Okey, so before I continue with all the yummy stuff that's been going on since we came to Sumbawa (and trust me, it's goooood) I just have to say: Parents!
No, I'm not pregnant. Yet...

But thanks to the Internet (yeah I know, sounds like I'm 70 years old and just discovered the fine art of Internet and phones) I still get to experience a bit of home. And this goes out to a certain woman that I call "my Mom", whom I LOVE dearly, for sure, but she, as the busy and efficient woman she is, has developed a new habit on how to reply messages on Messenger. Well... at least MY messages.

So here I am, on the other side of this beautiful planet Earth and stuff happens, and sometimes I just feel like I want to share it with my family, and especially mom, because well... she's my mom.
So I send her a looooong (sometimes only half-long) message about this event that's taken place, I tell her about what happened, how I feel about it, sometimes what she thinks about it, bla bla bla.
And, you know when you have a conversation with someone (because come on, it's 2017, that's pretty much what we are having, only through our phones) and you want some feedback on what you've just shared because where I come from, that's how you have a conversation (a k a dialouge). But what she does, and I don't know if this is part of her being more "efficient" as she puts it, is to send me 4-5 emojis with either a heart, a thumbs up or a laughing face... WHAT?! What does that even mean?
Sure, if I asked her "can I call you at 5?" and she sends me a thumbs up, I get it, but here I am, exposing myself to one of the people I trust and love the most. I put my soul into writing about this event, and all I get is a freaking emoji!

Haha, I'm sorry mom, I love you, til and after death, and this is of course written with an enormous amount of humor and love towards you, but I just find it so hilarious. It really just adds more to the typical image of you. I guess that all I want to say is: I miss you mom, and I can't wait til we actually can spend real time together and talk, about anything on Earth and beyond.

So, I guess I'll just find a heart and a thumbs up in the comments below from you after you've read this but that's alright ;) Regardless, I love you! See you soon

Your Vicki

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Photos from the times I've been to Lombok, with and without Hendry. The last ones are from one of our "heat escapes", on our way back to Gili Trawangan. It is so beautiful to travel (especially by scooter) along the coast from Senggigi to Bangsal, at least if you're a nature freak like me. And along the way there's a few food places like the one you see on the picture where you can stop and eat fresh fish (notice the two fishermen in the photo to the right in the middle row), overlooking the ocean. And that's exactly what we did - best fish I've ever had. And as you aslo can see, we sit on the floor and we eat with our hands. Indo-style! I just love it. This was together with our dear friend Ghani, and his friend that I can't remember the name of (I'm so sorry!).

I think I've mentioned this before but one of the best things about Gili T, if you stay for a longer period of time, is definitely all the people you meet. Short-termers, long-termers, locals and anything in between. I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many new friends during this time and I am truly grateful for all of them. And I also got the opportunity to show some of them around the island a little bit. The best thing you can do when you come here as a tourist is to get a bike and just go around the island. It's really cosy, but also very dirty in some places. The first photo is taken in the middle of the island where there's a huge "trash-hill", and cows walking on and around it. The second photo is together with some of the great people I met at my favourite (VEGAN!!!!) restaurant Pituq Café (third photo is also from Pituq, but together with my dear friend Dani who I mentioned in my previous post). Seriously, a return flight ticket to Indonesia is worth all the money just for eating there. If you ever go to Gili Trawangan - DON'T MISS IT! When I was in Gili last time I think I ate at Pituq at least once a day for alsmot a month.
The two last photos are from the incredible sunset side. A great place to chill during the evenings with different bars, restaurants, sweet music (sometimes live music and live drumming) etc. And the view... oh my god... The mountain you see on the right photo is actually Mt. Agung in Bali. You remember the volcano that was about to erupt about a month ago in Bali? That's it!

Oh, I almost forgot! Halloween. It was a loooooong time since I dressed up, but this time my friend Dani (YES, there she is!) and my friend Jill convinced me to join them in painting out faces. And so we did. Had a nice evening, but no party despite the drinks we had.
The bottom photo is together with some of the best people I know. Remember the Swedish girls that I was talking about? That's them, and Dani :D Rakel, Nikki, Ottilia and Dani. We spent an afternoon at a place called Casa Vintage (also Gili Trawangan). It's a cosy clothing store mixed with a cafe on the second floor. They have an amazing Oreo cheesecake for those of you who are interested. Unfortunately we discovered last time we were there that, to our disappointment, they've made the pieces half the size from what we usually get... But yeah, still really good!

So, the last photos on this post... The first part of our stay in Sumbawa.
My lovely sister in law runs, together with her mother a wedding shop. The make and sell/rent out clothies for wedding, and that's the first thing you see when you enter their house in the small village Labuhan Mapin. Very colorful with lots of beautiful handicraft. The net room you enter is the living room, and that's what you see on the last two photos. Since they almost just started building the house there's a lot of things left to do. When Hendry and I arrived I think they'd just gotten water and electricity for their home. But even though there's a lot more to do I really like it here.

The young people on the left photo are Hendry two nieces, his nephew and his younger sister. The man next to Hendry on the right photo is his dad. I haven't gotten a good photo of his mom yet, but when I first met her I instantly felt that I wanted to know more about her. Some people just have that energy about them.

I really enjoy spending time with his family, even though none of them speaks english, but sometimes the language of energy is more than enough, and so far it's just incredible.

I will give you all updates on the crazy things I've experienced here in Sumbawa soon.
Thank for taking your time so far, and please stay tuned!

-V

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Woaah! My sincere apologies for my total absence these last weeks (yeah I know, more than a month...). I have had moments where I've felt slightly inspired to post something here but then, a moment later, something happens and my attention flies elsewhere. I think that's one of my bad habits.

But regardless. Here I am! Finally. And A LOT of things has happened since last time.

The biggest thing for me (and Hendry) is definitely the fact that: WE'RE ENGAGED!
On October 5th he put a ring on my finger. A beautiful silver ring, made by my dear friend Fran who's working at a silver shop called Yin on Gili Trawangan. You should definitely pay it a visit if you come cause they have a lot of beautiful stuff. And Fran is also having silver making classes for those who wants to learn. If you're interested, let me know and I'.ll put you in touch.

We chilled during the day and ended up partying at night in Sama Sama with our friends. It wouldn't be the only engagement celebration because a few weeks later, my dear friend Dani from England came to Gili and wanted to celebrate as well. A beautiful time spent on the beach at sunset with drinks, food and good friends!

What else... I have been to Mataram (the biggest city in Lombok) to extend my VISA at Immigration. This happened on a day when I was tired and hungover, and Immigration isn't the fastest office in the world. No offense, they probably do a great job, but it takes forever! Haha. Those of you who read this and have done it know what I'm talking about. But going to Mataram from the harbor in Bangsal is a very beautiful journey. Lombok is an incredible island with it's nature.

Hendry and I have also done a few more heat escapes. One of them was to Mataram, haha. Had a really good time and we spent all day at the new shopping mall called Epicentrum. One of the reasons was for Hendry to buy shoes for his nieces and nephew, and also for us to get away for a bit. We also went to the cinema they have there, and watched Jackie Chans new movie "The Foreigner". A really good movie in my opinion. Worth watching if you haven't seen it.

I've also spent a lot of time with my newfound amazing friends from Sweden: Nikki, Rakel and Ottilia. Three amazing girls with whom I have a lot in common. We usually talk about what we experience in Gili, our better halves (yes, all three of them also have Indonesian boyfriends), Sweden and anything between heaven and earth.
When you've spent some time here it's actually very comforting to be able to share experiences with someone who speaks your native language. Oh, speaking of which, if you want to read an incredible blog about what life if like over here you should really check out my friend Rakels blog. It's in Swedish, but damn it's good!
Here's the link: Resmedrakel

Okey, this is just a short update on what's been going on lately. I will post an entry with basically just photos for you to see, and from now on I'll be better at updating! At least I will do my best.
AND, another very exciting thing is that Hendry and I are currently in Sumbawa, in his village, visiting his family. Woohoo, it's been an adventure so far too, haha! I'll post about it!

Again, sorry for being adsent, and sorry for a rather lousy update. But more is to come!

Stay tuned

-V

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I remember one time when mom and I were talking about whether we preferred cold weather or hot weather. I told her that I, at that time, liked when it's a bit hotter, and she said one of the most obvious things. Something that really got to my subconscious mind and has been stuck there ever since. She said "You can dress for cold weather, just put on more clothes. But you can't dress for really hot weather since your naked skin is as far as you can go". I love you, mom!
While being here, that quote has become my mantra so yesterday Hendry and I actually booked two nights at this supercosy hotel called Bagaz Cottages. We're still in Gili Trawangan but just spending some time in a room with air con but escape the heat for a bit. It's sooooo nice! Not waking up swimming around in your own sweat and running to the shower just to get cool as soon as possible.
I've slept like a baby, and if it's because I was really tired yesterday or because I finally got to snuggle up close to Hendry without him informing me how hot it is, I don't know. Probably a combo.

So while he is still sleeping and enjoying the air con to the fullest, I'm outside finishing a light but nice breakfast.
Gonna go see a friend for a little while soon and then go back here and enjoy more cool air. Haha!
Seriously, I could stay here forever.

More updates later!

-V

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Ah man, you know the feeling when everything just becomes daily life and trying to write something creative about it seems like mission impossible? Well, that's pretty much where I am right now. Haha!
But then again, sometimes it's the daily things that are the most interesting stuff to read and write about.

I could tell you about what I would like to refer to as the "toilet incident".

So this happened a few days ago when I was at the beach with me new found friend Jeanette. We had just finished some food and cold drinks (me - ice coffee!) and were about to head back home when I suddenly really needed to hit the ladies room. I think most of us are familiar with the sometimes "bathroom ASAP"-effects of coffee.

I made my way to the ladies and the first thing that got my attention was that these toilet booths didn't have doors. They had curtains... Seriously, curtains! This surely ends up as number 2 on my list of "weirdest toilet experiences" (number 1 is Vietnam at a big market where the toilet booths looked like they'd been cut in half, so you could literally watch your toilet neighbor take a dump).

Fortunately I was alone, so I took some time to scrutinize which one of them that looked the safest in case of company. I can't recall when I last felt so exposed. Probably when I ended up sitting by the bar at Sama Sama in just my bra, as a result of the brilliant idea to just wear a thicker jacket since my plan was to hang out at Silverink with my friends where they have an ice cold air con...
Anyway, back to the story.
So, after playing some kind of toilet roulette I chose one of them. Woohoo! Finally, I thought.
But as in every roulette game, someone has to take the bullet, and in this case, I did... because you see, here in Indonesia (as in many other countries) you can't flush the tissues because of bad pipes and what not, so most toilets have what people call a "bum gun".
A bum gun is basically a "water gun" attached next to the toilet for you to clean your holy parts instead of using tissues.

I was just about to finish up and leave when I realized, to my biggest fear: the bum gun is not working! And no tissues what so ever in sight!
Holy smokes...
And here I am, 2 kg lighter but stuck and exposed with no where to go. What the f*uck do I do now?
Fortunately I'm a true believer of "necessity knows no law", so in my bathroom one man show I hurry to the booth next to mine just to get bum gun clean. I then go back to say farewell to yesterday's mie goreng and the roulette punishment continues. I can't flush... it's not working.

I don't know what I have done in my life to deserve this kind of karma...

I remembered that sometimes people use tiny buckets with water to flush, so I started running around in there looking for something bucket-like, praying to the Heavens no one would come in and accidentally run into my mess. But no bucket in sight.
So in a mix of panic, desperation and frustration I realize I have two hands. I turned on the tap (thank God it worked) and started filling up my cupped hands with water and ran back to the toilet to finish my work. It took me approximately 10 rounds until the resistant fuckers disappeared into the unknown.

And as if I had just been running a marathon I took a deep breath, again thanking Heavens for keeping the restroom clear of intruders.
I walked back out, trying to act as cool as possible, but probably looking guilty as fudge, with my previous scenario playing on repeat for my minds eye.

I was safe!

Moral of the story?
I don't know, you tell me...

-V

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So I said in my earlier post that I would share some of the challenges I've been facing while being here. Because despite the fact that I'm litterally in paradise right now, life has a great way of bringing opportunities to grow within yourself. Many times I've been thinking to myself "oh, if I just go to that place I will be happy forever", but the reality is that regardless of where on Earth I am, I am still with me, in my body, yeah? So that means, even though I'm in paradise I can still face inner "ghosts" because all of what I'm experiencing is happening within me.
Many of you are probably already aware of this too, and if it's the first time you hear this idea, notice how it feels inside of you when you read it :)

So my history (which I'm working on not trying to identify myself with so much and get attached to) is that I have always had superhigh expectations on myself, no matter what I was doing. Why? Because for me, when I do something really really good the people around me usually give me amazing feedback and in my world that equals "love and appreciation".
Easily translated "if I do good, I am good". This is not a unique thing, because many people I've met have the same patterns and beliefs.

This also means that if I go too long without "doing" anything I consider important, or feel like I bring value to the environment and people around me somehow, I can sometimes get slightly depressed. And this is what happened a few days ago. I had a really shitty morning where one ghost kept telling me how stupid I was, which triggered another one saying "you cannot do anything right, and you are such a chicken for not even trying to reach for your goals, everyone on this island is so freakin cool but you're not", and another good old friend also visited "you are not good enough, and of course no one likes to spend time with you" (this one is the craziest one because I have sooo many wonderful friends that I love to hang out with as much as they love to hang out with me). But you see where this is going, ye?

It ended up with me sitting alone at home, feeling shit and being worried about basically everything in my life, while also feeling like the smallest and most lonely person on this planet.
Haha! It's kinda amusing when I think about it now, vibrating on a totally different level.

So how do people deal with these kind of things? How do you deal with this?
I'd love to get more tips and ideas because sometimes being with myself when those moments occur is like walking down a dark alley towards a scary stranger not knowing if they are gonna kill you or not.

What I did that day was to first of all accept that I did feel this way, and then write down what I felt and all the thoughts that came up in my mind on a piece of paper, until it felt like I was "emptied". That usually leaves space for me to start telling myself other, more positive things.
Right after that my lovely Hendry came back home and sat down with me. We just talked casually for a while which also gave me new energy.
I also went for yoga the same afternoon and that was a real mood changer! There's always something refreshing about connecting with your physical and mental body, and afterwards I felt like a totally new person.

I'm sharing this because sometimes it's just so nice to be real with who you are and what you feel and experience. Too many people (in my opinion) walk around with a fake smile on their faces, pretending all is good when they might actually feel like shit. And even though it's getting less and less taboo-ish to talk about how you really feel, I still think there are a lot more we can do. First of all be real, and especially with ourselves. Everything is OK. Feeling and experiencing whatever you do is absolutely OK. At least that is my belief.

If you've read this far, thank you so much for taking your time.
If this triggered anything inside of you, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I'm more than interested in hearing about your own experiences.

Until next time

All the love

-V

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I've been trying to make friends with a really bad cold and lots of coughing these last couple of days. I don't get sick often but when I do, oh, feels like the world is gonna fall apart at times, haha!

Despite that, these last days have been good!
I'll post a few photos of what's been going on.

While Hen is working I usually spend time with my friends and also his friends.
I've been hanging out with two supersweet girls from Germany, Sarah and Kira. It's been sooo nice! They went back to Bali yesterday, but we have had a really nice time together.

I have also been so spoiled by my man. The other day we went to Scallywags for dinner together. Got a table on the beach, shared a bottle of white wine, had the most amazing dinner including desert and just enjoyed the time together.

After dinner we made our way to my friend Artas tattoo studio Silverink Tattoo, and I ended up getting a tattoo! Woohoo! I just love the feeling after getting something new like this. And he is so skilled and thorough when he's working. Felt really safe having him tattooing me :)
This is the result! Almost done. Gonna add a few more things to it.

And speaking of change, yesterday Hendry got a haircut! Oh my god! It was so funny to watch, because I've always seen him with long hair and that man bun, and now he looks like a bad ass businessman, haha! But I still think it really suits him.
30 minutes after we left the barbershop, on our way to Le Pirate, he goes "oooh, I miss my long hair!" Oh babe... hahaha!

We made our way to Le Pirate where we spent the rest of the day drinking and eating, swimming in their pool, watching some people play beach volleyball. A great day!

I don't really have anything to complain about. But even though I'm currently in paradise, of course there are challenges too. But I will leave that as a cliffhanger for next post...

Stay tuned!

Feel free to also follow my Instagram.
@vlideen

See you later!

-V

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Back at Wonderland after a lovely dinner with my better half.
On the way here I passed my friend Artas tattoo studio (Silverink tattoo) where they had a birthday party for his friend Chandra. Stayed for a bit to enjoy the company and music before continuing to my final destination.

This is one of the reasons I just love it here so much! If people are celebrating something and you happen to walk by, they always invite you to join! Now, I knew a few of the people here, but still.
Random people were passing by, and the ones that seemed interested in what was going on were always invited to join.

I pray to the Universe I get to stay for a loooooong time.

#islandlife

-V

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Woohooo! Finally back on Gili!
I've been meaning to post something here for days now, but since I don't have internet access at home it had to wait a little bit.

Anyhow. We're back, and it's awesome! Despite the fact that I've been away for 5 months it feels like I've only been gone for a couple of weeks.

We got a really nice welcome when we came, and it was just amazing to see everyone again, Hendrys friends, my friends.
I was quick to leave my stuff at home, have a quick shower and then head straight to Wonderland: one of the best places on this tiny little island.
Wonderland is a guesthouse where I've been staying everytime I've been in Gili. The people working there are now considered part of my family.
I know I'm not the most impartial person to ask for tips on where to stay on this island, but this place is freakin awesome. And there's always something new happening. This time they've created a tiny gym!

So after some catching up we decided to have a "welcome home"-party. Sooooo much fun! And like always, we started off drinking here and ended up at Sama Sama Reggar Bar later, where, of course, Hendry is working.

Being back feels like last time I was here when Hendry and I started seeing each other.
On our way to Sama Sama I suddenly got super excited and couldn't stop the feeling of a million butterflies going bananas inside my tummy, like I was gonna see him for one of the first times again, haha! Silly, I know, but oh how I loved it.

We ended up having a great night out!

The day after, despite waking up not yet fully sober, I made it to the beach to see my dear friend Chloe. We spent some time catching up, went for a swim (the best thing you could possibly do when being hangover) and just chilled in the sun.

Spent the rest of the day getting some stuff for home and just covering from the hangover.

The days after has also been really chilled, and in a few minutes I'm going for dinner with Hendry.

Just a quick update on what's happened in the last few days.
I've always met a lovely girl named Sim, so I've been spending time with her and her friends as well.
You always make new friends here. Incredibly fantastic!

Summary: it's great to be back home!

See you later!

-V

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Okey, a total side note to all of this, but still kind of relevant, is the fact that I think I'm on a path to some serious cynophobia (fear of dogs). And this is because of a super lame incident that happened yesterday... Honestly, my body starts trembling by just thinking about it.

Remember the post from the first day Hen and I came to Bali?
We were walking along the streets in Seminyak trying to find the closest way to the beach.
Now, I love to get around by foot because you get to experience so much more than from just sitting in a car all the time. And sure, you see a lot of interesting things and places this way, but what some people may forget to also tell you is that together with all this fascinating beauty are also tons of dogs! Usually homeless dogs.
I don't have anything against dogs, I find them incredibly beautiful and cute and what not, but when my dear boyfriend constantly tells me that sometimes they can sneak up from behind and suddenly bite you (hello potential rabies) it kind of sticks to my subconscious mind.

So... Yesterday I was on my way back home after getting us some refreshments on the main street.
To even get out to the main street from where we're staying I have to pass a few villas and apartments, and some of them has, of course, dogs.

So there is this one dog, laying (or guarding) outside one of the apartments and as soon as it sees me it gets up on all four and starts to bark and growl while refusing to stop staring at me.
Now, I guess that many of the dogs here probably live a pretty stressful life, and too much stress, as I'm sure a lot of us know, eventually makes you go bananas. But all I could possibly think about in that moment as the dog (who slowly turned into the biggest beast ever) came slightly closer was Hendrys voice inside my head telling me how it would basically eat me alive (not the exact words, but with adrenaline pumping that's exactly what he'd said)!

To make sure I wasn't gonna be someone's dinner that day I turned around and started to walk back the way I came. How I wish I could see myself on camera, cause it must have looked hilarious! Stopped a few meters further away while waiting for my road blocker to calm down and get back inside. And it finally did!

I hurried to walk past the big gate that was supposed to keep the dog from running out on the street, while trying to kill any kind of fear with the mantra "it's okey, just keep calm and just keep walking, just keep calm and just keep walking".

I made it home safe (the last 4 meters that was left of my little journey) but with adrenaline still rushing through my body. Fuckin hell!

Since then, everytime I pass that freaking gate all I think is "dog, dog, dog, dog!" and I get the feeling equivalent to the one you get when you do something really naughty and you know that any minute you COULD get caught in action.

With all this said, am I in need of some serious therapy right now? I'm not sure.

Tomorrow awaits an island with no dogs, but instead some really cute but sometimes crazy cats.

By the way, I still hear that little creature bark across the street...

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