Selamat Natal~ Merry Christmas!!!

part 3

Christmas Day. I couldn’t sleep very well last night. Maybe it was the night sounds of music thumping, fireworks, the mosque singing, chickens clucking outside my window…or maybe it was because…I love Christmas Morning. There’s something so special about this morning. In island heat or snowy cold just the same it is a magical morning…when my Savior was born…

So I got up at 5 a.m. Just me. The waves. The misty clouds. And the rising sun. Pastels turning to striking vibrance before my eyes. Slowly over the mountains on Lombok across the calming morning ocean. Peaceful. A rare Christmas moment. Shimmery boat reflections and the soft crash of the tide.

After the sunrise, FaceTime with friends and family (I love hearing their laughter!!!) and breakfast, I went to a Yoga Strength class at Yoga H2O. Think holding chataranga, push-ups, reverse planks, planks, and crunches. Tough stuff. After class in their “Coconut Hangout Cafe,” I had fresh coconut water with coconut ice-cubes and lime. If you don’t like coconut water…which I usually don’t…try it with a splash of lime~ so refreshing! Spent the day eating a Christmas dinner, reading, and relaxing at the bar listening to music. Merry Christmas~ Watched the sunset…no words…only the blues meshed together in an infinite skyline to ocean blur.

December 26th

This is the day I rented a bike…rode through the sand, fell off and met a new traveling friend from France~

Tonight there was a double rainbow over the ocean. A visible sign of God’s promise. I heard so many people murmur to stop and point at this sign. And I wonder…do they know who sent it? And why? Or is it just colors reflecting scientifically in the sky? The promise of trust of faithfulness of “I will never flood the whole earth again and I will keep my promise to you.”

We decided to watch the sunset and listening to acoustic music at the Safari Club beach bar and restaurant. The rain had stopped and the sun sank in all it’s brilliance behind dark clouds. Soul soothing evening of much story telling and laughter!

this photo.
A father and his two daughters…
splashing in the waves…
Daddy, pick me up!


Selamat Datang di Bali~ Welcome to Bali

I started my holiday to Bali early on the 23rd of December. Taxi. One hour flight. Kept the airport tradition by having Starbucks latte and scone. People watching in the early morning. Flying over Makassar about 9:00a.m. Reminded me of stained glass pieces scattered about reflecting off the morning sun. Flying above the ocean…islands dotted the sea below surrounded by teal circles fading to the dark blue waves and the vast waters of infinity.



drive to Padang Bai

Landed. Hit the runway as the waves crashed against the shores. Greeted by an ornate orange and white doorway and a water fountain. Waited for a taxi (400,000rp) to take me to Padang Bai. Because of holiday traffic it took over an hour-almost 2 to arrive. Mountains on one side and shops and an occasional sea view on the other side of the highway. So green; a bright sunny day. Selamat Datang di Bali. Welcome to Bali.

The taxi dropped me at the entrance of a back alley. I felt like it could have been a movie. Take a right before you reach the harbor, go past a white temple and after you see the post office you cannot drive anymore. The path is only accessible by foot or scooter. Stone path. Flowers overhanging walls. Hindu offerings. Temples of a bright golden orange. Children laughing. Random pop tunes blasting from courtyards. Palm trees and banana leaves. Laundry hanging. Fruit flies buzzing over a dropped exotic fruit. Walk 100 meters turn left. Walk up 70 steps. (I passed the door the first time and walked to the top of the hill…with my carryon… and had to back track.) Dripping sweat. Finally arrived at the Lemon House. Homey. Open. Airy. Comfortable. The balcony and kitchen area opened up to an amazing view of stucco-colored rooftops, lush greenery, mountains to the left and the bustling harbor on the right. You can see the sunshine on the bright blue water, sand, waves, and the colors of the boats. The perfect hideaway. (For about $8 a night!)

Settled in. Got a motorcycle ride to the beach. This beach. White Sand. Teal Water. Bias Tegul. Only reachable by foot or motorcycle. Off the beaten path. I practically had it to myself. A few huts called “Warungs” offered food and beverages. Including fresh mango juice and fresh coconut pancakes. They had all the fruit they used displayed. Maybe only 20-30 people along the sand. I heard Australian accents and met a lady from Maine who had moved to Perth and now had a vacation home in Padang Bai. She asked what state I was from and I replied, “Nebraska.” She told me that I was out of my element- I laughed and said white sand, sun, ocean…I am in my element!

