The background story of preservARTion

Remember a month ago I went to visit Blangsinga for a meeting with 150+ men that led me to being invited to a special ceremony? Well it all led to the planning of preservARTion.

My dad and I were invited to Griya Blangsinga where the living dance legend, Maestro Gus Aji Blangsinga, lives and teaches. He apologetically explained to us that his house is a mess because he’s currently raising funds to build a dance studio there to welcome even more students and teach them the real and traditional Balinese dance. We were stunned by how much it means to him to preserve such art. It got us thinking, how can we help this 86 years old man preserve this treasure? Better yet, how do we share his dream with more people?

Here’s what we came up with:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 6.17.28 PMIf you happen to be in Bali on August 14th, please do consider coming! The team and I have been working our asses off for this event. We hope tourists, expats, and locals alike will join us for this special night featuring the legend himself. I have had the honour to watch him dance and it was just remarkable for an 86-year old man to still be dancing with such elegance and energy. Through this event, we hope we will inspire more people to conserve and appreciate the true treasure of Bali, its art.

Know your target audience

Last week was a week full of different religion celebrations here in Indonesia. On Wednesday, July 15 Bali celebrated Galungan, a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when the ancestral spirits visit Earth. On Friday, July 17 it was Eid al-Fitr and Muslims throughout the world have a joyous three-day celebration of the end of their month-long fasting season.

The hotel had planned a special buffet for the Friday and Saturday as we expected full occupancy during the period. The team was well prepared after having a big spill over crowd from the seafood cafe across the street coming in last year. I thought, how great, the team is well prepared this year because they planned ahead.

Late Tuesday, I was just at the Lobby area when Win was the bartender attending our lobby bar. I congratulated him for his newborn and our conversation went from A to Z from there. He informed me the seafood cafe across the street will all be closed tomorrow. All 10+ of them. A lightbulb went on in my head. This is our opportunity. This is a golden opportunity for us to take over their crowd even for one night. I quickly made a call to one of the owners of the seafood cafe across the street to confirm it, he said yes, the cafes will all be closed for Galungan. This is great!

I rushed down to the restaurant and met with Alan to inform him. He gathered the team together. Our Executive Chef, Sous Chef, F&B Leader, and Security. The famous seafood cafes that attract thousands of diners will be closed tomorrow, should we take on the opportunity to have a seafood buffet at our hotel instead? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Everybody agreed in a heartbeat. We didn’t know if it will be successful or not, but it seemed like a good idea. Alright, all team activate. F&B will take care of the manning schedule; chefs to make sure we have enough inventory; security to place their men at the right place tomorrow.

Wednesday afternoon came quickly. Alan called to ask if it was okay to move the event from the rooftop to the restaurant. It’s too windy up there. Sure, why not. When I checked the area at around 4, the banner was already up. The decorations were already out. We even got a BBQ set outside to grill some onions just to entice people with the smell. It’s five. I got anxious. The parking lot across the street was never that empty.

There I stood. For hours. I had flyers and menu in my hand and with my high heels I stood just outside of the hotel, waiting and waiting. I smiled at every car that turned into the parking lot, hoping they would stop and come in.

I was wrong.

I was rejected over and over again. None of the cars stopped. As soon as they saw the empty parking lot and the seafood cafes door closed, they turned around right away. I never been rejected that many times in my life. I was so embarrassed. Did I mislead my team? Did I let them down? No time to back down now, Stephanie. I straightened up my posture, put on a bigger smile, and kept my team positive. Inside, I was praying over and over again that we would at least get 10 people to cover the cost.

The evening turned to night. More cars turning around. But patience is a virtue. We got two people to come in and sit down. And then two more. And then four more. And then some more.

When I looked at my watch next, it was already 7:30pm and I realize I have been standing there for 3.5 hours. I went to check on the restaurant and sat down with my mom. I told her it was a great learning experience. The idea was created in a spur of the moment. I did not even think who the real target audience was. We hold these seafood buffet every weekend and it’s always foreigners that come. Yet there I was, standing for hours trying to get the local guests that normally come to the seafood cafe for the sunset on the beach and for the seafood. Yes we had both but the cost was not what they usually pay and we do not have direct access to the beach.

