I can’t believe how long it’s been since I blogged, and how much I’ve done since then! Time stands still while it flies here…

Needing a Visa renewal, and wanting to visit the Bintan teachers for a few days, I flew from Jogjakarta to Singapore, then ferried down to Bintan. I had to fund my own stay this time, so I chose the cheapest resort in Bintan – the Nirwana Beach Cottages. It was a lovely little place right on the beach where I could put my feet up or go for a swim at the end of my HOT days in the township with the teachers.

It was fabulous to see the teachers – full-circle! I was able to observe all but one teaching; they are really putting into action the ideas we talked about. Meeting the students, seeing who was “brave” to speak English with me, and watching their teachers help them to really participate in class and the materials was a real treat.

There are two new teachers – on in the elementary school, and one in the kindergarten – and it was nice to be able to meet them and work with them a bit as well.

The teachers were wonderful hostesses as always, and it was a very satisfying trip.

After four nights in Bintan, I ferried back to Singapore where, in the airport, I once again had to deal with credit card theft nonsense on a pay phone in the airport (you know those “call us collect” numbers on the back of the cards”? They do you no good if no one knows how to make a collect call:) Let’s just say Capital One, who will NOT remain nameless in this case, is going to get an earful when I get home. It’s not fun having a credit card number stolen and used to buy $600 of cosmetics in Illinois when you’re half way around the world. But I digress…

Back to Bali, to the lovely Komala Indah I, my little no-star dive hotel I’m using to store my belongings and rest my weary head. Knowing that I had three more weeks here in Bali and don’t want to just sit around on the beach (really!), I had to make some plans and put myself to some tasks. That’s when I got REALLY motivated to surf.

Another digression is in order here to explain why, at the OLD age of 42, I’ve decided this is a sport I need to learn. I have attempted to surf before, and it’s not been a great experience. I’m terrified of the waves, don’t like cold water, and am not a particularly strong swimmer. That said, it seems like everyone who snowboards at least attempts to surf at some point in their life, and I most definitely snowboard. So I put on my big girl pants, mustered some courage, sought an instructor and a board, and the fun began.

After six days in the surf I can say (and my instructor can concur) that I’m just not that good. I can paddle into a “wave” (white water, at this point), stand up, ride for a split second, then fall down. Depending on where the tide is at that falling down moment, I either smack my butt or knees on the bottom, or get a little thrashed by the waves. Then I head out to try again. I can only do this for about twenty minutes at a time before I’m exhausted; I take a rest for a minute (or an hour) and then I try again. Experiments with different sizes of boards and stances have been met with differing amounts of success.

My knees are killing me and are battered; I have bruises on the side where I push the board out into the water – not really paddling out yet because the waves are a little unpredictable and I could easily get smashed. But I’m having fun and will go do it again today!

Two days ago a new friend Valarie and I went on a little adventure around Bali. I have stories and photos to share, but right now I have to get out to the waves!