Archive for January 24th, 2012

January 24, 2012

Ibu visit

by Tabitha Kidwell

Back in November, my mom lost her job – which was great! It was just a job to her, and leaving it freed her up to develop her spiritual direction practice, which is her passion. Also, it meant that she could take off one and a half weeks to come visit me! She was here for about 8 days, and it was wonderful!  She was a real trooper, having new and unfamiliar experiences and just rolling with the punches.  Whole fish with their heads on?  No problem.  Squat toilets?  How interesting! Fried rice and chicken wings for breakfast?  Better than American breakfast anyways!  She was great!

First, we headed up to Ubud, the “cultural capital” of Bali. As a “mature” hippie, my mom fit right in. We got to learn a lot about Balinese culture and life.

We learned how to make offerings:

We took a bike tour, which began with drinking Coffee Luwak The coffee beans are eaten by the sifat cat, processed by their digestion, and collected from their droppings to grind and make coffee.  Sounds gross, but it’s actually quite nice – and it has a price tag to prove it!

Then, we learned about how rice is grown, and mom almost fell in a rice paddy.  Luckily she was saved by the cute Dutch guy in the coffee photo.

This was before the fall, which is why she is still smiling.

We also got to visit an ancient banyan tree.

To round out our 4 days in Bali, we also learned to play the Gamelan, got spa treatments, and ate delicious organic food.  Then we headed to Java, where we went directly to Borobudur temple.  We stayed at the Manohara hotel, directly inside the temple complex, so we could just stroll over there in the morning.  The evening we arrived, we went and snuck into the smaller Mendut temple after it was closed for the evening.  I did the same thing back in October, and it is one of my favorite places on earth – so beautiful and peaceful in there.  Then we headed over to the Mendut Buddhist Monastery to pray evening prayer with the monks – very cool.

The next morning, we visited the temple early, before it was besieged by student groups trying to practice their English and take pictures with foreigners.  It was still quiet when we walked the huge, labrynth-like temple.

We got picked up from Borobudur and went to Salatiga, where my university had an action-packed 2 days for us.  First, we had a welcoming ceremony with five different dances prepared by my students (SO AWESOME!).

Including a dance where the girls brought out a gift for my mom.

Much to her surprise and embarrasment.

The next day, I feel like mom really got the full Indonesian experience, when my counterpart took us to see an objek wisata (tourist “object”) and we didn’t really understand what we were looking at.  A closed, off-season amusement park overlooking a lake full of grass?  It was unclear.  Then we ate fish and didn’t understand why we were there either.  But it was fun.

The full Indonesian experience continued when we got back to our hotel totally exhausted but still had to go have dinner at the house of the president of the university – which was a VERY kind and generous invitation.  I feel lucky to be at such a welcoming and thoughtful institution.  They were great to show us all over town and invite us to lunch and dinner and everything… but it might had been nice to sit by the hotel pool.  That sentiment somehow got lost in translation.

But no fear, after 2 jam-packed days in Salatiga, we headed back to Bali.  We stayed at a resort in Sanur, a quiet beach town on the west side of the island.  It was a splurge (okay, at $130, only a splurge compared to the even cheaper hotels we had been staying at) and it was awesome.  We had all our meals on the beach, saw the sunset from a floating gazebo, and generally unwound from a busy trip.

And then the trip was over and I was saying good-bye to Mom at the airport.   It was so sad to say good-bye and know that I won’t see her until July.  It was incredible to spend time with her here, and to show her my life here.  It was really the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime – unless she wants to do it again!  What do you think, Mom?