Faded pink sun down under smokey blue clouds. Soon the stars twinkled above. It’s so clear in this part of Bali. I haven’t seen the stars in a couple months. And to look up from the balcony with the sea breeze through the palm trees was delightful.

Christmas Eve. Bright morning. My hostel served tea and a banana waffle. It’s a traditional toast thing doused in chocolate. Whatever. It was delicious. My friend’s brother-in-law’s friend is a manager of a fast boat company. EKA JAYA. Got a ride to the harbor this morning. Met him- one of the nicest guys. So grateful for my friend’s generosity especially when prices are more expensive over the holidays. Basically dedicating this post to him and his friends for all their help and assistance. Really could not have made the trip without them! Many many thanks from the bottom of my heart! Met some cool people on the boat. Spent some time on the deck. Sea splashes. Wind. Mountain views of Lombok. The whirring sound of the boat. 
No picture could possibly capture the cascading sparkles on the water. A million diamonds glittering in the clearest teal, washing and spraying the rich white sand. Dear future husband, the diamond on my ring should look like this water. Or better yet just show me the ocean full of all these diamonds. 

Landed on Gili Air. Took a horse and a cart to my villa. There are no cars or motorized vehicles on this island. Unzipped Cottages. I started tearing up. I met another friend of Mario’s whose name is Wir. He showed me y room–front porch, simple wooden furnishings, canopy bed with light sheets and sheers curtains, and the best part…the outside bathroom- sink, shower, and toilet. It’s so pretty… flowers and island greenery, palm trees and blue skies with puffy white clouds above. The pool is 5 steps from my door and the ocean is right down the path.

this dude decided to crawl out of his hiding spot
when the shower starting spraying…
I may have freaked out…
just a bit.

Took a walk. The beach is lined with bars, restaurants, rooftop, and beach sitting areas…cafes, souvenir shops…Kygo music played from one of the bars. Chillout Island Music. Walked further back towards the harbor. Found a local hut selling Vietnamese coffee. So I bought some and am currently sitting on a random ledge getting rock and stone imprints in my bum through my sarong skirt…spilled my coffee a bit because it burned my tongue. Bob Marley plays now in the background competing with the ocean waves. Listening to the waves and writing. It’s one of those moments when all the songs by Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett make sense. I’m basically on Christmas Island.

These lyrics play true tonight…oohh Baby do you know what it’s worth…ooo Heaven is a place on earth. I am beyond blessed to be in such a gorgeous place. The ocean is my place. My sounds. My colors. A place where worries slip and reflection and clarity are vivid. I wish a million wishes that I could share this beauty and serenity and atmosphere with all of you. Though some may think it’s strange I came here zone. I genuinely enjoy spending time alone. I chose to spend this holiday to reflect, rejuvenate, and soak up sun, read, and write. Life in Makassar goes fast and here I am able to slow down a bit and pause before 2015. Escaping the city every now and then is necessary. The feel of Padang Bai and Gili Air is calm and less of a rush of sensory overload. A definite island feel. I am excited to see what this place has in store for me!

Beautiful People. Beautiful World.

I have a lot to say about my time in Gili Air and Padang Bai, Bali so I’ve decided to break down my thoughts and pictures into parts. Places and times may be intertwined due to the subject matter.

Part 1.

People. No matter where I go in the world I meet people. And they are beautiful. Each of them. Just look into a stranger’s eyes next time you pass them on the street; are they blue, or green, or the deepest brown? Are there wrinkles in their forehead or a smile on their face? This time traveling I met a people that brightened my day, encouraged me, inspired me, and showed me how beautiful complete strangers really are. Here is a bit about some people I met on this trip…

Ketut, Miar and Kadek. The staff at the Lemon House Padang Bai. Welcomed me with open arms in their airy hostel atop the hill. Helped arrange a taxi for me and transportation to the harbor. They were so friendly and greeted me each morning for breakfast. They were always smiling! 

