The third day was a super hectic one. We needed to catch up with the tour’s program so we were on a tight schedule and that means… less sleep. Seriously, this is what you call a vacation?
Anyway, we had second helpings at breakfast as usual and then off we went to Tanah Lot. I didn’t really know what the guide said on the bus because I fell asleep immediately. I’m so glad this isn’t a travel blog. But I woke up just in time — when we were going past Tabanan.
Tabanan was different. I recalled Tabanan being a luscious, green landscape with many rice fields to the left and right. But that was then. In present time, there were less fields and more houses and temples. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, no. But it’s quite sad to see less green and more bricks and cement.
When I arrived, I noticed Tanah Lot being quite different too. For one, the vendors were more well-organized than before. There were no more little kids running around, trying to sell post cards. Only the ones with the shops were allowed to sell things and that’s better. Definitely an improvement.
But what I was missing was the little pools filled with starfishes and shells. The pools were filled with algae, not shells. I used to avidly collect sea shells from Tanah Lot. When we arrived there, the tides were high so we couldn’t get near the temple. We couldn’t see the sea snake living in a small crevice near the temple either, nor the place where the Hindu priests would give tourists blessings. So the only thing available to be done there was… taking pictures.
This isn’t the main temple, by the way. It’s a temple near the entrance.
Then Julius and I were guided by one of the tour guides to the bus immediately. But when we got to the bus, it was locked! So we sat at a small shop and waited and about 15 minutes later, our friends just arrived! Turns out they were taking photos together, like the entire 9FG or something and Julius, Marcos, Remi, Vincent, and I didn’t join in because some guide rushed us to the bus! Gaaah. How could there be such a miscommunication in a tourism company?
Anyway, after Tanah Lot, we went to Joger. Yes, the famous word factory. I’ve never been to a store where anyone had to go through the metal detector doors just to enter. But well… procedures are procedures.
Joger was… horrible. It was so crowded, I literally had to sidle to get through the crowd. And then there were the clothes rack where everybody just gathers around and it was so cramped there since there was little room to move around. There were like “abang-abang” everywhere and many “alay” teenagers and all. I finally got the two T-shirts I wanted and was ready to pay and then… I noticed the line at the check-out counter. It was just so packed and crowded and people were cutting lines and everything. That totally sucks. After half an hour of queueing and the people in front of me “kindly” let two ladies (who I’d like to curse right now for cutting the line) cut the line, I was so pissed off, I went back to clothes rack, dumped my shopping and got out.
I’m never shopping there again. Joger is a nice store if it wasn’t so crowded. Seriously, if it’s not that packed and crammed and there weren’t that many people and so many people cutting the line, I’d love to go back there and shop again.
Anyway, I was pissed off when I walked outside and found my friends sitting near the snack shop next door. I told them what happened and it turned out, they didn’t shop inside either since it was so crowded.
Then Julius walked out of the store and showed me some chocolate and said “I got this for you”. The packaging was so unique, I decided to step inside the shop and buy some for myself. Surprisingly, my mood got better once I’ve got the chocolate.
The chocolate I bought at the shop.
Julius bought these. We shared the “Anti Galau” chocolate at the bus since we were both quite “galau” at the bus.
Lesson of the day : sometimes, all you need to recover from a bad day would be a friend and some chocolate.
After waiting for hours at Joger for those who didn’t give up at the check-out counter, we had lunch at Saras Restaurant at Bedugul. The air was super cold there and the view was amazing, the food tasted great, and the servers there were very nice.
From the mountains, we moved back to the center of the island to Ubud for what we came to Bali for : a farewell party. Our farewell night was held at Bali Cultural Center.
We were welcomed by a fresh glass of juice (I believe it’s watermelon and orange this time) and a flower in our hair. And then there was the welcoming dance.
Then we toured around the cultural center. But that tour was super quick. We were taken to a stop, barely had time to snap pictures, and then we had to get a move on already.
After the tour, we stopped to participate in some artistic work : painting. Cisca, Marmut, Julius, Felita, Tania, and I decided to take on painting rainshakers. We were stoked to see the sample made by the artist, but our creativity (and craft skills) don’t support us to actually be that good.
The sample by the artist
Tania’s creation was the closest to the sample.
Cisca and Marmut eventually gave up and decided to watch the artist at work.
Our homeroom teacher, Bu Ruth joined us and painted her own rain shaker! Woot!
After getting our hands dirty with paint, it was time for the gala dinner. By gala dinner, they meant sitting on tables arranged to look like the House of Representative’s and having buffet dinner while watching performances.
That night was quite a blur for me. There were only four performances that were stuck in my mind : 9FG’s dance, 9D’s flashmob, LINE’s performance, and the home band’s performance (since the vocalist sounds like Jason Mraz).
And then came the climax of our three years in junior high : the reflection.
We were standing in a circle, underneath the clear and starry sky. The lights were all switched off and the past three years just started replaying in front of us. From orientation week until the national exams. Every single time we laughed and cried and smiled. And then something that I should have realized ages ago just became clear to me…
Next year, it wouldn’t be like this. We might be going through the same things, but the feelings won’t be the same. All these will be coming to a close soon. The thing I’ve been dreading the most is finally real. Saying goodbye, something I’ve been trying to avoid so much.
How could you not let the tears fall with that realization?
The lights came back on and then I just started hugging my friends, the people that gave the past three years meaning. Some of them would be the ones I’ll be separated with soon. Just writing this makes me feel sad again. The hugs, the thanks, the apologies. We’re really leaving soon and we won’t go back to the way everything is right now. I can’t remember the faces I saw that night, what I said to them or anything, but I remember the feelings.
I walked out of the venue that night still tearing up, emotionally whacked out. The question “why do I have to separate with these amazing people?” found its way into my head and stayed there. I tried to stop crying in the bus, but then Owen started singing Air Supply’s Goodbye right next to me and I started tearing up again. And then I spent the ride home with my dearest boys, the brothers that kept sticking by my side no matter what : Owen and Julius. Listening to everything they said in the bus, my tears never stopped falling.
The thought of being separated with them was unthinkable until now. I’ve loved them both so much.
That night, once I arrived at the hotel, I sat on that crammed double bed with my BlackBerry, settling every dispute that’s been haunting me, crying over the regrets, and cleaning everything up. That was emotionally tiring for me, but at the same time there’s a new feeling — relief. I won’t have to walk out of the school being the person I used to be when I came to school. And I’m glad about that.
“I’ve got a memory, always inside of me. And I won’t go back, back to how it was. I believe you now. I’ve come too far. And I can’t go back, back to how it was.” (Switchfoot – This Is Home)