love from bali, dear friends!
today i saw four bright blue kingfishers – three on my dog walk and one from the bedroom window. it surely must be a sign but of what? maybe of a thriving ecosystem.. google search says they are symbolic of freedom, courage, adventure, and balance. it also says a lot of highly unlikely bullshit. let’s see!
so much has happened in the past 12 months that i don’t know where to start – broken foot and damaged shoulder, graduation and start of university, graduation and start of high school, lost dog/found dog, extra dog joining the pack.. moving houses, visiting new places and returning to some amazing ones, seeing friends and family in prague and bratislava, trekking the highest mountain in bali, cohabiting with a monitor lizard, getting older (but not wiser), welcoming some dear dear old friends in bali, you name it!
in spring we revisited our friends in Ngalung Kala on the mysterious island of sumba. the rugged beauty of this island is indescribable. peace, connection with nature, inspiring people.. little did we know that this was going to be our ‘quiet before storm’ moment for a while!
dan and i also managed to ascend mount agung, the most sacred mountain in bali, the one which at the same time happens to be the active volcano that kept us grounded and under cover for a while 4 years ago. great trek, great views, super sore ass..
as the end of dom’s time at green school was fast approaching, graduation and green stones (final project for all graduates of green school) were becoming more and more real. after originally planning to take a gap year dom suddenly decided to apply to a few schools in UK and Germany. the time was running short, stress was building and tempers were getting frayed. i won’t tell you this was easy for any of us. our house often felt like it was full of gunpowder and we never knew when it was going to explode. some explosions were minor, some not so much so.. apart from dom working on his rather ambitious final project, securing last credits needed to finish high school and navigating the uni application process (while also trying to have some social life), linda also had a huge project of her own. in green school, kids do not take exams which i highly applaud and just love. on the other hand, they have to come up with and execute their own projects which they have to present, TED talk style, to our green school community – their classmates, teachers, parents, friends. honestly, sometimes i think they would prefer the exams! linda had so many briliant ideas for her project that she became quite paralysed with indecision as to which one to choose. finally the spell was broken, she decided on topic and came up with beautiful project and presentation. the process was not easy.. but now she is so ready for high school!
somewhere in the middle of this all happening, dan, with a bunch of his great friends, left to explore another part of mongolia on dirt bikes. they had an amazing time! the moment his plane took off linda did a small jump during her dance class, landed with a crack – and her foot was broken. luckily she didn’t need surgery but spent 4 weeks on crutches and mostly confined to her room. she did go to school but let me tell you, green school gravel, stones, mud paths.. are not very broken foot friendly! dom was working hard on his art pieces and presentation, getting quite messy in the process. and – while dan was still happily embracing the sands of gobi – a bit more of gunpowder exploded. our fabulous landlady of many years (who lives outside of indonesia) was presented with a little video of dom’s room. maybe it’s enough to say that she wasn’t happy, maybe i do not need to mention that we were threatened with eviction, powerful friends, accused of property damage.. 500 dollars later, the room looked better than ever before but trust – and and desire to stay – were gone. so here we went, looking for a new house! after the initial shock the move started to look as a great idea – after all, dom wasn’t coming back with us after summer and we needed a smaller place. the only thing we were really worried about was ‘our’ dog spotty – three legged grumpy and rather vicious old guy which came with the house and of whom we have became inordinately fond of over the years.
to shorten the story – kids have successfully graduated and we were thrown into midst of grand celebrations – something green school excels at. the graduation ceremonies, parties, all those celebrations were absolutely fabulous and at the same time a bit heart wrenching. one chapter of our lives was closing, another opening – especially for dominik.
we have managed to find a house – around 50 metres away from the original one – and in between all the presentations and festivities as we were putting our stuff in boxes and negotiating dog care, a young scruffy sickly looking (and extremely scaredy) black dog showed up and was trying to get adopted by our dogs. they would have none of it and were chasing him away. as if we were not already busy, we simply had to take care of him – and with the help of our local friends managed to have him treated. the last two weeks of june were crazy – and off we went to europe!
sitting on a plane, i don’t remember ever feeling more tired.. physically, mentally and most of all emotionally. linda and i were lucky to just crash on our sofa in prague while dan and dominik immediately set on a university tour – dom had been accepted to couple of schools and wanted to see them in person before committing. off they went to england and germany, first stop at silverstone to watch the grand prix. they visited couple of schools and after much deliberation dom chose falmouth in UK as his next destination. unfortunately for our family budget, the school in germany wasn’t to his liking (-;
summer went by really quickly. linda also visited uk on her long planned twice postponed pre covid trip to harry potter studios, london musicals and many more amazing things. we spent time with family and friends and enjoyed a bit of european culture and scenery.