Miar took me to the beach the first day and introduced me to her mother and sister, Deni who had a Wareong on the beach with the best coconut pancakes and mango juice. Miar’s mom also sold me beautiful sarongs!
Hayley. I don’t have any pictures with her. But I walked into the hostel dorm the first night and was like have you eaten? She showed me the Wareong that she discovered while staying in Padang Bai. We ate there then got happy hour drinks. Back in the UK she was a massage therapist so often times she gave tourists and travelers massages. She told me her stories about working on Gili Meno and making breakfast and tending to a hostel as part of a Work Away project. The past week she had been getting her PADI dive certification in Padang Bai before touring around Bali then hopefully moving to Australia. 
Wir. My friend’s brother-in-law’s friend. He worked at the Unzipped Cottages on Gili Air. He made me laugh…always asked how I was and if I needed anything. We chatted at the Unzipped bar on Christmas night in between him making drinks for other guests.  The playlist he was jammin’ too was stellar. Kygo. Bob Marley. Doesn’t get much better for island jams.

Jess is the Yoga teacher at Blue Marine Dive Resort. She had been living in Bali…but before New York and originally from Boston…and now she lives on Gili Air. Maite is the second teacher, from Spain.

she makes her own Coconut Oil on Gili Air!
had to take a picture~
Corinne. A traveler like me. She spent the last year backpacking and hitchhiking around Australia and now was traveling throughout Indonesia.  This is how we met…I was riding my bike through the thick sand and fell off…pretty sure I squawked or something and she turned around and saw me fall…asked if I was ok… silly me for falling off my bike, but great to meet a new friend! Then we walked and rode around the island…watched the sunset-(she looks at the sun and sky like me~) listened to acoustic music at a beach bar- and ate! The next day we went on a boat tour and snorkeled around the island. Beautiful day. Stunning water. How fun it is to meet someone to share travel experiences with and swap stories! Ate pizza at a fun Wareong that night and in the morning watched the sunrise before I left back to Bali. She had amazing stories of walking and camping along the beaches south of Perth, working on a small tour/snorkel boat in the Great Barrier Reef, and so many more! So inspiring. Wow.

She’s so fun!

pretty sure I took a picture of my water and then
our drinks together
so it didn’t look like we drank alone!

Gemma and Courtney. My Australian girls. I walked into the hostel dorm (I don’t know why I always say have you eaten, but I guess food is common ground, right?) around 2 or so I think. We bonded over our obsession with Mango juice and then realized that we all love dessert too. Seriously. They are the funniest girls! We had a blast on the beach and walking around and eating pancakes (and other stuff) and sharing life stories. The two had been friends since the beginning of High School…and they are my brother’s age. So admirable how Gemma has been traveling SouthEast Asia by herself and now Courtney joined her in Bali. Both are so talented in drawing…painting…Gemma worked in a local coffee shop and ice-cream parlor and being an assistant leader for outdoor ed trips (how they met in HS) and Courtney is a dance instructor…she explained it to me in detail. They are from Adelaide and I must go see them…being as I have never been to the Land Down Under and…they would be the best tour guides, taking me off the beaten track where tourists don’t go… What carefree spirits these two are!

Mrs. Pancake!

Gemma: Look at the Moon!!!
Loes. She is from Holland and traveling with her boyfriend from Switzerland. We chatted a few times throughout our few days stay. I took her to the Yoga Bale on Thursday evening. 
Kimberley is the yoga teacher at the Yoga Bale in Padang Bai…she makes batik clothing to take back and sell in the states…she lives in Bali and in Maine.
Nofi was Naya Resto’s manager…she was the sweetest! She asked me my name and I asked hers back… I wished her a Happy New Year…I went here a few times for mango juice and she always remembered to make it without sugar. 🙂
Warti. The lady who gave me a pedicure on New Year’s Eve. Her daughter Della is 7 1/2 years old. Adorable. We chatted. Previously she had contracts in the Maldives at the Jumeirah resorts and in the Seychelles at the Hilton (I used to work at the Hilton in Omaha, NE!) as a massage therapist. She told me the islands are so beautiful and she really like the work there, but it was too difficult now with her daughter. Her husband has passed when her daughter was only 23 days old in a motorbike accident. The strength shone in her eyes and she still smiles. Absolutely beautiful.
~Cheers to all of you beautiful people~ Your smiles and laughter~ 
I’m so glad I met you on Gili or Bali~ To those shop owners, baristas, waiters, crew-members, passerby’s whose name I didn’t mention… You were apart of my time here as well~

At the back of a convenience store…

December 20th 2014~

I found the best place. At the back of a convenience store. Cheap t-shirts, toilet paper and other toiletry items on shelves, along with cookies and other traditional Makassar snacks surrounded the inside. And at the back…a Roastery! I was able to spend a few minutes chatting with the man behind the counter, while his partner poured grounds into packaging bags for sale. The grounds were bought from a farmer in Toraja, an area in the northern part of the island of South Sulawesi. The farm is naturally organic and noncommercial. Something he stated was very rare and Indonesia needed to preserve this aspect as the demand for higher quality coffee increases. Each island of Indonesia produces their own kind of coffee; i.e. Sumatra, Java…Toraja. Amazing. He let me sample a cup. And it was wonderful. I am so excited about my find and…I’m excited to buy some and bring some back to share!

