January 29, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Gong Xi, Gong Xi! The year of the Fire Dog is in and all our suffering should be over. Here's a Foo Dog for you! Have a prosperous and wealthy year! :) For Kaj, the Water Rabit, this year should be exceptionally auspicious, as the Rabit is very good friends with the Dog. Excitement, luxury and new adventures wait for him in February (hmm.. knowing more about his plans (the trip to Bali!!!), this prediction is pretty accurate. While my luck as a Fire Snake is supposed to dip a little bit in February... There's some hard work, reaching goals, completing projects ahead... Which is also pretty accurate, considering what's been going on here.. Look up 2006 predictions for yourself. Overall, the year is supposed to be very good, with family, loyalty and honesty playing an important role.


When I say that "some things have been going on here", I mean that I tendered (gave my notice) at my workplace last week. I think many of my colleagues were pretty shocked, but also quite "proud" about me leaving. I felt as if I'm telling that I'm getting married or pregnant - "Really?!?!?!" "When?!?!?!" "Whoow!!!" "Why?!?!?!", all the time in the center of attention, people wanting to have lunch with me, asking, talking, slapping on the shoulders.. Another interesting development is that they kinda offered Kaj a part-time teaching position (so that I'd stay full time - wow, I'm so precious.. :), but we don't know anything about it yet. Kaj will have to go to have a "chit-chat" and its not clear yet, if it could be a workable kind of arrangement... We'll let you know! :)


Besides that we tried out services of a new maid last week, but had to send her back to Indonesia. She was just drinking beer (although quite often she also did our laundry and dishes:). No good, had to go back.. Ha ha.. Well, if you got tricked for a second, don't worry.. We're not employing maids just yet. We just had Borzin, Natalia and Kian visiting (doing "visa run") last week.


After some happy shopping, vaccination shots, fighting the evil Indo embassy people, drinking coffee in our neighbourhood food courts they're back happily back in Bali in a new wonderful house in the rice fields...


We still got another "bebe" Luca 2 floors down from us, so we still feel appropriately "babied".. Its nice to have younger people around.. :) Its quite amazing to see them grow - every day there's something new that they learn. I'm sure Kian will be running around next time that we see him.. And Luca obviously already has a great musical talent, getting better every day! :)

Posted by gkligyte at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2006

Open Houses and other Maladies


We've been enjoying our new life in the East quite a bit. Its been sunny and rainy sometimes, but almost always very quiet (except occassional maintenance works, i.e. cleaning the drain for 5 hours just outside our windows, cutting grass or noisy "teambuilding" activities..) Overall, our new home is a very liveable place.


Our neighbourhood looks slightly different from where we used to live, - these are HDB (government subsidised housing) apartment blocks, - more packed, but it feels more real - this is how most of Leijonakaupunkilaiset live and when you walk down the street, there's a certain kind of laziness and "summer" feel to everything. Very different from Orchard road (that used to be the nearest place for us to shop!), where you feel that you have to dress up and put make up on if you want to drop by to the shop and buy some milk.


Kaj tried to play tennis with Giuliano, we went swimming to the pool and otherwise we've been just sleeping and lazing around doing nothing on the weekends.. Being able to stay in our apartment on the weekend feels like a great luxury. Yesterday we arranged cleaners to come to our old apartment - I went there for maybe half an hour and I can't understand how we really put up with this deafening noise for so many months!!


Othewise the week has been extremely busy for me - year 1 students were organizing the Open House exhibition and somehow I ended up being in charge of everything..


Lots of panicky people, late night calls - "we have a BIG problem now!", "they're stealing our sofa!", "we shot over the budget, what to do?!?"..


At the end everything turned out great - it was a good exhibition and I think the students were really proud of what they did. There's quite a bit of work that was done - they designed their own logos and concept of "Refreshing the Media" with bright yellow lemons everywhere, stamps (temporary tatoo type of) on people's arms, designed and printed their own Tshirts (I wish I'd gone through similar type of education myself.. :)...


And of course, the blue screen demonstration in a ghost story - a head of a woman (no body) appearing on the screen, etc.


So I was quite proud of my students and I think they also had good fun.


And there was some "legal grafiti" done in our school. I think it is quite nice that they allowed it, because normally you could be caned for "vandalism", if you do it "creatively" and randomly in the street without getting a permission first.


