As we’re closing in on midnight, we’re reaching the end of our first official day in Bali! in the travel and hetlag we’ve sort of lost track of what weekday it is, but we’re being so well cared for by our Indonesian students it doesn’t matter.
The travel here went well, although it was long and tiresome; Dina, Inga and Sofia met up at four in the morning on Saturday at Kastrup airport and arrived in Denpasar, Indonesia, close to 19 hours later; Sunday morning around 10 am (GMT+7).
As we reached Doha, Qatar for our layover, we met up with Khalil and boarded our second, 10-hour, flight to Denpasar.
Once we landed we were greeted by the wonderful students of Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (UNPAR) and were transported to out home for the upcoming seven days.
Each of us are paired up to live with an Indonesian student, some more of a match than others. One of us is paired with a party girl who can handle cockroaches (great asset!) and another with a native Balinese who explains the culture to us – all in all a great way to get to socialize and share experiences.
Upon arrival our biological watches were all a bit messed up but after a short rest we went out for lunch and a walk around in the close-by area and down to the beach. As you can see the weather is cloudy at times and today we had quite a downpour but it was rather a welcome end to a VERY hot day.
At 16:00, the opening ceremony began with an opportunity to meet the other approx 70 students joining. We got to do some introductory games and everyone were good sports about trying to remember everyones names and working together.
As a starting point for the opening of the conference one of the teachers cut and offered the traditional nasi tumpeng which symbolizes different parts of Indonesian/Balinese food items. After that we all got to try the different components for dinner.
The evening was an early one for most of the jet-lagged people from Europe and the US so that we would be able to get up for the lectures today. During the course of the day we had four lectures, that were all very inspiring and interesting. The room we were in however soon reached ridiculous temperatures, even for the Indonesians, and a couple of people had to leave in order not to faint.
One of the lectures was held by two young Indonesian girls, fourteen and seventeen years old. They came from the organisation Bye Bye Plastic Bags, an initiative started a few years back by equally young girls. Their aim is to raise awareness on the issues of using plastic bags and reducing the consumption. After their incredibly inspiring lecture (feel free to watch the initiators’ TED Talk!) we were all invited to turn one of our t-shirts into a handy textile bag. Dina was chosen as the Swedish representative and below you can see her spectacularly pretty Malmö Uni-bag!
At the end of the day we all took part of a traditional Balinese culture activity; either painting, dancing or a certain religious ceremony. Some of us went dancing and others tried to see if we had a hidden talent for painting.
Sofia from Sweden, Clarissa, Jessica and Indi from Indonesia were by far the loudest group in creating their masterpieces.
After a really long and hot day, the evening was free so a bunch of us went out for dinner and later drinks accompanied by a really enthusiastic reagge-singer. After heated discussions on everything from the climate to the LGBT-movement we’re calling it a day and going to bed!
/Dina, Inga, Khalil & Sofia/