Spent Saturday hanging by a hotel pool for the afternoon. We only paid 40,000Rp. Soaked up some pre-Bali sunshine and relaxed. Watched the Sunset on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Stunning.

Monday, I hung out and packed my things. I am heading to Bali tomorrow to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

perk of being below the equator?
it’s almost summertime…
the days are getting longer!
Friday night hang out…
beachside rooftop restaurant…
cold beer and chicken wings…
and rice.

blue skies…

if you look close enough
there are about 10 guys staring at my friend and I
…construction may not be finished anytime soon

these kiddos made my Saturday night at the gym so much fun!

I can read “Coffee” in 4 of the languages…

M is for…Makassar!

Homemade Coconut Oil, Star Cake, and Christmas Cuteness.

Homemade coconut oil. Made by my friend’s friend on one of the furthest eastern most islands in Indonesia called Kepulauan.  Here coconuts grow in abundance. The smell is sweet and fragrant. The texture works like a dream when doing the oil treatment on my hair. I’m slightly obsessed. I love coconut oil…I have missed using it the past couple of months. And one of the nice perks? Only the equivalent of $5. Fabulous. Sealed in a plastic bottle; pre-export sale.

Printed off pictures today for a gift. The total? 19,500rp. I gave a 20,000. For my change they gave me candy because they didn’t have a 500 available…this also happens at Indomart. They just add in a small candy bar to make the total even. Change is sometimes not readily available or the total is slightly “uneven.”
Christmas party at school this past Saturday. Serious Christmas cuteness and fun. Observed my little kids for a coloring contest. I played them Pentatonix and other Christmas music. 
Sunday afternoon my roommates and I hosted a get-together at our house. We actually have a lot of open space. Sometimes our ideas of parties vary, but everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon fun even though it wasn’t a “wild and crazy” time. It was nice to actually have a conversation with other expats that wasn’t at a bar scene. I met a couple other people who like to be chill and not go out so much.
Monday morning. My neighbor gave me a star cake. The guys who sell sticker wallpaper asked for their picture to be taken. All before 9a.m…on the way to the gym.

Tuesday.Wednesday.Thursday.Friday …classes and countdown to vacation!!! I’m ready for a refresher and a break…I think it stems from knowing I have time off so I just get antsy. Last year I had no time off so I could not prepare for any type of break. This year…I have some things planned so I am ready to go!
my cafe people know me too well…
no donuts the other day…
“Miss, have a cream puff…”

Merry Christmas!

Simple things…
like fancy candles.

“Small Star” level
Achievement Ceremony

"That’s Christmas To Me…."

Midweek blog post…

Pentatonix. It’s my favorite Christmas music. Ever. Seriously. One day I will see them live! Just incredible talent and harmonies. Beautiful. Their songs have been on repeat. All week.

“That’s Christmas To Me”…I discovered this today, on a Monday morning while lesson planning for class…I had to stop and let the words soak in. Simple things in life. Joy of Family. Christmas song in my heart. Candles blowing in the dark…

…I begin to make my own list.

Melting hearts with sweet words. Cafes adorned in red, green, and gold. Glittery lights reflecting the pavement making their own shine. Random Christmas tunes blasting from a streaming station. Secret Christmas wishes. Laughter. Surprise cards and postcards in the mail.

