Family Travel Bites

We have now been in Ubud for 3 weeks. When we arrived on 30th October, it felt like we were being led down the ‘proverbial’ garden path to the villa. It was dark and we were walking next to an open drain. There were angry dogs barking, no light and we were stumbling along for 200 meters in the dark. That, for me, was the first of a series of “what the hell are you doing?” moments. Luckily, the villa was beautiful and the people we have meet have been amazing.

So, how has it been?

Hard, it has been very hard. I have struggled more than I would like to admit. I have written about my anxiety previously. During times of stress my anxiety will rise and the voice in my head can be a real repetitive prick. During the first 2 weeks I had soundbites like: ‘I’ve made a huge mistake’ or ‘I cannbreakfastofchampionsvonnegutot do this’ or ‘everyone will think you’re a failure’. To be accurate you need to add some negative expletives. Anyway, you get the picture. If it wasn’t so destructive, my ability to self-critique would be quite impressive. Let me put it this way – If being hard on yourself was an olympic sport – I would have my own Weetbix commercial.

So, our 3 weeks have been marred with illness. Yes, just for something new, right? I really love my kids, but seriously, they are complete Filth Wizards and pick up every bug known to man! Might be the floor licking?

Here is the illness tally as it stands:

  • We all have a cough. It is one were you cough so much you might just puke a little.
  • I lost my voice for 3 days and sounded like an angry swan. I got very good at angry interpretative sign language to show the kids I was annoyed.
  • Bergen’s eczema, again, decided to flare up in the humidity. Luckily, wet bandages did the trick and his legs have calmed down.
  • Rocket and Bergen have heat rashes
  • We have many mosquito bites; my catastrophising-brain does a hop, skip and jump to death from Dengue Fever. T’wan is yet to get one though – SCORE!!!
  • T’wan is getting his top 2 teeth; to keep me on my toes is using my nipple as a chew toy.
  • Is my nipple infected or just sore? Time will tell.
  • Conjunctivitis. It is like glue for your eyes!
  • I got the squirts from ‘Bali Belly’. Kids seem fine.

Leaving illness aside, the kids’ behaviour has been even more of a challenge. Rocket is in whinge mode. T’wan is in ‘I-hate-everyone-except-mum’ mode. And, well, Bergan has been an arsehole. There is literally no other way of describing his behaviour. I am not sure if Bergan knows the name of this blog but he is taking the ‘biting’ part very literally. He bites with vigour! He also kicks with stealth, punches with precision and pinches with delight. We are working on it…

You might be thinking ‘I told you so’, and many of you did. If you did, cool, but don’t be a sanctimonious douche canoe about it. I am not naïve, I knew it would be hard. I expected the kids would struggle with the change; the heat and humidity is always tough. Matt’s absence was always going to be the really hard part. Ironically, I thought less structure in a day would make my life easier. It doesn’t. They are bored. Boredom added to the fact we only have one big room, has meant a big shit-storm, when it comes to sleep. So basically, I have 3 hot and sweaty, angry, slightly-confused, hungry, thirsty dictators on my hands. It has been a joy!

It has not all been bad. I made sure I ‘needed’ to review ALL the spas in the area. I have been to 7 or 8. It has been a real drag! Stay tuned for the reviews! I have not had to do any laundry. AMAZING! I have a beautiful young lady named Desy helping me with the boys, and without her, well I’d be rocking in the corner!

The Good:

  • The Balinese family we are staying with.
  • Super cool critters in the garden: geckos, skinks, snails, ants, spiders.
  • Laundry. Here, please take my money! $7 for 2 loads washed, folded and ironed.
  • Massages. The end!
  • Bergan’s love of the babysitter.
  • The food – lots of vegetarian options in Ubud (a pledge I made to reduce my impact from flying so much).
  • The bird park – Rocket had a number of wonderful experiences and was picked out of the crowd twice.
  • Spending one-on-one time with each of the boys.
  • Minor Earthquake

The Bad

  • Skin issues
  • Illness
  • T’wan refusing a bottle.
  • The food – the cost, it can be outrageously expensive. On par with Perth. Crazy.
  • The bird park – the cost of $75 for an adult and a child. Insanity.
  • Mosquitos. Lots of Mosquitos
  • Only having one big room.
  • Not realising it was an earthquake.
  • I ate chicken twice (Once by mistake, once I ordered it!) – BOO!
  • Failing to reduce the amount of plastic we have used. I plan to get it in local language to explain what I mean. Plastic is everywhere and on everything.

The Ugly

  • Bali Belly interrupting a glorious massage I was having. Then trying to explain why I had been on the toilet for FAR too long. Massage lady looking suitably horrified by my miming efforts.
  • Other tourists eg. A young lady getting super angry over getting charged 1000 rupiah (10 cents) more what she had MISREAD. A man at the very famous Tegallalang rice terraces wearing nothing but tiny short-shorts, then NEEDING a photo and getting all weird and ‘shy’.
  • Bergan’s use of his teeth.
  • Dodgy drivers.
  • Ubud afternoon ‘traffic jams’.

The Broken (added for Bergan)

  • 1 plates
  • 2 cups
  • 1 mosquito coil holder thingy
  • 2 packets of crayons
  • 1 ashtray
  • A chair
  • 1 computer tablet (although it started to charge!)
  • 2 books ripped and drawn on

Tomorrow is another day and I plan to make it a good one. We only have a few more days here. So, can I do this? Travel alone with 3 kids? Last night I asked myself that question. Then I realised that I already am doing it! Can I do it long-term? I honestly do not know. I hope I have the strength to.

Watch this space xxSignature


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