# DAY 50 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Follow your passion and be happy

The trick to blending work and play, lies not in what you do, but in how you view what you do. See work as play and see play as important – super, very important. Don’t do what you love, do what you are.

Yesterday someone asked me: “What is the best part of your life on the Gili Islands compared to your previous life in The Netherlands?” I dint even had to think for one second and answered: “That my job doesn’t feel like a job anymore. I absolutely love every aspect of having my own business (besides doing accounting, I absolutely hate doing accounting). Although it can be very challenging to run a business 1) with your partner in crime 2) in a foreign country 3) with a different culture 4) away from your friends and family, I wouldn’t change it for the world.


It sounds so easy right: ‘just follow your passion’. But sometimes in life it’s as simple as that. 

To follow your passion simply means to begin to do what you love or have always wanted of doing, whether it be writing, painting, cooking, traveling, bodybuilding, etc. Screw the self-doubt, the lack of confidence, the comparing yourselves to social media-famous people who have thousands of followers doing what you aspire to do.

Follow your passion because aside from the cliché “lifetime of regret” you are not engaging in that one thing that could make you feel the most alive. Not following your passion is doing a disservice to the world. Hiding yourself prevents you connecting with communicating with others who share your passion. It alienates others who might marvel at your work, or better, become inspired by it.

And even worst, you are doing a disservice to yourself by neatly putting your passions away in a box labeled “things I’ll get to if I had more time, money, or talent,” When really, the time is now because you don’t even know what you are capable of yet. So tell me, what’s your passion?

Love Rose

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# DAY 48 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Father and daughter sharing a burger on the beach

Some days your brain just isn’t working the way you want it to. Some days you don’t accomplish anything. Some days you can’t find the perfect words to string together or find any inspiration. Some days there are no ideas, no words, and no motivation. On some days there is only one solution…. go to the beach with your dad and share a burger and be perfectly happy.

And remember: you’re allowed to give yourself a break. You’re allowed to take a day to rest. You’re allowed to not be perfect. You’re allowed to be human.

Love Rose

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# DAY 46 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Building a new villa on the Gili Islands

Can you believe that a few months ago there was a beautiful two storey villa standing here? Now it’s almost completely gone. Were once used to be the living room is now just earth. I can finally see the ground were we will start rebuilding our dream. It feels like a giant step.

‘Step by step, one foot in front of the other’. It became my mantra in the last months. No one can successfully build anything of great significance if you don’t recognize that your dreams are simply the final result of tiny efforts strung together. Your life is a masterpiece being created with the events that happen day after day.

A Tuesday usually just feels like a Tuesday, or a Wednesday a Wednesday. We consider most days to be single, ordinary days of the week. Yet each day added together creates an entire life. What we accomplish is a direct result of what we do with ordinary days. Those who accomplish extraordinary things aren’t more exceptional than anyone else. The difference is that they make small strides each day.

I wish you all a great ordinary Wednesday!

Love Rose

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# DAY 45 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Chocolate Cake

I absolutely love eating food. Any kind of food. Most of the time when I’m eating I’m already thinking about my next meal. And on most days my last thought before I fall asleep is what I should eat for breakfast tomorrow. But what I love even more than eating food is eating food in the company of great people.

Before the 5th of August we all lived together as one big family on the premises of Villa Nangka. Because the earthquake destroyed our house, the head office of our beloved Gili Shark Conservation Project and our villa’s we needed to find new headquarters for our research team, new accommodation for the volunteers and a new house for my Sunshine and me. We all ended up on different sides of the island and we went from seeing each other every day to seeing each other hardly at all.

I miss having my family around

I miss having the research team around, I miss their smiles, I miss their energy, I miss their stories, and I miss living together as one family. Missing them is a lonely journey, one that finds me constantly looking back to those sweet moments, those moments that made us into what we are.

To make sure we stay connected with each other, I started organizing family diners. Once every 10 days I cook for everyone and we eat all together in Villa Nangka. I’m definitely not a chef and I have to admit cooking for 20 people in an improvised kitchen is quite a challenge but I do it with pleasure. I cherish the moments where we’re all at the table. Together again as one family. Exchanging stories, asking each other for advice, making jokes, singing songs and laughing, a lot of laughing.

A very special birthday 

Last week it was Herman his birthday, we all pretended that we forgot and didn’t say anything all day. But as soon as everyone finished their diner, I sneaked out to get Herman his birthday cake. I light the candles and signal to Puja that he can start playing the guitar.

I walk slowly towards Herman in the hope the wind doesn’t blow out the candles. And in this magical moment my eyes find his eyes and I can see a few tears running down his cheeks. He looks confused, surprised, happy, overwhelmed and every emotion in between. For a moment it’s just him and me standing in front of each other while everyone in the background starts singing the Indonesian version of happy birthday. “No one ever bought me a birthday cake sayang” he says. With tears in my eyes I say “You can make a wish”. He closes his eyes, is silent for a few seconds and blows out the candles.