You see this is my second Christmas (in a row) that I have been overseas… to be honest it’s one of the toughest things about being abroad…Yes, day to day events can be challenging and living abroad is often a foreign concept…missing the holidays is hard to understand…no I cannot just hop on a plane and come home…there are costs involved and a mental preparedness to have… missing the holidays…the traditions…the get-togethers…the coziness of home and heart…and family. All of us together. That’s what is tough. Maybe we only see each other a few times a year and that’s why it’s programmed that I should be home. 
It got me thinking…Christmas Day is One Day..One Day that I would give anything to be home for. But Christmas is more than One Day. It’s an event. Of Love. Of grace. Of a miracle. Of a Father’s unconditional love showering a fallen world. It’s the Day He sent His Son. Christmas isn’t just about being home and celebrating One Day…it’s a reminder that we should be celebrating everyday and not just the One Day. 
We should be celebrating the life that He has given us and celebrating living it to the fullest. Celebrating with friends who have become our family, celebrating with foreign peoples, celebrating and communing with Him. Thanking Him that Christmas doesn’t just stop at One Day…but continues throughout the days, the weeks, the months, the year, and eternity. 
My Christmas happens everyday, in the smallest miracles, the acts of love, and the warm fuzzies in my heart…my Christmas happens when I come home in the spring, summer, or fall…my Christmas doesn’t have to be white with snow, my Christmases are rainy, sunny, hot, and cold…Christmas is so much more than One Day of gathering, stockings, gifts, perfect glistening snow, bells ringing, hot chocolate, and city walking under the silent starry nights…My Christmas happens when I am in an unknown place with a peace in my heart, or when I am hugging the ones I love…Christmas is found in my (and your) heart…a place that beats with life, a place I (you) can find anytime…anyplace…And That’s Christmas to me. 

What is Christmas to you?

Sweet rains. Sweet Mangoes.

Rainy Saturday December 6th.. I put on “Little Drummer Boy” by Pentatonix. It reminds me of running on the path through the rice fields and banana trees in Taiwan on Christmas Day. Sweet Memories. And they did a cover of “Rather Be.” So listen up. Oh and! one of the best versions of “Let It Go.”

This afternoon on my way to the gym, I passed by the usual group of onlookers from the motorcycle repair shop who always smile and wave and say “hellloooo misses.” They were gathered around eating and motioned for me to come over and have some of their fried food and chili sauce. Sat with them for a few moments and ate, then went on my way… Gotta love these random happy moments of “this is my life…”
Weird week. Power Outages. Sleepless nights and late mornings. Immigration meetings. Work training. Student threw up in class on Monday. Observation and new assistant for my 4 and 5 year olds. Thank goodness. Less stressful. Good feedback. Director likes my enthusiasm and my meticulous/particular organization. Cool rains. Cool breezes. Dropping temperatures. Inspiring skype with a friend. Much need encouragement and life catch up. Dark skies. Steady rains. Post office visit. Thankful for help. Cozy hot cappuccino and a conversation that went like this…I feel sexier with a book, sitting on a couch and the pouring rain outside and James Blunt playing in the background. Lazy day to be productive at school, but classes are still going quite well!

It took over a month for me to really wish we had running hot water. 75 degrees does a less than splendid job of heating the water from the outside…and at first we thought the drain was starting to smell so we put a glade scented gel in the bathroom…turns out it’s not the drain, but the water. Luckily the apple cider vinegar I use to condition my hair covers that smell in my hair!

Met with a dear friend and her husband for dinner and coffee….the teacher who invited me to come to Makassar…I’m so blessed by their friendship. What a delightful couple to have conversation with and share about places to visit and things to eat in Indonesia!

at the meatball restaurant!

watching in fascination!!!

evening rainbow

Sunday for lunch I went with my friend to Chinatown and ate at a nyuk nyang (pork meatballs) restaurant. I discovered Toraja coffee. oh my goodness it is delicious!!! Trying new foods is always fun. The restaurant is a cozy sit down place. And the owner is so friendly. After lunch we went to the countryside (outside of Makassar near the airport) to three of their friends’ houses to pick mangoes. I had such a great day—sweet rains. sweet mangoes. There were so many varieties “mana lagi” meaning ask for more (mangoes), apple mangoes, papaya mangoes, Philippine mangoes, gula gula manga a meaning candy mangoes. Kristi translated for me, so I was able to understand the conversation…I learned so much about what they do and it was fun to see where they lived…the houses are so bright and colorful and the countryside is lush with flowers, coconut trees, banana trees,  mango trees, and others. Everyone smiles and laughs and welcomes you with open arms. What a real treat to spend the day like this!

pouring rain…
post office receipt…
latte art!

fabulous co-workers!

fallen tree caused a major
traffic jam!

dark skies
cool breeze
steady rains to come

neighborhood color


the view from my becak
best mode of transportation in the rain…
they cover the carts!

fuzzy FaceTime conversation with this lady-
Miss her!