Thankfully we closed the night with 24 people enjoying the seafood buffet. More than our typical weekends. More than I expected. Most of them were our stay-in guests just like any other weekends. They are indeed our target market. We should have promoted inside the hotel. The occupancy was high that day, we could have got more people to stay and dine. Lessons learned.

Looking back now, I am glad I took on the opportunity to do it. Of course I am grateful it’s successful but we would never know if we did not try right?

Are you the next Hootsuite Global Advocacy Lead?

After a few months of hiatus, the Hootsuite Community team finally put out the search for the next Global Advocacy Lead.

I absolutely loved my role as the Global Ambassador Lead and wish I could apply for the position again. It was indeed the most rewarding role I’ve ever held. It was not just another job, it was my passion. How could it not? Every day was different. Every day I got to interact with smart people from all around the world. Every day we brainstormed creative ways to advocate and share our knowledge with others.The ‪#‎HootAmb‬ family has taught me so much and the Community team at Hootsuite is a joy to work with. If you genuinely love building and celebrating community, you’ll love this job. Trust me.

For more info: https://hootsuite.com/about/careers/community/Global-Advocacy-Lead

Not enough

How good is good enough? Everyone has their own standards. At one point we just need to accept the fact that we are just humans. We cannot possibly see every single flaw and work on everything all at once.

Ever since I arrived here in Bali, I have been keeping a close eye on the details of the hotel and try to get the team to fix them right away. Well people always say the apple does not fall far from the tree. Perhaps it’s true. With my dad being here, he noticed a hundred more things I have not noticed. It’s great he cares so much and I admire his eye for detail, but at the same time, it leaves me feeling a little frustrated. I feel like I have been slacking off to not have noticed the details he found. So how good is good enough? I think I am at the point where I just need to admit that it’s true. I have not gone through everything at the hotel and I did miss a bunch BUT I have also successfully identified and fixed a few. Of course it is easier to find what’s wrong. There’s one quote stuck with me ever since I first heard it in third year: Good design is invisible. It’s true, when things are done right, you don’t notice it as much because it’s doing exactly what you want/need it to and therefore, you don’t think much of it.

Let this be a motivation for me to continue improving both the hotel and myself.

Summer Berries

Ah how I miss the taste of fresh summer berries! They’re pretty much the number one reason why I love Summer so much!

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Having gone berry picking for a few years now, I certainly miss it this year. I tried looking for blueberries here but I could not find any! Maybe some frozen ones, but even those are rare. Some nights before I hit the hay, I think about the weeks where I sold blueberries at work two years ago. I literally sold over 150 lbs a week and was making some good, quick bucks out of them. I spent the money earned to buy even more blueberries for myself. I can finish 10lbs in a week by myself! Yes, I love them that much.

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Of course being here in a tropical country has its perks too. The mangoes are sweeter, the fruits are cheaper, but I cannot help but to crave for those berries. Can someone please FedEx some over?!

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I hope there will be some left when I’m in Vancouver in August!

Time to own it

With the passing of my good friend’s dad last night, I was reminded again that life is short. So why waste another second on being unhappy?

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The last few weeks have been pretty rough on me but as Eric and Greg said, we need those in life. We need to feel a little unhappy sometimes so we know and appreciate happiness is more. They are right. Absolutely right. And after all, I really have nothing to complain about. Everything is great and I just need to own it. This is the decision i have made and this life is no one but my own. I need to step up and embrace this transition before it eats me up. After all, life is short and I do not want to waste my one shot in life.

Trip to Mara River Safari Lodge& Canyoning at Gitgit Waterfall

My mom came to visit this weekend for a wedding and I did not waste on this opportunity to take her out on an adventure! I planned on bringing her to Le Pirate at Nusa Ceningan but found out just a day before that they had a fire accident and our reservation had to be canceled. I quickly looked for another alternative and found Mara River Safari Lodge and thought it would be a good opportunity to check the place out and see if it would be fun for my nephews when they come to visit in August.

