When I was five months pregnant with E-Man, my husband and I spent two weeks in Italy on a babymoon. It was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. We travelled all the way from the South of Italy to the North. We walked through the sun-dappled cobblestone streets of Capri and enjoyed the warm, slightly salted Mediterranean spring, braved the crowds at the Vatican, nearly got mugged in Rome (luckily we had only 20 Euros in our wallets and the mafia men weren’t interested, thankfully), lived in a stone-wall villa in Tuscany, tried to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa, shopped at the Prada Space Outlet (I mean, how could you not?) and braved the small meandering roads through to Bellagio, Lake Como, to enjoy the most beautiful views I had ever seen in my life.
At the end of our two week long journey, half of which was spent with our good friends who were on honeymoon, we met a very distinguished looking middle-aged couple at the airport in Rome. They looked how I would like to look when I grow up. The husband wore a navy blue blazer with kaki pants and the wife wore a beautiful silk headscarf with, if I remember correctly, a soft silk blouse with black (the actual colour eludes me) pants. They looked great. Calm. Peaceful. Happy. They had just spent a good week by the seaside in Italy and were glowing. I decided to describe their attire because they looked so put together compared to my husband and me who were in t-shirt and jeans. They had time to iron their airplane outfits. She even wore perfectly applied red lipstick. I was lucky to even have crudely applied lip balm on.
Anyway, after waiting in line to check-in to our flight, it was established we were all from Singapore. We soon started chatting and sharing our adventures. During our conversation, the lady shared that they had four children. Four children?? I looked at her, amazed. But you don’t look frazzled or stressed. Well, of course her children were now all teenagers or older, so that helped, but she then let us in on a secret. She said, with the confidence that only a mother of four well-raised teenagers can have, that the secret to a great marriage was that they always went away on holiday as a couple after the birth of each child. And continue to have couple holidays when possible.
Honestly, it was one of the best pieces of marriage advice we’ve received!
So, even before the baby was born we booked our trip to Bali. The budget airlines were booked, our resort was booked, even my spa treatments were arranged. We were going to go to Bali in January 2014.
HOWEVER, once E-Man came I discovered breastfeeding. Yes, I was so ignorant I didn’t even think about engorgement and pumping. As I had shared in my earlier posts, E-Man had trouble latching and I began my exclusive pumping journey when he was just two weeks old. Going to Bali, while still exclusive pumping would mean:
1) Bringing my stupid breast pump
2) Deciding how and where to freeze all the milk – and whether I should pump and dump or pump and keep and how to transport all the milk back
3) Not being able to do ANYTHING but sit in the hotel room or some other clean place and pump every 3 hours
4) Having a massage while slowly getting engorged – NOT my idea of fun
5) Having to come home early from dinner or shopping just to pump – it’s not like I can pump just anywhere in Bali
6) Waking up in the middle of the night during your holiday just to pump – OMG
Bringing the 4/5 month old was out of the question as well since he doesn’t latch on demand, I would still have to pump and it’ll become more of a headache. So we decided to postpone our trip until October this year.
Fast forward six months and we just got back from Bali. Four days and three nights in the land of the gods. We stayed at The Chedi Sakala basically because I saw the pictures on a website and they looked AMAZING. I testify that it’s critical to invest in great photography for your product. Seriously. I literally just booked The Chedi Sakala not caring where it was because I just loved the photography. It’s a full-suite luxury hotel, you can’t expect anything less from GHM Hotels, which means all rooms come with a separate living, dining and kitchen area. It is actually perfect for families with young children because you can store and heat up their food in the little kitchenette. Thanks to a friend, we got upgraded to the Cabana Suite which meant that we could jump into the pool from our balcony. We’ve never stayed in a hotel like that before and we loved not having the hassle of changing into our bathers, looking for the sunscreen, packing the sunscreen, packing the sunglasses, packing the hat, packing the mobile phone, looking for the key card, packing the key card into a bag and walking 10 minutes to a pool. No, staying in the Cabana Suite meant that you just changed into your bathers in your room and jumped into the pool. Awesome.
Oh wait, sorry for spending so much time describing the hotel, job hazard.
So we also went to the Rock Bar which was INCREDIBLE. Truly worth the hype. I also discovered how important it is to invest in a good DJ. The DJ playing that day we went, 3 October, was really good. The music was trance-y chill-out lounge-y ocean music. The music she chose perfectly complemented the crashing of the waves onto the rocks. Hard to describe. My mobile phone pictures do not do it justice.
Luckily for me, my husband likes shopping and eating as much as I do so we spent all our time eating and shopping. And travelling to eat and shop. HAHA. Yay! Oh and we decided to go beach parasailing on a whim. It was SCARY and exhilarating. Don’t do it if you are afraid of heights, though.
It’s been a really crazy six months. I’ve been working three consulting jobs, starting up a business, going to part-time night school to become a tour guide (out of interest), trying to spend time with the baby and at one point of time trying to write a book (but I’ve since shelved that). The long weekend was seriously much needed!
The best part about the trip away was coming back to Little E-Man. While this is cliche, it’s SO nice to come home to your child. Although he was sleeping when we got back Monday night, when I saw him on Tuesday morning he gave me this HUGE big smile and came to me as though we hadn’t even left! 🙂 Wonderful. On to the next adventure!