Warkop Aroma

I finally found my go-to cafe. Surrounded by old men offering me chairs, cigarettes, and sugar for my black coffee. “Misss you need sugar? No sugar?!!” And my sweetheart of a cafe lady who knew on the second day of me going there. A warm feeling of belonging somewhere. My cafe lady always says to me “please come again Miss.” And I do. Sorry miss no chocolate donuts today, but try Indonesian cookie. Because they already know I get the chocolate kind.

A simple cafe. Plastic chairs of the staple colors red, teal, and dark blue. Cafeteria long-length tables with groups of three or four men at an end with the random couple chairs that say “pick me.” When I walk in the door it’s a brief moment of panic…”Where do I sit…” Like I’m in the third grade and finger crossed that my friends have managed to save a seat for me…But now. I have a place. A midst all the men joking, reading the morning paper, smoking their fifth cigarette at 11 a.m, and their attempt in broken English to ask me, “Where are you from?” I really don’t know half of what they are saying, but their cheers and hellos welcome me back.

It’s a grand thing to find somewhere that you belong in a foreign land. I belong in my colorful neighborhood…people have started to notice my daily walks and usually a hand or two gives me a high five and always a wave. The children offer shy smiles and the old ladies carrying umbrellas stare, but return my smile as I pass. Never a whistle, just a call of “Hellloooooo….how are youuuu?” Today I found out they are also asking my name in Bahasa. So I told them. Sometimes there’s a pause and then the click of…”Oh Megan. Like Megan Fox…” Umm no. Not quite. Every so often someone wants to take a picture with me as well…sometimes celebrity status is nice…I do enjoy their friendliness and curiousity of meeting a foreigner for the first time.

The following day I went back. Talked to one of my dearest friends for a couple hours. Showed her the spot…in describing it she called it rustic. And it is. Rustic with character. Not modern or a chain like Starbucks…it’s better. The restroom is a sqatter toilet with no toilet paper. There is no hook for your bag either. The internet works though and the coffee is strong and black. Original. Traditional Indonesian coffee. We don’t know where we got the beans…my friend provides them. Then we grind them for coffee. I think I might be the only one who doesn’t take cream or sugar. I’m weird.

My cafe lady’s name is Ani. She asked me my name today as well. Isn’t she adorable?

Also if there’s an entirely empty table next to me, despite the fact that I’m sitting at another nearly empty table, I will instantaneously be surrounded by 5 or 6 people…slightly amusing.

Oh yes and if you get a chance to Skype (or FaceTime) me there, everyone WILL walk by and wave and see whom I am talking to…then after I hang up they try and ask who it was…sister? mom? dad? friend? boyfriend? It’s super cute! They all think everyone is beautiful or handsome…

I wrote the annual Family Christmas card on a laundry receipt the other day. Dropping off my laundry at the beginning of the day and having it freshly washed, dried, pressed, folded, and packaged by the end is a true luxury. I mean seriously…in my world travels I have hand washed, line-dried, washed and line-dried, washed and took my clothes to a laundromat…and now I have them done for me…while living in a third-world country. I do consider myself slightly spoiled knowing someone else is handling that task. And you should see the crispness of the folds…and they are plastic wrapped with a cardboard insert…seriously…the irony.

It’s been a weird week. One of my dear teacher friends won’t be teaching anymore at my school. It’s going to be an adjustment not having her positivity in the teacher’s room or encouragement after a rough class. I wish her the absolute best and I know she will succeed wherever she goes!

This weekend was rather quiet. On Saturday, went to the gym… then we picked up our fridge that was finally promised, and a blender. I also bought writing supplies at an office store. Saturday night, met a few friends at a cafe for dinner, and Sunday was spent lounging, grocery shopping, and making a smoothie! It rained a lot this afternoon and into the night…pounding rains!

yellow rice

outside the gym~ can’t believe it’s December!

guess which shelf is mine?


cafe hot chocolate
how pretty is this cup?

my house!

cool colored notebooks!

Shimmery Sea, Sunsets, and Silhouettes

November 23rd, 2014…

so I’ve officially been living in Indonesia for a month now!

And I’m alive. And well. We had a meeting regarding our fridge this week. We are getting one. Eventually. Last Sunday for my birthday evening we went to the 6th Floor of Losari Beach Inn to watch the sunset…it’s more of a cafe/lounge area rather than food so we went to Kios for dinner. I wasn’t feeling the greatest so I came home a bit early.

