Category Archives: Family

Our activities, our adventures.

Silver Linings

I am one lucky little duck. So many wonderful things have happened this week that I am very grateful for. Like published another one of my articles yesterday.

I can’t wait for you all to read it. It was lots of fun to write, especially when I made reference to my own personal experiences and memories. Below is a screenshot of a snippet of the article but if you wish to read more head on over to


As of last Saturday I also arrived back on Australian soil and was welcomed home by this sweet surprise from my Mum and younger brother, Phil (aka Philby).


The treats were definitely scattered around my room, I even found a chocolate bar hidden among my shoes.
My Mums partner cooked a roast lamb for tea that night (thanks Bill it was bloody delicious!) and my Mum and I caught up over a bottle of wine.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while now , you will already know that my partner, Isan and our puppy, Kawan are still in Bali. Both are waiting on visa’s and paperwork to be approved so that we can start a life together in Australia. The time apart for the next few months will be hard but the silver lining is I am surrounded by my family again in the warmest community in Australia. Here is the proof,

Treats brought round by my neighbours to welcome me home.

I hope to use this time to myself to re-access certain areas of my life and plan for the new future ahead and to oh…… hopefully make time for more blogging.


An email and a life after High School

Do you think now that there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc high school reunions aren’t as interesting as they use to be? I mean you can discover whether your fellow classmates are married, what job they have or do they have children without having to change out of your pajamas or even prove you invented post-its.
In retrospect, what have I accomplished in the past decade that others will find interesting and will give me something to talk about at my upcoming 10 year High school reunion?

I think back to when I left high school and what I had planned for my life, never would have I entertained the thought of how it is at this very moment. During my senior years of high school I actually took Japanese! I only picked up Indonesian as an extra subject at University and now it is the governing factor that is determining the choices in my life. Ohaiyo Gozaimasu and Domo Arigato have morphed into Selamat Pagi and Terima kasih inside my head.


Last week I discovered an email I wrote over 9 years ago, after my first week at University. The said email was so hilariously bad, I almost didn’t read it all. In saying that, it allowed me to see how many good transformations I have made since then. Honestly now looking back on the person that wrote this I cringe. I was guilty of trying way too hard and was too worried about what others would think of me. I was too precious for my own good really and those who went through High School or even University with me will (hopefully) see the more grounded person I have become today.

‘The email’


Well its been at least 2 weeks since I last saw you all and boy has it gone quick!
Everything is fantastic, couldn’t have hoped for anything better in the country town of Armidale. I am not the furthest away from home, I meet someone the other day from Melbourne- how crazy is that?

O WEEK was massive and to say the least, a little more crazy than I expected.

The first night, Sunday night was a quiet one for me. After being in the car for 6.5 hours with 2 small breaks in between, then arriving at my place of residence (my address):


I had to unload the entire car as I brought too much stuff!, then being bombarded with too much information and meeting a gazillion people I was buggered. Most people stayed up too we hours of the morning partying and getting pissed, but I just couldnt manage it I was way too sick. I managed to get alot of sleep though and missed getting up early for “BOOT CAMP” as they forgot about me in my room, YES!.
Monday involved an “official welcome’ by the Dean of the University of New England. This was my first experience of walking form college(my room) to Uni, its about 2kms and is up a steep hill. It takes me about 20mins one way. Its so much easier to walk back but hey its all exercise and I can really feel it working in my legs. Some days I am lucky and I can get a lift with someone from college, but most days (so far) I’m not.

At night time we had a round of “Fresher Games”. Freshers is what the first years are known as, as the older students didn’t come till later in the week. The games were

    • KNIGHTS, CAVALIERS, MOUNTS- This involved a girl pairing up with a boy and music would play then when it stopped we were told whether to ‘knight’- jump on th boys back, ‘cavalier’ be swept of our feet or ‘mount’ sit on the boys knee. If you didnt do it quickly enough you were disqulified. It was lots of fun but I cheated and stuck to one of the boys, Blake from my floor. We were in the top 5!
    • MUSICAL CHAIRS- A little different than usual. In this version you weren’t allowed to have any part of your body on the floor, which nearly led to a few injuries but was tons of fun.
    • SHOE GAME- Throw one shoe into the middle of the floor than pick up a different shoe and find its owner. This was not as good as I hoped as I ended bumping heads with another girl. Actually one from my floor (TOPA- top floor, Building A) Kate, one of my good friends now. There are actually only 6 first year girls and 11 first year boys, and in total including the older years 14 girls to 20 boys. It’s all good though cos everyone is really nice and I have nothing against anyone on my floor so far.

