It’s our third day in Seminyak and I have found a great cafe this morning called Grocer & Grind in the Peti Tenget region of Seminyak. Lakota is happily playing at her new kindy, The Spice School, which is a 20 min walk from our place. I walk her there in the pram at 8am each day with her bag packed for snacks and lunch until I pick her up at 12. Her new teacher is Miss Jodi, a 30 year old Australian girl who has lived here for 18 years. She is great and Lakota has already taken to her. Jodi is married to a Balinese man of the highest caste, essentially royalty I think, and her daughter attends Spice too. Lakota has taken to Jodi in a big way and she has two new little friends, Kiana and Olivia. Although we have struggled to find any playgrounds in Bali for Lakota, the outdoor area at Spice is fantastic with swings, slides, monkey bars, trikes for riding along lots of twisty paths and lots of grass and trees. We left Ubud for a few reasons, perhaps mainly because we felt it didn’t provide enough places and activities for Lakota’s enjoyment and development. Ubud is a playground for adults, particularly female adults I would say, with all the beautiful spas, cafes, bars and restaurants, hotels and other gorgeous accommodation, yoga and shopping. But no beach! We felt constantly damp in Ubud and after more than eight years in the dry climates of London and Fremantle, I don’t like feeling damp and I don’t like my clothes going mouldy! Seminyak already feels good to us. We walked to the beach this morning, Seminyak beach, and it’s beautiful. So different to South Beach and Port Beach in Fremantle – this one has a huge expanse of gray sand, a wide and long shallow shoreline before the waves begin and a hazy, cloudy sky. Bali is so beautiful and so filthy. Every day I see, feel, smell (oh, the smells) and touch the contrasts. Sometimes it causes me huge discomfort when I dwell on some of the uglier parts of the place, and yet I also feel the joy and satisfaction of having a new adventure and being inspired by new things. Speaking of which, I have my heart set on having made for Lakota a dolly high chair in which she can feed her dolls and bears. This mission began in Ubud where I had one commissioned along with a little chair for Lakota. Unfortunately, when I went to collect it, it was so far from what I thought it would be, I didn’t take it. The chair was perfect but the high chair was just wrong in every way. I almost cried, but as Lakota didn’t, I restrained myself. After this initial and suprising disappointment, I got excited about making this a quest and perhaps if I succeed in designing the perfect one, there is a new business for me!  Thank you to everyone who read my first blog and for all the comments which have encouraged me to write my second one.

Dinnertime view from our Bale

Dinnertime view from our Bale

We are waking up to the sounds of life in rice paddies and to the delicate call of Lakota’s – “Mummy, Daddy, Mummy, Daddy, I’m ready to get up” or something to this effect which at times is not as sweet sounding. This is more often than not happening in the dark, around 5am. That’s one thing that’s stayed the same as in Our Fremantle Life. At this point, usually Mark arises in the dark and will do one of several things. He will attempt to keep Lakota in her queen sized, mozzie-net-ensconced-bed and lie down beside her. This has perhaps worked once, for about 5 minutes. Or he might get a lego cubby house going which is always extremely enjoyable for me to appraise when I get up. He might feed the girl some porridge, her first breakfast, which has everyday for the past 25 days been followed by a second Balinese breakfast of two banana pancakes, watermelon and a boiled egg cooked by one of the lovely girls who sway in around 8am – it’s morning tea time by then really. Mark and I enjoyed pancakes and omelettes and fried eggs and toast for a few days

Entrance to our home - Casa Jahe

but quickly craved our old favourite the green smoothie so we generally skip our Balinese breakfast, apart from the papaya with lime. Every day includes a swim in the Bali T House communal pool where over the past almost 4 weeks we have met some lovely new friends. The Bali T House is in a little village about 3kms outside of Ubud called Lodtunduh. Our home here, Casa Jahe, is a bungalow with two bedrooms, a kitchenette and a lovely bale bengong jutting out over the rice paddies where we eat most meals and where I am perched on a cushion now amongst a cacophany of frogs, ducks, birds, lizards, geckos, ants, fireflies (is that a man with a torch in the rice paddy or an insect?) and definitely some other creatures that I prefer not to dwell upon (yes, dad, snakes).

As our month at Casa Jahe, our first month in Bali, comes to an end, I feel excited about our next move to the urban jungle (with a beach) that is Seminyak, which my friend in Abu Dhabi gleefully pointed out sounds like the semen of a yak. I asked our driver Rama about the derivation of the name Seminyak and it means One (Se) Oil (Minyak). I am yet to discover why it’s called One Oil and will post when I do. Tomorrow our Californian friends leave the Bali T House after five months here and almost 12 months worldwide travel.  They rented their home in Berkeley while on the road and their kids (9 and 7 years old) have loved it. Erin has a beautiful food and photography blog called www.yummysupper.com which I highly recommend for great recipes around whole and fresh foods, simply prepared and delicious…not to mention kid-friendly! And her photos are stunning. She helped me to get started with my blog and to enjoy the process of taking my own photos for it. Time for some limey G&Ts, rojak (Balinese spicy fruit salad), nachos and coconut risotto by the pool to say good bye.

Lakota's been shopping for new clothes in Ubud