Our 2017 Nyepi Diary

Nyepi, the day when the island of Bali shuts down to celebrate the Balinese New Year, can be a trying day no matter who you spend it with. It’s just a long time to be stuck inside.

Last year our daughter was only 9 months old so barely mobile and quite easy to entertain. This year, with a nearly-two-year-old, the situation called for better preparation.

Here is how Nyepi 2017 played out in our household.

2017 Nyepi Diary

8:06 Wake up unusually late. Realise it’s because somehow the baby monitor was turned off. Chandra goes to rescue Abigail who has got herself rather worked up. Some cuddles in bed soon calm her down. We should do this more often, actually; she’s not usually that into morning cuddles.

8:32 Get up and embark on a full cooked breakfast. Quite ambitious as we only have a two-burner stove and one frying pan in which to cook the bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomato. I, being the queen of multitasking, manage to pull it off. Chandra even comments that “This is a good breakfast.” And for him to compliment my cooking is pretty rare.

Cooked breakfast for Nyepi

9:45 Just as I’m hanging out the washing in the yard (not technically allowed) one of our neighbours brings over some food that they’ve cooked (also not technically allowed). This is great because I’m on lunch duty but – despite all the shopping I’ve done – I haven’t really planned what we’re going to eat. Problem solved.

10:26 After all the usual toys have been scattered all over the floor I dig out a jigsaw that is not technically new, but has been tucked away long enough that it’s a novelty. Although Abigail is quite capable of doing it herself she seems to have learnt a new phrase: “Mummy help”. I suppose it’s cute, right?

10:40 Bit of a late bath, but the plastic beach toys I bought do the trick of making it last longer than usual. In the set we have a train, a plan, a car, a ship and a… crocodile. Makes sense. All going well until I say the plane can’t go in the potty. A screaming fit ensues.

Beach toys double up as bath toys for Nyepi entertainment
Beach toys double up as bath toys

11:14 Getting a nappy on Abigail turns into a wrestling match. She’s really not happy about it.

11:20 In an effort to distract her I whip out the animal stickers I’d bought. I start drawing a picture with a lake and some trees for her to stick them on, but she’s having none of it.

11:31 Rather earlier than planned, we resort to nursery rhyme videos. Peace. Abigail absent-mindedly sticks stickers on Chandra’s laptop while mesmerised by five little monkeys jumping on the bed.

11:43 I take advantage of the fact she’s not really paying attention to what she’s doing and plonk some cucumber sticks and avocado dip down in front of her. It works, and she munches on something healthy without realising it.

11:47 Make myself a healthy juice with spinach and stuff in it. Wash up the jucier, completely forget about the juice, and pour myself a glass of Coke Zero. Half way through it, remember the juice but have to hunt for it because Chandra is now prepping for dinner and has hidden my drink.

12:52 Prise daughter and husband away from their respective screens to eat lunch.

13:27 Bath number two. No, the plane still isn’t allowed in the potty.

13:56 Another tantrum at the mention of a nap. I’m sure she doesn’t make this much fuss at daycare. Demands to wear socks. The last time she wore socks was 3 months ago during winter in England. Oh well, it works and she falls asleep with both legs sticking out of the cot.

14:15 I take advantage of the chance to have a nap myself. Get a bit distracted by my phone but do manage about half an hour.

15:33 Abigail still sleeping, yes! Remind Chandra he is on dinner duty. “Just one more race” is his response.

16:11 Abigail still sleeping so I get super organised and set up some finger paints for when she wakes up.

16:29 Actually have a nice time finger painting and pass a good half hour.

Finger painting at Nyepi
The finished masterpiece

17:34 Chandra lets Abigail out to play with the neighbours’ kids on the street (so much for staying in, but at least we don’t have to worry about bikes driving past today).

17:50 Dinner time. Not a bad effort by Chandra; Abigail eats loads of it (possibly due to the full packet of Masako he put in it).

18:26 As the light outside fades, we work out how many lights we can get away with having on while we complete the bedtime routine. Fortunately the bathroom is quite well hidden so we don’t have to deal with showering in the dark.

18:51 With just a little night light in Abigail’s bedroom to get her to sleep, we have to skip bedtime stories. Amazingly she doesn’t put up too much of a protest.

19:37 Abigail settled, Chandra and I sneak around outside for a bit to get a look at the starry sky. Nyepi night is the one night of the year you can appreciate the vast infinity of it.

20:00 We settle in for the night with a couple of candles in the bedroom. Sounds romantic? Add in an iPad and a laptop and you’ll get a better idea of how the evening is spent.

The next morning at 6am, everything goes back to normal. We survived Nyepi at home with a toddler.

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