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