TUESDAY we had a BBQ Breakfast- this was the start of the many ahead (in all of O Week we had 5 BBQs. I do not want to see another sausage for a very long time!) Just before lunch time we headed over ‘up top’ to the Uni for “Academic Advising”, a bit like the Careers Market we went to in yr10 and 12 at UWS. I am doing a Bachelor of Asian Studies and I chose 4 subjects- Indonesian 101(beginners), Japanese 201(Intermediate), Linguistics 101 and Social Change in Asia. Later on in the evening we ahd a trivia night, this is when I realised how crazy my floor is, even though they are really nice and I get along well with them they are a bunch of drunks! This night I was really homesick as I kinda felt out of place as I missed you all, my friends. Yes I did shed a little tear, but its all good now!

WEDNESDAY was enrolment day when I had to finalise all my chosen subjects, it was good only took about an hour. Also they had like a big market of all the activities and clubs I could become involved in. Some were a little strange, quite nerdish eg. the medievil club, WHAT THE!. Again for dinner we had a BBQ but this time it involved all the other colleges, there is 6 in total- Earle Page(mine), Duval, Drummond and Smith, Robb, Mary White and St Alberts. I am so glad I got into the one I chose, its much better all round. We had to stay in our falcultys (mine is ARTS) and go around and introduce ourselves to people from other colleges- so I went up to all the good looking boys!

Later that night we had a Traffic Light Party. You were green if you were single, Orange if you were unsure and Red if you were taken- I wore Green but no luck! Actually the night started of really bad and boring! My friend Kate, I told you about hooked up with some guy from another college (Duval) and left me alone for a while. I found another girl form my floor, Jo she comes from Broken Hill on a sheep station. I actually lost my money ($10) and she bought me a drink, because the party was at our sponser pub “the newie” New Engalnd Hotel. I later found some of the boys from my floor and spent the rest of the night with them. They are great, a little silly when it comes to alcohol but fun.


And that’s enough of that! Many lessons learnt since then.

Past Simone wouldn’t have shown this old email to the world. If I had stayed the same person as I was in High school I probably would have deleted it and never spoke of it again; too afraid at what others would have thought of me. I have to admit, I did remove a few super embarrassing lines but ultimately it’s still as it was 10 years ago- spelling mistakes, cheesy emoticons and all. Hats off to you as well if you got through it all without wanting to slap my former self, I couldn’t even get pass the first paragraph!

So on the 18th of October when I attend my 10 year High school reunion I will not have an awesome job to boast about, pictures of my children for you to ooo and ahhh over or even a house for you to admire but I will have become someone for the better. Someone who won’t sugarcoat her life story, who will be busting a move to a spice girls track and sinking a beer or two with an old classmate, whether we were close friends or not.

Cheers to being proud of whatever you have accomplished in life, even if its not how you planned it would be.


P.s. Isan will sadly be unable to attend the reunion as my plus one. We are still waiting on his visa to be processed.

An update on our vintage wedding


As you may all have read here my fiance, Isan and I are planning on getting married next year… twice. The first ceremony will be in the Hawkesbury area of NSW, Australia and the second in Jogjakarta, JAVA, Indonesia. If we could, we would get married now but money, visa and time constraints aren’t on our side.

We could always run away, get hitched and be done with it but that just wouldn’t feel right to us. Our family and friends have supported Isan and I from the very beginning. We want to be able to show them that all the long distance, constant ups and downs and the masses of money spent was worth it. We want to be able to celebrate both special days surrounded by them all.

When Isan and I make the relationship ring bound official (the only time when Facebook official gets trumped) I will walk down the aisle in my Aunts wedding dress from 37 years ago. A sheer miracle it is still in good nick and a fateful wonder that only a month or so ago my Aunt was going to donate the frock to the local op shop. The dress is perfect for our vintage theme as she tells me it was made to resemble my grandmothers when she tied the knot in 1957. I can not wait for that kleenex moment.

Here is a sneak preview.


And here is the gown as my Aunt wore it on her wedding day in 1977.


For me the dress is far too gown and not enough frock so my Mother and Nanna (super seamstress in her hay day) will be working together to alter the garment. I plan on keeping…secrets. So you will just have to wait, like Isan until the big day.



Pasar-Pasaran please come back soon

Almost 3 months ago Isan’s sister plus her cute little family and I took another day trip up to Ubud. The town is a great place for exploring when you live closer to the city; its like a breath of fresh air and the perfect neighbourhood to relax and recharge.

