So about three years ago, my parents sold J.B. Mopeltel (I'm told I came up with this random name for the house when we moved into when I was 4 - and it stuck).
Neither of my parents really loved the house that much when they bought it but it was a good price, it was in a good neighborhood, it had hardwood floors and a good-sized back yard and side yard, and it had a beautiful view of the Salt Lake valley from the nice balcony that went all along the back of the house.
Over the 35 years that my parents owned the house, it was redecorated and remodeled several times to better accommodate our family, and it ultimately became a beloved home chock-full of cherished memories. (You can read a great tribute to the house on my sister Charity's blog here.)
After we'd all moved away, J.B. Mopeltel just wasn't the right house for them. There were so many small bedrooms they didn't need and no nice big open gathering spaces that they did need. So they built a new house that better accommodated their needs in Park City, incorporating all these beautiful old carvings and beams they'd found in Bali on a recent trip (they'd fallen in love with the peace and beauty and culture of Bali and wanted to incorporate it into their lives - and ours). It was a lot of work designing and building this unique new house (I got a chance to help quite a bit since I was doing interior design at the time). When it was done, it was really a wonderful place. My mom named it "Baliwood" (since so much wood from Bali had been incorporated). My dad named it Beaver Creek Ranch at Narnia Canyon (BCRANK). And most of us call it B-Crank (short for dad's long name).
But we all still felt tied to good old JB Mopeltel and my parents kept it for a couple years, waiting for the real estate market to improve and our nostalgia to abate a bit.
When they finally sold good old JB, they announced the news of the sale which they knew would make some people sad along with some news that they knew would make all of us happy. They'd decided to use some of the money from the sale to take all of the adults in the family on a fabulous vacation to one of their favorite places - Bali!
We set the dates for this trip about 3 years ago so everyone could plan and finally the day came when we all got to meet up in Bali and enjoy the best vacation ever with people we love so much. Perfect that our growing-up home that housed so many beautiful memories could fund this get-together where new memories could be created and relationships could be strengthened!
Thanks Mom and Dad! Thanks J.B. Mopeltel!
We met up at sunset at the beautiful cliffs near the Ulu Watu temple and had a glorious reunion and loved meeting little Ezra for the first time.
Here's the bathroom - you go out the back door of your room and there's this lovely private little outdoor area with the sink, toilet and shower.
Ulu Watu Cove was such a cool place - caves and surfers everywhere.
On top of one of the big rocks in Ulu Watu cove, there was a little dive of a restaurant with good food and breathtaking views and a lady who gave me the best neck and upper back massage ever for just $3. It was heaven sitting there watching the waves and the surfers and enjoying great conversations and food - and a nice massage thrown in for good measure.
Here's what I ate - Mie Goring - a Balinese dish they had everywhere. This was my favorite version though - delicious with fresh seafood. The food was SO good everywhere we went - and so very inexpensive too.
Here's how we got around. Jared really loved the thrill of driving on tiny windy streets on the wrong side of the road. I loved riding along behind him and enjoying the view.
We ran out of gas but that wasn't a problem at all. There are little shops everywhere and they all have a nice supply of gas available in old vodka bottles. You pay $1, grab a bottle, fill up your scooter, and you're on your way.
Before each bridge, there's always one of these "guardian" statues. Guardian statues are also found at the entrance of many homes. Such interesting creatures of stone everywhere you turn!
After our 24 hours with just the seven of us (counting Ezra), we headed back to the airport to meet up with the rest of our siblings and head to a lovely villa where my parents were waiting to greet us.
What a fun reunion!
And what an amazing villa my parents rented in Candisada. 10 gorgeous bedrooms. A long table that seated all 18 of us. Wonderful staff attending to our every need. Beautiful pool. The sound of the ocean right there. We felt very spoiled. And very happy!
We headed out to snorkel - gorgeous views from the boat. Amazingly colorful fish and coral. And I got sort of smashed by a huge wave when I followed some fish a little too far in the wrong direction. But in the end it wasn't a bad adventure!
