May 10, 2015 | Justine Couvielos | 3 Comments How to start a blog post about my birthday in Bali? #Blessed? #Epic? #HolyShit? Ah yes…I believe the third option so eloquently describes how I’m feeling. Because, holy shit! I’m actually getting to celebrate my birthday in Bali, when can I say that again?! For those of you who know me, my birthday is a big deal. In fact, I typically have a birthday month…because apparently I’m a 5 year old and I need to celebrate all month long. Luckily for me, I have friends who will take birthday shots with me on May 20th when birthday is actually May 4th (May the fourth be you!). This year I have decided to shorten my birthday celebrations to only a week rather than an entire month, only because we’re traveling for a year and I don’t think our budget will allow for drinks every night. However, I think having just one birthday week in Bali will more than make up for the shortened celebrations. With that said, if you’re reading this post on May 20th (or any other day in May), please feel free to take birthday shot for me! My birthday week began by taking a weekend trip to The Bukit Peninsula, an hour and a half from Ubud, which is home to some of the best beaches in Bali. We took full advantage of being so close to all these amazing beaches and went on a bit of a beach crawl. On Friday, May 1st (Birthday week begins!) we made our way to Padang Padang and Bingin Beach. Both were beautiful beaches, however Bingin Beach was definitely our favorite. We got a serious glute workout as we climbed down the steep cliffs to get to the beach, where we spent most of the day laying out, swimming in the crystal clear waters, and watching the surfers ride some waves. Perfect start to a birthday week! Padang Padang Beach Path getting down to Bingin Beach Bingin Beach After our beach day, we did a quick outfit change from beach bum attire to our luxury hotel swag. Once we were dresses appropriately, we went to the Ayana Resort to get a few drinks at their famous Rock Bar. Unfortunately the Rock Bar was completely packed, but they had tables set-up above the cliffs allowing us to watch the sunset. The first birthday toast and it was perfect! Sun setting, cold glass of wine and live music. Cling Cling, here’s to turning 26 in Bali! Once the sun had set we did a bit of exploring to find a place to eat. We ended up driving passed Balique – Vintage Cafe and had a delicious dinner to end our busy day… laying out on beaches and sipping back wine while watching the sunset can really take it out of you. With such an amazing start to my birthday week maybe you can guess how Saturday, May 2nd went? I’ll give you a hint it starts with food and ends with poisoning and sprinkle in a some down pouring rain. Oh yes, that’s right Nick ended up getting food poisoning and it rained the entire day. Although I felt so bad for Nick it actually wasn’t bad to be stuck in the hotel for the day. While in Bali we haven’t had AC or TV and it had been a little over a month since we had enjoyed these two finer things. So while Nick was frequenting to the bathroom, I binged watched all the TV and movies I could! Keeping up with the Kardashians (caught up!), re-watched some classic movies such as Easy A, Avengers and Jack Ryder (well done Tom Cruise), and curled up under the blankets because we had the AC cranked up baby! In room 306 it was winter in Bali. Also, since it was down pouring rain we weren’t missing any beach time, so it was the perfect scenario. I watched endless TV/movies in the air conditioning and Nick had a comfortable room when he wasn’t feeling well. Win, win (besides the food poisoning)! On Sunday, May 3rd, Nick still wasn’t feeling 100% so I ventured out of the hotel room and went to the beach with a few girls we are volunteering with. Girl time? Could it be? It’s been so long! We headed to Balangan Beach, which was perfectly surrounded by cliffs and palm trees. After spending a few hours at the beach we headed back to the hotel to hang out at our roof top pool, because a birthday isn’t complete without a roof top pool. Once we had knocked back a few Bintang’s we went out to dinner (Nick was feeling much better… hooray!) at a great Italian restaurant, which was followed by Sunday Session’s at Single Fin. Sunday Session’s at Single Fin is a must if you’re looking to soak up the Uluwatu night life. We ended up leaving a bit early then we had planned…what can I say I just can’t throw it down like the good ole college days, but