Day 39 of 365 Grateful Days Project:

"I'm grateful to have attended my first Balinese wedding."

Kadek and Kadek
I've been wanting to photograph Balinese wedding. For both the experience and the photography portfolio. I've offered this free photography Balinese wedding service in my Facebook page for a while but only a few days ago I could finally complete the wish. Kadek, one of Fabio's domestic helpers, got married to her long time boyfriend, Kadek. Yes, they are both named Kadek. :)

I wanted to be there by the time the ceremony was performed, which according to the bride would take place at 3 or 4 PM. So my sister and I left at around 1.30 to Klungkung, the groom's village. Only half way to Klungkung it started raining very hard and we had to pull over and put on the raincoat. We arrived there at about 2.30, where the ceremony JUST ended. Apparently they held it earlier than planned and it really didn't matter that the guests who lived far away weren't informed. Another funny thing was that in the wedding invitation it was stated that the event started at 5 PM. So this means I still have to attend another Balinese wedding ceremony to get the real portfolio done.

However, I liked some of the photos. It was a very modest wedding. The only people wearing makeup and fancy kebayas were the bride and the groom. Others were wearing white ceremonial kebayas and nothing else artificial. People were relaxed and they threw jokes most of the times. I liked attending weddings like this, when every one was actually happy and not stressed out. (Trust me, a lot of weddings display too stressed, unhappy bride and some others are so business-like) So the following are some pictures I shot during the wedding.
Decoration outside the gate, made of Janur (palm leaves)
Kadek, the Bride
Kadek, the groom - tired from the long procession
Snacks, given to guests as soon as they arrived
Dogs celebrated the wedding, too
Left: Kadek and Gede, a shy boy who didn't want to have his picture taken.
Right: Decoration from Janur
Finally got Gede's face when he slipped
My sister and a black Balinese dog that reminded her of Zwartje. Except that this one bit her on the neck!
All in all, it was a truly fine wedding.
Day 38 of 365 Grateful Days Project:

"I'm grateful that Kabuki, Zwartje's son, started to eat again."
He'd always been with Zwartje since the day he was born. They were inseparable. The day Zwartje died, my mum kept Kabuki upstairs while she let Zwartje in the house. So Kabuki didn't, fortunately, witness his death.

After Zwartje was buried in our front sort-of yard, I asked my mother to let Kabuki wander freely in the house. I thought, of everyone, he must have been the one that was the saddest. He never spent a minute without his father. So he would need more attention from us more than ever. According to my mum, he kept checking every room looking for Zwartje and he refused to eat. The white dog with black spots was obviously very, very sad and stressed out.

Yesterday I got a call from my mum, saying that Kabuki had started eating again. Not a lot, but at least he ate. Apparently he had developed a fondness of my niece, Michelle, and the feeling is mutual. Michelle likes sharing her food and Kabuki would eat from her. I was happy to hear that. It will take time to heal this ugly wound, but it looks like everything falls into good places. Now I've got no reason to not concentrate on work today.
Day 37 of 365 Grateful Days Project:

"I'm grateful to have guests in the house at the time I'm down. They give me a reason not to bury myself with excessive sadness."

The truth is I only enjoy having guests at my place only very occasionally. Last year there were so many guests coming that I felt that my privacy was intruded very, very extensively. I had no time for myself, I couldn't be free in my own house, I couldn't concentrate 100% at work (which is at home, by the way) since the guests would demand attention every now and then, and I also think it was one of the many reasons why Vincent and I grew apart at that time.

But this time is different. Yes, I pulled myself away from everyone when I heard the terrible news about Zwartje, I didn't get out for dinner or simply socialise with the guests, I stopped worrying about what my client would think about the web designs I proposed to them that day, and I just sank my face in the pillow and wet it all over. The next morning I was still shaking and couldn't exactly face people. But a call from my mother changed it a little.

