudy Morning. Beach to myself. Shaded waves tinted the teal gray as they washed to shore. Stared. Sat. Prayed. For passion. For claret. To be Interrupted. To take risks. To be prepared for change in my heart. {Change is tough. And I resist and cry most of the time and all I want now is peace and freedom.} For strength. For compassion. To see beauty in each experience… to Be.Present.

As I enjoy this last full morning in paradise (I leave for Makassar on the 2nd) I am inspired and encouraged by old friends and new ones I have met here from around the world. Their stories and strengths are uplifting and I am thankful and blessed by each of them. Our paths have crossed for a purpose and this is such an amazing part of life.

2015 is off to a peaceful start. The year’s agenda will be challenging in itself. I will be teaching in Indonesia, attending grad school in LA during the summer, and moving to Shanghai come fall to complete my thesis, take online classes, and teach. Can’t wait to share another new year with you all~cheers!

Last evening in Padang Bai. The first day of 2015 is coming to a close. Yoga overlooking the night harbor. Ship lights flicker and reflect off the calming waters of sunset.

My yoga teacher repeated the words think of everything wonderful in the New Year and breathe to the places you’d like to change and bring focus to those areas. 
My yoga teacher on Gili Air during the Christmas Day class repeated breathe in excitement and joy.
With these words ringing in my ear, echoing my morning prayer, I want 2015 to be a year that my heart is open to change, receiving it with such excitement and joy~ breathing in challenges and exhaling peace and I have in Jesus Christ to be strong in each challenge faced. To serve Him with such excitement and joy and centering Him in my daily works.

It is written that God knows how many grains of sand are int he sea and how many hairs are on our head~ Considering my scalp is covered in sand (that’s what swimming and doing headstands does!), I had this humorous thought that God knows how many grains of sand and strands of hair are on my head. Amazing. He knows even these minute details about me, why should I doubt His bigger plan for my life? Because let’s be real…serving Him and loving others is way more important than counting each hair and trying to count each grain as I cleanse my scalp… 🙂

Byebye Bali.

flying over Makassar

Padang Bai~ new friends, lattes, cushioned seats, and the beach.

Part 5.

Made it back from Padang Bai and walked from the harbor to the Lemon House this time.

This is the part when I meet my two Australian friends…yay! 

December 29th

Muggy morning. Good to Skype mom and a couple friends! So glad I could show them this awesome find! Trekked up the steep hill to the Yoga Bale. What a VIEW! Mountains on the left looking out and the harbor on the right. Surround sound of morning thunder and rain drops made a relaxing two hour session.

Down poured this morning so Gemma and Courtney and I went to a cafe until the sun came out and we could head to the beach. Turned out to be a lovely sunny day!

December 30th

Said goodbye to my friends today as they were heading to Gili…so quiet without their laughter and fun singing! Awww!!!

Headed to a cafe near the harbor to get a latte and enjoy the morning sun. The water is bright and bustling with boats; hectic with tourists bound for the Gilis.

Early afternoon I went to the beach. So grateful for a few sunny hours before it clouded up. Headed back before the rain came. Later I headed out for something to eat. On my way through the alleyway I started to notice the intricate details of the doorway arches, gates, and temples. Small daises dotted one, white and yellow against the old stone…wound my way…kids playing…motorcyclists chat as they zig zagged around me…Where you from Miss? America. Oooh wow, Obama!!! Yeah. Oh very good! Hollywood? Nooo…Nebraska. Really? Where is it? The middle… Oh you come from far…Bye miss, have nice time stay in Bali…
Went to Naya Resto, the one Hayley showed me my first night in Padang Bai. Sat inside this time. Cushioned seats on the floor. Candles. Drank my mango juice, wrote, and people watched. The sky is turning dusky smokey oranges…oranges slowly making their way from the mountains to the sea…wispy clouds take shape in the hazy blues while dark clouds loom bridging the blues and oranges. What a site to see! Cool breeze floats through the pillars from my cushioned perch.

It’s truly Paradise..a sliver of heaven on earth…a spec of pure beauty in the waves and sky. I am so blessed to have discovered this place. To witness such a capacity of color and vibrance that few recognize or grasp. To witness the genuine friendship of strangers. To experience the vastness of sky and sea. To meet friends from all over the world and share with them a few moments of my year.

Evening takes over the oranges and blues and rain falls. Cloudy night sky. Rain slowed and clouds started to break revealing sporadic twinkling stars and Orion’s Belt. Thought of a childhood story my dad used to read about Jolly Mon. And being as I’m on an island. It makes sense. Still evening with the occasional flutter of banana leaves over the balcony. But that smell. That heavenly tropical sweet rain smell of poignant fruits and flowers and earth. It’s rich. So rich I can’t breathe it in at once, but take gulps of it between breezes. Thick rich sultry air.

Teal.Blue.Hazy Yellow.Tropical Sun.Refreshing Downpour.Gray Clouds. Until next time Gili Air~

part 4…last day on Gili…back to Padang Bai…

flowers at breakfast

December 28th

Island boat tour day with Corinne and a group of people. Such a fun group…very friendly! We toured around Gili T and Gili Meno…stopping for lunch at Jali Wareong near Karma Beach on Gili Meno. Gorgeous sunny day and clearest waters…the teal and blues swept up a glassy wave against the sand…shimmering site to see.

I just.can’t.even.handle.this.

Many of the people snorkeled and saw turtles and corals. Towards the end of the day it got cloudy…made it to shore just in time before the downpour settled in for the evening. Caught in the middle of a tropical downpour on my bike. Sandy and soaked. Relaxed at the Eazy Gili Wareong…mango juice and my notebook…and rain. Watching people react to the rain…laughing to hurriedness…The wareong…chill. bamboo furniture and straw overhanging. It sits on a crossroad off the main road. My relaxation music like “Cosmic Layer,” and “88” are playing in the background. It’s nice to hear music I have playing on speakers. Comforting. I see these two little girls spin around in the rain. Drops cascading off their laughter as they try to wiggle up to sit on the bale’s (bale=structure) bench. The rain still pours and the thunder rumbles, but the sky turns a hazy yellow as the sun begins to set. Peaceful cool rain…downpour has ceased to a steady rain. First time I’ve been goose bumpy in months. So nice! I like the rain here. You can smell the dirt, the fruit, the flowers, tropical rain breeze soothes the mind. Lovely change from the heat and brightness.

December 28th

Leaving this island to the tune of bob marley no woman no cry… Everything is gonna be alright… Vietnamese coffee watching the waves like I did on my first day. Breezier today and nostalgic gray clouds loom over the harbour. Watched the sunrise with Corinne. So sweet to share it with a friend. Did yoga in the first rays of sun before it disappeared for the day. Drank a latte and wished my cafe friends were here to share. That’s the thing of being in a paradise… You want to share it with everyone because the beauty is bursting. Packed and took one last shower in the shadowy sunlight and the palm trees breeze flowing down with the water. There’s something so sensual about showering on stone in the warm tropical air.

 Fast boat back to Gili. Sat outside the whole time. Salt covered my face and the wind whipped my hair. Water tingled my skin. And I stared at the sea.

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