after a dark period in my life in spring/summer 2015, something came up that cheered me up and made me look forward to it. you know how you get excited when there’s something good to look forward to? it gets you going no matter how tough your present day feels like.
this thing is a gift from my mum: a year-end trip to Bali, Indonesia.
before i start, i would just like to say that many people (Indonesian and others) take it for granted that they can be around their families throughout the year. many of the people i know who live outside of their own home countries can visit their home countries & families at least once a year, some even many times a year. those people are quite lucky, and i hope they know it.
the last time i went to Indonesia and met my family was 4,5 years ago. the last time i spent Christmas and new year’s eve with them was 10 years ago. i couldn’t even remember anymore what it feels like to celebrate both events in +30C degrees!
the last time i went to Bali was about 5,5 years ago, and all my life i had only always visited Bali for a maximum 7 day trip. this time, i was there for 2 weeks.
so what all did i do there in 2 weeks, you might wonder. which temples did i go to, did i surf, did i snorkel, did i dive… well, sorry to disappoint you, but both my husband & i had been there as tourists a few times that now we didn’t even do any tourist-y thing. the main point was to just spend as much time with my family as possible, doing everyday stuff that might be boring for some but very precious to me as i can never do it while i’m here and my family is half a world away.
in a true Indonesian style, to be honest we had some mishaps in our trip, one of them was my sister getting food poisoning right on Christmas day and ended up in the emergency room. other mishaps included unexpected traffic jams that lasted 2 hours (it was in front of the Monkey Forest in Ubud), the AC in our hotel room being broken (not funny when it was otherwise +35C degrees outside), and… actually, let’s just forget about the other mishaps. :p because the most important thing is, i was with my family! yay!
the highlight of this trip, and probably of my whole 2015, was the new year’s eve. my whole family & i went to stay at a villa in Umalas, and not only the place itself was gorgeous, but what we did was something i hadn’t done in a long time with my family: sitting down together watching TV, playing cards and dominoes, listening to my dad’s choices of music, having lots of laugh… and when midnight came, we watched the fireworks (& flying lanterns) from all around Bali and hugged each other at 12 o’ clock. 🙂 that was simply priceless.
now i am back here in cold Finland (it just turned -20C degrees right on the day we came back here. thanks a lot, mother nature!), and seeing these pics got me teary-eyed again. i don’t think parting with my family will ever get any easier, no matter how many times i have visited my home country and family over the course of my stay abroad.
but anyway, without further ado, here are some pics of my trip.
first, our hotel, which is more like a lodge than a hotel, since it only has 10 rooms. very peaceful & lovely.
greeted by this view on our hotel
the lounge of our hotel
our hotel’s shrine
our hotel’s swimming pool… which, in the end, i never got to use
our base camp for 2 weeks
such a spacious room!
next, the sights we saw and things we did when we visited Ubud. unfortunately it rained every day when we were there, and then there were the traffic jams. but like i said, at least we were all together during those days!
this paddy field is right next to our hotel’s complex. we pass this lovely view every time walk from the receptionist to our hotel room and vice versa.
the view from our room’s balcony. you can’t beat this!
while stuck in a traffic jam, we passed this man saying his prayers in front of a shrine.
Laka Leke restaurant, famous for their crispy ducks. (it was very good!)
a center stage in the restaurant’s area for holding dance performances.
paddy field next to the restaurant.
a tourist-y picture with your mum and your niece is sometimes a must.
some men making a painting together.
they will then wax the pattern one by one and colour them: that’s batik!
this restaurant also has their own plant farm.
our hotel’s swimming pool.
don’t believe what you see: i did NOT swim here, only dipped my legs.
my husband’s soup of the day, served in a traditional Indonesian “ayam jago” bowl (which reportedly originally came from China).
my super-creative niece had just created her own tv series (that was her plan, anyway). she drew this while we were eating dinner.
the finished version of my niece’s drawing, completed with the cats’ and dogs’ names! ❤
we stopped by our dear friend’s Sambal Shop. the sambal was superb!
we also went to a small textile gallery called “Threads of Life” & learned about the traditional way of creating, weaving & colouring threads in Indonesia. coolness!
after our stay in Ubud, these were all the other things we did, which was fun for us but maybe boring to you… 😀 some were taken in Sanur beach, some were in Batu Bolong beach, and most of them just around our hotel.
the view right from the lounge of our hotel.
when we stepped outside of our hotel, we were greeted by these lovely cows.
this picture is a lie: we actually only ate at a restaurant across this place. 😀
Deli Campur Asia: we ate here on our first day and on our last day of the trip. the Pho Ga was delicious!
Kafe Cinta: a nice place near our hotel, reachable by foot. and, you guessed it, it’s situated right next to a paddy field… again.
Balinese fisherman’s boats, parked at Sanur beach.
some men gathering the algae to be sold or saved for food.
a nice, quiet beach.
yes, i was really happy to see this kind of beach!
it was not Jimbaran, but it would do. 🙂
having the time of my life with my mum.
this was at a Japanese ramen restaurant called Aoba. my husband & i loved the ramen! and we could put on these kimonos & take pics with them for free!
in this restaurant called Indotopia, they cook Pho like a pro!
enjoying the sea breeze at Batu Bolong beach.
ahh… i wish i could still be there.
drinking young coconut water straight from the coconut shell is such a luxury!
sunset in Batu Bolong.
a nice free access area at Batu Bolong beach, next to Old Man’s.
bye bye, beach! see you next time!
a small temple near the beach.
and now for the fun: karaoke time with my sister! it was a 2-hour non-stop singing session!
an Indonesian-Italian restaurant with traditional wooden oven (can’t remember the name of the restaurant right now, sorry!)
the woods for the oven. the pizza was really, REALLY good.
kind of surreal to see Christmas decoration in a damp & tropical weather. 😀
stranded in this restaurant because of the hard rain.
and lastly, our new year celebration. 🙂
walking towards our rented villa.
knock knock… there’s our lovely villa!
this was the best picture to show the living room of our villa… please excuse my niece’s pose! 😀
the living room and the kitchen & dining area.
our room had en-suite bathroom, and it’s semi outdoor! cool, huh?
and a biiiig, big front yard.
a small gate that leads us to the swimming pool.
there’s the swimming pool!
and now, finally, i got to dive into the pool! it was nice & warm inside the water, because it was such a hot day!
we could see other villas from the pool, but our villa was luckily hidden from anyone else’s views, thanks to the bushes.
enjoying each other’s company.
first round of the night: dominoes!
happy new year! hope this year we will have more time to spend together!
a new trend in Bali: flying lanterns. good thing they didn’t fall on our alang-alang rooftop, other wise it would’ve burned down the whole house!
the next morning: another match at cards!
that’s it for now, and my, what a lengthy post this turned out to be! again, i wish you all a great 2016! may love and happiness always be with us! 🙂
PS. the pictures shown in this blog post were taken by 3 different cameras & people, but most of them were by my husband and my sister. thanks for letting me use them here!