Indonesia, South Korea · 25 Days · 17 Moments · July 2018

Bonding with Bali

29 July 2018

During my 24-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea, I was able to go out and do a little exploring. My pictures aren’t the best as I opted for the free transit tours the airport offers. It was extremely hot and muggy, especially along the beach. After it started raining later though, it wasn’t too bad. Photos 1-3: photos along the beach (2 was going to be used as promotion for their tours, so it was set up by them) 4-6: Namdaemum Market - largest traditional market in Korea - found a few unique items and tried some delicious street food 7: non-violent protests by older generations are carried out on Saturdays, so we had to leave a little earlier 8: the Incheon airport is one of the best places to have a layover - I was so tired - lounge chairs where I did homework, live piano music (even little Asian kids would play like pros), shower facilities, and nap areas! - I caught up on my sleep for several hours without disturbances 😊 9: morning (3am) chai latte and homework in the airport

27 July 2018

Just some final photos with the native people I’ve gotten to know so well in Bali. (I know some are selfies Caroline took, but the other people in them have also become important to me, I just didn’t have the chance to take my own photo with them.) Photo 1: the two expert Balinese men who worked side by side with us at the temple and helped fix or instruct wherever was needed 2: Dewa, our coordinator for the construction program 3: Dodon, a coordinator for orientation groups - I did not have him as my own coordinator for anything, but we had some really close conversations and good laughs together 4: Konik, my orientation group leader and overall coordinator during my time here 5-8: members of the family who so lovingly shared their home compound with us (the baby in photo 8 was born while we were there!)
Since Caroline and I both had our flights home at some point on Friday, we wanted to split the price for a taxi and get to Kuta (the place I went last weekend) one night beforehand to relax and enjoy together. We stayed in a quaint little place about 1km from the airport. When we arrived Thursday evening, we went to a hotel rooftop restaurant overlooking the beach, then went down to the main floor of that same hotel afterwards to play pool and sing karaoke until we were too tired to be any good anymore. Friday we relaxed by the pool and stayed away from anything too crazy. Caroline left around noon and I still had almost all day. Goodbyes were hard, and I’ve never been too good at them, so saying goodbye to all the amazing friends I have made was a seemingly emotionless expression for me until I was alone afterwards. The rest of my night, I relaxed, read, and packed to leave at 1am. Photo 1: Kuta beach 2-4: pool and karaoke with Caroline 5-6: relaxing by the pool at our homestay

26 July 2018

Thursday’s sunrise trekking was BY FAR my favorite adventure on my trip as well as the best way I could’ve possibly spent my last day in Bali. I went with a few other volunteers from our program, but ultimately, everyone climbing the mountain created one very long line of flashlights glowing in a endless trail beneath the stars. We left our accommodations at 2am, stopped to get coffee and a banana crepe-like thing for breakfast on the way, and began climbing Mount Batur at about 4am. I ended up splitting away from my own little group and making it to the top by 6am, about 20 minutes before them. When they made it up there, the sun began to rise and we enjoyed the view while eating breakfast and sipping coffee. There were a couple hundred people altogether, and it was a very rocky climb, so coming down was a bit terrifying with all the loose rocks and sand. The overall 5 hour adventure of climbing up, sitting to watch, and climbing down was beyond satisfying and very peaceful! ❤️

25 July 2018

Up until Thursday morning, there was nothing too far outside of what had become my ordinary. I have still been thoroughly enjoying my experience, but it’s settled in fairly well and I’m adjusted to my new home here. I wish I had more time to improve my language skills and spend time with all of the wonderful people I’ve met! I regret not having chosen a longer volunteering time. Photos 1-2: progress at the temple this week (I finished my time after Wednesday because of trekking and travel plans on my last two days in Bali) Photo 3: yogurt chicken curry from a popular cafe in our village Photos 4-7: very diverse “Cafe Clear” with some of the amazing friends I’ve grown so close to over the past three weeks - this was Caroline’s and my goodbye dinner for our last night in Bali (my food is a yellow Indian curry dish - very spicy and delicious!)

