Friday, December 9, 2011

Kia Ora

Well we've landed in Aotearoa, it feels strange, I feel a bit disconnected from everything and am very tired and emotional but know it's just part of the adjustment process.

Nemo's are my favourite

We had a lovely two weeks in Cairns with friends Phil and Suz and went diving on the Great Barrier Reef. We hired an underwater camera and had fun taking photos, it was a blast.  

Skydiving underwater!

Turtles are amazing



I also managed some retail therapy and plenty of swims in the pool.  

The downside of living in Cairns is you can't swim in the beautiful sea as there are Crocs that will eat you and Box Jellyfish that will sting the hell out of you! 

We also went to Undara which is 4hours inland from Cairns to see the Lava Tubes and stay the night in an old railway carriage.  It was great and the Lava Tubes are awesome. 


On the way to Undara we stopped at the Crystal Caves in Atherton  It's basically one man's collection of crystals in rock form, as geodes and various other states.  He's created an indoor cave that these crystals have been set into the walls, sitting on display etc.  He's got the largest Amethest geode in the world there which is over 3 metres tall, it's beautiful.  The whole thing is really well done and took us about an hour and a half to go through.


Then on the way back from Undara we stopped at Paronella Park  That was stunning too and such a beautiful story behind it.


My friend Tina took me to her secret swimming hole up in the bush and we swam in three different rock pools, it was magic. 

We also had a quick look at Port Douglas and I loved Kuranda which had a lovely village feel and lots of lovely shops.

We flew into Auckland on Monday 5th and are slowly making our way down the country to Wellington, spending time with friends and family on the way.

The plan now is to find somewhere to house sit, get some work and save madly so I can go back again in six months.  I'm going to do a TESOL course (Teach English as a Second Language) and once I'm certified I can pick heaps of different countries to teach.  I've said for a long time that I want to get paid to travel and have now found a way for that to happen :-)

I'm missing the children a lot, their smiling happy faces swim in my mind as I think of them every day. I'm in email contact with Yogi and my Group C kids and we have talked to Yogi a couple of times on the phone while in Australia.  He's good and missing us too.

My favourite photo of Yogi - he's so awesome!

All I seem to be doing since back in NZ is sleeping.  I'm really tired and not sleeping well at night.   By the time Christmas is done and dusted and 2012 is under way I should  be well and truely back into the swing of things.

Merry Christmas everyone and may all your dreams for 2012 come true.

Good health and happiness to you all.
Much Love, Paula xxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Culture Shock!

Well, we're now in Cairns, Australia and trying to adjust to life back in the Western's taking a bit of getting used to I must say after 6 months of 'making do' with very little to the full onslaught of everything at your fingertips.  It's a lightspeed lesson in the realities to two very different cultures and ways of living and to be honest I'm not sure which one is better.  Having said that I am thoroughly enjoying HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We flew from Denpasar to Darwin on Friday.  Air Asia decided two weeks ago to bring our flight forward 14 hours (God bless them - not!) and so not only did they rob us of one more day with Rick and Lita but we then had an overnight stay in Darwin because our original connecting flight to Cairns was then the next decide to use the cheapie airlines to save money and then it ends up costing you more (I can't really type the names I called them over this one!).

Anyway we landed in Darwin and booked into a hotel and paid for the shuttle there and back all at the airport which was nice and easy.  Sucked in a big breath of air when we had to pay $130 for a bed and transport for one night which would have lasted 5 days in Bali...

We had a lovely dinner at an Irish Pub in town and must say it was heaven to eat good fish (Baramundi) and fresh salad washed down with a lovely glass of Kilkenny...sitting there watching the comings and goings of mostly young people, music playing and cars whizzing past was sensory overload on our first night back in civilisation...then time to pay the bill ($75, which would have fed us 4 days in Bali) another shock as to the cost of western living...OMG get me outta here!!

Another early start (5.15am) to catch our flight to Cairns and now we are slowly thawing out to the reality of living back in our own culture...

It's going to take a while I think.  Everything is at our fingertips, everything is easy, everthing is on our doorstep, even getting used to the size of our houses is strange, we use so much space and still want more...I think of where Yogi and his family live and most of the other Balinese and it just does my head in to best I don't.

I'm missing him and the other children terribly and the life I've been blessed to live for the last 6 months...I'm going through a bit of a grieving process I think as I try to adjust back. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sampai Jumpa

The Heart Mastery workshop with Rick was great. Once again a beautiful bunch of people. I realised how far down the path I've come and since being here in Bali I feel I've streaked light years ahead. It feels good. It's a great internal space to be in. It's a knowingness, it's a peacefulness. I have grown so much. The more you step out of your comfort zone the more you grow.

We said goodbye to the children on Monday. It was heart wrenching. We had fun though - a big water fight, Brent and I got drenched but it was so much fun and the kids loved it.

