Borneo: Sun, Wind, Water, and Fire

We woke up later than usual today and enjoyed what can only be called an epic breakfast at the hotel. I could write an entire post about it but since I’m guessing you have other things you’re curious about I will just say that there was a chocolate fountain. At breakfast. How can we ever go back to corn flakes after this? I’m really asking.

We had a truly amazing day here at the Shangri-La. We spent the morning doing water sports like banana boating, water skiing, and sailing on a catamaran. It was a blast. (A couple folks who wanted to try water skiing but didn’t get a chance today will go tomorrow morning!) We enjoyed swimming in the warm ocean water (with very few jellyfish sightings!) and lounging by the pool. Sadly, it seems our sunscreen reapplication did not go as well as I’d hoped so a few of us are a little pink. Nothing too bad but the Renkert Aloe is being put to good use (thank you Melissa and Chris!). The food at the resort continued to wow us at lunch where we feasted on everything from authentic Malaysian cuisine (coconut curry chicken and laksa!) to fried chicken and burgers. We also enjoyed some pretty amazing ice cream. Some of us opted for exotic flavors (coconut and caramel with honeycomb!) and some stuck with old favorites. Our lunch lasted almost two hours and it was so nice to get the chance to catch up with everyone. We talked about water polo season (starting Tuesday—some of our travelers are very excited about this), how much the kids love their advisors, and so much more. After lunch we did more swimming and sailing (taking care to stay in the shade!).

Before dinner we had time for a quick (and gorgeous) photo shoot on the beach during the sunset. After Mr. Seamon got the last shots, the kids ran to the sand to watch the last of the sun dip behind the horizon. Then we took a few minutes to reflect on the trip in our journals. While I haven’t written about journaling in this blog, it’s been a big part of the trip. Tonight the kids were asked what they learned from the trip. We sat in a circle and volunteers shared their reflections with the group. This closing circle (what I call it in theatre) gave me yet another opportunity to see what insightful and caring students we have. They shared specific things about people we’d met along the way that impacted them (for example, a young Dutch woman we met in the KK airport who was travelling alone through Thailand and Malaysia before going to med school), and how much empathy they developed through the trip. At the end they surprised Mr. Seamon and I with cards…it was a pretty beautiful evening.

We didn’t have time to get too emotional because soon the resort show began and we had front row seats. (I don’t know how or why but they put us in the very front and we were pumped.) We were treated to a number of cultural dances that included some pretty special audience participation (yes, there is video) and ended with a display of insane pyrotechnics. (The photos and videos do it more justice than any words could so make sure you check those out!) Some of us were concerned for the dancers and other enthralled. Either way, we left feeling in awe of the brave dancers. It reminded us of our night in the longhouse—the first time we saw a traditional cultural dance here. It felt like we had come full circle.

We took a walk to the beach to see the water at night and even dipped our feet in. (Did I mention that the water is warm?) We spent a few minutes in quiet reflection down at the beach and spent the time marveling at the stars.

Somehow these kiddos lobbied for a later bedtime (11:30!) and wake-up call (8:30!) because they want to spend as much time together as possible tonight. “Haven’t you spent all day for the last 13 days together?” I wanted to say. But I didn’t. Because they care about each other so much and how can we argue if they want to squeeze all they can out of this time?

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