Right after that I fell sick though, some kind of upset stomach thing that lasts for a few days already. I'm contemplating my first MC (sick leave) day tomorrow. Lets hope my fever lasts.. :)

And we have Natalia and Borzin visiting again - they're trying to get Indonesian visa, so that they could spend couple more months in Bali.. More pics and stories on that later. Now - diner time!

Posted by gkligyte at 06:09 PM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2006

Truly decadent


Some more happy pictures from Bali. I was there for the 3rd time (Kaj for the 4th!), but every time we go there the experience is fresh, new and exciting. It feels like coming back to mökki... (did I say that before?) :) Bali is amazing, - it is small enough for you not to spend too much time traveling. In few hours you can reach beaches, hills, mountains, rice padis from wherever you are.. Nature in Bali is extremely beautiful, arts and culture thriving, people friendly, food delicious... In a way its sad, how huge parts of the island are developed into a circus for tourists and how everybody works for the tourist industry one way or another. On the other hand, there's still relatively untouched parts (especially in the highlands and north) and many of the developments are of somewhat humane scale..


This time staying in Ubud was exceptionally cool, because Natalia and Borzin with Kian (their baby) are renting a house in the rice padis for a few months. We spent few days over the New Year with them and it was really great fun.


Kian seemed to be enjoying being in Bali, but I never realized that there are so many complicated things about babies and tropics. The baby has to be sheltered from sun, moskitos, bugs, spiders, his hands have to be washed with bottled water, etc. There's really nothing a 6 month baby can do on the beach and its something I really never thought about... On the bright side is that everybody is completely crazy about babies, so they are very likely to be snatched and carried and entertained by restaurant staff or whoever is around.


Of course, another great thing about our stay in Ubud was the HOUSE that we rented just next door from Natalia and Borzin.


This was probably the most decadent holiday that we ever had.


We had a whole 2 floor house with beautiful furniture and amazing decoration, a huge garden with several coi ponds, a "meditation parlor" and of course - a pool!!!


A pool that I could swim diagonally in 5 strokes, lenghtwise in 3 and widthwise in 2 strokes. Great fun!


Some other fun things that we did in Ubud - Kaj is washing our laundry and in the small picture on the right there's Natalia's and Borzin's house (also 2 floors and made in very contemporary "zen" style! :)


Of course, everything has a price. Our house had a resident cat Tilly that was the most annoying creature. We both really like cats, but Kaj is alergic. So we tried to keep the cat out of the house. Somehow this cat was so sneaky and persistent that it always ended up under our bed or sleeping on the matrace or smth like that. And, of course, it needed food. I realized that a whole tuna can could appease the cat for about half a day. But as it got used to the luxury of food lying around, it became even more demanding.. At the end we were somewhat happy to leave that particular house and the cat behind.. :)


Our New Year celebration was exceptional this year - it was raining so hard that we had to order food from Made's warung (the next door place where we usually had our breakfast, lunch and dinner most of the days). The greatest delicacy was potatoe chips, the guests left around 9pm and we with Kaj dozed off around 10pm...


Next day's brunch at Indus restaurant made up for the "rustic" dinner on the New Year's Eve.



Natalia and Borzin have been to Bali many times and they know some interesting places and some people who live around. One of the places that we went with them was Tanah Merah - a resort owned by a Danish dentist.


Who also became an arts collector. He has an amazing gallery of works collected in the region and all the rooms in his resort are decorated using authentic arts pieces. These days he's also a "social dentist" - he travels to different places in Indonesia and fixes people's teeth for free.


We walked down the hills to the river.


And bathed in the natural streem that comes from the hills.


Living in Bali for several months must be completely different from what you experience if you come for a week or two. There's no rush, no list of things to accomplish, just relax...


Maybe that's something we could do before going to whenever and wherever we're going to after Singapore :) Just an idea.. :) We've been checking out some beautiful new houses around Ubud. This one in the picture above would cost around 300usd for a month. Food is cheap, living expenses almost non existent. You can actually save money by living in a place like that for a month or two!!! :)


We'll keep you updated!

Posted by gkligyte at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

There's no place like Bali...


This post is very late - we've come back from Indonesia about a week ago (and managed to move meanwhile!!!), but as I was stressed out about packing and then shortly I didn't have Internet, this comes only now. We flew to Lombok for Christmas, but ended up going to Bali anyway...


Its hard to remember now how it really felt to get back to Santai resort in Lombok, but I recall feeling very relaxed and relieved (no construction nearby! Days of lazing in the hammock ahead!!!)


