Letter to Sebastian Jaya – 20 months old

To my dear Sebastian Jaya,

While you are having a midday nap and I listen to you snoring on the video monitor, I sit down to take a quiet moment to have a coffee and write a letter to you. I have been wanting to write to you for so long now. So much has happened in the last couple of months and I have so much I want to write down and tell you, so it won’t be forgotten in months/years to come. *I’ve probably already forgotten half of what I wanted to tell you. So, here goes…

At 19 months old we took you on our first family adventure overseas to Indonesia! We left home early on a cold, dark Sunday morning, and all I felt was trepidation of the endless possibilities of mishaps and disasters that could occur while traveling with a toddler. I felt quite literally sick to the stomach with worry and anxiety. Were we crazy? We possibly were a little crazy but I see now that our little adventure to Indonesia was such a great learning curb for you…and me…all of us really!

We traveled from Bali to Yogyakarta {Jogja} in Central Java to Lombok to Gili Air and back to Bali again. It was a big trip and three weeks traveling around felt like a loooong time but you seemed to take all the travel in your stride, taking in all the sights and sounds and smells. Your senses were on overload and you didn’t want to miss a thing throughout the whole journey! You had so much to discover.

Discovering chocolate donuts on Gili Air.

So, let me try to start at the beginning of our big adventure.

I’m grateful to say that you loved flying, yay! {Winning!} You just loved sitting in your own seat on the airplane and looking out the window. You also slept on several of the flights. So, after six flights in total, you are totally a Jetsetter and have no issues with flying! Hanging around airports waiting to board a flight…well that’s a totally different story! But, the flying bit, is all good!

You fell asleep while reading the inflight safety guide.

From the moment we arrived in Indonesia, you were like a superstar, I knew that the locals would love you, not just a “bule” {white person} baby but a little blondie with big blue eyes, meant that you got ALL the attention. Everybody LOVED you! The most common comment was “cantik” {pretty} and I’d have to politely tell them “cowok” {boy}. The reactions to that were great; some people were apologetic, some still confused saying “but the face is so pretty like a girl”, and some were embarrassed of their mistake. Another response we heard was “Long hair, long life!” that was a good one to stick with. None of it bothered me, I’ve heard it all before many times at home anyway {even when you were a little baby, before your hair had grown}. So, you have a pretty face, you can’t help it if you’re prettier than some little girls! 😉 Actually, you have the cutest little face and I love you just the way you are!

*I promise I did not put this flower in your hair, a local guy did it, and it was just a one off!

When I talk about travel, I mean travel…we traveled on all different forms of transport while we were away. Not only did you enjoy all the flights we took but you loved traveling on all forms of transport; from car and cab rides to the traditional forms of transport; ‘cidomo’ {horse-drawn cart on the Gili Islands} and ‘becak’ in Jogja. And of course, not to be forgotten was the speed boat rides to and from the Gili Islands, which you TOTALLY loved! My little wild child! You just love to be on the go, moving all the time.

Motorised-becak ride in Jogja.
Cidomo ride – Gili Air

In Jogja we spent our time wandering the streets and little alleyways;  evenings were the best wandering along Jalan Malioboro and soaking up the smells of chicken satay smoking on the coals and local traditional music playing on the streets through bustling crowds, as it was Ramadhan the streets were alive. We visited the south coast and wandered around so many beautiful beaches and we also took in as much art as we could; street art and also the all time fave of ARTJOG 2017 exhibition. We also shopped, what else would one do when in Jogja?! Batik was high on the list and you scored yourself quite a few new clothes. Yes, your first batik clothes too!

Room with a view at the Melia Purosani Hotel, Yogyakarta.
Pantai Pulang Syawal {aka Pantai Indrayanti}

From Jojga we headed to Kuta, Lombok for a couple of nights of rest and relaxation and the perfect spot to do it was at the Novotel Lombok Resort. Sooo nice! You had a great time exploring the grounds of the Novotel and also the beach front. So much space for you to run around and that you did.

We then headed north to the Gili Islands and made our home at the Scallywags Mango Retreat on Gili Air where we chilled out for ten days! Yep, it was island time; time to run bare foot and explore the island.

The last leg of our adventure was five nights/six days in Bali before heading home. We stayed at a beautiful private villa at The Sanyas Suite, and made ourselves at home. I could have stayed there forever. We had a great time staying at the villa, we had loads of space and you loved running around the garden and exploring every little nook and cranny of those gardens and grounds {we won’t mention the two big croppers that occurred there; one resulting in a big egg on your forehead and the other a grazed nose and lip – lucky you didn’t knock your teeth out! And lucky I didn’t have a heart attack, as I think I may have come close to it several times!}. We shopped, wandered, chilled out, and basically enjoyed each day to the max as we knew it was all coming to an end. Bitter sweet to have to end our journey but I think we were all feeling like it was time to go home, three weeks travelling had felt like a long time for all of us. It was time to take you home Sebastian and get you back into a daily routine again.

