The 7th of December marks the date of my 6th month on the other side of the world. I never would have dreamed landing the position I am in now. Every day is still filled with new experiences on the path towards transformation. Matt & I currently have been asked to continue our contract at Greenschool until June, so we will be continuing this journey overseas for another 6 months.
Many people consider Bali unlike any other place on Earth, it's almost as though it is a vortex of positive energy. Somehow things seem to manifest for people with ease- its like the people who've been chosen to be here are supposed to be here with a mission to unravel & the universe is generously allowing it to happen.
The Balinese people are the most intentional human beings I have ever met, also the most humble... It is amazing to see what drives different cultures, what motivates them, inspires them, & it meaningful to them. After being away from it for a while I've realized how much the American culture is driven by sex, money, & fashion. It is sooooo opposite here. It was interesting also when I went to Singapore as the women walked around in mile high heals & ridiculous-futuristic outfits & the metro-sexual men prancing around in things that probably cost a fortune (I felt totally out of place). I was surrounded by malls. I just haven't been around that in a very long time. People in the Philippines & Indonesia are not so absorbed by fashion, actually I think they could care less. The only time they really care about their dress is to appease their Gods. Most of them wear plastic bags (on their heads) as rain-gear; no one in Singapore would be caught dead in such an outfit.
Ceremony is life to the Balinese, & these are the times when they dress their best, to appease their Gods, & they have many Gods; as the majority of the population are Hindu's (another reason why Bali is a vortex-a Hindu island in the midst of a Muslim nation). The money they make is used for ceremony and they will even admit that it gets expensive. But to me this tradition is worth every penny.
Everything stops for these ceremonies, even traffic. Sometimes there will be parades of 20-100 Balinese people marching through the streets in their ceremony gear holding traditional pieces that represent the significance of that day & clanking away at a variety of percussion instruments. It is a sound that rings in my ears daily.
The Balinese people are very kind & generous as well. The feeling I have gotten so far is that they will help out in anyway they know how to without hesitation. The other day I was driving to the doctor & COULD NOT find the hospital, so Matt & I stopped to ask for directions in some unknown area. Evidently I portrayed it enough that we were lost, so he stopped what he was doing, jumped on his motorbike & drove us to the doctor (about 30-40 minutes out of his way) and we would not even take a cent from us. Hindu people live & act highly upon karma & they truly believe their actions in this life will lead to the outcome of their next life.. This mentality makes me feel safe here. Even towards the beginning of our time here at Bali. A very generous Balinese woman took us under her wing (Wayan-from the book Eat, Pray, Love) & allowed us to stay in the very house that was mentioned in the book (for free bc at the time we were broke back-packers). I've figured out this generous act of kindness is a dream of the countless (aimless) middle-age women who roam Ubud.
Insert bitching here:
It makes me sad when I see that only the worst western inventions have made it over here; like single-wrapped Kraft cheese, McDonalds, & other like-minded shallow products. No matter how THICK the Balinese culture may be, these things are slowly but surely slithering in. This island, no no no, this country, is too unique to be brainwashed by such nonsense (in my opinion). No wonder us American have such a bad rep. I'm serious about this too, it's even hard convincing the European & Australians that there are sane people in America too.
Back to the point: Even at work I am surrounded not only by Balinese people, but people from all over the Earth. My view of the world has changed dramatically after experiencing so many global personalities & outlooks. The student population at Greenschool is conglomerated of children from all over the world, & the staff reflects world-wide faces as well. Everyday I am soaking up the Balinese traditions & I am proud to say the Indonesian language is a constant development (it is my 1st second language I've ever become serious about).
I have also fallen in love with this jungle. Every night I fall asleep to the humming of insects & rain falling eloquently on my bamboo house, & every morning I wake to sun beams seeping through the rain forest canopy. Everyday I am grateful to be in such a harmonious place on Earth. Not only do I get to live in this environment, I get to teach in it as well. The other day Matt & I were teaching the kids "nature survival" strategies; we took them on a walk through the jungle & showed them all the ways humans CAN depend on nature. The children were sucking on sugarcane, slurping on coconut milk with papaya straws, chomping on pineapples, cocoa seeds, rice, papayas, green-edible plants, & various roots we dug up. It was a beautiful vision!
There are so many neat & extraordinary things in this place that I have never witnessed. There are these army ants who will team up & take out their prey who are much larger than them; typically its worms, but I've seen them even take out centipedes & scorpions. Its incredible, they bite them & then work as a team to carry their prey to their destination-at this point the prey is still fighting for its life as it's being carried away. The circle of life is a continuous cycle that is every where, but this vision is one that I see quite often.
There plants here are also unlike anything I've ever seen, they are gigantic & they all have some kind of unique protection force. Everything grows rapidly here due to the heat & humidity (including bacteria). The other day we woke up with a dead bat on our kitchen counter & the insects here are the largest I've ever seen. Anything & everything is quite welcome in our home since we have no walls and/or doors. Thank god for our mosquito net-that's all I have to say.... :)
I've never felt so safe in such an unknown area (that in retrospect should be feared). One morning at 3am I woke up & wrote:
"I am sitting at my kitchen counter writing thoughts in a wide open house.
Purely out in the open,
vulnerable to the jungle & the people who could come by.
But they wont."