Sunday, January 17, 2010

Snowflakes and Elvis

Warm greetings from Prague where everything is covered in a thick blanket of snow , even our friend Elvis.
Here is a star of a song dedicated to you all and the snow
Love me tender
Love S 3

Friday, January 15, 2010

The curious incident of the dog or one week in Paradise

Dear sisters,

One week on Bali and it feels as if we have been here longer. The island is as beautiful as they said it would be, although I feel I have only seen a muted version so far, the sounds and smells not quite making it through the window panes of our chauffeur driven car, often hindered by curtains of rain, coming down fast and furiously, making us look at each other and say; "Glad we are staying longer. "

The kids started at the Greenschool/ ecological experiment/bamboo showcase last Monday. In fact, We ALL started at the Green school, which is luscious, living up to its name. The Heart of the school, as it is called, is a three-story bamboo structure, the biggest of its kind in the world we are told. Around it, smaller bamboo open structures house the bamboo classrooms, dotted over the grounds, which is essentially in the middle of green nowhere. It is all quite impressive. In the bamboo bathrooms there are two toilets, one for number one and one for number two. The waste is used to compost the organic vegetables grown on the land, which can be ordered weekly. Three times a week parents can do a yoga class in the morning, when they are not having coffee in the school warung (café), which has (spotty) wifi and grand feathered cockerels pecking their way around. We have met lot of nice people all doing interesting things, but not too much.

At some point we will plug the kids into the mini van pick up service to school, but for now we are all up at 6.30 am for breakfast and off by 7.15, driven by our driver, a Katut, or when he "has ceremony" a Made ( they only have four first names here) manoevering through the sea of mopeds, bumping along the crater ridden roads, slaloming to miss the big ones, through the rice paddies and past the temples, before arriving at the school forty five minutes later. In the car Jip and Allard may play Monopoly on the i-phone because the landscape can get tedious in its beauty. "Like it is a painted", Jip says, "especially the palm trees." "Painted by a very good painter."

Jip and Rosie both seem to be going to school quite happily, although Jip complains it is too easy. We will see how that goes. He has found a friend who started on the same day, so that is good news. Rosie’s lunch was grabbed out of the lunch basket and eaten by a stray dog on the first day, but this opened up a wonderful sharing opportunity. She clearly appreciates this school has swings.

During school hours Allard and I have been looking at houses, hanging in health food cafes, and taking an occasional massage or yoga class, gently easing into Bali sabbatical life while we get ourselves sorted. Hearing our mothers voice in my head (“I hate unmaintained feet!”) I had a pedicure on the top floor of Balinese wooden building, overlooking red rooftops, the beaded curtains clicking gently in the breeze and cocks crowing, as the smiling girl wafted my toes dry with a small hand held fan.

Other highlights have been the monkeys in monkey forest, daily swimming, a baby bird found dead next to the pool, lizards scampering over the walls at night, and the water park called Waterbom. The mosquitoes are bothering us and I might have a nasi break at breakfast tomorrow, but otherwise we have few complaints.

So you see, we are off to a good start. I would like to get into a more permanent place and get those eight suitcases unpacked, half of which will probably not be used until we travel to cooler places. It is still unclear if we can get the dream house we have seen. The owner is apparently not so keen on having small children in his house. If he knew how bad.

Tomorrow we move into a temporary place closer to school for ten days. It has a Toucan living at the entrance. By the first of the month we will hopefully know where we will be for the rest of the year, just in time for the first guests. The fact that we have only seen the coast once since we have been here, and from a distance at that, suggested to us we are not the beach people we could have been, so for now we have settled on Ubud as the place to land, which is more inland and has views like this.

Will keep you informed.



Thursday, January 7, 2010


Dear sisters,

Before you compliment me on our recent dematerialization drive, I must confess we did not do so well with our luggage. We left yesterday for Bali, with eight suitcases each weighing the absolute maximum of what is allowed, a surfboard, and a piece of carry on luggage each. What is in those bags? , people asked, and I really could not tell them. How much do you need on an island where the temperature is a steady 30 degrees Celsius all year round?
I must admit I felt a little foolish when we needed a convoy to get to the airport, but I blame it on the process. By the time we got really good at getting rid of things we had already packed half of the suitcases and could not bring ourselves to start all over again. We have not given the term traveling light new meaning.

Now awaiting transfer at Taipei airport, where it is cold and grey outside and the ground stewardesses all wear mouth caps inside. I am glad the Taiwanese have bilingual signage. We start boarding in half an hour for the final stretch of five hours. The first thirteen and a half hour flight went relatively smoothly, with sleep and Dora the explorer. I can't wait for a shower and a bit of warmth on my skin.

Last night we had a fantastic send off with most of our favorite people. Teary eyed we set off on our new adventure. Had I mentioned we like SF and its people?

Oops, we just found out our hotel was booked for December instead of January. Don't miss the next installment.


Friday, January 1, 2010

a new year

So on the morning of my fortieth birthday I looked in the mirror and thought: oh.
Convinced my nose is getting bigger and my hair is getting thinner I have decided from now on to smile open mouthed, baring my teeth, when a picture is taken instead of the close mouthed grin, thinking the visible gumline is something I must accept now I have come this far. A happy face will hide the grooves. Look out for it, this is my new years resolution.

Otherwise great expectations for 2010. Hope you all have a great year too!

The San Francisco sea lions have left Pier 39 after twenty years and one theory is that they know an earthquake is coming. It could also be of course that they are going to Bali too.

5 more days.