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Opened in 2007, Mara River Safari Lodge offers their guests a unique and immersive experience of living in a Safari. Our Swala comes with a direct view of the safari animals and some carrots to feed them. The hotel also offers multiple activities throughout the day including piranha feeding, elephant bathing, dine with lions, white tiger show, night safari.

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We had fun interacting with some of the animals there but had worse luck with the service. Considering how much I paid for the room, the service was subpar to say the least. They did not seem interested in pleasing the guests and we had to wait at least 5 minutes every time we want to go or leave the hotel.

Beside the hotel experience, I wanted to do something fun, something a little bit crazy. I have been done anything too fun since I got back to Indonesia so I looked for something i have not done before. After hours of googling, I found this company that does canyoning in North Bali. I had I had never really heard of canyoning before and did not know what to expect. My poor mom had no clue, none whatsoever, what we were doing until we got to the base camp.

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We left the hotel at 6am and drove two hours to Singaraja to the base camp of Adventure And Spirit : Indonesian Team of Canyoning. We were quickly strapped in and in just two hours, we successfully rappelled down 7 waterfalls, slide down 5 times, jumped from a 4m, 2m, and 6 metres cliff, ziplined, and swam in the cold water! 

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What an incredible adventure! I have been wanting to do cliff diving but never really gathered enough courage and met anyone that wants to do it with me. I’m so glad I had the chance to test myself with the jumps today. My heart stopped when I jumped off the first time, but it quickly caught up by the second and third. I am so proud of my brave mom for completing the whole course with me and to think of it, it was really risky considering her age. But she was such a great sport and had a huge smile on her face the whole time.

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Watch the highlights from our trip here.

If you are ever in Bali, I highly recommend giving canyoning with the Adventure and Spirit guys a try! I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you mas Angga and mas Rama for being such great guides!

Dear Dad,

There are not enough words in the world to describe you. Smart, wise, inspiring, creative, tech-savvy, supportive, generous.

It has always been a pleasure listening to you ideas and dreams, but now that I am working here in Bali, I finally see how much work you have put on to build this amazing life for our family. One look at the hotel and one can tell how much care and thought put into it. You have also inspired and empowered the staff here and many others to realize their full potentials. I am truly honoured to be your daughter and I hope one day I will meet a man as great as you are.

Happy Father’s Day.

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3 weeks in

It has been over three weeks since I packed up my luggage and leave the life I had back in Vancouver. And let me tell you now, it has not been easier. I scroll on Facebook and Instagram endlessly. I walk around with an empty stare. I cry myself to sleep. Now now, I don’t want to be all dramatic. Honestly, life has been really good here too. I got a great team, a beautiful property, and a wonderful opportunity in front of me.

It is just hard. Transitions are hard and especially when done alone. I know and I remember vividly what it is like to be on top of the world, to feel happy and loved immensely. Now I go home to the empty hotel room and go through the day without really talking to anyone that cared about my day. Of course everything is glorified on social media. Everyone thinks I am having the time of my life. Little do anyone know that I am hurting and crying here. I keep reminding myself that this is just the beginning and I need to give myself some time to adjust. I just need to get out more, find new friends, find new hobby, find new everything. It is just hard to force myself to do all that because I know I already had it all and I am too lazy to start a new life all over again. I know what happiness is like and this is not it. Thankfully I have my support crew that kept me sane during this crazy time:

  • My family who’s just a Whatsapp away and always cheering me up with tons of videos and photos of my nephews and niece
  • Diana L. for always being there ready to listen to anything and everything
  • Eric P. for letting me let loose and be silly
  • Mike T. for keeping me in check
  • Kingsley C. for keeping me up to speed with Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley
  • Marina T. for making me super excited about NYC

I’m glad I have Alan and Joe here too. At least they are the only two that treat me as a friend and I really, really appreciate that.

Three weeks in and I like to think I have done quite a bit to make an impact here. I just need to keep my chin up and force myself to get out there more.