First thoughts from Ubud/Sayan, Bali

I want to write regualar e-mails to everybody about what is going on here for me, but actually every day is quite full for me (do not read as stressful or fast paced…) so I will post some thoughts and photos here for everybody. I hope you enjoy.

So far Bali is amazing. I was picked up from the airport in a blurry whirl wind. In Bali, anybody who knows pays a customs police officer to bring you through the airport. It takes two seconds, they don’t look at anything, and it is kind of a ridiculous joke. After that a driver drove me to my house in Ubud/Sayan, which is a more peaceful, less touristy area near my workplace. Driving a car in Bali is mostly about hugging the center line and seeing who you can weave around like a maniac. Driving the scooters actually has less of a logical pattern, but I seem to have gotten used to the driving already. Everybody seems to know what they’re doing, and they also seem to be hyper conscious of the myriad dogs, chickens, cows, kite flyers, and old ladies wandering in the street, not to mention the potholes that are like small lakes. Anyway, my house here is on a beautiful river, which to the Balinese is considered highly sacred. The back yard is basically a wall of jungle. It is always alive with insect, frog, bird, and sometimes monkey noise.

Everything about my house is open to the elements, except my bed. But here even sleeping is done with the door wide open to catch the cool night breeze, in order to break up the oppressive, humid heat. I am typing on my couch, outside, with the company of lizards. My kitchen is outside as well. When I arrived at my house, there were offerings to the Hindu gods (primary religion of Bali), at various places in my house (such as on my stove and refrigerator, on various alters, and in front of my door). This is done on a daily basis here, and food is always put out as an offering before it is ever dined upon in Bali. When I arrived there were also hibiscus and orchids on my pillows and towels, fresh flowers in my room, and a stand of the most amazing mangosteens, passion fruits, and snakefruits on my table.

My impressions of the Balinese so far have been interesting. They are the friendliest, kindest, most peaceful people I have ever met. Their culture is intensely spiritual, and they regularly profess their lack of concern for money over their own happiness and sense of community. Everyone has made an effort to introduce me to their ways and culture, and to be very welcoming. They are eager to learn from new people on their island, and are very dedicated in their jobs. I was informed when I got here that to yell at the Balinese staff will never accomplish anything, that they will fold in on themselves and stop engaging with you. You always need to explain why you want to do something, and why it is a good thing to do, and then they will follow it through with you. This to me sounds like the most perfect situation I could have asked for.

That’s all for now, more soon. N

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9 Comments

Filed under Life in Bali

9 responses to “First thoughts from Ubud/Sayan, Bali

  1. CHIE

    Wow & Congrats !!!

    Finally your new life in Bali started.
    So exciting.

    Love your breakfast table,
    view from your house,looks so peaceful.
    Aaaaaaaand spreading good energy.

    I have been to Bali 4 years ago as a tourist,
    yes,amazing island.You are so blessed and
    fortunated to live there.

    Hope you will visit crazy islands again,
    I mean my country Japan !

    Can’t wait to eat your tasty and delicious
    raw foods 🙂

  2. quillin (jenn)

    can i just say how grateful i am that you are having this experience. I hope this time is transformative and also incredibly enjoyable for you neal as you are one of the folks i think would totally respect this opportunity and make the most of it. i am super excited to keep up with your goings on over there and hope to see you in person on the flip side.

  3. It looks like you are living in paradise! I can’t wait to hear more and hear about the food you are making! xox

  4. Dad

    Where have you gone my blue eyed son…looks like to paradise; I am filled with joy at the abundance of experience for my son and considerable envy and wanting to pack up and walk away from everything here and be in a place like that. So I’ll have to compromise for a Dad/Mom visit TBD…I’m really looking forward to future posts; this is amazing. Love Dad

  5. Este

    more pics! Wow man… So beautiful! Live it up!

  6. xmattx

    so proud of you, neal! thank you for the gorgeous update!

  7. Bob Rosulek

    What an interesting experience for you. Thanks for keeping the extended Leavis/Bailey/Rosulek family in the loop. I went to Disney World once and rode on the pirate ship ride, so I’m pretty sure we’re just about even when it comes to tropical experiences. By the way, what’s the irritating bug situation like, as in, do they have mosquitos there? I have really enjoyed your first three installments that Andrew sent on to me.

    • Actually, the bugs aren’t so bad this time of year. When it rains, they go a little nuts, but this is supposed to be the dry season (we had a fluke monsoon the past three days). I am a little surprised because I live by a river. What comes out in full force is the lizards, geckos, frogs, and toads. And tons of tropical birds and bats! The only bug that is really all over, is the ants, but generally they stay out of the house. There is so much to do and eat outside in the jungle environment, why would they mess with me in my boring little house?

  8. Dad

    Ahhh..like coffee smoked artichoke heart we look forward to these posts. Your PHS Engish teachers (two in particular) would be proud of your writing or at least entertained. So if we are spewing oil in the Gulf and fires are burning out of control in Quebec and there are other such environmental crazinesses why wouldn’t it be raining in Bali during dry season?

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