Then it was time to go. I hugged each and every one of the 70 children and looked into the eyes of the beautiful young people that I had taught and told them "I love you". They sang songs to us and gave us gifts. As we got in the car we were literally mobbed. Hands, arms, bags, books, all came through the open windows at us wanting autographs or a heart or xx for kisses. It was like being a movie star! So overwhelming, so emotional, I was laughing and crying all at the same time it was so unbelievable. And then we slowly pulled away and were gone.

We drove Yogi and Ari home and said goodbye to them, Koming and Merta, their parents. We were all in tears. It was so hard to leave. Yogi has touched me so deeply, he is with me always and I with him. I have three beautiful children in my life now, forever, but Yogi will always be my special boy, there is a strong connection between us.  I thank the Universe for bringing us together. Life is so much richer now and full of so much promise.

These beautiful children have taught me so much, given so much joy, and helped me overcome a lot of fears.  They have changed my life forever.  Life will never be the same after this and I welcome the changes with open arms.   


Brent with his Group A Children

I give thanks for everything that has happened to me in the past.  It has moulded me, it has made me make some tough decisions but all those decisions, heartache, loss, sorrows and challenges have brought me to this point in time.  I wouldn’t be here if it wasn't for that past and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. 

Brent and I are now also sponsoring Yogi's younger Sister, Ari (8).  She's a lovely girl, like Yogi, always smiling and she understands English well even though she can't speak it much at this stage.
Yogi and Ari

These six months in Bali have challenged me on so many levels and the one thing I've probably learnt in spades is that "the only way out is through", just keep going and the pot of gold is always on the other side.

I can only finish as I started because it perfectly sums up my experience...
- from Eat, Pray, Love:
“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call ‘The Physics of The Quest’ – a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you. Or so I’ve come to believe.”
Namaste, thank you for sharing my journey so far...

Sampai Jumpa (see you later) xx

Monday, October 31, 2011

Winding Down...

We are enjoying our new temporary home and it’s so nice to have a lovely tropical garden complete with little plunge pool to relax in – talk about spoilt!!  We have had the place to ourselves for the past two weeks and are now sharing it with another two guests.  They have the room at the front and we have a room at the back both with separate bathrooms and sharing the kitchen.  It works well, there’s enough space that we don’t feel like we’re in each others hair and we’ve only got another 10 days and we’re outta here in any case.

Our room


We had a lovely weekend with the boys two weeks ago.  They loved the new place and frolicked in the pool for hours.   They have become the best of friends and get on so well together.

On the Sunday we hired a car, actually it was pretty rough and ready – no air con, no handbrake, no suspension. But with the windows wound down and hanging on tightly it got us from A to B – or Tulamben to Tirta Gangga to Tianyar and back so that was the main thing!  

Tirta Gangga was beautiful.  It used to be a Palace but it’s now public pools, restaurant and accommodation set in beautiful water filled grounds.  


We were there around five hours and the boys loved it.  They are like fish, they were in the water the whole time only stopping for half an hour to have some lunch and then back again.  There were little fish in the pools and they were having fun catching a few and putting them in an empty water bottle.  We made sure they went back in the water before we left.  They were dive bombing each other and Brent (the biggest kid of all) and we were pushing each other in and splashing around, it was great fun.

We managed to make it back to see “The Game” (for those of you who know not what I’m referring to, the Rugby World Cup Final between NZ and France of course!).  We were lucky to have Wayan’s Restaurant to ourselves and Wayan was happy to put the sports channel on for us.  We thought the boys would be bored as they are football (soccer) fans but they really enjoyed the game and Yogi in particular was enthralled by the size of the men and their muscles!  They loved watching the crashing tackles and kicking.  As we all know, it was a pretty average game for a final but we got the right result so that’s all that matters, isn’t it.  I suppose the NZ sports channels are still picking it to pieces as I write two weeks later…

Jeremiah and Sophie from my Writer’s Retreat came for a visit to the Yayasan last week.  It was so good to see them and show them in person what I had been talking about.  The children were great, they all came up to them and said “Hello, what is your name?  My name is…”  They spoke clearly and some asked where Jeremiah and Sophie were from as well, I was really proud of them.  Syda (also from the retreat) and her friend Pablo called in to see me as well but they unfortunately had to keep moving so didn’t manage to get to the Yayasan.  

With only two weekends left in Tulamben (for me) we went for a ride into the country side towards Mt Agung last weekend.  It’s so dry.  Actually, it’s beyond dry, it’s just dirt.  I don’t know how the people that live up that way survive, I really don’t.  There is no pumped water, they have to carry it, from god knows where, it’s harsh and hard and bloody hot!

