Sunday, 28 September 2008

ode to a bintang...

Sunday 28th September 2008

oh bintang, you pick me up when i'm feeling down,

oh bintang, i can find you all over the town.

oh bintang, you taste so great with a squeeze of lime,

oh bintang, you're there no matter the time.

oh bintang, you taste so good at the end of the day,

oh bintang, don't go changing in any way.

for those of you not yet acquainted with the joy of bintang beer, well, you can find it just about anywhere in bali for a nominal price but yet still achieve maximum enjoyment. i'm thinking of buying shares!

Friday, 26 September 2008

let the rain fall down...

Friday 26th September 2008

when it rains here in really rains! there is something about tropical rain that always, always amazes me. i have never experienced it elsewhere. it comes down in such torrents and with such ferocity it feels like the very heavens are weeping uncontrollably. it is a sight to behold...albeit one from behind closed doors. getting caught out in that kind of rain is certainly not fun and one can be drenched to the skin in seconds!

however, when the show really starts is after the rain. once the rain eases off, the whole jungle becomes alive with the sounds of those obviously highly contented by the rain...mainly the frogs! they start up a chorus in obvious thanks for the drenching they have received and it can continue on for many hours afterwards. it is a sound that has become comforting and one that i enjoy listening to. it reminds me how alive the jungle is. the multitude of life it houses and the preciousness of each and every living soul that inhabits it. enjoy the chorus!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

now you know...

Tuesday 23rd September 2008
so now you know...exactly what it was i went to kuta to get...huge thanks to wayan abuth - the tattoo artist from as-tattoo, for capturing exactly what i wanted so perfectly and daniel sato - the photographer for capturing my cheeky pirate side so perfectly!

Monday, 22 September 2008

spiderman! spiderman!

Monday 22nd September 2008
i had such a funny incident the other day in of the children came tearing out of the class into the playground shouting at the top of his voice in rather an anxious tone...'spiderman! spiderman!' alli could think was...what on earth is he shouting that for? when i went into have a look...what did i discover? the most beautiful praying mantis, harmlessly making his way across the classroom floor and who had probably been terrified by my screaming student! he (or could it have been she) was just so incredible. i picked him up and rescued him to a stick in the fence...but first, of course, explaining to the children that he was completely harmless! they were pretty dubious at first but eventually came round to him when they saw me handle him. praying mantis are just fascinating...i could have sat and watched him for hours...doing his little dance and his little gangly walk. very precious...

Monday, 15 September 2008

a bit rough round the edges...

Monday 15th September 2008
it's strange the way i feel when i go to Kuta...i mean, Kuta is the Bali capital of 'sensory overloaded-ness'! when i go there, i lose track of conversations i'm having right in the midst of them, i forget where i'm going, i lose my's incredible! it's like being put in a different country, world, whatever. so generally when i go it is with determined purpose. and it was so over the weekend...i went to get something that i have been wanting for a long time...something that signifies to me everything that i am and who i want to be and the way i want to live my life...with hair flapping wildly in the wind, at the helm of the ship, steering in the direction i wanna go, in search of adventure. for indeed underneath that calm, quiet exterior that you think might be me, there is a raging, stormy sea...twisting and turning, always moving, never still, that is the core of who i am.
'not all those who wander are lost' is a favourite quote of mine from J.R.R.Tolkien. why?...i'm so tired of the ridicule that one receives for not wanting to stay in one place, not wanting to have the car and condo and whatever else makes up the pre-requisites for the 'right' kind of life. i abhor belongings...i abhor a life cluttered with 'things' and 'items' that ultimately we will never bring with us. i have left a path of me across the planet, from the strands of my hair to the shoes i have worn, the books i have read to the clothes i have placed upon my back. as quickly as i receive something i can let it terrifies me but yet pleases me that i am not held back by the very things that can often destroy you and prevent you from taking your life where you want it to go. i am probably happiest with a bag of necessities and a sense of adventure. and perhaps when the time is right, whenever that may be, i will drop the anchor, and make for shore...but that time is not now. for now, i'm all at sea...
so yes, i choose to wander but no, i am not lost. yes, i am a little rough around the edges, but that's what gives the texture to my very being. and now, the emblem for that i take with me wherever i go, forever emblazoned upon me. i am a child of the universe. i am me...