23 July 2018

Today was a day well spent! After being a little delayed in leaving, we set out for a very hot morning of work at the temple, but made quite a bit of progress as we’ve finally made it to the third and lowest level of the temple. After showering and having a moment to relax for the afternoon, Caroline (Canada), Carla (Germany) and I headed off to visit a coffee plantation/garden, a waterfall, and a wood carving shop. We then went out with some others for dinner for one of our fellow German volunteer’s birthday. Photo 1: more progress on temple (lowest level finally) 2: part of a typical family compound at the coffee plantation 3-4: various tea and coffee samples from our tour 5: Bali’s famous luwak coffee (made from luwak animals eating best quality civet coffee beans, passing them through their system, then being cleaned for consumption - super cool, but definitely look it up further!) 6-9: at the waterfall (8: just for you, mom and dad ❤️😘) 10: part of wood carver’s work area

22 July 2018

I had an amazing weekend going to Kuta Beach with some of the other girls as our way of winding down after completing our first full weeks in our programs. We spent most of our time hanging out at a hotel’s beach club area where we used the pool, enjoyed picturesque views of the ocean, ate some amazing seafood, drank a few beers, and relaxed each in our own way. I spent most of my own time reading or walking along the beach when not conversing with the other girls. On Saturday night, we checked out Kuta’s most popular nightclub, Sky Garden. Since we were all girls, they waved us in without a charge, and we made our way up their five floors to get to the rooftop lounge where we danced the night away. It was a lot of fun, but I’m ready to be back to working and trekking around Ubud again this week! Photo 1 - 7: at the beach club (3: an evening dance show, 4: banana juice from breakfast, 5: my friend Angel (Belgian)) Photo 8: my new iguana friend I met along the way and a henna tattoo

20 July 2018

While afternoons have been spent exploring the outdoors and the core culture of Bali, evenings have mainly been spent doing yoga, singing karaoke, reading, going out with various other volunteers, and meeting new people from all parts of the world. Nightlife is very exciting in Bali! Photo 1: Caroline (Canada) and I drinking some beers after an evening yoga class 2: night out to a fancy sushi restaurant with Caroline and Victoria (USA-Montana) 3: night out with Lise (Belgium), Jiàlián (China), and Cecilia (Italy) - bad quality because of my phone’s camera 4: night out with Jiàlián, Ida (Sweden), Lise, Elia (France), Shanel (Singapore), and Felicia (Singapore) All of the people in these photos are other volunteers as well, although most of them are in the teaching program so I don’t see them much during the day.

19 July 2018

The rest of the week has gone by too fast, and I’m sad I will be leaving soon. But it’s been a very adventurous week! I find myself enjoying the renovation work at the temple much more than I anticipated, and I’ve been exploring with Caroline (a Canadian friend from Ottawa who is in the construction program with me) during our free afternoons. I found many new trails, went to a Restorative Yoga class, shopped in little boutiques, and visited various coffee shops. Photo 1 & 2: places Caroline and I stumbled across during one of our many afternoon treks Photo 3: a cremation ceremony we had to stop and wait to pass on the drive to our work site one morning (bad quality because it was taken through the car window) Photo 4: part of this week’s progress

17 July 2018

I did end up managing to make it through work today, and I’m glad to say that I feel much better tonight! Photo 1: today’s progress Photo 2 & 3: friends doing construction and renovation program with me Photo 4: the puppy I get to see every day at my accommodation in the family compound Photos 5 - 7: delayed photos of me at the Holy Water Pool in the Tirta Empul Temple
Yesterday we began our actual programs here in Bali. I’m part of the Construction and Renovation team, and our task over the next couple weeks is to repair a temple about 35 minutes from where we’re staying. I was a little nervous about what to expect, especially since my stomach had started to feel a little funky. It turned out that I absolutely enjoyed the work we did, and I liked seeing the progress. We laid stones to pave a temple, moved stone roof tiles from one place to another, and leveled the ground under where those stones had been so we could pave it later. I encountered huge spiders and found myself dripping sweat by the time we were done. We worked all morning and got back early afternoon, so I had the rest of the day to explore with another volunteer. Although I’m looking forward to the rest of my work there, I got very sick overnight and may not be able to go today since there are no adequate bathrooms near the temple. Hopefully it passes soon! 1: Before 2 & 3: After