I’m not surprised by his confession he never had a cake before. All my boys told me when they got their first cake for their birthday they never had a real birthday cake before. But it still moves me every time when I see their emotions when blowing out the candles. Again a big big thank you to everyone who donated to our campaign. Because of you we can still have family dinners and Herman got his first birthday cake in his life when he became 24.

Love Rose

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# DAY 41 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Emotional reunion at the airport

A week past by since I wrote my last update. The reason for this is plain simple; when the two most beautiful souls on this planet travel to the other side of the world to hug me there is not much time for writing.

Last week I travelled to Bali to personally pick my parents up from the airport.  This is the fifth time they come and visit me and I’m as excited as a kid in a candy store. I remember how nervous they were when they came the first time. We spend many hours on the phone discussing what to bring, where to stay and what to do.  Nowadays I only receive the notification that they are coming, no questions are asked and no plans are made.

As a child, you more than likely think of your parents as some kind of superheroes. As you get older, you realize that your parents are still superheroes, just not in the way you thought. I see the humanity in my parents that maybe I didn’t see when I was a kid. I realize that they – for example – are also nervous when they go on a big trip. And seeing my parents with all their perfect imperfections, makes me love them even more than the time where I believed they were superheroes.

Waiting for my superheroes to arrive

While I’m standing in the arrival hall waiting for my superheroes to arrive, I suddenly release how much I missed them. I can literally feel the pain and suddenly the tears are coming. I want to feel their arms around me and I want to hear them say: “it’s all good, we are here now”.  And while I’m thinking about all the things that happened in my life since the last time they visit me, I see them. We fly into each other arms and hold each other so tight that it almost hurts.

A week passed by.  We received the new sketches from the architect, we love the general idea but there are still many decision to be made. There are days where I’m super excited to work on the design of the new Villa Nangka and there are the days that I just want to throw my laptop in a corner. It’s not always easy to make a simple decision as where to place a toilet when all you want is to have your old life back.

Luckily the sun never leaves for long

On those dark days where I can’t feel the sunshine on my soul it feels like we will never reach the finish line. It’s already November and there is still so much work to be done.  Luckily the sun never leaves for long. I can fall asleep crying and wake up the next morning feeling stronger than ever; we will get there, step by step, one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you just need to stop focusing on the big steps and start noticing all the little steps you’ve already done.

Love Rose

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# DAY 34 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Green rice fields in Ubud

It’s a strange feeling to be scared. As a kid I was scared of many things like the monsters under my bed, the cool kids in my class, thunderstorms and clowns. But as you grow older you realize there is no such thing as monsters, the cool kids in your class turned out to be not so cool at all, you realize thunderstorms are actually incredible beautiful and clowns are not scary but just stupid.

Full of excitement I stepped on the boat to Bali yesterday. I’ve been going to Bali many times over the last years but this time it was a bit more special. It’s the first time I’m leaving my tine little paradise island after the earthquake.

My good friend Wayan is waiting for me in Padang Bai and it’s so good to see his friendly Balinese eyes again. I treat myself on a little visit to my favorite books store, buy a little present for my sunshine, get my first hair cut in long long time and eat some yummy food before I check into my hotel.

Am I being a realist or being ridiculous?

“Here you go miss Rose, your room is on the third floor” says the receptionist while he is handing over my key. As soon as I hear the word “third floor” I feel a slight panic. What is this guy thinking? Why would anyone in the world want to stay on the third floor of a hotel? Does he realize you most likely not make it out alive when there is a 7.0 earthquake? Of course he doesn’t, he hasn’t been in a 7.0 earthquake and is just doing his job.

I asked myself whether I am being a realist or being ridiculous. I see my fear as a sign of weakness which is one my least favorite feelings in the word. So I take the key, give him a friendly smile and head towards the elevator. On my way to my room, I study the walls, search for cracks, look for possible exits and make several escape plans.

I am scared of a big big monster who listens to the name earthquake

Once I’m inside, I see a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I see the fear in my eyes. Soon the realization follows: I’m a 34 year old woman and I’m scared. I’m scared for a big big monster who listens to the name earthquake.

I believe my biggest personal flaw is the inability to sometimes express, or even acknowledge, my fears in a rational and logical manner. I take what I’m feeling, put it in a box, and throw away the key in hopes that these feelings will just disappear over time. Unfortunately, they don’t, and yesterday my box opened.

I sit down with my fear and tell her: “I’m not leaving, I’m going to sit here with you till I feel comfortable. I love staying in hotels and visit roof top bars. I like shopping malls and cinemas and I’m not going to stop visiting them just because you rocked up in my life.”

Embrace your fears and chase your dreams

Sitting on the floor of this hotel room makes me realize; sometimes, it’s okay to not have the pieces of your life put together. Sometimes, fear needs to be felt. And sometimes, it’s okay to be scared. We are entitled to our own feelings, and if fear is what it takes to realize we have to put our doubts and uncertainties behind us, then so be it. And as long as we are able to acknowledge its presence and not allow it to hold us back, fear can serve as a powerful tool in moving forward.

So, embrace your fears and chase your dreams.

