catching my breath

Spring Break 2011: Bali and Jakarta
This year for our April “Songkran” Break, I had the joy of traveling to Indonesia! First stop: the island of Bali. We started out in an over-touristy beach town called Kuta. Didn’t love it. Pushy people, swindling money changers, crowded beaches… Maybe a good place for aspiring surfers, and maybe it all would have been more exciting if we didn’t come from Thailand –the home of many beautiful beaches.
Such colorful seafood.

Some of the most beautiful sites around Bali are the temples. I think it’s partly that the colors and styles are so trendy right now. It’d all fit in nicely on someone’s patio or something.

I traveled with two teacher friends, Heidi and Sheila. Traveling is always a great way to get quality time with people you don’t see often enough!

After a couple days, we headed inland a bit to a place called Ubud. Praise God for Ubud. Quiet, beautiful landscapes, and instead of pushy, the people were friendly and helpful. Our first night, we took an Indonesian cooking class. First dish, the ever-delicious gado gado salad, featuring (yum, yum) this tasty peanut sauce stuff. Kind of like sauce for satay, but not so sweet.

We also learned how to make a curry chicken and another popular Indonesian dish, mie goreng (stir-fried noodles), both fantastic. AND then we topped it all off with fried bananas!! Ahhh, as you can imagine, we kind of rolled ourselves up to our bungalows that night.

These are the bungalows we stayed in while at Ubud. My favorite parts were the intricately decorated doors (sorry, forgot to get a close-up) AND how they brought us up hot tea every morning on our terrace. How lovely!

So, super fun, we went on a downhill bike ride beginning near a well-known volcano in the area. LOVED it, even though we experienced a DOWNPOUR about 20 minutes into the ride. And once it started raining, it never stopped. Great fun, you know, when you get so drenched you don’t even care anymore?
On the ride, we ran into a ceremony going on involving this strange pole-like thing that the people were swinging around near their temple. We asked them what it symbolized, and (uh oh, I never remember this kind of stuff) I think they said something about a river…not sure. But I guess it only happens a couple times a year or so. The funny thing, while they were swinging this around, it fell over — nearly on top of us all! We then backed away and for the next 20 minutes or so, watched the men work together to get the thing back up.

We also had the opportunity to take a batik-making class! It was fantastic!! (Batik is this kind of fabric painted in layers to create a really cool and unique design.) We got to take part in every step…drawing on the canvas, using the hot wax, and painting it over and over again. That’s mine, drying in the sun. It got a few more layers of paint after that. Maybe I’ll post a completed photo of it later. I realized then that I just love sitting around and creating. It was so relaxing and engaging too.

My last few days in Indonesia I spent near Jakarta with some old college buddies, Jessica and Evan Brammer. It was so nice to see them after four years. Loved seeing them be such wonderful parents to their three little kiddos. And we all enjoyed swapping overseas stories and sharing all that God has done in our lives these past years. What an encouraging time!

Admiring the clouds on my flight back home to good ol’ BKK!

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