it was still a great way to end the night! Roof Top Pool! The day you’ve all been waiting for, my actually birthday: Monday, May 4th. To start the day of my birth, Nick and I took a trip to Pura Luhur Uluwatu, a Balinese sea temple in Uluwatu, which couldn’t have been more perfect. We went early in the morning to avoid all the crowds and got to enjoy the amazing views of this temple perched above the cliffs. Just check out the photos below! However, since we are volunteering Monday-Thursday we had to head back to Ubud after our Temple visit to be back in time for class. And I’m so happy we got back in time because the kids and teacher assistants made my birthday so special. When I got to the school, the teacher assistants had brought me flowers and sang Happy Birthday accompanied with some guitar playing by one of our very talented TA’s. After class I was surprised again, when Nick had his class make Birthday card’s for me with honestly some of nicest messages I’ve ever read. Another reason why the Balinese people are so incredibly caring. Crap…I think I’m getting a little sentimental! Quick give me a baby to slap! After class ended, Nick and I headed over to a restaurant with great views of the rice fields; Indus. We ate, drank fresh squeezed juices (with no alcohol, believe me that’s a first on my birthday) and I got to blow out some candles to make my first birthday wish. Although I’m pretty sure I have everything I could wish for….#blessed? I think so! It was honestly one of the best birthdays I’ve had and couldn’t have asked for more… but like I said, it was my birthday week so why not keep celebrating? And celebrate we did! On Wednesday, May 6th, Nick continued to show what an amazing boyfriend he is by booking us some birthday massages and body scrubs at Taksu Spa. Getting a massage at Taksu is legit like traveling to a tropical paradise, where you get lost between the palm trees, sip on tea and get coffee/cinnamon body scrubs. This is living my friends… Ginger Tea after our massages! Now let’s fast forward to Friday, May 8th, where the birthday celebrations continued with a surprise dinner overlooking the river at Swept Away at The Samaya. At this point I kind of feel like I’m bragging, but Nick seriously out did himself. Boyfriends who are reading this post take notes. Dinner at Swept Away was absolutely unforgettable! Nick had called ahead to have them decorate the table we would be sitting at. I’m sure from looking at this pictures below your wondering if a ring was later presented in the cake? Not yet, Mom… we still have a lot more of the world to see before we settle down. The food, atmosphere and staff at Swept Away were all so incredible. There was even the added bonus of them having one of our favorite wines; HobNob! We only know like two brands of wine that we love and they had one of them, a birthday miracle. Now to give you a quick breakdown of what we ate; Apps: duck foie gras and seared scallops, Dinner: waygu 2 ways (which included beef cheek and short rib… remember when I was a vegetarian?) and waygu sirloin. In case you’re wondering waygu means Japanese cow and it was delicious! And finally for dessert… a mini birthday cake which Nick had ordered ahead of time. Seriously, I’m making a “Best Boyfriend” plaque to be placed above our non-existent mantel. After a perfect dinner, I think The Samaya had it right… I was definitely Swept Away. Sunday, May 10th! How to finish the most epic birthday week of my life? Well I can only think of one way; waking up at 3am to hike up Mt. Batur and watching the sunrise from above the clouds. We will be writing a separate post out this in the upcoming weeks, so I’ll just share a few details. I can’t remember the last time I watched the sunrise, but I think I’ll start doing it more often. The sunrise from Mt. Batur was so incredibly beautiful that it put everything in perspective. Although when I come home I’ll be broke and jobless (better known as fun employed), this trip was the best decision I’ve ever made and will hopefully shape the next chapter in my life. Ugh… another sentimental sentence, what has become of me? All jokes aside, my 26th birthday week in Bali is one I’m never going to forget, and fingers crossed I’ll be celebrating my 27th birthday in another part of the world that will let me experience so many new and amazing things. Cheers to now being closer to 30 than 20! Have you celebrated your birthday abroad? Lets celebrate together and tell us about it!