Friday, 12 September 2008

ever decreasing circles...

Friday 12th September 2008
do you ever feel that when you are in a minority, you just wanna hold even tighter to that minority? you wanna be able to cherish everything that it means to be in the minority and fight harder to let yourself be heard. i am currently in a minority, and i received news yesterday that the minority is about to get even smaller as two members depart from the school for different reasons. so what to do? speak louder, make bigger hand gestures, who knows? there have been many moments in my life when i have found myself to be in the minority and it has never bothered me in the slightest. this time round, it is having a completely different effect on me and instead of enjoying it, i feel like i wanna be out recruiting members to expand the minority. i don't want to be in a minority...i want to feel part of the majority...but somehow, i can't. ultimately what sets me apart are the very things i wish to hold on to. if i'm being all's been a bit of a rough ol' day. and sometimes things really do need to be left unsaid.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

life's minutiae...

Thursday 11th September 2008
if there is one thing that i have learnt to do over these past weeks on this incredible campus, and with all the many issues that arise from such a vast and jungle-like campus, is to try and put aside the minute details that so often bog us down and prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. i must admit though, that i am a details person. i love all their extraordinary tiny-ness, they just captivate me and hold my focus. i can easily while away a few hours staring at cracks in the has its good and bad sides...i mean, when something is dragging on, like a meeting perhaps, i can just shift focus and see something tiny somewhere in the room and totally lose sense of where i am and what is going on around me...on the other hand it didn't work well in school when i was suddenly shot a question due to having such a faraway look and naturally had no response whatsoever! well today, i was sitting waiting for a meeting and then i saw it...the tiniest leaf, in all its semi-decaying glory, with its innerness revealed through its veins and there behind it...two red berries. this is why, you just have to stop and enjoy the details. it is one of the most beautiful contrasts i have seen on campus...the decay of the leaf contrasted with the succulent red of the berries...breathtaking...i'm done with the bigger picture for now, i do see it... but for me, it really is all about watching out for the details...i need that.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

the best ceramics in town...

Wednesday 10th September 2008

one thing i have always loved (amidst the millions of others!) about here is the ceramics and especially those made by Jenggala Keramik - their designs are beautifully bali-inspired items in rustic colours with motifs such as geckos, frangipani and frogs. a number of years ago, i fell even more in love with their products when i discovered that they had a reject outlet...located along the main street in Sanur, just next to Cafe Batu Jimbar. here they sell items with tiny unnoticeable faults with a 30% discount that makes shopping there far more affordable. the range is excellent and there is enough of the different designs that you can quite easily get a set of plates, bowls, cups, etc. for a reasonable price. i stopped by a few weeks ago and bought a few different plates for photographing food on...i especially wanted the little motifs and the shop didn't fail to disappoint. known as the Goudang Keramik (Ceramic Storeroom) - it is well worth a visit if you are in Sanur, to pick up some pretty dishes to bring back as gifts to those near and dear.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

oh, nothing but blue skies, ba-by!

Sunday 7th September 2008

yesterday, i went to one of my favourite beaches in Bali - pantai geger. it is a very well kept secret! so let's just say that you can find it in Nusa Dua and if you really do want to find it you will make the effort, i'm not going to make it easy otherwise it won't be such a well kept secret any more! it has one warung where you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (there's a pretty decent banana pancake). it has lots of sun-beds, where you can just lie and lie and lie forever. it is a great beach to swim when the tide is in, the bottom of the ocean is soft and sandy with some patches of seaweed. and when the tide is out you can see the seaweed farmers gathering their treasures. there is a cliff at the end of the beach where there are some beautiful temples perched on the edge. ample parking space. white sand. bliss, bliss, bliss...need i say more...those blue skies...ahhhhh!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

a blessing for the house...