I really won’t elaborate too much, but one of the less glamorous things about traveling and living abroad is either having the shits or being constipated. Needless to say I was sick for the next 5 days. Awesome stuff let me tell you.

So I’ve received a couple requests…more kid pics! Noted. I will do my best. Had a great teaching week despite being sick. On Monday the group bought me a cake and sang to me! Thursday I had coffee with a dear friend and her husband. And on Friday I taught an extra conversation class that was really fun!

Jalan Lamuru (…down my neighborhood street!)

this app can search all the books in the world
in any language!!!
LifeClub: Design your App!

Saturday morning brought sister and cousin chats that always brightens my day. Afterwards I went to the gym then took a nap…listening to the thunder before falling asleep is rather soothing. When I woke up my roommate was home and was getting ready to go get dinner so I asked if I could join. She was going to get a traditional meal called “Bakso” (a meatball soup dish). Hopped on the back of her motorcycle and away we went to a back alley residential place near her University. It was delicious! and She is fun to hang out with…always laughing! I later met one of her friends who showed us a rental room because she is looking for a new place to live as another foreign teacher is joining the team after the New Year. Saturday night I went to go see Part 1 of the Mockingjay (Hunger Games). Intense.

Bakso restaurant!

“bakso and chips”

Sunday. Morning. Bright and sunny. Headed to the port with my roommates to meet our co-workers for a day at the sea. Had Nasi Kuning for breakfast which is a yellow rice dish with spices and chicken. My friend, Kristi, her brother-in-law owns (and lives in) a house boat. It is his livelihood…giving tours and taking groups on expeditions, trips, or research excursions to the sea and surrounding islands. Since he is a relative of a close friend we paid for the days’ worth of gas. We waited in this port hut with a couple Island guys who were Rudi’s (Kristi’s husband) friends. Jammed and hung out until the rest of our group arrived. Took a small fast boat to his house port because the port is very crowded in the early morning with travelers going to islands and fishermen heading in from/out to sea. It’s already 90 degrees and the sun feels so good. Trust me Midwesterners and New Yorkers and really wherever else is freezing cold with snow and ice—I am soaking it up for you!!!

Ocean serenity. Teal water. Blue skies. Salty breeze. Shimmery waves. I couldn’t be happier. Mangos. Coffee. And I tried my first sea-fish. Rudi went spearfishing. Caught a few fish that were promptly fried with vegetables. Umm..delicious. Probably the only fish I will ever eat. Because you all know how much I don’t like fish. Maybe it’s the smell…or maybe it was just the day itself. And how relaxing and amazing the trip was. I am so very blessed.

During the late afternoon, the rains came. A piercing sun through the clouds before darkening and pouring rain, rocking our boat. We arrived back to the port safely around 7:30 p.m. Seriously pinch me I must be dreaming. This is where I live. And despite not having a fridge, and other things I’ve described in previous posts…the beauty of the sea and the people I have met make everything worth it. The dirt on the road, the plastic chairs at the coffee shop, the public restrooms or lack thereof. I got all teary eyed the other day when I was face timing a friend in Taiwan…I miss her a lot and wish she could be here too…but I think I was teary-eyed because I am overwhelmed with emotion…how different my life is since leaving Taiwan and remembering my kids and friends…and yoga. A certain longing to go back, but always focused on the road ahead and awaiting new experiences that will come my way. For now I have the clearest water, collecting diamonds that will make me rich in laughter, love, and smiles on my day at sea… much love and many hugs to all my international friends and my family.

I recently read this article entitled: “NEBRASKA.” This article was written to highlight Nebraska for reasons other than football and corn. My state. My home. My family. Simplicity and Wide Open Spaces. A place to breathe after city living. A place to decompress after sensory overload of living abroad. A vacation of wine sipping, bon-fires, laughter, Mom’s cooking, porch-swing afternoons, popcorn, and Margaritas on the patio with homemade salsa with chips, fresh chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven, empty roads, country breezes, crisp fall air, striking sunsets, and brilliant sunrises, Home. Where values were instilled and hard work is a part of everyday life. Where people are genuine and smiles are for real. Conversations last all morning even after the coffee is drunk. Starry skies. Clarity is restored. and the Sky touches the windy grass. No skyscrapers or mountains get in the way of highway vision. ….Oh Nebraska…wherever I live, wherever I travel…I hold you in my heart…

But I must see the world. I want to indulge in the exotic beauty of other lands as well. To smile at people I haven’t met yet. To breathe air that so many have breathed before me…to soak up their stories and learn their ways too. and Love even the biggest challenge in a foreign place. …Because I want to laugh instead of complain…


bules (foreigners) and Kristi and Lini

Fresh Mangos direct from the grove

hearts!!! Timmie, Abby, Mom

cleaning the fish…

so much laughter!!!

the group!!!