I have one full week left of teaching and then I head inland to Desa Kurta (40mins from Ubud) to do a final three day Heart Mastery workshop with Rick.  Then I’m back on Monday 14th November to pick up Brent and say goodbye to the children.  I’m dreading it, I know I’ll be a mess, but that's ok.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Melting Moments...

My wonderful retreat week is over – too soon.  I’ve loved being at Kumara Sakti again, it’s a special place.  I’ve loved the massages, I’ve loved the food, I’ve loved the people – the staff and retreat participants, I’ve loved the time for me.  It’s been a special week in so many ways.  I’m now set to write my story,  I know how to go about it now.  I’m ready to start, I have started.

The people I’ve met on this retreat are amazing and I hope to cross paths with some of them again.
Even though I was one of two participants who hadn’t really written before, with most of the others being well into the groove of writing and two having published works out there, I never once felt out of my depth.  The richness of the teaching, the company of wonderful caring people and the beautiful surroundings I was in, have made this a very special week in my life and one I have grown and opened from.  The rich inner journey continues.
My time here is Bali is quickly coming to a close, the life I’ve been living for the past five months, so far removed from the one left in New Zealand.  I’m surrounded by life here, I’m surrounded by spirit, my heart has never felt more full and open.  

On my final day at Kumara Sakti I wrote:  I’m sitting here on my terrace in Ubud looking out at the emerald green rice fields.  Watching the rice farmer walking by in the distance.  Listening to the hollow tinker of the
rice chime as it moves in the breeze to scare the birds away.  The little squirrels are scampering up and down the trees and branches.  Every now and again there is a crash as one goes tumbling to the ground metres below, only to reappear minutes later on the climb to the top again.  The cycle of life, so far removed from my own.  I feel alive here.  I have no future.  I have no past.  I'm in my life, living it day by day.

Ganesh - remover of obstacles

There was an earthquake while I was at the retreat.  It's very disconcerting to be in another country when there's an earthquake as you aren't in familiar surroundings and don't automatically know the safest place to go.  We were sitting inside a pavilion type building with a block back wall having a discussion when it struck.  We sat there for maybe 30 seconds (it felt longer) and wondered how much bigger it was going to get. Jeramiah said "do you think we should move" and we all said "yes!".  Not that there was actually anywhere safer to go but we were in a building at the bottom of the property, above the swimming pool and that was above a long drop to the river.  The swimming pool was swishing over the side like a mini tsunami so we moved to the path and steps to the side of the building.  This didn't feel any safer as all the buildings above and beside us were stone, brick and mortar!  I must say my heart was racing and I was silently praying it wouldn't get any bigger as there just wasn't anywhere to go!  It was centered offshore at 6.8 magnitude but was around 6.0 in Ubud.  There were reports of some damage to buildings in town but everything where we were was fine.

Brent had a wonderful time on Bunaken Island and had 14 dives in 5 days.  He's especially proud of himself because he can now stay down 70 minutes and still have air left and he's been to 27 metres.  He saw heaps of fabulous fish, sea horses, turtles, sharks so was pretty wrapped with his week.

We are now back in Tulamben/Tianyar.  Actually we are now living in Rubia which is a small village about 5 minutes North of Tulamben in Jeff and Dawn's old house (they recently sold it and moved into their new one and the new owner doesn't come over until December).  We can walk to the market to get our fruit and veg now, although we have to take the motorbike to Tulamben if we want anything there or to eat out as it's too far to walk.

Since being back, we are really noticing the temperature here, we are literally melting!  It's so hot and humid even the locals are feeling it.  You can be standing making a coffee, brushing your teeth or just sitting and you feel the droplets of sweat running down your back.  My armpits feel like lakes and I'm continually mopping my face.  Sounds gross doesn't it!  Apparently it gets hotter here in October and then the rains start November/December. 

We were back at the Yayasan on Tuesday.  On the way there we stopped outside Yogi’s school and they were having morning break.  Some young boys were peering over the block fence at us and saying hello, we asked for Yogi so someone went and got him.  He came running out down the footpath to us with a huge smile from ear to ear.  He ran straight into my arms and held on tight, eyes closed, tears coming.  I held him tight and whispered in his ear, he whispered back.  It was a melting heart moment and I realised how much we have come to mean to each other.

The children at the Yayasan were pleased to see us.  They had a Mother and Daughter from England come and volunteer for three days while we were away.  It would have been nice for them to have some new teaching faces.

We are winding down the teaching now, having a bit more fun instead of slaving away.  I'm just going back over things I've already taught, just to cement it into their brains.  They have come so far, it's amazing and I don't want them to lose it all.  I will probably email them some lessons from time to time from NZ just to keep them onto it!

We are having Yogi and Budhi to stay for one last time on Saturday.  We will take them out for dinner and on Sunday go to Tirta Gangga, which are beautiful natural pools set in an old Palace property about 40 minutes away...