Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stretching those shoes...

I guess you know you're growing when you find life/circumstances challenging, difficult and then know you're really out of your safe little comfort zone!

It may look like everything is fine and dandy here but sometimes the reality (for me) is very different.  I hit a low patch every now and then...missing NZ, missing family and friends and feeling totally inadequate teaching these kids...

It just all gets a bit too hard for me sometimes and I've had a few little meltdowns...usually when I stress about what the hell I'm going to teach today - it's effing hard!  I have to come up with it all myself and not being a teacher, I haven't a clue a lot of the time.  Sometimes the mind is completely blank - WHAT the hell am I going to teach today and HOW am I going to teach it????  You're on your own, there's no support or guidelines and sometimes it just gets a bit overwhelming - especially when I can't get on the damn Internet to Google something to give me ideas!  But tomorrow is always another day and so I plod on...I'm hoping it gets easier...

Last Thursday Ketut's older Sister Kurti and her daughter Mitri took me to the market to buy a ceremonial sarong and top as we are going to be going to a few ceremonies and Temples in the coming weeks and need to wear the correct clothing.

Of course I stuck out like a sore toe in the market - being the only Westerner there...Mitri was getting asked all the questions - who is she, where is she from, what's she doing, where is she staying etc. etc.  I had no idea what they were saying but knew I was the subject of the conversation because Mitri was answering "Yayasan", "Tulamben".  Goodness knows what else they were saying :-)

It was quite funny - we had to shop around for a 'girdle' for me as I needed a size Large (you feel really BIG in these countries as everyone else is really small!).  For any blokes out there that don't know what a 'girdle' is - it's a piece of thick, wide elastic with hooks and eyes on that holds your sarong in place and pulls the tummy in hopefully - no Trinny & Suzanne body huggers over here!!  It brought back memories of watching my Mum struggle into her girdle many many years ago when she got dressed up to go to town on Friday afternoons or to go out somewhere special.  Thankfully this isn't the full body suit style that she had to squirm into!

We had an amazing time on Friday night and again on Sunday.  We were privileged to be part of the final stages of a Cremation Ceremony that started 18 months ago for 11 family members that had been cremated back in 2009.  They have ceremonies at the cremation time, 6 months later, 12 months later and finally 18 months later.  Because it is expensive to do and they are poor they bury everyone first, then dig them up for cremation when they can afford it.

Friday saw us (in our Balinese clothing) walk in procession with the family from the family Temple in Tianyar, down a side road to the beach, along the beach about 800m to another small Temple where all the offerings were sitting - food, cooked pig, flowers, etc.  It was beautiful.  There were beautiful yellow, orange, cream & gold umbrella's, two big tall flags in the front and the girls carried offering baskets on their heads, following single file...

Spit Roast Pig!

The Priest was amazing.  He got dressed up in white and then had black and glass beads draped over him like a lanyard and gold amulets and ear pieces.  He did prayers and offerings first which reminded me of the Buddhist Ceremony we did for Dad after he died. 

Then as dusk fell incense was lit and flower baskets given out and we all did prayers together.  It was lovely and the lighting at dusk/evening by the sea was beautiful with all the bright colours of everything.

The children are especially cute!

Once is was dark we all filed up another side road onto the main road and back to the family Temple where they then had more prayers and ate their food.  We left before they got into all that.

They had another day of it on Saturday where they travelled to another Temple out of town and walked up the mountain for 2 hours to the Temple at the top, then to another two Temples on the way back.  We decided not to join them for that one as it was a very early start but we joined them again on Sunday...

Having said that, Sunday was an early start too - up at 5.45am to be at the school for collection at 7am.  We actually left at 7.30am and headed to a Temple inland which took about 1.5 hours to get to.  There were about 40 of Ketut's family plus us.  It was a day of ceremony, prayers, water, flowers, rice, incense and sitting cross legged for around 6 hours on concrete!

We finished in darkness at Lake Batur.  The final Temple was beautiful in the darkness with subtle lighting and incense burning.  Actually all the Temple's were beautiful in their own right but darkness makes them extra special I think.
It was a marathon day - we did around 15 Temples and at each one there was around 1/2hour of prayers and ceremony.
We got to bed around 11.00pm absolutely had it.  It was an amazing day/experience and we are very grateful to have been part of it.


  1. Hi Paula
    Have loved reading your adventures espevially your teaching ones! Just yell when you get stuck for ideas :)

  2. Hi Sue, it's wonderful to hear from you and YES PLEASE I would love any ideas for teaching!! Please email me directly. Sorry I haven't your email address with me to email you...hope all is good at your end..x Paula