Posted on Mar 18th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Travel)

As you know, I was invited to spend my birthday at a lovely villa in Bali.

After a 23 hour journey, including layover in Taipei, I arrived to this lush, green island and was welcomed by my son and his family. Except for 9 month old Aysia, who burst into tears as soon as she saw me.

We’ve spent a lot of time relaxing in the pool and in the house, talking, a little time sightseeing, and have been enjoying every minute. I love this opportunity to reconnect with my sweet family. And I’ve been taking a lot of photos for future posts.

You’d think that just being in Bali, relaxing at a villa where all the meals are fresh prepared, all my needs are attended to, a gorgeous pool outside my door and a glorious view of the valley would be enough of a birthday gift, wouldn’t you.

What more could you ask for?

I was given the honor of selecting our meals for the day (prepared by the wonderful cook, Ketut). We had a delicious black rice porridge for breakfast, along with fresh fruit. For lunch, a tasty pasta primavera. For dinner, chicken curry.

I spent some time in the pool, a little time online, and after lunch enjoyed a 90 minute massage on the patio. One of the best massages I’ve ever had, and cost only $22.50.

Little did I know that while I was enjoying my massage, the family and household staff were busily preparing for my surprise birthday celebration.

I walked back into the house to find fresh flowers lining every step, woven coconut leaf decorations hung everywhere, a huge bouquet of fresh tuberose on the table, and furniture pushed back against the walls.


What could it mean???

We decided to take advantage of the open space to dance! Aysia appropriately chose my birthday to warm up enough to let me hold her 🙂 as we sang and danced around the room to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.” We’re good friends again now (though mommy is still her favorite, of course).

After dinner, Ketut brought out my birthday cake and the family sang.

Yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

And just as delicious was the home-made passion fruit ice cream with kiwi fruit. Pure heaven.

While I was enjoying the view of the candles reflecting in the swimming pool, Brandon came to tell me that my guests were arriving.



I walked into the living room to discover at least 30 young Balinese children from the neighborhood politely sitting on the floor, and an array of ornate instruments opposite them under the hanging decorations.

I had no idea what was coming next.

While we waited, Aysia delighted the children by crawling toward them and then smiling and clapping for them. She, in turn, was just as delighted that they clapped and smiled back at her.

Soon it was time for the performance to begin…. and I learned that Brandon & Jennifer had arranged for a Balinese theatre/dance company to come entertain us with traditional Balinese dances. (Isn’t he an amazing son?)

Barong, Baris, Pendet Flower and Cendrawasih (Bird of Paradise) Dances, accompanied by the Gamelan… I think the video will tell the story best….

I wish we’d captured video of the whole “Happy Birthday” song from the Balinese children – it was so sweet. Really a special finale.

This was the best birthday I could ever imagine. The only thing that could possibly have made it better would be to have had all of you attend the party too!

(14) Comments   


Jean on March 18th, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thank you for letting us share in your birthday with the video and pictures.. You did indeed have an amazing and wonderful birthday.. I am so happy that you are able to have such great experiences.

Michelle on March 18th, 2012 at 10:13 am

WOW WOW! Certainly a birthday that you will never forget, how sweet of Brandon to plan this for you! The flowers on the steps, the food, the pool, the massage….ahhhh I’m thrilled for you honey.

paul on March 18th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

What an incredible surprise. What an over the top experience. I’m as speechless as I ever get.

Kathleen Pearce on March 18th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Like Paul, I am speechless. What an amazing birthday! I can’t think of anyone who deserves this experience more, it was perfect for you. Can’t wait to talk to you. x

Carla Kooij on March 18th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience in Bali so beautifully … I loved watching the native dancers of Bali express themselves and the whole event seemed to be a treat for the children too. You deserve it and I hope you have many more adventurous fulfilling birthdays like this one!

Your friend always,

ken on March 18th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

What a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing the photos and video. xx

Jennifer Pearce on March 18th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

It was such a fun and magical day! I’m so glad you spent your birthday with us and we could all enjoy celebrating it together. It made for such a special opportunity that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. 🙂 It enhances every experience for the better to have you here with us.

Kristin on March 18th, 2012 at 8:22 pm

How wonderful! What an amazing birthday celebration! (Great job, Brandon & Jen!!) It looks so fascinating! The costumes were beautiful. I’m delighted that you have enjoyed such a memorable and meaningful birthday adventure! I wish I’d been there, too! Thanks for sharing photos & video with us. 🙂

Brandon on March 19th, 2012 at 1:16 am

So glad you could be here for your birthday and that you enjoyed the celebration! I can’t really take credit for organizing it, though. There’s no way Jen and I could have done it all. It was really the wonderful staff at the villa who handled everything. But I’m so glad we got to enjoy the day with you. Happy Birthday Mom!

Ashley Rae on March 19th, 2012 at 8:19 am

Wow! That is incredible. I am so happy you were able to spend your birthday with Brandon and Jennifer- in paradise. What an incredible experience. I would have loved to be there to do all of that with you- but second best is seeing the pictures and the video 🙂 Amazing.

Happy birthday!!

Irene on March 19th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

What an amazing,incredible, memorable birthday. It will be difficult if not impossible to top such a celebration. It was so fun to share it through your post videos and photos.Thanks for sharing. I’m sure Emily and Marie loved participating in all the preparations and trying to keep it a surprise for you. I’m so happy you can spend this time with your very dear precious family.

Anne Heartsong on March 20th, 2012 at 8:43 am

Oh my goodness! How beautiful and how truly wonderful to be celebrated in this way! Now I hope you truly believe in your MAGNIFICENCE!! You look so beautiful in the birthday cake picture. Love and hugs my friend!

Margie Aliprandi on March 23rd, 2012 at 10:53 am

Oh my gosh!!! I was watching the video and looking at the photos with tears streaming down my face. What a beautiful experience. Brandon and family know how to throw a party. I am so happy to see these pics and to see you in such beautiful surroundings. How do you like having your own private pool?? You manifested that one quickly:) The joyful ripple effect of that special day will be remembered by everyone who took part. WOW WOW WOW. The cake looked divine. Love you. Continue to soak it all up…Can’t wait to see and hear more.

[…] was a really fun evening and interesting cultural experience. You can read about it in detail on my mom’s blog with pictures and […]

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