One of my biggest worries was my mum. Zwartje was her real best friend. He was the closest she could ever get with anyone after my father died in 1997. I was wondering how it could sadden her when it already saddened me as such. Yes, she sounded very sad on the phone. But she also sounded as if she accepted the fact. She actually sounded grateful that she had had Zwartje for all this time - instead of sounding miserable how she could go on with life without him. It calmed me down in a way.

Then when the guests - a couple one of who is related to Vincent - came back from their surfing activity, I managed to sit down with them for hours on the couch. As usual, I always feel the need to entertain guests because really that's the way it should be. If you dare to host, you should be ready to entertain. Anyway, it was uneasy at first because I had such a mixed mood. But after half an hour I managed to gather myself and I could even pop a smile. I was surprised with my own discovery, but pleased anyway. By the end of the evening, I felt much better (perhaps also because of the delicious nasi padang we ate for dinner).

I am blessed. Even during my darkest time.
Day 36 of 365 Grateful Days Project:

"I'm grateful to have had such a nice, loyal, lovely dog - Zwartje - for the past ten years."

I remember bringing him home for the first time. He was only two months old or so, completely black and handsome, and my mother fell in love with him instantly from the first sight. He always belonged to my mother more than us. Nobody loved him like she did and vice versa; and it was all with very good reasons. Zwartje was the nicest, loveliest, friendliest, most loyal family member we've ever got in our life. His dark fur colour and deep bark might have scared people the first time they met him, but compared to any other dogs we have had in the family, he was the one you would expect the least to bite you.

He passed away yesterday and it breaks my heart so much I can't stop crying. It doesn't seem like I will stop crying in the next fortnight. I know he was old. I know he had a good life. I know he knew that he was loved. And I know I had done everything I could to save him from the heart problem. I shouldn't regret anything; yet I still can't seem to stop the tears from falling. I just know that I'll miss him very much. I already do and I always will.

Day 35 of 365 grateful days project:

"I'm grateful that Michelle's Summer Visit was an Awesome One."

She spent most of the time with me since her mother, Ita, had to work at the day time and if she stayed with her, she'd have to go to her office every day. So I took her to the beach, let her play Wii while I was working and went shopping with her. 

I actually wished Ita would have spent her evenings at my place so that she could spend more time with her child instead of only weekends (also a break for me for babysitting the whole day). But she said that my place was too far from hers. That was not completely wrong, but what is 30 minutes ride every day for Michelle when she sees her only a couple of times a year? Some things you just don't understand. 

However, I didn't mind babysitting such a sweet kid like her. She's really far from being difficult. I heard (and saw) stories where children were so difficult and looking as if they had no manners at home or in public. But Michelle is nothing like that. Yes, she did demand quite intense attention but she wouldn't force her way to it. She'd be happy just to have someone to watch her play Wii; she'd be happy to "help" me in the kitchen breaking the eggs or washing veggies; and she'd be still happy when I didn't feel like cooking and just fed her instant noodle with poached egg. She is a grateful little girl who doesn't have too high expectation - something I am still constantly learning until now. The great thing about that? Well, you get surprises every day. No expectation, no disappointment, more surprises. Sounds good to me. 
Day 34 of 365 grateful days project:

"I'm grateful that Eva reminded me to blog again."

Okay, I got carried away with life and neglected my blog. Three months of blogging absence is enough for me to lose my readers (not that I have that many). However, I'm grateful that Eva, one of the best cooks in Bali whose food blog and photography are so amazing it makes you drool even without tasting the real food, reminded me to continue my 365 grateful days project. Thanks, Eva!

I actually did think of my blog from time to time. But every time I opened Blogger's New Post page, I was always so confused where to begin since the last post was on 19 June and so many things have happened since then. Only today I decided to continue with the 34th day of 365 grateful days project and record whatever I can pick up from my very selective memory in the past 3 months. The easiest way is just to go through the photos I've made since 19 June, and if there were any highlights in my life during my blogging absence, they must have been recorded there. 

So I welcome myself back in the blogging world. ;) See you soon!