View from our boat to the other boat with more of my family. Such smooth beautiful water! Gorgeous green hills in the distance.
We spent quite a bit of time at the Villa talking and relaxing in the perfect-bathwater-temperature pool. So great to catch up in small groups and just enjoy the sun and the water and the scenery.
We visited an ancient village tucked into the beautiful mountains where you could walk right into anyone's house and check out what it was like and ask questions about their culture and customs. Super interesting. (And my mom wrote a whole post about the ancient village on her blog here if you want more photos and info.)
Here are some of the women getting water and cleaning up in the town square:
Every home is a little compound with several buildings inside - a building for special ceremonies like weddings and baby's first haircut (a BIG deal when the baby is 6-months old - involves a huge feast families have to save up for) and the tooth filing ceremony (when boys and girls are about 13, the local priest comes to file off the tips of their K9 teeth and they have a super big feast), several temple structures (at least three temples in every compound - one for the family, one for ancestors, one for protection that is always near the road, sometimes ones for different Hindu gods), a kitchen building, and buildings where families sleep (usually a couple generations share one family compound).
Here's a father and son practicing playing the gamalon (a zylophone type instrument - beautiful and unique sound) for and upcoming celebration:
Jared liked the water buffalo wandering about.
Every home's compound has a beautiful gate at it's entrance - even poor homes have really lovely gates, usually with tons of intricate carving. There are just a LOT of artists in Bali! And they really value art and fine craftsmanship. Art isn't a luxury there. It's a necessary part of life.
This gate was made of stacked flat rocks - amazing.
The doors on many gates had amazing carvings all over them. Here's a close-up of one door:
And many gates have little niches for offerings. Little hand-made reed baskets full of offerings of lovely flowers and a little food need to be set out every morning to keep the balance with the spiritual world and honor ancestors and ward off evil.
Here's an offering in a niche of one gate:
Here are a couple typical offerings - handmade baskets full of flowers, some rice or crackers, incense stick burning on top:
Here's an offering at the entrance of a shop in town. Offerings to create balance with the spirits and ward off evil need to be placed every morning at every entrance.
One day, most people went scuba diving. Anita and I aren't so into scuba diving (I'm certified but I just don't like being way under water with a leaky mask and I have an odd-shaped face so every mask leaks and hurts - I've decided snorkeling is just a lot more enjoyable for me until I can figure out a better mask situation...) so we went with a guide on a beautiful day hike instead.
We went across a beautiful river on this great bamboo bridge:
We trekked through tons of rice fields and learned about how they grow rice:
We hiked through the jungle and saw amazing plants:
I loved hearing the little kids chanting away as they do call-and-repeat-style learning at the schools we saw. Here's the courtyard of one school - such a pleasant place with nice plants and carved stone above every door and happy children running around. Everyone in Bali was smiling all the time. Really. I loved that.
On our last night at the Villa, we had a special celebration for my parents' 45th wedding anniversary (which really isn't until this summer but we figured we'd celebrate early). The staff at the villa said we simply must have a roasted pig since that's what they do for any really special occasion.
So here's the pig:
And here we are enjoying a beautiful meal while sharing 45 memories and things we love about our wonderful parents and singing them the family songs they made us sing all the time as little kids with new lyrics designed for the occasion. What a wonderful night!
What wonderful parents! Seriously, how did I get so blessed????
After a few days it was time to leave the surreally lovely Villa and the coast and head off for our next adventures in Ubud.
We took lots of photos before leaving. But somehow I only have the outtakes right now...
This one totally cracked me up - apparently we were all somewhat perplexed about something at this particular moment during the photo shoot:
We passed tons of these little stores where everyone shops:
We saw all these guys hanging out in with the head wraps all the men wear, having some sort of meeting:
And our driver got lost trying to find our hotel in Ubud. But we found it eventually. And it was spectacular - much more old-world Balinese than the Villa, right in the middle of the jungle. I'll put up photos and write all about Ubud in my next post!