A new year

This new year started with a great party with champagne, fireworks, laughs and friends. With the great plans on the way including (but not limited to) finishing my last subjects and projects, hopefully start graduating in September and of course moving!

Although it is hard to top 2016, I am looking forward to it. So a -bit late- happy new year to everyone and I hope all of you will continue to enjoy my blog. 🙂

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Settling

I’ve been back home for mere months and I’ve been fully emerged into the life of studying. It has been strange being back. I am working on great projects like helping a company address a contamination and writing an article about multi-resistant bacteria. It is all interesting but does not compete with the research in New Zealand. And here, everything is the same. Although the supermarket has been upgraded and there is a liquor store next to it now (a proper upgrade if you ask me). I feel different while everything looks the same and feels the same. My room, my house, the square I live at remains unchanged. I walk around like: oh my, I’ve been in New Zealand. I have been at the other side of the world. But life goes on and nothing changes. Everyone around you is still the same, but there’s an added sentence or two about having been away.

There is this thing, I was quite homesick at the end of the trip. I wanted to be home and everything to be normal and known. It is really nice to have everything you know, the shops, the items, a piano, the sewing machine. Finally being able to express all those hobbies. But there is this charm to being away as well.

To be honest, it has been kind of hard settling down again and I really need another big change, a new step in life. That’s why this week has been amazing, because a new adventure awaits: Bas and I found a stunning apartment in a little town next to Eindhoven. We are moving in February and we are both so excited. I am looking so forward to rebuilding the feeling of home with the person I love.

Also a few things that happened over the last couple of months:

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My dear granddad is now 92 years old!
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Bas and I went on a beautiful walk near Boxtel (where we’re going to live)
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My mom and I went to Regina Spektor in Paradiso, which was absolutely awesome

In the mean time: Bas and I have also been rowing with a Danish friend, we saw Glow (a light festival) in Eindhoven (where I forgot to bring my camera, woops) , my mum has turned 60, we had a lovely Sinterklaas (Christmas for Dutchies) celebration with my mum and also with Bas’ family and so much more. This weekend we are going skiing; life in the Netherlands is hectic, alive and vibrant.

While I’m away, I’ll write home everyday.

Tomorrow we are taking the bus to Jakarta and then flying home in the middle of the night to arrive in Amsterdam on Sunday after an 18 hour flight. I will be back home in less than 48 hours. Crazy. Seven months have flown by.

Tomorrow I’ll miss you, remember I’ll always be true. And then while I’m away, I’ll write home every day and I’ll say send all my loving to you.

I miss you. I miss all of you lovely human beings and I am excited to be surrounded by all of you again.

Yesterday we visited the huge sulphur lake Kawah Putih. It was absolutely stunning. Sadly the high concentration of sulphur made me feel a bit ill; luckily after a long night sleep I feel better again. The suitcases are all packed and we are ready to go. We finished our lovely travel with sushi and a great cup of coffee.

To all of you; thank you for reading my blog through my last seven months. As ‘normal’ life will start again, my writing will be less of a daily-thing; nevertheless I will continue to hopefully make you smile with my stories. Much love to all.

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Tea fields nearby

Java | Bandung

After a very long train ride of eight hours, we arrived in Bandung where we were immediately flooded by people “kind enough” to bring us to our hotel. Our bags were placed in a car before we could say anything. Luckily the driver was kind and the ride was not overly expensive. We are accidentally staying in another hotel than we thought because there are two hotels here with almost the same name. This hotel is a bit weird and especially after the luxurious hotel in Yogyakarta, this is slightly disappointing. Bandung is a very busy formerly glorious Art Deco city. The Art Deco is slightly losing its charm as the paint is falling off, the buildings get old and they don’t get renovated here. People don’t really seem to care all that much. There are some exceptions here with stunning architecture and atmosphere. We have been taking our time and I’ve been preparing to going back home by sorting through all my 6000 photos to turn into one (or two… or three…) photoalbum(s). This is a lot -a lot- of work. Saturday night we are flying back to arrive on Sunday. On Monday my study starts (whoops). This week we have seen Wayang dolls made and we have seen a stunning crater North of Bandung called Tangkuban Perahu. Tomorrow we are visiting another volcano and tea fields.

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Train to Bandung

Due to damn wifi I am currently unable to upload more pictures. I will try again later 🙂

 

Java | Around Yogyakarta

In the last couple of days we have learnt how to batik and how to weave using bamboo. We have also visited the silver crafting area and met Slamet’s family; Slamet has been our driver during the last couple of days and he has been very kind and welcoming. We also went fishing so my mom and I could have something to eat we weren’t allergic to. We turned out to be pretty bad ass in fishing and it was incredibly awesome to eat the fish we caught. In the evening we saw a traditional wayang show; majestic. It were a wonderful few days. Tomorrow we are going to Bandung with the train. It is supposed to be a stunning train ride and it better be because it is 7 hours long (!).