Isan had disappeared for a week to Bandung to help his Mum, so it was nice to be able to spend some family time without the structure of Isans regular Sunday routine. Vespa tinkering reigns supreme on Sundays.

Our plan whilst we were in Ubud was to stop by an awesome cafe, Warung Sopa where we had heard there was a quaint craft markets being held.

According to the markets Facebook page “Pasar-Pasaran” is a Sunday morning artsy crafty market in Ubud. Handmade goods + DIY crafting + local indie designers + workshops. The gathering enabled Indonesian artisans to come together and showcase their wonderful wares. There was a lot of beautiful things for sale and I could have bought one of each in everything. I tried my best to collect as many business cards as I could for future reference but alas I have seemed to misplaced the collection. If you are reading this and had a stall at the last Pasar-Pasaran please leave a link to your fb/instagram/webpage below in the comments section. Christmas is coming soon.

The markets were a buzz with kids playing, Mums and Dads relaxing and a creative young crowd who were setting the standard of all things cool in Indonesia. What I noticed most though was everyone was smiling. The markets premise “Make things not war” couldn’t have been more true as market goers and stall holders were just so lovely and the vibe there was extremely welcoming.

Throughout the day there were also various DIY workshops as well as musical performances to keep everyone entertained.


People were scattered everywhere throughout the cafes’ blissful gardens; roaming, chatting and taking in the fresh air on picnic rugs.

Pasar-Pasaran-Ubud.jpg Picnic-in-Ubud.jpg

This was my first visit to Warung Sopa and since then I have been back several times. Its grounds are magical plus the menu is delicious and fair priced. I recommend this place to all families as there is an abundant amount of grass for all your children to run around on. There is even a tyre swing set for small and big kids alike!

Cafe-Sopa-Garden-Ubud.jpg Warung-sopa-garden.jpgdreamy-skies-in-Bali.jpg

Arsa, Isans nephew made good use of the swing and we were able to capture some precious photos of him. The 2 below are my favourite, especially the one on the right; a gorgeous family memory and one for Yanti to dote over.

Sopa-Garden-swings-Ubud.jpg Arsa-on-a-swing.jpg

Arsa loved the markets more than us and at the end of the day he didn’t want to leave.

kid-on-a-rocking-horse.jpg Kid-drinking-teh-kotak.jpg

Since then 3 months has gone by and not a word has been spread about the next Pasar-Pasaran. Will there be another one? Please come back Pasar-Pasaran, we miss you.


Behind the scenes

IMG_1757[1] All-the-fix-ins.jpg anjing-kampung-sleeping.jpgbali-everyday.jpgside-by-side-vespa.jpg Anjing-kampung.jpg
Sunset-Batu-Bolong-Beach-Headland-Bali.jpg Yuk!-Keep-smile.jpg
Bengkel-Vespa.jpg sleepy-anjing-kampung.jpg
I am making a conscience effort to blog more frequently. At the moment I am trying to organise all my photos to make posting in the future more simple.

So yesterday when playing virtual cleaning lady I came across some photos intended for previous posts that didn’t quite make the cut. They are just another insight into the life of Isan, Kawan and I.

-Simone xo

Our Home in Bali

Recently a few friends have asked us to show some photos of our home. Well, actually one friend has been asking us since we moved in and that was over 6 months ago. So here you go all you wonderful people. This is the place we call home in Bali, Indonesia.


It is a 2 story building with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and ample yard space for our puppy and her friends to run around in. We chose such a big house just for the 2.5 of us because we wanted the extra space in case family came to stay. Isans’ sister and her family have stayed many times and even lived here for a little while when Isan had to return to Bandung to help his mum.


Our bedroom isn’t anything fancy but we are thankful that we have a spring bed to sleep on and a big window that lets in a lot of natural light.

We actually haven’t been able to make use of all the space in our house as the 2nd floor has some real bad juju about it. We did intend to turn it into a study area as it has large windows and a wooden floor but the bad vibes just got too much for us. We actually were storing towels and sheets in a cupboard up there but were told by some lovely local friends that things like that shouldn’t be stored higher than the shrines in our backyard. Promptly we removed all in storage to another room and now its just wasted space, but I’ll take that over the bad vibes any day.

We did think about moving but because renting in Indonesia usually means laying down payment for the whole year we didn’t want to loose out. So with the use of some local remedies we were able to bring some light back into the house.


This is our gully style kitchen that we added a couple of shelves to. You will notice there isn’t any cupboard space at all! We have learnt to work around it and it means we never buy more than we need. Lately our kitchen been getting quite the workout via the Indo Food Cooking Project!