So, Sebastian, you adventured, tried new things and explored EVERYTHING! You ate sand and dirt and tried to eat rocks and stones. You also ate so many bananas that I thought there may have been a shortage of bananas in Indonesia once we left. You learnt great balance walking on stones bare foot and pretty much mastered every new step you came across. You LOVED being bare foot all the time! {I have to confess that you get that from your Mama, I also hate wearing shoes and socks!} My little island boy.
The locals loved you so much that you experienced; an Ibu {older woman} randomly stealing kisses from you at a supermarket in Lombok {who could resist those cheeks of yours, seriously?!}, you had selfies taken with young girls in Bali who asked you to come back again and they’d wait for you, but would you remember them?…you had chats with taxi drivers whilst stuck in crazy Lebaran traffic jams telling them “bau…bau…bau” and making them laugh and forget, even for a few moments, about the stressful and pretty crazy traffic jam situation we were stuck in! You, my little man, endeared everyone who came across your path.

Traveling with you Sebastian changed the whole meaning of travel for me, it was a totally new experience and I learnt a lot from you along our travels. Yes, there were tantrums along the way {from both you and I! I wouldn’t expect anything less!} but the laughs and joy far out-weighed those tantrums. It was so precious to have three weeks of family time – just the three of us! Just time to be, and play, and explore. And so special for us to have time, all day long and through the night, with Dadda. I know you loved it!

So, you left Melbourne at 19 months old and you came home to Melbourne 20 months old – you turned 20 months old when we were on Gili Air and living the island life. And it’s not until now that we are home again that I can see just how much you have grown and learnt and changed in the time we were away. You have grown up that little bit extra, I suspect a growth spurt in that time too, and I see the baby in you fading and a little boy is taking shape. A cheeky little boy who is strong willed and determined and likes to play hide and seek and loves a good laugh!

20 months old at the Mango Retreat – Gili Air.

And now that I sit back and think about our little adventure to another country and a new culture, I realise that you got to step outside our ordinary life in our small two bedroom apartment in the bayside village of St.Kilda and explore and experience life on a few of Indonesia’s islands, walking barefoot on new soil and sand {and stones!}, playing in tropical gardens, bouncing and jumping up and down on massive big hotel beds {Sooo much fun!}, cidomo and becak rides and meeting so many lovely local people. You experienced a whole new life, and I hope that it will stay with you, somewhere in the back of your mind and deep in your heart. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore and I’m happy to have been beside you on your very first adventure. Especially to Indonesia, a place I hold so dear in my heart, my home away from home.

I should also mention that when we arrived home, you had a wonderful time rediscovering your toys. I know you were very happy to be back home. We gave you some time to play for a while and as usual {keeping to routine} put you down for a nap around midday. You slept and slept and slept and slept. You slept right through the afternoon and through the night. I was so worried in the morning that you hadn’t woken, I was sure that you would have woken in the night for some milk, but no. I counted the hours, it had been 19.5 hours you had slept straight through, I decided to wake you. Who knows how long you would have slept if I hadn’t have woken you but I felt after more than 19 hours then you definitely needed a nappy change and something to eat and drink. I was worried that perhaps you weren’t well, but I soon realised over the next couple of days that you were fine, you were happily playing with your toys and eating well but you were also sleeping in till 9 or so in the mornings and having long midday/afternoon naps of 4 hours or more. You were catching up on sleep after our bring adventure overseas and I then realised just how tired you really were. Poor little Bubba. I think you also enjoyed sleeping back in your own bed/cot. I know I was glad to get back to my own bed. There’s no place like home, my little man.

Now that we are back home and slowly {And I mean S L O W L Y !} getting back into a daily routine, trying to find our feet again back at home, just the two of us. Your favourite things since coming home are opening the fridge and seeking out treats! Yep, a skill you learnt whilst overseas and now you just love inspecting what’s in the fridge at home and pulling out random items and putting them on the kitchen bench or giving them to me. You have also been pulling books off your bookshelf and laying on your bedroom floor reading books out loud to yourself. It’s the cutest thing ever! Your favourites are In the Night Garden and The Three Little Pigs. This insight of seeing you sitting quietly in your room reading alone is just the sweetest thing. You spend so much time running around like crazy that it’s really nice to see you also have that down time. You need it. I need it too. 😉

I should probably sign off here, I know it’s a long letter, but our first family holiday together was so special Sebastian, filled with so many laughs and sweet memories to hold onto always. And this is just a little snippet of it right here. I must tell you that in years to come when your Dadda quotes me as saying; “Don’t talk to me about holidays for at least another 20 years time!” in a grumpy voice on our first holiday…I may very well have said that more than once, perhaps during one of your many tantrums when you didn’t want to eat breakfast – you just wanted to wander around and explore whatever hotel we were staying at or perhaps one of your screaming fits whilst waiting hours to board a flight…yes, it’s all true. But I’ll also add that within a couple of days of returning home, I was already dreaming and planning our next overseas adventure together! And I can’t wait to do it all over again with you!

I love you my little Sebastian Jaya! The next few months are sure to be a wild ride as you head towards two years old! OMG! I don’t want to even think about that yet. Please slow down time, it’s all going way too fast and I just want to hold on tight to each special moment.

Love you always,

Your Mama xxx

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