We've been to Santai almost 4 years ago and we were happy to see that the spirit of the place haven't changed too much. The beach sand is completely gone, but the owners are still the same - oldish British hippy lady/Indonesian husband couple that somehow manage to keep the place cheap, beautiful and relaxed.


The sunsets over Gunung Agun in Bali are still as beautiful as they were.


And the food is as amazingly delicious as we remembered. We had huge Christmas lunch (look at the fish!)


And just like last time meat heaps of interesting people from Canada-US-Japan, Holand, Cyprus, etc.


One of the reasons why we rushed to Bali was the weather - it kept raining every day (at the beginning it felt quite refreshing from Leijonakaupunki, then it got a bit depressing and damp). However we managed to walk in the forest by the river and swim in huge (Kaj says they were somee 3m) waves (no pictures.. :()


All in all going back to the same places felt a bit like going to the mökki - familiar places and faces, - girls getting married filling out and having babies, men getting skinnier and starting to bald...


Just like I said about a year ago when we visited Dreamlands beach, I think it is one of the most amazing places on Earth.. The colour and power of the ocean is impressive beyond any words..



The house where we stayed was quite the same - plain amazing view from the terrace, extremely windy and salty inside..


And the lights go off at 9pm. Its not bad - for a while its quite nice to go to sleep early and get up at 6am with the dawn..


The waves were quite huge, but breaking too close to the beach. So we couldn't do much of bugi boarding. I've never been to Bali in the surfing season, but the pictures that I've seen look unbelievable.. We should try to come back sometime in June or July and maybe try to learn some proper surfing!


Unfortunately, like so many amazing places, I think Dreamlands is going to be yet another private, overdepeveloped and overcrowded beach very soon. The horrible and huge Tommy Suharto's resort project (that owns the road to Dreamland) seems to be well underway and there were already hordes of rich Jakarta people flooding the beach every day.. :(

The smell of Kaj's pasta is calling me already. I think I'll continue with what happened in Ubud later. :)

Posted by gkligyte at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

Happily moved!


Finallyyyyy!!! We're out of this nonsense that we pretended was our home last year and a half...


No more waking up to the power drilling outside our windows.. No more banging and squeeking noises and compressors running the whole night.. No more anger and frustration, ear plugs and weekend "activities" to stay out of the apartment. Its pretty unbelievable that it took them 9 months to achieve this much that you can see in the picture (in the efficient and competitive Leijonakaupunki!!!) - it seems that they were just shoveling sand from one corner of the site to the other making as much noise as possible, using the biggest machines available. But the construction haven't really took off yet.. I'm terrified to imagine how it will be when they start building the walls and even bigger machines will move in.. brrr....


It took us a bit more than 1 full day (12 hours full time packing) to get our possessions to a moveable state. Not much, but still we were shocked to see how much we acquired in a year and a half living here..


However when we moved in and unpacked, we realized that our stuff just disappears in this enormous space of 120 square meters (wow, basically double the space that we normally used to live in!!!).


Ever since we moved in we feel very happy and peaceful (1 day :). We got the movers to carry our stuff (professional movers - offering 24h service - ow yeah! In case you need to move out at 3am in the morning - no problem!!) However, they broke 2 of my favorite plates (too bad, now I have to go back to Chiang Mai to get a replacement!) and tore the bicycle seat a little bit.. I've been trying to make some fuzz about it, but it seems that the mover guys would have to pay that from their own pocket.. The movers are (surprisingly :) some foreign workers from Pakistan or Bangladesh, so if I decide to be difficult they may have to give up half of their monthly salary or smth...

Oh yes, and I received some humanitarian aid in the form of Lithuanian chocolate and kuciukai - xmas cookies with poppy seeds - yeah! Thanks Ruta - its been a while since I've been so thrilled about receiving a packet!!! :)


When I lift my eyes off the computer and look outside, I see street lights reflecting on calm water of Bedok reservoir (its night time), I hear crickets singing and trees shivering in the wind. aaaahhhhhh... Feels so good!!!!


Yong (my colleague) helped us a lot with the moving - he arranged the movers to come (and we had pizza with his son and wife before xmas) and yesterday he drived us around while we were looking for a bucket to mop the floor.. And it was raining the whole day. He really saved our day...

And more stuff still to come about our holiday and Bali trip and everything.. Just wait!

Posted by gkligyte at 10:51 PM | Comments (1)