24 feb. 2015

Fascinating Fabulous Friday

We got to visit this amazing cashew factory in literally bufu Tianyar. After bouncing around in the cricked dirt road, we arrived to this remarkable place up in the mountains, surrounded by nothing except magical green cashew trees. While there we got a guided tour of the one and only Grace, an American intern at the cashew factory, who had been living with us, the Yayasan crew, for awhile.

It was truly amazing to see how they use and produce this beyond tasty nut, which they make in all kinds of flavors and forms. A factory which is constantly expanding, not only cashew-wise but also from an educational and a social development perspective. East West Bali cashew factory is a company there 95 % of the employees are women from this small village up in the mountains. Therefore they have started a kindergarten at this factory, simply to make it possible for these women to have a real work and to earn their own money, since their reality is the unpaid everyday work of cooking and raising children.

A captivating visit which both broth tons of cashews in my belly, cashew-knowledge in my brain, delicious rosella tea, newborn babyrabbits and some wonderful dancing to weird Super Mario sounding dubstep, with some of the local employees, and not to forget, the village priest who moved his hips like no other.

The afternoon did as well contain some cultural experiences. While home, we quickly dressed up in our Balinese sarongs and walked a few steps to our student’s Resma and Ristas house next door. Their baby sister had her 6 month ceremony. A tradition where the baby touches the ground for the first time. This is also the time when they completely shaves the baby’s head. We got to sit together with the family and the priests, in their gorgeous family temple, surrounded by all kinds of offerings, beautiful baskets of flower and fruit offerings, as for a huge grilled pig and a chicken.

 Another ceremony where the priest made some true magic. I tell you, it does really feel like some spiritual mystical magic going on. The bells, the humming, the incents, and all of their beautiful matching clothing. Magical.

The dreamlike feeling yet remains even though both of the priest’s cell phones rings, in the middle of the procedure. Twice. A funky western pop tune, but then again, also a reminder that we are not that different after all.

As it started to get dark, the electricity went off, completely. We certainly made the best of it and gathered around a bonfire of coconuts, with homemade s’mores á la Bali.

A Fascinating Fabulous Unforgettable Friday for sure. 

17 feb. 2015

.Weekend in the south and Valentins day!

While going all the way to Denpasar to extend our visas, Montsi and I decided to spend the weekend exploring the south! We ended up in Ulu wato on Friday and got to see a part of the cute town, and during the evening we went to the tempel Pura luhur Uluwato, and got the opportunity to see the famous Kecak fire dance. An extraordinary dance performance for sure. An ancient story is illustrated by dancing, acting and men in sarongs singing. I really cannot describe this fantastic act, simply take a look at this little video and hopefully you will get a taste of it!

We also had the opportunity to see both Dreamland beach and the famous surf beach Padang Padang. I have never really had a thing for surfing before, but while watching the incredible sunset at the Blue Point Beach, I can assure you that being able to surf in the middle of this incredible sunset is permanently now on my bucket list.

Sunday we traveled back home to our lovely Tiayar, and yes, i can truely call this place my home sweet home. In the afternoon we had a delayed Valentine ’s Day dinner party with our oldest students! We made brownies and our amazing kids showed off their skills in the kitchen. And I’ll tell you, they are brilliant!

Another wonderful week-end that passed to fast, but I am truly getting better in enjoying every single moment. I’m out of words for now, so hopefully the picture can do the talking today.

11 feb. 2015

Happiness, Love, Freedom and Money

If you would rank Happiness, Love, Freedom and Money in order of importance, how would your list look like?

A warm up Gaby and I made for our D morning class, twelve wonderful 17, 18 year old girls and boys who everyday arrive what a huge smile on their faces and high ambitions. Students who every day has the courage to talk a little bit more, realizing that a mistake is not the end of the world, what matters is if you talk and try. 

We did this exercise during my first week, however it is still one of my favorite ones. 
As soon as we announced the assignment and wrote these slightly powerful words on the whiteboard, their brains immediately started processing. Everyone got quiet and just started to write. And write. I had already made my list in my head, prepared to answer if the class really wanted to.
I made it clear that there are definitely no incorrect nor correct answers to this task, what is important is simply your opinion. After a while their pencils stopped moving and their concentrated faces had turned to smiles of satisfaction. 
Surprisingly everyone was willing to read their lists out loud. The beauty of this assignment was all of the mixed answers. Coming directly from each and every one of their hearts, moreover the honesty to a school assignment was for me something unusual.

 - I would have picked Love, Happiness, Freedom and last Money. Because I believe as long as you have love you will have everything else. Because when you have love you smile and when you smile you feel free, and then the money will come to you.

-I would choose Money, Happiness, Love and Freedom. Because if you have money I know that you would be very happy and love will come to you if you have money and happiness. And also if you have money I think you will be free.

 The variety of answers of these four statements were remarkable. Every student twisted and turned this task and made it into their own.  
I was honestly amazed by their descriptions and I could really comprehend with every single one of them, in their own way. Everyone had an opinion and declared it surprisingly well, that it made me think twice about my own theories.

How about you then teacher?

Well, my list would probably look like this
I believe happiness is the foundation of life. I you are happy, life is a blast.
 Freedom is essential for me, to have the ability to do what your heart desires and what your tummy tells you to.
Love, love is everywhere and love keeps us alive. But then again, in order become alive in the first place, you need both happiness and freedom.
  Money. Money is important in lots of cases, however, I don’t believe you can buy pure Happiness, freedom or love with pieces of paper. On the other hand you can buy possessions which might help you reach what you desire.    

Some nodded,and agreed, and some didn't,  however we all knew that today we all got straight A’s.

Sunset at Gili T this weekend