our group was incredibly lucky to have such a deep, yummy cultural experience while in bali - all thanks to the strong connections and friendships that nicole and paul have and were able to share with us. both of them speak indonesian and have a really soulful connection with the people and places on the island. we were so blessed to get to hang out with them all!
we went on a long, gorgeous walk through the rice paddies one day - with dayu as our guide. the tiny pathways we walked on and patterns of the fields felt outer-worldly, and from time to time we would come accross and old, weathered rice farmer with his sythe who'd give us a toothless smile and stare at this gang of tall white women probably wondering what the heck?!! we had a fun rainy dinner one night and watched a balinese fire dance performance... our retreat was held in a small village just outside of ubud where there weren't a lot of tourists. i enjoyed seeing local life and making friends with a few shopkeepers on my daily caffeine/coconut/sugar walks - this dear lady tried to teach me to make one of her offerings (fail!) and then invited me over to her home to meet her inlaws. we chatted every day in our broken communication and i was so touched by her warm loving heart!offerings are part of the each morning in bali - and we would see them all over the place - above is the temple at our retreat about to have the daily blessing.
we were able to spend an afternoon at another family compound with a family nicole has been friends with for over 20 years - beautiful, open hearted people. in their home we got our own private balinese dance and lesson in dancing (i had the eye movement down, but that was about it!), instruction on playing the gamelan and a chance to learn how to make these beautiful offerings...made from palm leaves. it was harder than it looked! and they get up and make 100 of them each morning! so beautiful...
it made our week really special being able to connect deeper to the village than if we were just regular sight-seeing tourists. the balinese people are so beautiful and friendly and made us feel so welcome in their homes. i hated having to leave!