The routine we’d set up throughout the week served us well; even though there was nothing scheduled for the morning but packing up and leaving, most people still got up to do some yoga with Jesse, and we also had a quick morning bubble. Clare popped in just before she left for the airport to say goodbye, with lots of hugs and smiles and tears and, of course, a singalong: “Let’s gather in a circle. We’re going to sing a song by one of the great ancient poets. It goes like this…’I believe that children are our future…'” Lots of cheesy belting. It was great. Not sure whether it’s a downside or an upside, but I’ve had The Greatest Love of All soaring around in my brain since then.
Then a bunch of us headed out to Ubud and Hanoman St for a quick poke around in the boutiques. So much lovely stuff. Our first port of call was a bag shop that H had recommended, and about ten of us bought bags – the owner was so chuffed. She just beamed and said, “you are my first customers today – it’s a very good day!” And yes, even though I make bags, I bought a lovely teal leather slouchy bag that will serve as inspiration for when I finally learn how to work with leather.
I bought some earrings for mum and myself from a silver shop. I asked the lady where the earrings were made and she said her husband made them, and she was starting to make some too. She proudly took out a tray with some gorgeous works in progress, showing me how she soldered the pieces. That was something that was lovely about looking in the shops rather than the markets; the people usually had an actual connection to what they were selling (rather than it being more touristy stuff that was the same at every stall). We were told that a little goes a long way in Bali, so we were all very happy to help contribute to the local economy!
Back to Villa Gaia to wash off the sweat in the pool. We had already checked out, but the staff were happy for us to hang out there while they cleaned and prepared for the next group. We ordered in some yummy food and chatted, and then suddenly it was time for the first group to go to the airport. Lots more hugs and goodbyes, and then half an hour later the next car went and then…I was the only one left! My flight wasn’t until midnight, and I knew there were others who were leaving late but they had gone into town separately from the first shopping group and I had no idea where they were or how to find them. But I was pretty chilled actually, so I just sat back on a beanbag, blogged, read my book, snoozed.
Eventually they came back and were shocked to find everyone gone. They had been planning to come back for goodbyes but the timing hadn’t worked out. We decamped to J’s accommodation a bit further down the road at the lovely Luwak Ubud Villas. My oh my, it was so beautiful, and I was so grateful just to have some space to chill with some people instead of feeling like I was in the way at Gaia (even though they never made me feel that way of course!). We sat by the pool and had some dinner and good chats.
And before we knew it, time to head home. The airport was fairly smooth, though J and I were a bit bemused by the number of checks we had to go through. Once our flight was called it seemed to take forever for them to open the gates and for everyone to get seated, and we were just ready to be home.
Getting through Sydney airport was a breeze, so quick! And my lovely mum at the end, waiting for me with a huge smile and huger hug.
It’s so great to be home, to do my washing, to be in my space, to scratch my cat behind the ears, to eat mum’s spaghetti and meatballs. But it has been wonderful to still feel the connection as I see the constant trickle of Facebook messages as people from the retreat get home or move on to the next phase of their trip. And after friending each other on Facebook it’s doubly nice to see them popping up in my feed – new people I feel I already know and love, but now I get to see another aspect of their lives. We all miss each other!