The Heart Grows Fonder

Absence makes the heart grow of fonder, and this is indeed the case with our time on the east coast of Bali. Though we thoroughly enjoy our new digs in Ubud, Villa Satori, we miss the incessant soundtrack of Seraya’s crashing waves as well as our new friends there. Our dear Boulder neighbors, Ron and Ellen Gager, joined us for the last days there and went on with us to Ubud for a few more. Ellen captured some lovely moments throughout their stay, so most of the photo credits in this post go to her. Behold one last ode to Seraya, its fishermen, its vibe, and that gorgeous black sand beach.

Togetherness also makes the heart grow fonder. What a miracle to have Ron and Ellen visit us for almost 2 weeks. Their presence extricated us from a dense fog. We have been literally submerged in ourselves and our kids for much too long, to the point where I forgot how much I needed to just have a normal, adult conversation with friends who were not as exhausted and strung out as me. Though I do have some introverted traits, I need socialization–we all do—and sharing our daily routine, meals, car rides, little explorations, and down time with Ron and Ellen provided so many enjoyable moments for interesting, light, deep, fun, meandering conversation. My favorite was a lunch at Penestanan’s Alchemy with Ellen. I got the chance to know and appreciate her more while letting off A LOT of steam. Like a coal train pulling into the station, my brain exhaled a big puff. Thanks, Ellen!

Hiking Campuan Ridge for the first time with Ron and Ellen.

Hiking Campuan Ridge for the first time with Ron and Ellen.

We took Ron and Ellen to one of our favorite lunch spots near Seraya, Bali Asli. The spacious deck overlooking the rice fields always inspires Mathilda to dance. I believe our friend, tenant, and famed photographer, George Lange, would say Ellen definitely captured Mathilda’s “essence” in these shots.

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Chris had a special day with Ron, as they enjoyed an adventurous and technically challenging bike tour descending the slopes of Mount Batur, another active volcano in the island. My experience with tours in this region (and this was also found to be true that day): they are consistently more difficult than the guide lets on. This was not your average bike ride considering Bali’s extremely severe terrain and wild, tangled jungle. Going over handlebars in a rice field is a little more forgiving than a Rocky Mountain single track, though. Good job, Ron and Chris!

Villa Satori, our last of 3 houses in Bali, thankfully fulfills my expectations of what an “Ubud villa experience” should be and then some. We are taken care of very well by sweet Wayan and her husband, Ketut. Surrounded by rice fields, it is well built, clean, comfortable, everything works and it is beautifully decorated. We even have a sweeping view of Agung, not only from the master deck but also from the dining table, which like most in Bali, is partially outside.

If you were wondering why it takes a while for me to come downstairs in the morning, it is because of this view…

Satori’s pool is small but cold, a quality quite welcome considering how freakin hot it is here.

The villa sits right along a popular walking path called Juwuk Manis, meaning sweet orange. You can see the path here from Satori’s expansive second floor windows.

Though many foreigners pass daily, this agricultural area is still farmed by local families who have lived here for decades. During the first few days we were here, they busily planted the fields with amazing efficiency.

Once again, Ellen’s talent shines bright, as seen below. This woman is one of many who make this area so enchanting.

Mathilda has gone a little native, pretending to work in the fields herself. This usually results in full mud coverage, but at this point, we are not too worried by a little dirt.

While the kids were in school one day, we had the luxury of taking a day trip with Ron and Ellen to see the lava flows of Mount Batur (still smoking in one spot!) and its crater lake. Lunch and pleasant conversation overlooking some iconic fields beneath Agung had us feeling quite restored.

We feel so fortunate to have had the chance to share a bit our current traveling life with Ron and Ellen. Avid world travellers themselves, they understand the trials and tribulations as well as the joys inherent in this little project we are immersed in. It felt great to gain new perspectives on our trip through conversing with them. We especially appreciated their eager, understanding ears. The kids soaked up the extra attention with glee. And when it came time to say goodbye, our family’s connection with them had deepened, making us look forward to reuniting on our beloved Bluff Street and perhaps somewhere else in this big, wide world someday.


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