We also have a rice cooker, toaster oven and of course my coffee peculator who weren’t in the photo because they were recovering from a big night. Told you I have been cooking A-LOT!

The storage room. Nuff said.


This is our ‘slashie’ room; it functions as a loungeroom, dining room, study and sometimes as extra space for guests or Kawan to catch a few zzzz’s in the afternoon.


This is looking into the house from the french doors that lead outside to the backyard.


As you step through the doors you will see all this to the left and right of you. Our whole house is surrounded by some high cemented walls that keep prying eyes from taking a sneaky peek. Isan and I both feel safer in our ‘compound’ as I am the only foreigner in the area.


The backyard hasn’t been the labour of love it was intended to be. I have never been one for pottering around in the garden (my mother and brother are) but lately I have been dreaming of what our garden would have looked like if I put a little more effort in.


The Pelingi (Hindu Shrine). Isan and I are Christian so we do not utilize the shrines, but the owner of the house comes every few weeks and gives offerings to the gods. I once put some biscuits in the offering space when we were having our troubles with the house (on the advice of our Balinese friends), it seem to do the trick. For now Kawan likes to use it for her photo shoots and catching up on her beauty sleep. Her sister, Rascal wanted a slice of the action too. Can you spot her?


Isan catching a break at our ‘front door’. The bungalow that came with our house (in the left of this picture) hasn’t been as loved either and I know, such a waste! Sometimes we have had lunches out there or I have caught up on some blogging/blog reading but time and money have not been on our side. We moved to Bali as it was closer to Australia and it seemed there were more opportunities for us both. We will not be extending our rental agreement with this house and in saying that at the end of the year we both will be leaving Bali.

I will be returning home to Australia and if Isan gets his Prospective marriage visa then he will be coming too. My mother and her partner gave up coming for a visit so we could afford to send Kawan to Australia as well.

Even though we will not be returning back to Bali after December, Indonesia will always be on the cards. We have lots of plans that involve this wonderful country and therefore the blog will still be fully operational. Isan and I planned to get married next year; 1 wedding in Australia and another in Indonesia, both small and with just close family and friends. My career will always revolve around Indonesia and our children will grow up here.

There will always be lots of stories to keep on sharing.



Jogja sweet Jogja

My Jogja sisters and I

My Jogja sisters and I. I miss these ladies alot

About a month ago Isan and I made a fleeting visit to Jogjakarta, Java for the weekend. Life had been getting us down in Bali and we needed some familiar surroundings. It was Jogja where Isan and I met, back in 2011 whilst I was studying through the ACICIS (Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies) Program. We didn’t meet at University but through a series of friendship channels. These friendships are what made Jogja special for us, as these people weren’t just our mates but our family.

We are Family

We are Family

Since living in Bali for the past 10 months we have not been able to create a support network like the one above. For me personally I have not been able to find people that I can connect with like this. Friends that treat me, as they do Isan. My Jogja friends don’t care whether I am black, brown, green or white, they just care that I am good to them and they are good to me. Simple friendships= simple happiness.

I lived in Jogja for a year, whilst Isan was there for a good part of 9 months. So there were a lot of people to see, favourite places to visit and loved warungs (local eatieries) to eat at. We were so busy that I didnt get the chance to take as much photos as I would have liked. We were also very fortunate that Isans Mum and younger sister had plans to spend the weekend in Jogja with us. Isans Mum is a wonderful, strong lady who leaves me in awe every time we catch up. This visit we spent a lot of time alone together and we got a proper chance to get to know each other better. I forgot to take some photos though…sad face. I did however play quirky photographer with Isans sister. See photo below, looks like Meity has flew from the sky, Dragonball style.

Isans younger sister, Meity....aka Dragonball meity.

Isans younger sister, Meity….aka Dragonball Meity.

We did however make the time to fit in a little scenic tour followed by a seafood feast at Depok Beach. The beaches near Jogja do not compare to those of Bali, but the prices and variety of the seafood available is more enticing. It seems the beaches still have lots of bounty and the prices are all set at a local value. We were able to enjoy crab, prawns, fish, mussels, squid and a large coconut each to wash it all down with. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to dig in and that is why the photo below only shows the aftermath.

It was a delicious seafood feast

It was a delicious seafood feast

After we had gorged ourselves, I took a stroll down the beach whilst Isan had a nap.

I'm beached as Pantai Depok

I’m beached as bro….at Pantai Depok

When it came to the end of little getaway, we didnt want to leave. Jogja is very special to us and eventually one day we hope to make it our home.