Monthly Archives: February 2012

having a swimming pool in our front yard has been a lot of fun. especially for nayou. he’s in there almost every day and his confidence in the water has increased dramatically. usually he’s in there with his floaties, but recently he’s been going in with just one floatie, or testing the waters (pun intended) with no swimming aids. on wednesday we went for a swim at a pool up the road and nayou decided to start swimming all by himself! it was truly amazing to watch him do this start to go further and further as he became more confident.

for me its been interesting as a parent to learn to trust nayou and let him implement changes when he wants to. the urge to “coach” him with swimming was quite strong but i purposely held back and he did it all by himself. likewise with the breastfeeding – in the last month he has completely weaned himself without any prompting from brenda or myself. these days with all this talk of percentiles and milestones and blah blah blah its easy to get caught up in comparisons with other kids, but this was another reminder to trust nayou and trust the process to unfold as it will. the lesson for me though is not to shower him with praise when he does things like this, lest he start to do certain things for the praise rather than for the love of it. but, its hard not to get excited when you see your son take his first strokes 🙂

last sunday a large contingent of us took a trip out to sanur, a beach town on the south east coast of bali. while not as nice as white sand beach, sanur has super calm warm waters to swim in which is good for the kids. plus the water is shallow which is a bonus. another nice thing about sanur is that there is shade! we still ended up spending most of the day in the sun though. brenda is now several shades darker than she was last week.

the boys spent most of the day hunting for crabs, mini starfish and sea urchins, which are all over the place. but the best find of the day came from brenda, who stumbled upon a gigantic orange starfish with big knobbly bits all over it. it actually looked a bit like a plastic toy. as you can see, lots of fun was had with our new friend 🙂

we have one more week left in bali! this time next week we’re going to be touching down in sydney airport. crazy…

every village in bali has its own temple. and every six months there is a big ceremony in each of them to honour the gods. a similar thing happens in family temples as well. kutuh kajah (north kutuh) is the name of the village we live in, and last week they had their bi-annual ceremony. each village brings its own flavour to the ceremonies, and our village does it right by turning it into a bit of a festival with food stalls, lots of music and late nights. we’ve been to a couple of ceremonies so far but this one was the coolest one by a long shot.

here is brenda with our friend nyoman.

and here is a video of the different performances. they just kept on coming one after the other, and we actually left before it all finished. our friend budi said that the festivities went on until around 1am!

galungan is a balinese holiday that happens every 210 days. it lasts for ten days and during this time they believe that the gods come and visit earth. they leave on the last day, which is called kuningan. during this time there are lots of offerings and various ceremonies, which are supposed to entertain the visiting gods. every household erects a tall curved bamboo pole in front of their compound, and there is usually a small altar with offerings attached to it.

our house got a bamboo pole as well, courtesy of our landlord made and his wife ayu. ayu also came and dressed up our pool guardian shiva.

it is also considered very lucky to get married during this time. families whose members tied the knot get to display these beautiful decorations in front of their house:

for the first night of galungan we went to visit our friend ibu kadek and her family to take part in their village’s parade.

kadek loves to go shopping at the warungs. he likes to buy sweets and this toxic smelling rubbery stuff that you use to blow bubbles with. i remember playing with that stuff when i was a kid in japan! of course nayou was along for the ride and wanted to do everything that kadek did. the only thing we can’t get him to do is wear traditional balinese attire. ibu kadek has some super cute sarongs for him, but he refuses to even try them on. at least he is cool with wearing his japanese yukata.

for kuningan last night we went and checked out the procession at our village of kutuh kajah. it was a mellow affair. nayou was more interested in his boat races with budi 🙂

one of nayou’s best friends here in bali is budi. budi works at a warung about 50m from our house. initially nayou didn’t want anything to do with him but eventually he warmed up and now the two are inseparable! here they are playing nayou’s favourite game – leaf boat races.

budi came over the other day and showed us how to make bubbles out of plants. pretty cool!

last night we had a sort of spontaneous gathering of friends for dinner. the night started off with a funky bang as we danced around while the food was being prepped:

and was then followed by an amazing raw feast.

nayou has been burning the midnight oil for just about a week now. last night was another late one, but at least he got some mellow movie time in with his new friends. his current obsession is the gruffalo. we picked up one of the gruffalo books in singapore and he has fallen in love with it. the stories are cute and the animated versions are fantastic as well.

the night finished off with some light painting by the pool. it was a perfectly still night, almost a full moon, and no mosquitoes.


we just got back from singapore, where we spent a hectic and decadent two days in the heart of modern asia. our tourist visas for bali run out after two months, and the only way to renew them (legally, anyway) is to leave the country and come back. brenda and i considered a bunch of options but settled on singapore because the flights are cheap and my cousin sean lives there with his wife mary.

none of us had ever been to singapore before, and we hadn’t really heard many good things about it. the only thing i knew was that it was illegal to chew gum and that there were many other weird laws like that (turns out that its not illegal to chew gum in singapore, just illegal to sell it). but despite all of our expectations, we had an amazing time there. the city is clean, efficient, glitzy and fun! there is lots and lots to do and we wished we had decided to spend a little more time there. we still managed to cram in quite a lot in just over 48 hours – i took a yoga class at pure yoga, a studio i have been wanting to check out since it opened. its one of those ridiculous yoga studios located at the top of a huge skyscraper, boasting 4000 sq. ft. changing rooms and the like. we had an entire day of retail therapy on orchard rd., which has more louis vuitton, prada and gucci stores i have ever seen in my life. our shopping was decidedly more low key though, with stops at the lego store, h&m, kinokuniya and the japanese supermarket.

sean and mary were fabulous hosts. they made us feel right at home and helped us out with everything from cell phones, train passes, maps and all those other random things that make travelling so much easier. sean and mary live on the top floor of the cathay building, which has an impressive vista of singapore, especially at night. the panorama function on our camera managed to take a good shot for the first time ever!

the building also has a big pool which we made good use of. check out that view!

one night we tried to go up to the top of the tallest building in singapore, but we couldn’t because of potential lightning strikes. we ended up horsing around on a green patch of grass instead before going to a super yummy japanese restaurant. i was a bad blogger and forgot to get at least one photo of all of us together… in writing this i realised that i only have a couple of bad shots of sean and none of mary!

we spent our last morning checking out the architecture. singapore has some amazing buildings.

check out this vertical garden in the lobby of one of the buildings!

nayou had chocolate ice cream for breakfast. parenting fail.

we feel like we barely scratched the surface of what singapore has to offer. there is so much more we wanted to do – sentosa, the botanical gardens, the night zoo, the surf park etc etc etc. we would definitely go back if the chance arose again. thanks so much to sean and mary for showing us a good time!

oh yeah, there was this indian parade/ceremony type thing where a bunch of sadhu (or sadhu-like) people walked across town carrying very heavy structures on their heads, or pulling heavy things. they also have crazy spikes piercing their bodies – tongues, cheeks, brows, backs etc. pretty crazy stuff. one of the many friendly cab drivers we met told us that they do this as sort of penance if they pray for a miracle and it actually happens (e.g. a relative recovering from cancer). we didn’t make much effort to see these guys, but we did get a close up from a taxi. this guy was pulling an altar on wheels using hooks embedded in his back. ouch. and to top if off he was walking on sandals made of nails!

now we’re back in bali safe and sound, with a visa that will last us until we leave on march 1st. i’m still waiting for a proper contract for mad max, but we have started visa procedures for namibia already which is a good sign. sounds like its really going to happen this time around!