Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bugging Out


Well Today, A Cockroach fell from the ceiling, Inches from my head. Shoot. No. Just When I thought I was coping with the bugs! This was the final Straw. I mean Business. 
(Clearly I have yet to overcome my fear of bugs and creatures.) 

This is a formal notice to creatures in my bedroom at Tara Green Eco Garden:
Dear lizards and bugs that swarm my room at approximately 7:15 every night, 

So guys, listen. I get it. I'm living at an "Eco Garden" that is surrounded by nature, technically your territory. But, that does not mean you can be swarming my room every night. I am NOT here to bother you but, I feel that you ARE here to bother me. I am not okay with that. Here are some guidelines I proposed so that we can learn to live in harmony whether we like each other or not.

1- To lizards, you guys are pretty chill and all but can we limit it to a maximum of five of you in my room a night. I am being generous here. Also, if you could stick to the upper walls. That would be greatly appreciated. Lower walls and the floor are off limites... To close to my personal space. Ceilings are also off limits. Not because I am afraid of you, but because I think you are just showing off how anti-gravity you are by hovering above my head as I sleep. It's egocentric and rude. Stop.
2- To beetles, You look terrifying when you fly but you're not as scary when you're just chilling. Keep it classy and just stay still for me, please. I don't want to squash you, but if you mess with my bed or anywhere near my head... Consider yourself beetle juice. Sorry for the violent reference, but I'm serious.
3- To sacaidas, We both know I would never squash you. You would eat me before I could do that. Why are you so big and loud? It's freaky. I beg you... Please don't enter my room. That's not even a threat. That's me begging out of fear. We both know that once you enter my room I'm paralyzed with fear for a good two hours. Not to get to hastey here, but that was really obnoxious of you guys to all fly into my room, on the same night , and surround me from all sides. It was my first night.. come on!
4- To Cockroaches, Although I have only seen one of you, I have heard they're are many. You also leave your crap everywhere. Please stay out of my room or at least out of my sight. It would be nice if you avoided the kitchen area too. Gross.
5- To the Mysterious Monster Spider, Luckily I have yet to see you. But there are rumors that you still exist. Those who have seen you say that you are as big as a full hand. I don't want any trouble, but please If I see you there is a good chance I am packing my bags and heading back to John Carroll. 

I would appreciate you're cooperation to these generous guidelines.

Ryley Conway

Day Two: #FeelTheBurn

Day Two: "Feel the Bern," well actually... the "Burn"

                 Again, I woke up early to the "beautiful" sounds of nature; I think this was going to become a daily routine. 6:15 came around and I rolled out of bed, slightly annoyed by the early rising roosters. I took a shower. Theres no hot water on at Tara Green Eco Garden, but that was okay because the shower has no roof so that I can feel the warmth of the rising sun. I got changed and ready for the day ahead of me. Breakfast doesn't open across the road until 10:00, So till then I practiced my harmonica outside, "The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind." At 10:00 am I had another Delicious meal which I shared with Darwin, Unwillingly.

             After breakfast Made dropped me off at the calm and peaceful Geger Beach. I sat in the water relaxing and enjoying the second day of my "study" abroad.  After basking in the sun for a short while, I decided to enjoy a nice avocado from the beach side cafe. While sitting, I noticed another foreigner chatting with the Cafe owners. They were trying to guess where he was from. Malaysia? India? No he was from Sri Lanka. I got excited and turned around. "Do you speak Tamil?" I asked him. "Yes, as a matter a fact, I do." We Immediately became friends and spoke in Tamil for a bit. (For anyone reading this who doesn't know, Tamil was the language I learned when living in Chennai for a year in High School) 
             Me and Haresh sat in the water all day and even sang, "Why this Koleveri", one of my favorite Tamil-English Songs. As the day progressed I began to noticed a painful and unfamiliar sensation. It was the start of a terrible sunburn. I wore so much sunblock. How could this have happened?  The pain progressed to the point that I just wanted to go back to the Eco Garden and sort it out. 
            I got back to the Eco Garden and showed Made my burn. Luckily the Eco Garden had the perfect solution. Made taught me how to cut the Aloe Vera plant from the ground, clean it and use it to sooth my burn! It was fantastic! For once I got to witness the earth naturally provide a solution to my problem.  No chemicals, no plastic bottles, no overpriced store, just the gift of nature providing me with exactly what I needed. 

Just An FYI: "How To Use an Aloe Vera Plant for Sunburn"

1- Break off leaf from outside; don't pick off the leaves closest to the center
2-Cut the leaf horizontally 
3- let it "bleed." An Orange goo, known as the "blood" of the plant, will ooze out.
4- Rise it off and make sure all the blood is gone
5- This is optional but freezing it makes it feel so good to apply
6- Apply it just like you would use a bar of soap on your body to the affected area

Although I was supposed to go out this night and meet up with a few couch surfers, I was too burnt to go anywhere so I called it in early and said goodnight to my second night of Bali. 


Day One

Day One in Bali

I woke up early, 6:00 am, to the sound of birds singing, chickens chirping and the sun piercing through my window.  I was excited to explore this island that I would call home for the next 6 months. A local Balisnse guy took on me on a tour of Bali, free of cost at 9:00 am. He picked me up at the Eco Garden and showed me around some of the famous places. I saw the white sands of Nusa Dua, The chaos of Kuta, the relaxing beaches of Seminyak, and the surfing life of Caggu. It was unbelievable!

