Tag Archives: Indonesia

The Other Fellow First

If you don’t know me, it’s simple. I have a life saying, The Other Fellow First, which has been preached to both of my children since day 1. The motto comes from Camp Dudley. Sebastian & Louisa will be going for their 4th season this summer and are the 3G of Gammills.

So why mention a camp motto now? Let me explain. When you put yourself out there in the world, in places that you have never been, have no idea about the language, and are basically in a vulnerable position, you find that many people from many cultures have the same life motto simply by experience.

For example:

  • A friend of my cousin’s welcomes us (strangers) into their home in Wanaka, New Zealand, serves us a delicious steak with plenty of wine, and then says we are welcome to stay as long as we want.
  • Air BnB host takes her day off to drive us around Sydney and then to share a secret beach to swim.
  • Another Air BnB host uses her day off to drive us to the Barossa wine country and takes us to exclusive wineries that she has access. Cool!
  • Australian volunteer in Nusa Penida, Indonesia, notices that Sebastian really likes fireworks on New Year’s Eve (shocker!) and gives him an armful to take on our journey to Bali.
  • The sister of a friend not only hosts us in her apartment but takes us out to dinners and arranges our sightseeing in Malaysia.
  • An elderly Thai woman with her adult daughter are sitting next to us at a food stall in Bangkok. Daughter hands my wife a local drink and says, “Here, this is for you and what Thai like to drink.” Then her mother turns around and hands us a grilled banana. Yum!
  • I’d like to close with yet one more example of why I feel strongly about education through experience for my children. Onn is a longtime high school buddy and I am glad that we’ve stayed in touch over the years. To put it simply (and I will be sharing a separate blog on our Penang experience), Onn took us into his home with his family and provided a place to stay. More than that, he showed my children the meaning of The Other Fellow First. He embraced them, taught them some martial arts, fed them amazing foods, and played with them on ziplines and ropes. I could go on and on but the moral of this story is that both Sebastian and Louisa saw how happy Onn was to share his life and talents. How he truly practiced and lived The Other Fellow First.

My perspective is quite one-dimensional when it comes to teaching my children (just as many parents, we want the best for them). It’s a wonderful feeling to experience and share similar values with both friends and strangers from all walks of life. And even better when those people impact your children in a positive way, much like that teacher you always loved!

The Other Fellow First – a darn good reason to get outside, meet others, and share your values! Thank you to Onn, Wai Fung, Sue, Mel, the Turner Family and everyone of you that practices The Other Fellow First!

P.S. Just off the press are these two articles for you to enjoy and they apply to this blog: Timeless Appeal and NYT Solo Traveler

Ho! Ho! Ho! From Indonesia.

The way we spent Christmas in Indonesia is the staff in Madak Belo made a big dinner to everyone who was staying on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The dinner in Christmas eve was grilled fish, mash potatoes (not as good as moms on thanksgivingJ), and some bread with a creamed topping on it (there’s a word for it but I forgot it). It was very good. The dinner in Christmas day was good too! But before that….. PRESENTS!!!!!! Each Louisa and I got 2 presents, I got a book -The Catcher in the Rye- Louisa got Insurgent; the 2nd book to the Divergent series. On top of that, I got a new swimsuit and Louisa got a new scarf. All in all we had an inexpensive Christmas present wise. That day we played a lot and went snorkeling at the beach. Then we ate dinner. For dinner they served sweet and sour chicken.


I finished my book in 2 days!! I loved it was really good. (You would like it Erik). Louisa finished insurgent after a few weeks.

Nusa Penida ⎮ Volunteering

After taking the 5 hour ferry back to Padang Bai in Bali, we spent a night back in tourism to catch up with the outside world – for me, social media! The next day, we caught the fast boat to Nusa Penida (an island off Bali) where we volunteered. The ride there is really nice. First of all, it’s fast! Secondly, Da and I got to sit up top and it was really breezy and airy, unlike the slow ferry! When we arrived at Nusa Penida, we took a taxi up to where the FNPF is (Friends of the National Park Foundation) located. Let me tell you, it was such a bumpy and steep ride there! There is no pavement up, so you could imagine how that was. Also, there are small hills that are very steep! Finally, we got to FNPF and settled in our bungalows. We paired up, Sebastian and Mama, Dad and I.  We figured that way, if there are any critters, Mom and I both had someone to protect us!

Soon it was time to leave and start some volunteer work. We drove down to the English Club school. We met a nice woman, Kate, who lived in Miami and just moved to San Francisco and she was staying at the FNPF also! The first English class was super fun! You would have thought that Dad would have been the one teaching, since he is a teacher, but you are wrong! Mom was the one teaching! She did a very good job teaching the kids slowly and wordily so they could understand. My favourite of the students was a twelve year old girl, my age. Her name is Naphi and she is really cute! When a question was asked, she was always the first one to raise her hand and volunteer. She also had a smile that would just never leave her face which reminded me of one of my friends back home, Chanel. We all loved teaching the kids so much we went way over the time! Oops! I was looking forward and so excited for the next class!

The chef at the FNPF is so amazing and his food is delicious! We all agreed that he should open up his own warung (‘food stall’ in Indonesian). My favorite dish that he made is Nasi Goreng which translates to Fried Rice and has a fried egg on top.

The next few days at FNPF, we realized that we are definitely not working as much as we had expected.My mom would say, “Okay, we did the weeds! What do we do now?!”

“Now you rest.” Johnny our guide would say. He is a really nice happy guy and loves to play music and sing on his guitar, especially reggae music because he is a beach guy! We eventually got SO bored, especially mom and I.

We went on several walks constantly and discovered a small hotel with a pool. This was a miracle for us! After we found it, we went there EVERY DAY. From eating lunch, using the wifi, and swimming in the pool after working, our days became more fun. Until one day, we rented mopeds from the nice hotel owner! Sebastian and Dad went out after they got a brief lesson. Mommy and I soon joined later on the back of their mopeds and we visited a beach called Crystal Bay. The sand there was so black and the water was rough. We also visited another beach called Gamet Beach which was very similar to Crystal Bay. The pairs on the mopeds either went Sebastian & Mom and Dad & me or they were Sebastian & me and Dad & Mom. I was pretty nervous to go with Sebastian at first, but I have to say, he is a very good and careful driver.

New Year’s Eve came quickly and will probably be one of the hottest ever for me! We had a nice meal by the chef and went to bed early (before midnight). Sebastian stayed up however and claims that he heard in the middle of the night a random time when all the fireworks went off at once. Which he assumes was probably midnight!

Soon the time came to leave Nusa Penida. We went on the same boat as Kate to get back to Bali. THE RIDE WAS TERRIBLE! I have my Dad’s gene so I get seasick on boats. The waves were choppy because the weather was bad that day. The boat was bouncing all over the place! I felt like I was on the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios in Disney. It goes up and down and up and down etc… By the time we arrived, I was a train wreck! I wasn’t feeling very well but then I got better and a smile soon returned as we enjoyed 2 nights of awesome fun in Nusa Dua at a huge resort with a great pool. But that’s another story…


Pulling weeds


Pulling weeds


Crystal Bay Beach



FNPF Bungalows