Saturday 6th September 2008

so when i came home after the grand opening blessing ceremony for the school, i saw that my house had been blessed too. a little altar had been erected at the entrance facing north to gunung agung. and an array of offerings had been laid out and blessed. the priests involved in the ceremony had indeed gone from building to building and blessed each and every one for the ceremony. a beautiful feeling to know that your house has been blessed and will be safe from the evil that might might that have been why i wasn't sleeping so well here the past few weeks...or was that just stress about the first day of school! who knows but i certainly slept a lot better last night!

some preschool offerings...

Saturday 6th September 2008

yesterday we made our own little offerings in preschool for the grand opening ceremony also known as melaspas. the children had a lot of fun picking the colours of the flowers and placing them in their canang sari. today we had our own little blessing ceremony and the children enjoyed taking the offerings out and placing them in the garden. we used incense to send the essence of the offering up to the gods and then sprinkled them with holy water. it was a lovely little ceremony that was made more special by the fact that each child had lovingly created their own little offering to celebrate the 'birth' day of our classroom and to say in our own special way, a little prayer to ensure a safe year full of happiness, laughter and joyful learning! happy 'birth'day preschool!

Friday, 5 September 2008

watch out for coconuts!

Friday 5th September 2008

we had an amazing inpromptu lesson in preschool today when we had discovered that a coconut had dropped from one of our trees and landed in the garden. the head gardener called the coconut cutter, Pak Putu, and within seconds he had climbed up the tree to an amazing height. once there he proceeded to cut off some precariously positioned coconuts and with the most amazing 'thud' they landed on the ground! he was back down within seconds and then swiftly chopped the tops off the coconuts and allowed each and every one of us to have a delicious swig of fresh young coconut water. it was so refreshing! the children and adults were truly amazed by Pak Putu and the very limited materials he needed to help him get up the tree. i am truly in awe of the skill he displayed and his fearlessness in getting up that coconut tree with its thin trunk and staggering height. it is this ability to be able to show children spontaneously, the many gifts of others around the Green School campus, that sustains me in my teaching and reminds me at every moment how lucky both i and the children are...

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

reach for the sky!

Wednesday 3rd September 2008
Green School opened! with a zing and a whoosh, we welcomed students to their first day of school in the jungle and suddenly the place looked so different with the children there. with the youngest at just 2 years old and the oldest at 14 years, there is indeed a great array of experiences. children from around the globe and around Bali and they all came together in this special place. at preschool we had a magical day filled with wonder and laughter and lots of smiles. we sang, drew and jumped around lots too.
Friday is our grand opening ceremony and each individual classroom will be blessed in this process so i will be looking forward to experiencing that with the children. blessing ceremonies here are a beautiful process with flowers, incense and holy water and i will tell you more about it when i post photos on friday. there are animal sacrifices too, but we won't mention that as it is not being done in front of the children (although there are a few crazy dogs on the outskirts of campus that i would quite happily nominate for candidates - one in particular that woke me up this morning before my alarm!) i wonder if they need any human that would really get me thinking!!!!

Monday, 1 September 2008

life from underwater...

Monday 1st September 2008

i was in kerobokan for a quick respite over the weekend, staying at a friends house and i must say that i do enjoy being in kerobokan...definitely much more than kuta. it seems quieter and less traffic of the human and vehicular sort. anyway, my friend had this amazing underwater camera pouch, that was basically like a very hi-tech ziploc bag that you slide your camera into. there's a special part that the lens can extend into and you ziploc it up and fold it over, then seal it with velcro. and the best works like a dream. i just loved it and of course, with needing no excuse to be in the water, had many moments of fun experimenting with it. needless to say, some of the more embarrassing ones of yours truly looking like a frog, i saved you the trauma of having to look at, however, this one of the sky and trees...well, i just love it. it's all floaty and dreamy. just the way i feel when i'm in the water. if you haven't got one of these and like to be in the water you really ought to get your hands on one. hours of entertainment guaranteed!