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.


kagemusha is a japanese restaurant in ubud where they serve awesome food. there is a large japanese expat community in ubud and this is the place where they all hang out. our friend natasha loves this place and decided to have her going away dinner here.

we have been hanging out with natasha daily since brenda met her three weeks ago. she is a restauranteur from melbourne, and we all get along very well. she left on tuesday and we are definitely missing having her around. its one of the sadder aspects of being a nomad – you meet lots of other really cool nomads but usually only for a very limited time. the flipside to that is you end up with a network of friends all over the world, but its still sad to bid farewell.

thats natasha on the second from the left. the girl on the far left is oksana, our housemate.

there were some classic moments, like nayou’s first photobomb:

i love this photo of brenda:

nayou held on for as long as he could, but eventually the sleep angels won. the little dude was so tired that he slept the whole ten minute scooter ride home!

here is most of our ubud crew. good times, good times!

late last week we decided to have a bit of a pool day and ended up meeting some friends at the royal pita maha, a ridiculous 5 star resort just outside of ubud. our friend natasha knew someone who works there, which is how we ended up at this place. the entrance to the hotel is located down a nice paved path about 500m from the main road. you know you have arrived because you are greeted by the most gargantuan statue ever known to man.

that’s nayou and i on the scooter at the bottom of the photo, btw. yep, its big.

the lobby is big and opulent as you would expect. apparently at this place, you can’t just have a button to call an elevator. you have to have a statue.

the main pool was really nice, overlooking the jungle in a steep valley. noone else was there, probably because each villa has its own private pool. you gotta wonder why they bothered with this main pool… probably for people like us i guess.

we spent $45 (a small fortune in bali) on some terrible food, but the experience of walking around their grounds made is (almost) worth it. the resort is situated on one side of a steep valley that leads down to the ayung river. they did an amazing job with the landscaping – there are ponds, temples and little nooks to hang out in all over the place.

there is a lagoon that runs around the lower half of the grounds. it was fun drifting alongside the river and watching the whitewater rafters float by.

its crazy to think that this resort is one of several that are built along this valley (including a four seasons and an aman hotel). i’m glad we had the experience, although i have to say that i much prefer our little villa out in the rice paddies!