I live in a land, in an island.
I live in a safe land where people don’t own keys, where it snows frangipanis and the air I breathe is a mix between tropical flowers, burning incense and dirty old truck pipes.
I my path I find very old men taking slow steps or riding in dusty bicycles at the side of the roads, many hairless wondering street dogs and collecting rice fields. I also come across to fast moves of chicken leading their 8 chicks. And beautiful women proudly dressed in their colorful ceremony clothes facing a smile while exchanging with me a “Selamat Pagi”.
The attention to detail and art surrounds me in my daily life with carved woods, hidden messages, Mexican marigold and padan leaf arrangements. I find art in my plate too. Food is fresh and organic and nourishes my soul by its vibrant colors.
I go through my day with a sweaty shinny face, from my morning yoga attire to my vaporous flowing dresses after taking an outdoor shower. I make myself a coffee. I contemplate the most foreign insects and the biggest butterflies and see how my garden takes different shapes every day while it grows uninterrupted. I feel like I am vegetation too. I am changing, evolving, transforming every single day at a fast but steady pace. I die and I am born every day because I am always changing.
It’s my second year here and I have rescued 3 orphan kittens, seen 2 puppies get run over, I have been bitten by a dog but also chosen by our adopted one. I have learned how to shop, how to cook using new ingredients, learned how to live with little, used the same summer clothes for a year and a half and not craved for anything else that I can’t find here (ok, except some yummy licorice).
I have changed to a new house and made it a home. I am treating my rental home as if it was mine, with love and kindness and appreciation. I have travelled with my family to the most amazing and remote places. Seen very traditional tribal villages, stared into an orangutan’s eyes and laughed underwater while observing the way anemone fish look at us. I have a wanderlust spirit.
I have said goodbye to friends with no sadness but with gratitude to have met them. I also made new ones, but slowly, since I am enjoying being with myself too. I am having the deepest conversations with my husband. I love seeing him grow too. I am in the need for spirituality. For walking and discovering. The more I see, the less I speak. And the less I speak the more I hear. I am ready to do new tattoos. I have been picturing an eye for over a year. An eye as a symbol of truth, of being aware, present, of witnessing and looking inside.
I have realized there are many different ways of living. I am pursuing the art of slow living. Reading, taking photographs, writing and feeling creative. I have left my comfort zone and even though it’s not easy most of the time and I really miss being among my loved ones back home, I am proud of being here, it makes me grow and give back so much more, even in the distance.
This morning, before school, my kids planted a pumpkin seed in our garden. I realized they are feeling life differently. They take good healthy life choices and I am so proud of them and the people they are becoming. I am dreaming of world schooling for a while. My fear is becoming passion.
I cry a lot, but I am not sad. Yesterday I cried in the Green School Assembly, it happens to me twice a month when the school’s hymn is chanted by all the members of the community at unison. I also cry when I hear the marimba, it’s vigorous notes make me feel happy and joyful. I also like the Balinese ceremony chants, they sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night and I love to just listen. It’s a mantra.
I have lost the expats initial impact and after many attempts and trying many new things, I gently unfolded in my daily routine and found what invigorates me. I meditate, play the Tibetan bowl and do yoga every morning that helps me overcome the fear when I think about what will come next. I try to live in the present, it’s a constant effort to try to quiet my mind, but I am learning. I am conquering my days.
Some days I feel like I will never go back. Others I feel frustrated of not being able to communicate properly with the locals and reject some parts of life here, like animal cruelty, authority abuse, pollution, loud speakers, certain disconnections, plastic everywhere and some other 3rd world discomforts.
But it’s not about the external factors, it’s really about being at ease somewhere, accepting the land where you live, surrendering to it with the positive and the negative. Because it’s all yin-yang and until we don’t understand that deeply, the journey is a battle. Same same but different in all other parts of the world.
I am learning life is not only about managing expectations, but it’s about letting go and becoming less to meet who you really are. Becoming ourselves is the path, but we must take side dirt roads to discover if that is our way. Make mistakes, resilience.
I have become aligned with another rhythm, with the rhythm of Nature. While living in the city I was never aware of the full moons. Now I listen how the lunar cycles affect me. I awake when sun rises followed by Pancha barking at the trespassing macaques that come from the Monkey Forest entering our lumbung. Wildlife is awakening too.
Who is richer? Not the one that has more, but the one that needs less. The silence, this very moment of present, is genuinely inside of us and it brings us exactly what we need.