15 July 2018

Spent the weekend near Amed, a place along the coast of East Bali, with Karen and Victoria, two other volunteers from the United States. We are all introverts, so taking the weekend to relax and do a little self-preparation for the week to come was extremely enjoyable for us. We stayed in a hotel near the beach and enjoyed a spa/game/drinks/getting to know each other better day on Saturday. Sunday we were able to relax by the pool and do some snorkeling off the coast to see a shipwreck and part of a coral reef. Easy Bali has beaches more suited for fishing and scuba diving, so we didn’t spend time relaxing at any beaches outside of snorkeling, but we had a blast and made it back refreshed and ready to start the week!

13 July 2018

Flower offering class: a young coconut leaf and an old palm leaf “sewed” together with a bamboo stick - the overlapping side determines the direction south: purple flowers = north = water pink flowers = east = wind red flowers = south = fire yellow flowers = west = earth green = center = balancing We then dressed in sarongs and proper attire to take our flower offerings to the Tirta Empal temple in Ubud. Sarongs are required, hair must be tied back, shoulders must be covered other than when in the Holy Water Pool, and no entrance when menstruating. (The photo of people blessing their bodies in the holy water is not my own. I don’t have the ones taken of me and the others.) Then, what should have been a 25 minute drive home took 2.5 hours with a mass buildup of traffic: people, motorbikes, cars, etc. (All the while it was down pouring so walking wasn’t a good option.) We finally arrived home at 5:30pm, exhausted and hungry after not having eaten since 7am, but happy with the day.

12 July 2018

Photo 1 - 6: four hours of trekking through the rice paddies around Ubud, moving from what seemed like one world into another - included within in the hiking photos are new friends from China and Sweden, an artist who works out of his village with his wife and makes a living from it, and a village within the jungle Photo 7: batik painting class from this morning - can’t wait to get my cloth back when it’s completely dried and finished!

10 July 2018

Photo 1: sweet tempeh, vegetable mix, coffee, and fresh fruit from lunch today (Tempeh originated from Indonesia and it is one of their staple foods. It is a blend of soy beans and tofu and makes a great protein substitute in a vegetarian dish!) Photo 2: every language leaners passion = a 2 hour language class learning Bahasa Indonesian Photo 3 & 4: an afternoon cooking class - menu was friend bananas (topped with cheese and chocolate), sweet tempeh, gado gado (beans, bean sprouts and tofu topped with peanut sauce), and an iced lime tea Photo 5 & 6: a Balinese Bintang beer drank during the cultural Balinese dance show last night Photo 7: a better photo from my “monkeying around” yesterday To top it all off, I had an amazing evening with a diverse mix of some of those from my orientation group: Italian, German, New Yorker, French Belgian, Dutch Belgians, Swedish, and Chinese. We had such a wonderful conversation about our cultures, and I have already grown very fond of all of them!

9 July 2018

My own selfie doesn’t do justice and maybe I’m just monkeying around, but I’m pretty sure I just made a new friend this morning.

8 July 2018

After ending the dreadfully long flights here at 1am with swollen ankles, a bloated stomach, and numb hips, I unexpectedly had to wait for pick up the following afternoon, so I settled into a cozy hostel near the airport. I spent most of my time catching up on sleep and letting loneliness and uncertainty creep in, but I did meet a very nice woman from Egypt with whom I had an interesting conversation regarding women traveling solo. After returning to the airport later to meet my driver and some of the other volunteers, the loneliness I had felt before quickly faded away. I was smooshed into a car (they drive on the left) with a fellow midwestern, my Indonesian driver, and two guys from Portugal. We made the drive to Ubud, met some of the other volunteers, and settled into our accommodations. It is very humid and there are only fans, no air conditioning, but so far, the people are friendly, the food is good, and the Hindu island is both beautiful and unique!