at the beginning of august linda and I packed our stuff and hopped on a plane while dan and dom stayed in prague. waiting and waiting for dom’s student visa – with brexit everything became much more complicated. the system was rather impenetrable – all automated, no ‘real’ person reachable, just the big brother. to say it was frustrating is an underestimation. finally after 6 weeks of waiting dom got his visa and they set on a camper van journey across half of europe, stopping here and there enjoying last moments together. finally they reached the english channel and afterwards beautiful cornwall where dom’s school is situated. couple of days of sorting practicalities (how to register at a doctor, diving into mysteries of laundromat..) and dom was left to his own devices – in a country on a different continent, with no gojek and pembantu, with cold, rain and snow.. and english food and people (-; dan did shed quite some tears i was told.
in the meantime we landed in familiar bali in an unfamiliar house. the dogs went crazy! they were so happy to see us (and confused with the move) that they didn’t want to leave our side for a second, following us to our beds, bathroom.. everywhere. they found it rather hard to navigate the spiral staircase to linda’s new room and first couple of nights i was waking up to the sounds of them falling off the stairs – or of them whimpering at the top of the stairs waiting for me to turn on the light so they could safely descend. i didn’t get much sleep until they calmed down a bit. linda of course slept through all the noise. the house was chock-full of boxes and we couldn’t find anything. it was also full of termites and other (unmentionable) living creatures, slightly grimy and devoid of couple of essentials. what an adventure! we spent first few weeks sharing one bowl, cup and fork, i was dropping huge bags of dirty clothes at laundry on motorbike, hiring painters, termite exterminators, deep clean company.. what fun! (-; our ‘former’ (old, three-legged, deaf and grumpy) dog spotty very quickly found his way to our new house and now spends most of his time here. bobby, the pup we rescued before summer started to come in for 5 minutes here and there, gradually prolonging his stay, ingratiating himself to the other dogs.. and now he is a regular member of the pack!
we have managed to more or less get rid of termites, rats are a bit more persistent. luckily we have our bloodthirsty mia. but.. there was a mystery inhabitant too. we knew someone else was living in the house with us. we could hear them moving in the roof, sometimes i could smell them – you know that kind of a weird smell like in zoo.. occasionally the dogs would go crazy sniffing and running around… but it took time for our mysterious tenant (or landlord maybe i should say – as they have been apparently living in the house prior to us and during covid) to reveal themselves. at the end the mystery was solved when i entered downstairs bathroom and a rather big monitor lizard was standing right by the toilet bowl looking at me with his little dragon eyes. later we realised it was a whole family and i felt kind of bad for evicting them but.. they were just too smelly to keep! it took quite some time to persuade them to move out but i think for now we are safe. we do have an occasional bat visiting and also pieces of snake skin showing here and there but we are fully in command of our house! for now at least..
linda started high school and so far she loves it – new courses, more independent study, grades, new opportunities – really grateful for our amazing teachers! after two months of living on our own dan joined us, counted the dogs and got a bit upset. he recovered quickly though and now he shows great favouritism to new addition – bobby. it took us some time to adjust to living together again but here we go. the three of us (humans) also visited bangkok and we absolutely loved it. i don’t want to live in a city ever again but bangkok was cool.
in december daisy, one of our black 6-year old dogs, disappeared. combination of six consecutive earthquakes and thunderstorm topped up by neighbour’s (guess nationality..) fireworks were too much for her nervous system. i was pretty sure she would come back the next morning as our dogs often wander on their own and know the area pretty well. however she hadn’t shown up for 48 hours and we were really worried. yes, she could have been living happily with another family as a single dog (dan’s always optimistic view of things) or she could have been lost, thirsty and desperate on the streets (my pessimistic outlook).. we published notices everywhere – on social media and in the ‘real’ world too. i found out that my pessimistic outlook was not too bad after all, when i started to get messages like – she was probably eaten, she might have been sacrificed.. daisy was not coming back and some serious measure was required! i contacted a balinese sorceress – and voila. driving through the busiest street of ubud in the night, linda sitting behind me on the bike she suddenly yells – daisy, daisy is here! i swerved, stopped at the side of the road and here she was, in the middle of the crowd next to ubud palace. both linda and daisy were howling, shaking, crying.. we were so happy to get her back!!!
we three humans also became rather entangled in a medium scale revolution at school (brought by some inconsiderate changes made by new owners) but that’s a too long story to tell. it was cool to be in meetings with some super important people, especially for linda though! recently we visited another incredible island – tiny Gili Asahan. highly recommended! we also went on a special journey through central bali with Astungkara Way. if you want to see this island with new eyes – away from touristy spots – this is the best.
time to stop, kingfishers are gone and now smoke from burning rice paddies wafts through the house – oh the smell of bali!
love you all, thanks for reading it all (-: