Somehow, we have finally reached the final week of the trip. Although the last report didn’t mention this, the typical writers, Bre and Paul, did in fact fall into the volcano we hiked for sunrise. And our only concern was WHO was going to take on this responsibility? We decided on none other than the Captain that always falls asleep, Candace, and the Reporter without a working phone camera, Camille.

To start off our last week, we drove up north into the mountains for a one-night stay in Munduk, where we took in the beautiful views before heading off to a cooking class at a very sweet family’s home. At the beginning of the class, they taught us about Hinduism and showed us how to make the traditional Balinese offerings we’ve been seeing since we first arrived at this island. We then took on the task of making a full feast of veggie curry, mie goreng, nasi goreng, gado-gado, tempe satay, and potato fritters. There was also lots of chicken, but these two vegetarians cannot exactly recall much about those dishes. For dessert, we made fried bananas and coconut and brown sugar filled crepes. After giving our thanks in the guest book, we made our way back to the homestay for the night.

The next morning we ventured to a stunning temple, where we wandered the gardens and admired the traditional statues and structures. Gilly and Fleur also took advantage of this time to use their new knowledge from the retreat and practice some individual meditation. Afterward, we drove to our next destination for the day — the Banyumala twin waterfalls. Since there was no pool at our homestay, Michael took quick initiative and jumped in first, followed by others in the group. As it does in Bali, the afternoon downpour did in fact arrive, but after three weeks of this daily rain, the crew simply embraced it.

We then headed back to Ubud and had dinner at the nearby restaurant we’ve been going to essentially every day, to the point where the waiters have memorized Mariah’s order of a margherita pizza with black olives. The next day we would start a three day service project at Villa Kitty Foundation, which flew by way too fast. Villa Kitty is an organization in Ubud that helps save, care for, and home local cats, kittens, and a few dogs. Currently way over capacity, what they needed help most with was very labor-intensive, hard, straining work - cuddling with, playing with, and giving all our love and attention to the incredibly adorable animals. It also gave us a sneak peak into Lillian’s very likely cat lady future. Over the three days, some students grew an attachment to a specific cat. We’re honestly surprised Nadia didn’t take Simba home, but we have yet to check her bag.

Friday night, after day two, we got to watch a performance and fire dance outside a temple, which we were all mesmerized by. On the walk home, Mariah had the incredible, brilliant, genius idea of stopping for some much needed group gelato. On our last day working with Villa Kitty, we were treated to a delicious homemade, vegan Balinese lunch (some of the cats wanted a taste of the lunch, too, and made their desire very clear as they hovered over our plates).

That evening, we went to a birthday dinner for Reagan’s 20th, the fourth and final birthday on this trip. While most of us made ourselves comfortable on the bean bags and pillows around the table, Jette and Michael scouted out the nearby ping pong table for some quick friendly competition. After finishing our meal, we all made a grand exit by sliding down the strangely placed fire pole that dropped us off at the lobby of the restaurant.

The next morning we set out bright and early for a ferry in Sanur to take us to Nusa Penida for the day, a neighboring island to Bali. After getting dropped off right at the sand, we collected our gear and took off on a new boat to four different snorkeling spots. At the first stop, to no surprise, Zoe had an eagle eye for the underwater life and was able to spot multiple manta rays. These were absolutely incredible to see and they had no fear of the surrounding crowds, swimming right under all the snorkelers. The fourth spot was also especially memorable, with a tall wall of coral and schools of fish everywhere you looked. There was a tire swing/ladder contraption thing (?) at this location which Will, the adventure seeker, obviously went straight for. But the thrill wasn’t enough for him, so he climbed the entire tree and jumped from there for a bigger splash. Once back on land, our guides for the day took us on an island tour to see some of the most famous views. Before leaving the overlooks, Reagan went to a local shop, though this time surprisingly only came back having enjoyed a fresh coconut. After a fun bumpy, winding, and EDM and Reggae filled car ride back, we made it to the ferry with a new song stuck in our heads. Beep beep beepbeep ba deep beep.

As cheesy as it may be, all good things must come to an end. The trip to Nusa Penida was our last planned activity other than program wrap, which has been filled with laughter, tears, and heartfelt messages. We soon say goodbye to the first student to fly home, but are trying to soak in every moment until then. The past 10 weeks have been life-changing for all of us, and we’re already planning a reunion for next summer.

Okay Healthy Risk Takers, I think it might be time to revive Bre and Paul from the volcano. 

Captain Candace and Reporter Camille signing off, Roll Tide.

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Author Orla O'Muiri Posted

Category Australia and Bali Departure Fall 2022