Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Growing up

She's been growing up. Like crazy. We left for Bali, leaving a baby girl to my parents for two weeks. And we came back to a not-so-baby-girl anymore. It's like we blinked, and here we have a little girl now.

A little girl who's taking her first steps.

And playing games on us (hiding away from us is by far her favorite).

And brushing her baby doll's hair - yes, Troels freaked out a little bit at that one ("Oh no!!!! A girl!!!! What am I going to do with a girl?! Mmmmm can we get her cars and trucs instead???").....what do you want, the little girl loves her baby :)

And I thought I'd be sad to see the baby side of her going away, but I'm at peace with it....maybe a little bit because of the second little girl growing in my belly right now? :). But I think, mostly because I can see more and more of her personality coming out every day, and that just makes me freaking love her more and more - even though I didn't think that was possible. It's like my heart is growing more and more love as she grows. She's our big ray of sunshine.

Last night we were having a little food going to the pool with Clo & Pia, and she started cracking up....and I made her laugh back....and she made me laugh with another crazy laugh....and then we just couldn't look at each other without cracking up. Oh my belly hurt my so much laughing:)

And it felt SO good.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bali - The Green School

Thought I was done, uh? Hehe. Tricked you :D

It's because this, my friends, was probably my favoritest -yes yes, I said favoritest :D- of all things we did while in Bali. It completely blew my mind.

I had first hear of the Green School in one of the TED talks, this one given by John Hardy - the founder of the school. You can check out his presentation here to learn a bit more about the project. In any case. The second I saw the presentation I knew we had to go see the school during our trip to Bali.

The Green School is located about 15 minutes outside of Ubud, and the minute we stepped on the ground of the school I felt overwhelmed by a feeling of happiness. It was the time of after-school activities. There was a music class playing in the auditorium, kids on the big bamboo swings, the bigger ones were playing basketball......and our favorite of all, a Balinese martial the mud :D You should have seen the smile on all of these kids faces, and hear their laugh.

Ben, the director of admissions there, had agreed to give us a little tour of the school, and boy did he deliver!

He shared so much of the dream and passion that's behind the Green School projects. He told us about the hits and miss of the projects, about their hopes for the future.....and showed us around the stunning building of the green school. All eco-friendly. All made of bamboo. All breathtaking.

The visit was just extraordinary, and walking away from the Green School I felt completely inspired. Inspired for the future of my children. Even if I know that the chances that they will go to a school like the Green School are so slim. But it's oh-so good, to be able to dream. And to know that sometimes, some people's dreams come true when they work very hard at it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bali - part 3 of 3

DAY...... that's when time stopped and the days started to blur together, obviously :)

For last part of the trip, all four of us (Emily, Soaz, Troels and I) went up to the North East coast of the Island, around Amed and Tulamben, where we snorkeled (yaaay pretty fishes :D). The guys also dived down a wreck, that of the World War II American ship - the highlight of Troels' holiday, he'd been dying to go back diving since before Olivia was born. Also wished I could have gone - but helas with a minipuce in my belly, I had to stay safe at the surface :) But the ship was shallow at parts and I was able to snorkel parts of it.....amazing!

Then a little time in Amed, Emily and Soaz took off for a quick trip to the Gili Islands, while Troels and I stayed in Amed a few more days to chill and enjoy the beach and the area, an area that really felt like the true Bali. It was low season for tourism, and overall you can tell that the coast hasn't changed too much over the past few years, unlike the rest of the island. I just loved walking around and seeing how Balinese people live.

We also spent countless hours reading , cooled down by the ocean breeze. It had been such a long time we hadn't done something like this.

After a couple of days, we left for the last destination of our trip, Ubud, where we spent 3 days. The girls joined us there on the last day, after their trip to the Gilis, so that we could all catch up before the end of our holidays. Before the girls joined us, Troels and I stuffed ourselves with the famous suckling pig, when to a Balinese healer just to see what it was all about, and went for short early evening walks in the Monkey forest.

And lucky us, we even got to catch a ceremony! A ceremony for the cremation of two people. Now now, I know what you're probably thinking if you don't know Balinese culture, something like "are you nuts? Lucky??! To go to a cremation?!". But for Balinese people, a cremation is a moment of true celebration. It is a moment of happiness, because in the bali hindu belief, the human body is to be returned to their original residence through the cremation. In any case, the ceremony that we saw was amazing, spectacular, colorful, noisy, exciting. Did I say amazing?

I had read about cremations in the balinese culture, and was really hoping we could catch one.. but I have to say, it went well beyond my imagination. It seemed like the entire town of Ubud was celebrating the event. Makes you think about how we go about funerals, mostly in silence, dressed in black, with so much sadness going around - it couldn't be any more different!

Our last nigh with the girls was just perfect - went to this oh-so-balinese-lovely restaurant for some crispy duck. We laughed, we talked about the trip, and Soaz even got a "special healer" to read her palm and predict her future. And how do we know he was good? Well. her love line was apparently missing on her he made her one - from scratch.....with duck sauce :D ;)

Thanks Emily and Soaz for sharing this amazing vacation with us!!! We love you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bali - part 2 of 3


i think it was one of my favorite days on the island. After spending the first few days in the very busy East part of the island, we hired a cab driver for the day to get us to the quiet and beautiful center of the island, the volcanoes....and a few surprise stops on our way to Kintimani :)

Like the royal family temple - if I remember the name correctly. And we stopped right on time for, guess what? A rain shower :D But we're no chicken, so ahead we went, to infinity and beyond!

As we were approching the area Kintimani and the volcano, our driver asked "waan to trrry Cat poop kofee eh? Verrry famus".......mmmmm excuse you? You said what??? Cat poop coffee?! Let's just say, his question took us a bit by surprise. But I had heard of this coffee before, Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world (read about it here), and despite Troels' shacking his head at me, we just had to stop. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, can't you see? ;) I mean, how often do you get the opportunity to drink cat poop coffee????

A little video of Soaz's encounter with Cat poop coffee - oh, and to top it off at that place, they at free tobacco that you could just roll as you pleased. Knock yourselves out, people!

When we arrived at the volcano, it was pretty cloudy.....but our driver said "luuucky you, no many clouuds today!". Yep, lucky us! The view was quite amazing though from the restaurant where we stopped for lunch.

On our way back to Emily's place, we took another road, one that took us through our first lanscapes of rice fields. I was just blown away. Hellloooowww Asia :)

Talk about one busy day! By the end of it, we were completely (cat) pooped. Ok ok. That one was too easy ;)....but hey, that's how I roll baby :D


Eyes had a hard time staying open that morning, so we stopped at the local Starbucks.

Another temple, another rain shower :D

And on our way to more stunning places and more rice fields.

We kept asking our driver to stop in the small small food joints on the side of the road so that we could eat like locals, but he just wouldn't do it for some reason - I think he was afraid of little sensitive western stomachs couldn't quite take it :) But at least he took us to a super quiet place, with the most amazing views. Bliss.

AND we got to testing out the oh-too-famous "Bintang effect".

Before Bintang.


After Bintang :D

On our way back to Emily's house in Canggu, the green goodness kept coming our way. "Got ricefields?" (r) Yep, we sure got our healthy amount of rice fields that day :D

Our attempt to stop at a Balinese hot Spring wasn't the most successful, to say the least........when we arrived some American girls were just leaving from it and whispered to me "Don't go, don't do it!" - mmmm, but of course, do I listen? Actually made me more curious about the place. Turns out they were quite right, the place was a big turn off.....but at least my dear hubby found a safe haven under the woman with the many.....what can I say :)