Love Rose

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# DAY 32 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Sunset on a tropical island

What do you do when some of your friends don’t feel comfortable sharing their problems with you anymore? Because their problems are nothing compared to your problems. Because what’s happening in their life is in no comparison what’s happening in your life.

I realize we live in an age of competition and comparison but we need to stop comparing our problems. My problems are not more or less important than your problems. The truth is, we are all on completely separate journeys. Our destinations are entirely different, and entirely independently beautiful.

Yes the last 3 months were really tough but there were also many beautiful moments. It was not only misery, grief and sadness. And yes there were days where I felt as useless as the letter L in lasagna. But there were also the days were I felt I was on top of the world.

I want to know it all

When you are my friend, I want to know how you are feeling. I want to know what made you happy and what made you sad. I want to know every little detail of the stories that are important for you. I want to know all about your annoying colleague, your children chicken pox, your horrible date and the fight you had with your sister.

So please keep sharing your life with me. The good things and the bad stuff. Don’t compare it to my life. Don’t think your problems are not important compared to my problems. Don’t think your bad days don’t count anymore. Don’t think I’m too busy to be there for you.

I am still here, I am still me. And when everyone tells you you’re crazy, I will still stand firmly by your side, and reassure you that your thoughts are one of a kind.

Love Rose

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# DAY 31 OF PROJECT CINLOC

project CINLOC

There is a reason why we call our boys ‘our boys’ and not ‘our staff’ which is actually plain simple; they are ‘our boys’. All six of them live together with us on the premises of Villa Nangka and they feel like our family. We live and work so closely together that there is no hiding, they’ve seen it all. They’ve seen us crying, they’ve seen us laughing, they’ve seen us fighting and they’ve seen us making up. They’ve seen us when we’ve been really sick and they’ve seen us coming home drunk. They’ve seen us being really worried about the business and they’ve seen how determined we are to get back on our feet. They’ve seen the good and the bad and everything in between.

We hired our boys based on their willingness to learn, not upon experience. Some of them had no experience at all and didn’t even speak English when they started working for us. It is truly amazing to see them grow and developing their skills over the last years. We want to help them to fight for their dreams and see them come to life.

A new job description for everyone

As soon as we knew we had to close our business it was our wish to find a way to keep our boys and with the help of so many amazing people this wish came true. But there was one small challenge: we had six staff and no guests to check in and no villa’s to clean.

We had to change their job description completely and discovered they are even more multitalented than we thought. Nowadays they are cooking for our workers, they help with the demolishing and they help with the project planning. They are stepping into their new roles so easily and they continue moving forward with so much faith. It’s very inspiring to witness how easily they adjust to changes and just accept whatever comes their way. And I guess that’s the only way; focus all your energy not on fighting the old but one building the new.

Love Rose

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# DAY 27 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Building a new boutique hotel on Gili Air

Who would have thought that taking a house apart would almost take as much time as building one? We started taking down our Villa’s six weeks ago.They are almost finished taking down our house and then there is only one villa left; the headquarters of the Gili Shark Conservation Project.

Which means ‘soonish’ we will have a clean canvas and we can start a brand new painting. The beauty in starting over is that it helps you to find the blessings in endings. It helps you to find the good in goodbyes and the magic that lies beyond your comfort zone. Now I know we can start over and we can still live a life we’re proud of, a life that excites us and a life that inspires us.

The first glimpse of the New Villa Nangka

We received the first raw sketches from our architect and we are absolutely in love with the design! At the moment they are still adjusting the sketches, but as soon as we have the final drawings of the new Villa Nangka we will share them with you. It’s a great feeling to turn pain into power and to dream about the future again. It’s great to know that pain doesn’t last forever and even scars will fade over time.

There were so many days in the last 3 months where I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Days were I just kept repeating to myself; “Don’t think about the future, don’t even think about tomorrow, and just get through this day. Step by step, one foot in front of the other.” Now (on most days) I’m excited to make new plans, and I tell myself every day that one day we will open the Villa Nangka which we are dreaming of today. Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll open something much greater than that.

Love Rose

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# DAY 25 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Girl in Joglo House

Celebrating that our new website is online! Now everyone in the world can follow the adventures of project CINLOC. Check out the true story behind Villa Nangka, a glimpse of our little paradise before the earthquake and all the blogs I wrote in the last 3 months.

It’s the first time in my life I share my life so publicly. My feelings, my thoughts, my dreams, my tears, my world. I’m not always sure of when, where, why and what to share. How much transparency, authenticity and vulnerability is too much?

Thank you for sharing our story!

As soon as people started to respond to my writing, I realized that it maybe was not only healing for me, maybe it was even healing for others. I carry another world inside my head and to share it with the rest of the world is on most days really scary and on some days really exciting.

I would like to thank everyone for sharing our story. Thank you for telling the little girl inside of me that her voice matters. Thank you for encouraging her to think big. Thank you for letting her write with honesty and authenticity. No filter, no bullshit, just my truth.|

Feel free to SHARE!

Love Rose

P.s. You can also follow our journey here:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/villanangka
Facebook: https://facebook.com/villanangka/