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Batik preperation
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Putting wax on the drawing
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My waxed design
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My waxed design
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My design being coloured
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My design being washed
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Wax removal
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Finishing of the cloth
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Lady working on her batik
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At the bamboo factory of Salmet’s uncle
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You know the little baskets from the Albert Heijn? They are made here (among other places obviously)
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Learning how to weave
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My design being finished
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🙂
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My finished project
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The fish fields surrounding Slamet’s village (this is where we fished!)
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Mum fishing!
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Our fried fish
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Wayang show
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Wayang show
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Wayang show

Java | Yogyakarta, Borobudur and Prambanan

We are staying in a lovely hotel in the middle of Yogyakarta after we decided to leave the apartment we were staying in. The beautiful mansion turned out to be infested with insects; making it impossible to cook in the outside kitchen [beetles kept falling into the food], to sleep [wild animals were crawling on our bedroom doors] and to read a book [as everything was open and the house covered in mosquitos]. When we noticed active nests with red paper wasps (a very protective type of wasp… well to be honest, wasps are never nice), we decided it was enough. We are now situated in the most luxurious and relaxing hotel ever. The hotel has a swimming pool, a wellness centre and a gym. I’ve already made use of the gym this morning, this was lovely after not being able to exercise for 5 weeks. Yogyakarta itself has been okay, but not our cup of tea, although the Kraton, the Sultan’s palace, was very nice. We  to also went to Borobudur (a Buddhist temple) and Prambanan (a Hindu temple); the famous temples of Java and both UNESCO world heritage sites. Today we are having a ‘relax’ day, which is lovely.

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Bank of Indonesia, a Dutch building
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Yogyakarta
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Mum
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Kraton
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Kraton
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Kraton
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Kraton
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Kraton
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Borobudur
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Borobudur
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Borobudur
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Borobudur
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Borobudur
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A beautiful woman who we sold fruit from

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Prambanan
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Prambanan
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Prambanan
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Prambanan
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Prambanan
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Prambanan
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Prambanan

Bali | Tanah Lot & Butterfly garden

The day began with going to the Minimart to get something to drink. The Minimart also had an ATM machine, this came in handy. After one and two transactions, we wanted to do a third (we could only pin a minimal amount at the time). My card went in, I pressed ‘confirm’, my card came out… And powercut. The whole neighbourhood experienced a powercut. My online banking said the transaction had gone through; meaning we had lost the money. Arif was working hard to get the back-up generator started, while three people were begging us for money (please, please…). Arif and I ended up going to the bank in all the chaos, they told us they could not help me and that I had to call my NZ bank. We had to wait 45 minutes for nothing. Calling NZ would be more expensive than the money we’ve lost, so we decided to ‘let it be’. A bit frustrated, we went to the Butterfly park. There all our worries dissapeared when the money was put back in my account and we were surrounded by the most beautiful butterflies. We had the pleasure of letting different animals climb all over us; this included a rhinoceros beetle and a stick insect of 30 cm big!!!! After that we were decorated with the most stunning butterflies.

After this marvelous experience, we went on to Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is beautiful, but packed (and I mean properly packed) with tourists. I know we are part of that group; but it spoiled the view tremendously. In the mean time, the sun was burning our skin and we decided to go back to the apartment. There we packed our suitcases and I just about managed to get mine below 30 kg. Living out of a suitcase is hard and I am fully adapted to the ‘Marie Kondo’ method; the life-changing magic of tidying. Everything that ‘does not make me happy’ goes in the discard-pile. Thusfar I’ve been categorizing everything from ‘decorating’, ‘basics’, ‘special’ to the ‘replaceable’, ‘cheap’, ‘unimportant’. I am looking forward to being home again, to be able to tidy up because I want to; instead of have to every f- day.

Today we flew to Yogyakarta with Garuda. If you are ever in Indonesia and need to fly somewhere, I highly recommend them. In the 1,5 hour it took to fly from Denpasar to Yogya, we got two drinks and a lunch box. That is as much as we got for our 12 hour flight from Christchurch to Denpasar (thanks Virgin Australia). We had the most comfy seats and an in-flight movie system that worked. I did not watch movies, instead I spent my time reading the book Wild Pork and Watercress, where ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’; the best New Zealand movie is based on. It is an amazing book that one. Four pages to go and I will be on to reading ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’.

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Rhinoceros beetle
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Stick insect; HUGE.
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My mom decorated with butterflies

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Tanah Lot
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Tanah Lot
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Tanah Lot