Makassar from the Sea

Cheers~ and as always feel free to leave comments or topics! 🙂

Selamat Ulang Tahun! ~ Happy Birthday in Bahasa!

Fresh Orange Juice…watching the waves on my last day of 27
#obsessed 😉

Jalan Mesjid Raya
my street…
traffic, people..
and goats!


This goes with the orange juice…

trying Pisang Epe…
traditional Makassar snack
“Pisang” means banana in Bahasa

seaside sitting

only 27 for one more day!

Dinner with friends at
Cobek Cobek

Midnight birthday cake surprise!

Birthday morning sunrise!

Birthday Morning Zumba!

neighborhood Warkop

Happy Birthday to me!

November 15th
last day of 27!

This afternoon I decided to get a massage (144,000 Rp or 11 USD) at Bambuu Bali. It felt so good. Afterwards I headed to the beach to see the waves…because why not? I took a becak…and he went the wrong way…I know my way?!! So I had to point him in the right direction toward Losari Pantai (Losari Beach) I sat by the seaside for a bit…and had fresh orange juice and pisang epe. Pisang epe  is a traditional Makassar snack…the bananas are grilled and a brown sugar sauce is drizzled over the top. I had the “klasik” but they also have durian, chocolate, cheese, and a few other varieties. I love the colors here. The teal and red and blue plastic chairs…the darkening sky and green palm trees, the colors of the store fronts that are faded by the sun, and the grayish blue reflection of the sky on the waves. This city is so bright. If you take the time to look past the free smells, busy traffic, and calls of “mister…” and see the other side of it…full of smiles, culture, character, and color. Tonight I went to dinner at Cobek Cobek with friends. The place serves delicious traditional Indonesian food…coconut rice, chicken, vegetables…etc. Of course all on the menu in Bahasa, but I’m not sure of the exact names yet.

At midnight my roommate Anna and another friend Iecha, surprised me with a birthday cake and song!!! My birthday is off to a fantastic start! How incredibly sweet of them!

November 16th
oh my goodness I’m 28!

Saw the sunrise today. Beautiful. At 5:30 a.m. we went to Zumba in the park. Followed by breakfast at a neighborhood Warkop (a traditional Indonesian cafe that serves coffee and snacks…also called a rest) original Indonesian black coffee called kopi hitam (amazing! and it cost 5,000 Rp= 41 CENTS) and a traditional coconut cake called putu ambon. So many wonderful birthday wishes, texts, messages, posts, and calls! I feel blessed to have friends around the world!!! Love to all. And thanks to my new Indonesian friends for celebrating with me and to all of you who wished they could…Cheers!!! 🙂

This Week’s Top 5:

1. I found a gym! Yay! The inside is bright yellow and blue. There is a courtyard and also a big open space indoor rooms as well as a room with weights and a couple treadmills that kind of work. The girl at the front desk has also asked to be photographed with me. When I leave the gym I have a cheering section of about 5-10 guys on motorcycles/bystanders. Everyone wants a high five… or a handshake…Sometimes I don’t know what to make of it…

2. Gizii Juice is the best. I have now tried the almond milks and a couple of the fresh fruit juices. Yum! There is another brand called EZY that I will try next week.

3. Motorized “becaks” are called bentadors. They are fabulous. It’s a great way to see the city because they take backroads and shortcuts…also it’s hard to see the city by walking because of the traffic or in a taxi because they take the same routes.

4. I went to Starbucks last week. They have a different latte called “Butter Cookie.” It’s ok. But Warkop coffee is better. It’s not made in a factory…and it’s local. I love the character of these cafes…outdoors…no air…plastic colorful chairs…rod iron decorative bars…colorful fronts…I’ll post pictures soon…the one I think I will start going to is called Warkop Aroma. 

5. Teaching is going well. I really do enjoy it…and the kids are a lot of fun…crazy, but fun…they call me “Missss Megan,” in a semi-British accent. So darn cute. And they roll their “r”s like in Spanish.

That’s all for this week. Comments? Questions? Topics you would like to discuss? LMK! 🙂
Cheers from this side of the world!

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