good morning from the island dear friends!
it has been a while since you heard from me. in the meantime i managed to be in bali, prague, italy, prague again and then finally back to bali – times both joyous and sad, sometimes both at the same time – but definitely following each other like inseparable friends. it should be no surprise that bigger the joy the harder the fall – but somehow i still get surprised by duality ((-; anyway i would always take surprise over dullness – not wise but.. (-;
now i’m really happy to be back on the island even though i can hardly use my right hand – and hence comes my first bali warning. yes we have venomous snakes here (like the blue krait in our garage the other day..) and we have dengue fever but – we also have these vicious little buggers – tomcats aka rove beetles. i warn you – if you are lucky to see them (i wasn’t) don’t touch them. they do not bite, they do not sting but alas – they release this liquid (basically they piss on you i would say although that might not be the actual case) that acts like acid. i only felt something pricking me on my neck so i touched it – and apparently managed to spread it all over. in couple of hours i had blisters, burned skin, swelling.. all the yummy things! there is no cure and i’m not going to die but man it itches. and hurts. there are two positives though – it didn’t happen to one of the kids (as we would surely have to call a helicopter knowing him and his pain threshold..) and – i have increased my empathy because now i understand how it feels to really want to jump out of your skin, wishing to cut your arm off, banging your head against the wall just to ease the pain. new admiration to all the people who suffer from skin conditions!
and let me just say this all happened after a most amazing road trip to north bali, with waterfalls, jungle, fun, rice harvest.. still happy i went. not so happy the rove beetle decided to tag along.
looking at our december/january trip back to europe with impartial eyes it’s been a huge success – seeing friends and family, going to movies and exhibitions, skiing and enjoying the snow, fatty food and an odd drink or two. or three. funny how the outer has often nothing to do with the inner as i got really depressed whilst there – for no apparent reason. the black hole in my head was pulling me closer and closer and i felt really shitty. big thanks to my dear soul sisters for always trying to pull me out (with an occasional well aimed kick)! on the bright side – the total lack of enthusiasm and drive to do anything (meaningful or meaningless), especially to talk, has given me the opportunity to read piles of books and to listen to some amazing talks. i am known for forcing books on people so i’m not sharing the amazing authors here but if you want a tip or two.. (-; i know it was just a ‘delaying strategy’ to avoid dealing with the important stuff but who cares.
upon my return to bali i decided to do million things to avoid thinking too much. so apart from yoga, i dived headfirst into qi-gong, indonesian language, occasional party (!!!) and most surprisingly – skateboarding!
to be honest, being super clumsy and super cautious (ok i’m not cautious in many situations.. but i’m when it comes to physical harm!) at the same time somehow impedes my progress. but if you want to have a good laugh.. come and watch me skate! my young instructor surely has bruises all over his arm and i’m pretty certain he finds it hysterical when this middle aged woman clutches his hand and yells ‘please don’t let me go, hold me!!!!!’ anyway it has been great fun and i highly recommend it. the black hole is still here but i try not to go too close.
i wonder what to say about the family life. if you have teenagers i guess i don’t need to write anything as i’m sure you feel the pain too. if you don’t.. why to spoil your day. i just wonder.. was i like this too? i guess so. eternally grateful to our kids’ school. for keeping them out of the house for most of the day (-; and making them happy there as i seem to be failing on that front. there are fun times too of course! all 3 of them are growing like weed, getting more opinionated and – best of all – getting better at skateboarding which now – after i have tried it – i admire even more!
if you or your kids want to watch a short movie about skateboarding and bali, i highly recommend this: The Journey of the Beast it’s super cool! or – as they say – it’s so sick! ((-;
everybody who lived in bali for a while has got a heart-wrenching story or two (or five or ten) about bali animals – mostly cats and dogs. i guess it was our turn now. the beautiful puppy recently brought to our doorsteps by a big storm had quickly become part of our kids-dogs-cat pack. unfortunately not all dogs in the neighbourhood liked her and she was attacked. despite all the efforts she died – only around 2 months old. how sad is that. people here often look at animals in a way different to mine. their stoicism might be interpreted as indifference but there is much more to it. in a country where many kids are malnourished and their basic needs are unmet there is not much space left to care about countless stray dogs. i see and respect their point of view but i still cry over my little hera. we hope she has already been born again into a loving family. we love you hera!
and just a little reminder that – in spite of the vicious beetle and poor dogs – bali is a hilarious place to live. i think you can encounter funny situations everywhere but.. i couldn’t believe my eyes the other day when i saw a tourist couple renting scooters including helmets – and putting shower cups on their heads before the helmets!!!! i know we have a serious lice issue here but still.. my smile froze a bit when yesterday i entered my favorite restaurant sometimes between the lunch and dinner hours. the place was empty so all the staff members where sitting on a couch, picking lice form each other heads.. is your hair itchy???? ((-; and if you don’t find parasites funny, there are other things to laugh at in ubud..
i have written more than i intended but let me mention one last thing. as every year, the green school community has celebrated v-day on 14th february. if you are not familiar with v-day (a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls started by eve ensler) i encourage you to find out more. in spite or maybe thanks to differing views on gender issues in our community it has been a stunning day crowned by unbelievable evening performances by our teachers and high school students. the openness with which they address uncomfortable topics in front of a huge audience is inspiring beyond words.
grateful for my friends here in bali, in prague and all around this world, sending you all lots of love,