Hard to believe it, but I have been home a month now. Wow. It’s about time I added a few final thoughts and some random photos. Here goes…

I have been lucky enough to travel a bit. There are many places I’ve been to that I love. The jungle in Thailand and Bali can now be added to that list. Every day was ‘perfect’ – whether it was sunny, rainy, busy or lazy. Every night I said ‘thank you for an incredible day’ as I fell asleep. And when Jacques was around, every night at dinner we would toast to “another great day”. Doing that every day for 4 weeks is pretty amazing. And all I can do is sit back and say ‘thank you’ to everyone and everything that enabled me to take that trip.

Here are some random favourite photos of people, places and experiences that didn’t fit into my other blogs.

The day before Jacques left Wayan invited us to attend his family compound’s annual ceremony. You see, every family compound has its temple, and once a year the family has a temple ceremony. Neighbours come and help with the ceremony, and you do this for your neighbours as well. It’s not often you get such a personal glimpse into daily life in a different country, so it was a no-brainer for Jacques and I. Of course we would attend. We were honoured to.

Jacques walking down the street to Wayan's, in full ceremonial dress.

This building is in the centre of the compound. I saw through the open door that there's a very small tv in it, complete with rabbit ears, and it sits on the floor. There's no other furniture in the room. Wouldn't do out here would it! I love little glimpses into daily life elsewhere.

The building on the left is where the patriarch of the family sleeps - which in this instance is Wayan's father. Living in the compound are Wayan's dad, mum, uncle, wife and two children. His cousin is working on a freighter, but otherwise lives here as well.

In Balinese culture, you live your entire life in the family compound – unless you are a girl. Girls move to their husband’s family compound. Imagine that…no mortgage, but no real choice about where you live your life.

The kitchen. Lots of storage, no oven, one little cooktop with 2 elements on it. Cooking for the family here would be interesting. After the ceremony we were offered a traditional meat and jackfruit dish with rice and some chicken satay. Super spicy deliciousness.

The offerings. I never ceased to be amazed by how intricate and beautiful they are.

The Ceremony begins. Behind the priest, dressed in white, is Wayan's dad.

I love the priest's face. Apparently you are born a priest - it's not something you choose as a profession. His father, grandfather, etc. were also priests.

Holy water. I love the tops to the bottles. They have spouts in them so you don't need to take them off. They just wave/shake the bottles to get the water.

I was asked if I wanted to participate in the ceremony. Yes please! This procession of women walked around the compound blessing the home. Sitting in the front of the photo are Wayan's dad (on the left) and uncle.

Pretty sure they gave me the easiest of responsibilities - all I had to do was wave the little bamboo 'fan' in different areas of the compound. Thankfully I had the women in the procession in front of me to show me where to stop and do it.

Amazing hands.

Amazing hands. Wayan's father is not a big man, but those hands....big and strong. The sign of a man who's worked in the rice fields his entire life

Wayan's dad, in prayer.

Wayan's wife and youngest daughter. Both are beautiful.

Wayan's eldest daughter. Gorgeous.

Wayan and Jacques putting holy water on their heads - part of cleansing yourself during the ceremony.

All in all another wonderful Balinese experience.

You’ve read about the fabulous chef who made our meals at The House of Singing Bamboo. It’s time for you to meet him.

Made, our incredible chef. And his daughter Annie, who you met in an earlier post. I asked him to come to Vancouver...he said no....

Dinner my last night in Ubud. Can't remember the name of the beef dish, but it was delish. As was the traditional Balinese chicken, rice and veggies.

The little French restaurant Jacques and I found while walking through Ubud, and the home of the best chocolate tart I’ve ever eaten.

The infamous chocolate tart.... And the restaurant had a take-out deli.... Chocolate tarts to go? Mais oui!

The view from our table at the restaurant. Of course when Jacques and I were there it was night time, but I went back a few days later for a late lunch.

And last but not least, a few words on massages. Those of you who know me well know I love a good massage. I’ve often said that if I won the lottery I’d have a massage every day. Southeast Asia equals cheap, good massages and I had my fill.

– 3 while at the silent retreat in Thailand – all of them amazing (2 30-minute massages, 1 hour massage)

– a massage and facial the day after Jacques arrived, in my guest house (3 hours for about $30!!!)

– a 30-minute head and shoulder massage in Ubud (just down the street from the French restaurant) – $3! Jacques and I figured why not? Only thing was we left thinking that it was a great massage, but that we needed to shower – the massage tables are fabric and they don’t put towels on them so they’re more than a little grimy. Jacques’ shorts had lines of oil all over them. We had a good laugh at that.

– a massage on the beach in Gili, in a little gazebo. There’s something amazing about having a massage, hearing waves and thinking “the sound of the waves isn’t a cd, it’s actually waves hitting the shore about 10 feet from my head”. Fabulous.

– a massage the next day in Gili at a local spa – probably the best massage of the trip.

And the next day is when I found myself thinking “I don’t want a massage today”. WHAT????? What did I just think? That can’t possibly be true! But it was. No massage for me that day. In fact, I only had one more, the day before I left – another massage/facial at the House of Singing Bamboo. I don’t normally do facials because my skin is super sensitive and doesn’t react well to most products. I have no idea what she used, but Made’s facials were wonderful.

And that, I think, is that. Still hard to believe I’m not planning the trip but that it is indeed done. And I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the 4 weeks. So I am left with immense gratitude. What an experience.

Thanks for reading about it. I’ll be blogging again – who knows about what!