Morning Darwin

Ready To Tour

Beaches Near Nusa Dua

Surfers Town, "Caggu"

Balinese Dinner 

My day exploring Bali was great, and my Balinese dinner from across the road to my home made it even better. As my Jetlag kicked in, I decided to call it a night. With my selfie stick in hand, to protect me from bugs, I fell asleep. It was a great official end to my first day in Bali.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Arriving in Bali

                 Arriving in Bali

                I stepped off the plane in Despensar,  Bali and was immediately embraced by the nostalgic smell of tropical air and the warmth of the Bali sun. The architecture of ancient temples danced passed the window of the taxi as we drove to the Eco Garden where I would be staying. Scooters and motor bikes paraded passed us, unfazed by the heavy traffic.
               The Eco Garden was far away from the chaos of touristy Bali, It is tucked away in the hilly village of Ungasan. Green hills covered with temples and farms along  long narrow windy roads.
Finally, I arrived at Tara Green Eco Garden. I was welcomed by Darwin, the gardens dog, Lisa, Made and Tommy who gave me a tour.

               It was simple and beautiful! I could hear birds singing, hens chirping, and the subtle sound of the light breeze blowing through the leaves of the numerous plants I was surrounded by. This was going to be the life...... except some minor struggles that I would soon learn.

              I thought that sleeping would be relaxing in such an environment. Little did I know that at 7:15, right as the sun was setting, an invasion would begin. I began to notice lizards on my walls, Probably about 7 of them. I wasn't too upset about that. Then came the beetles that began making themselves comfortable right on my bed, great. Next were the cicadas. The first one came in an I was petrified with fear. I stood in my towel too scared to leave my room to get to the shower. My game plan was to wait till the cicada flew to the other side of the room and then run as fast as I could. Just as the Cicada was a safe enough distance from the door and I thought that I had the opportunity to make a break for it, A second came zooming in. Crap. Now what? I watched as these crazy flying monsters crashed into every corner of the room. To make it worse a third flew in. I wasn't going to make it!  Should I write my goodbye letter? No. I got enough courage to run to the shower. Luckily when I got back Lisa had some advice on how to prevent them. The first was to keep my door closed after dusk. There was still a big opening to get for bugs to get in between the thatched roof and the walls though. The Second tip was to turn the lights off in the room so that the bugs weren't tempted to come in. Lastly I learned that beetles are easy to flick and cicadas are NOT aiming to kill you but rather they are so clumsy that they just wildly crash into everything.
I finally fell asleep after being on edge for a while.

Wow, there was a lot I still had to learn. Conquering my fear of bugs was going to have to be a top priority!! 

Hong Kong Airport

Hong Kong Airport
First Signs Of Culture Shock
I got off the plane in Hong Kong tired after the 15 hour journey from JFK. I did a little stretch and then had to focus. I had one task to complete. I had to get to gate 47 to transfer to my flight heading to Despensar. I had about 5 hours to do this. Sounds easy right? Wrong. I found myself wondering this massive airport only to find find myself alone by the tram that went to my gate. It was clearly labeled, "out of service." After about 30 minutes sitting there alone and looking dumb an airport worker came and smiled at me. She began taking down the "out of service signs". I sighed of relief. But oh wait? Just as she ripped off the last "out of service" sign, she went in reverse and put all of the "out of service" signs back on. She said nothing to me and left. I couldn't help but laugh. Luckily, after about an hour, more people began to gather and the tram started up again. 

I arrived at my gate with three hours to spare. I thought it would be a good idea to find somewhere to eat. I walked to the food court and was overwhelmed. I didn't recognize any of the foods. Should I go for the weird looking beef jerkey? The "jskdldkfogbs" soup dish? The "kfleldodsomfg" and rice? Even the English translations looked like gibberish to me. I could have caved and got pizza but I thought I might as well eat something authentic to Hong Kong. Culture shock hit me in the face, as did my noodles that I embarrassingly tried eating with chop sticks did. Reality set in as those noodles that I boldy ordered had a freakish looking mushroom in it that looked like the brain of some exotic animal. Dam, I forgot how much was about to change in my life. 

After splashing noodles everywhere I gave up and used my change to by some sort of Hong Kong snack that resembled Cheetos. It would have to do. I sat eating my Cheetos and watched the sunrise and the fog release the beauty of the mountains it was hiding. 

Maybe things would be difficult this semester. There will

be things I won't understand, foods that frighten me and many moments of feeling lost. But as long as I remember that behind all the confusion and fog is true beauty...I will be alright.


Monday, January 11, 2016

And So It Begins

            And So It Begins.....

              Well, today I will be leaving home and setting out on an adventure! I will be studying abroad at Udayana University in Bali, Indonesia.  I have no idea what the semester ahead holds but I am ready for a blissful surprise! I will be living in the village of Ungasan on a Sustainable Eco Garden called "Tara Green." I hope that by living in this setting I will learn how to live a more eco-friendly and simplistic life. 
               There is much I can write about my expectations, goals, and plans but instead I am going to go into this journey with nothing but the intention of living in the present moment and experiencing each and ever minute to its fullest potential. 
               Feel free to follow my updates on this blog :)

                                                         My University, "Udayana"

Tara Green Eco Garden