Friday, August 24, 2012

Melting Pot

I finally have a moment to talk about my favorite moment/ memory of my Bali vacation: our evening of dinner and mutual sharing of talent between us and the Villa Bodhi staff.

From the very beginning of our Bali adventure, I would say that we were all so grateful to the villa staff for their attentiveness and caring of our every need... so much so that within a couple of days of this extreme pampering, Iris suggested that we host a dinner for the staff on our 2nd to the last day.

Unfortunately for the staff, they still had to cook and prepare for our fellowship, but, I know they did it happily as they do all the time. Well, we did help plan the menu- Wayan's greatest hits for the week- and we hoped that they would include some of theirs. I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I witnessed the staff meeting to discuss how to set up the dining area to best accomodate all of us to provide us all with the most pleasant experience possible.

For our part, we decided that we would share some leis, dance and sing. Sandy spent the day stringing together a Plumeria (picked by the staff) lei for each Villa Bodhi staff member and I spent the afternoon practicing on my guitar.

At dinner time, Theresa gave a heartfelt and teary speech that conveyed beautifully our gratitude and feelings of aloha that we had come to feel for everyone on a very short amount of time.

Wayan, as usual, rocked the food AGAIN as she had at every meal and of course, the company was even better. Conversation came easy, despite obvious language barriers and I distinctly remember thinking to myself that we Americans are so lucky that practically the whole world seems to think it's important to learn English.

After dinner was the best part. Below are Sandy and Theresa dancing to the flirtatious Papa Lahi Lahi while accompanied my yours truly. Early Sandy danced to Waikiki.

Then someone suggested that our new friend and gracious concierge Made entertain us with Balinese Dance. He protested modestly... slightly and then

It was a cultural luau that I will never forget and a sweet, profound reminder of how at our essence, we truly are the same and always our best selves. We ended our unforgettable dinner with what else? Aloha Oe, of course. They call Hawaii the Melting Pot... I learned that we can make a Melting Pot absolutely anywhere if we are genuinely interested in those we come into contact with and are willing to be and share the very best of ourselves.



Surprise, Surprise...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wow, I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions or expectations about Bali. But, I did expect it to be hotter than hell! I'm sitting outside at 6:45am and it is actually cold enough for me to consider going to get a jacket. It's not that it's been cold the whole time but I just didn't expect it to be cold at all. I certainly didn't bring clothes for it to be cold. Anyway, just had to get that off of my chest because I'm surprised by that.

The other thing that has surprised me (albeit because I don't travel internationally all the much, so it makes me a but naive) is how filthy Ubud is. I think that "juxtaposition" is a great way to describe this place. The owner of Villa Bodhi bought the property from the family next door. So, the other day we had the opportunity to take a walk next door to meet the family. What is similar is the set-up is the same as the neighbors: different buildings serving different functions and a common area. That is pretty much where the comparison ends. I took a video, but won't post it here to respect the family's privacy, but I would never be able to live there. The truth is that- and I'm not entirely proud of myself for thinking this- as much beauty as I have seen, I couldn't live here. The only way is if I could live the way I'm living now: personal chef, laundry, driver, someone to come and chase away the creatures, etc. If I wasn't sure before, I am sure now.

We drove to Kuta yesterday, and perhaps I might be able to live there, but Kuta is commercialized and would be the thing I would be trying to run to Ubud for- and again, I couldn't live in Ubud. They don't have a happy medium.

Stephanie reminded me that I am in a third world country. Word. I won't be forgetting that again. I do think that I could come back here again as long as I could do it the same way. But I have once again shown myself that I only look rugged. I am not. I guess that is also a surprise and a sort of juxtaposition, as well.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Here's to Me... If only Just Between Me and Me.

Forgot all about this post in Bali. But, I'm going to offer it up anyway.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I have too say, I've been doing well at not thinking about work. And when I have thought about work, I have somehow managed to think about it in total equanimity... I didn't even think that was possible. However, the last couple of days back in Honolulu were kinda of big days for my company. So I am taking today to think more about work.

Backstory. I came on this trip right on the heels of finding out that my company may not survive as a going concern. After nearly 30 years in business, some short-sited decisions were made out of fear and soon we will relinquish our entire book of business to a potential- that's right, I said potential, NOT actual- competitor. Anyhoo, that's what I left in the middle of. And really there is SO much more to this asinine story, but it's not the point of this entry, so I'll skip it. Plus, I probably have said too much already. As my company's HR person, I know the perils of venting online...

The point of this entry is to say, "Holy shit, I just found out that while I was on vacation, I apparently got a promotion. That's right I am now a vice president of a company that may very well be out of business in a year. It's okay, you can laugh. I did. At the same time, I will also allow myself to feel proud of this accomplishment. I have worked hard for it and I feel especially proud as a woman and a late-bloomer. Go Faithie!

Things to think about when this is my view:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Better Late Than Never

Well, I had certainly planned to have this trip be the resurgence of my blogging, but of course, the Universe often has other plans. This is my 5th day here and I am worried that I can't remember everything that we have done so far. But I will make my best attempt at this exercise because it's worth documenting. Everything here has been so very special.

I would say the 2nd leg of the plane ride was rough on everyone. Perhaps the layover in Korea was too short to stretch and get your circulation going. At any rate, we arrived at Denpasar, Bali at around 12 am on Saturday morning. We cleared immigration, changed some money and got in a car for another hour to get to our destination. We arrived to this view and it's been our evening view ever since.

Call it jet lag, call it excitement, but after no more than a few hours of sleep, we were all up. We started the early morning in awe of our new surroundings! Words like "lucky", "surreal" and "spectacular" earned the most used awards for that morning. We were greeted by Ywan, the de facto executive chef of our private hideaway, who wanted to know what we wanted for breakfast and if we wanted coffee. I thought, "Is she talking to me?" She was! Breakfast was great and the food will get it's own special piece a little later because we have come to LOVE this woman's cooking and her sweet, caring conscious energy.

During breakfast Iris surprises us with a pool side massage that I will not elaborate on here as I already mentioned it on FB. I don't remember the last time I had a massage (which is not a good sign) and it was healing and needed. And worth the donning of The Pareau- also mentioned in FB. There were a couple of hours of swimming and then our first trek in to town to begin our experience of the sites and sounds of Bali.

Two Balinese women watch peek through textiles to watch the market action.

Many of the streets are such that cars, mopeds and pedestrians share the road.


That was our Saturday. More later.

And the Adventure Begins.


My 1st long vacation in over 10 years... It begins with much excitement and a badly twisted ankle about 3 mins after I got to the airport. Don't ask me how I managed to do that. Totally embarrassing. But I am grateful to be traveling with some of the best people I know. It's humbling actually, having to be assisted and cared for. My self- talk is going crazy trying to predict what they surely must be thinking: "OMG, drama so early in the trip!" or, "This is why we don't travel with her!". But really I know they aren't thinking any of those things. They aren't like that... i can be, but they are not. LOL. And did I mention that this is after the initial misstep of me not printing my itinerary, which I need to clear immigration in Bali. Definitely not the world traveller. I mean people still print? So I have a long flight to pray that we can easily find a business center at the Incheon airport to sign into my email and print my itinerary. I'm in charge of everything everyday, but apparently my brains and physical coordination go on vacation when I do. The plane ride is painful. Note to self: do not twist your ankle off before getting into a plane that will fly at 40,000 feet. It puts a new spin on swelling and poor circulation and throbbing. The only thing making it bearable are my excellent traveling companions who so far have arranged for me to have two seats so I can elevate my leg, pestered the flights attendants a few times for bags of ice to ice my foot, rubbed vibuthi (most of you wont know what that means and I won't stop to explain) on my ankle, prepared vibuthi water for me, given me Reiki, and massaged my foot. Right now they are talking to the flight attendant yet again to see if a wheelchair can meet us at the gate so I don't have to walk. They are the best. They are Stephanie Mew, Iris Asao, Sandy McRoberts, Theresa Kong Kee and Vicki Villaluz. They love me, thank goodness- and I love them. Steph, Sandy and I celebrate 20 years of friendship this year. At any rate, as soon as I'm comfortably upright, again, I hope to return this compassion and caring at some point in our next 12 days together.Finally, can I just send a shout out to Korean Air! Fabulous jet with great legroom- i mean for my short ass legs it is a chasm between me and the seat in front- ridiculously attentive AND pleasant service. You can drink anything you want FOR FREE... Includng wine! Have mercy! Alrighty, I'm out for now. Next stop Bali!