The Roosters Are My Alarm Clock

So I made it to Bali in one piece…I arrived at 11ish at night and was to be picked up by a driver named Ketut. I was pretty excited about this because in the movie Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts, she meets a shaman named Ketut too. Well, Pak (Mr.) Ketut was nowhere to be found, and my cell phone was not co-operating. I went to the information desk and another driver hassled me, saying he could take me to Gianyar for cheap. I said no no I am waiting for a driver who is picking me up. Paged Pak Ketut from the Informasi Desk. 30 minutes….still no Ketut. Shit.

The other driver noticed the concern on my face, and was joking, saying that my driver was not going to show up. In the end he was kind enough to use his own cell phone (because the lady at the information desk said she could not make outgoing calls to cell phones- what!?) to get in touch with Ketut. He was like “Yah, so many named Ketut here!”. This guy was actually pretty awesome to have helped me out.

Finally Ketut shows up! Relief. He was adorably short and very smiley, and loved to chat. He kept apologizing for the mix up with where he was supposed to pick me up…I did not care, I made it to Bali. Ketut spoke English well enough for us to understand each other. After chatting up a storm, he turned on his ipod shuffle and played a Rihanna song, among other American pop hits, and started singing his little heart out. I loved it! Made it to my new home, where I walked past a really nice garden in the center of the home (took the picture of it the next day when there was light). It is really beautiful here.

Image

So I started nesting as soon as I got all my stuff into my room. It was about 12:30am, and I did not go to bed until 3am- I was WAY to excited for the next day, to meet my housemates and co-workers, and to start discovering Bali. Woke up to the ridiculously loud rooster crowing outside my window (my window overlooks a rice paddy field). It was 6am when the “alarm” went off, and I couldn’t do anything to turn it off (the roosters). On my street there are several stray dogs roaming around, and of course the roosters, and Indonesian women in rice hats hacking away at rice, while a guy pulls on a string to make clanking noises with cans to scare birds away from the rice crop. Everything is so interesting to look at… stimulus overload!

I woke up one of my Indonesian housemates, hopped on a scooter to head to the villa complex where we would have a nicely prepared breakfast and get to work! The diversity of my new work environment is fantastic, and everyone has been very welcoming. Getting used to pressured water attachments instead of toilet paper. It’s not bad, actually seems cleaner, and better for the environment. No more details needed here.

Sunday went to Kuta/Seminyak area to hit up the beach. Some of my colleagues wanted to go surfing, and I thought about it. Instead, I chose to relax on the beach and drink some Bintang (local Indonesian pilsner). Did a little window shopping in town with two of the European gals, and one of my Indonesian housemates, then went to the W hotel to watch the sunset. Sitting on over sized bean bag chairs at this gorgeous resort, staring at beach and Seminyak waves as the sun went down.

There are too many mini stories to share: Getting lost at the beach, Driving a Scooter for the first time in Bali and getting a flat tire, stomach problems, having a temporary stray 3-4 week old kitten, getting my ass kicked in crossfit, taking a 30 minute run through a field of rice, buying Korean body wash at a local side street store, searching for insulin from one pharmacy to another (where you don’t need a prescription to purchase), going to a traditional Indonesian wedding, eating sushi from a rotating belt, working through language barriers, huge kick ass stone sculptures, the giant canal lizzards that basically look like small alligators, swimming in the ocean whenever I want, the little colorful Hindu offerings with incense everywhere, the surrounding tropical plants/flowers…this is paradise!

Journey Accross the Pacific

Deciding to relocate out of the U.S. is very liberating. When googling jobs in Cincinnati (the longest place I’ve lived to date- 10 years), I kept spinning my wheels not getting anywhere, not really finding anything that I truly WANTED to do. After see-sawing back and forth and trying to come up with an answer to “what do you want to do in life?”, with the help of my wonderfully inspirational friends, I decided- Why limit myself to jobs in the U.S.?

The 2nd longest place I’ve lived before Cincinnati, the place where I actually grew up- Jakarta, Indonesia. As someone mega passionate about travelling (I’ve lived in 5 of the 7 world Continents now), I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to go back to a place that is incredibly rich in culture, where the people are so beautiful and welcoming, the food is fantastic, and the environment is absolutely stunning.

My friends always make fun of me because I am not much of a book worm…aka- I pretty much just don’t read. However I’ve found that the few books I’ve read that I truly enjoyed all have a common theme. They all have to do with survival and adventure- so yes I like to read “Island/Wilderness Fiction”: The Cay, Island of the Secret Love Nun, Lord of the Flies, My Side of the Mountain…So in taking on the initial idea of moving out of the country, I decided I wanted to be in my own “island fiction” story.

I found an amazing opportunity in the software industry that would have me relocate to Bali, Indonesia. The idea of this lit a fuse in me! Bali is a gorgeous island close to the equator, embedded within the awesome Indonesian archipelago. I started to dream about how amazing it would be to have the chance to go back to my home away from home. I figured the culture shock wouldn’t be too crazy since I was already familiar with life in Indonesia, I had been to Bali many years ago as a child, and the language would be relatively easy to pick back up.

So I did it. I submitted my application, and let the waiting game commence. Without going into too much detail,  the application process was interesting. Had to submit a video screencast, had a lot of back and forth communication with the company, and 2 interviews via Skype which both went very well. I think I had very good, positive, raw, organic energy that the interviewers could clearly gather after speaking with me.

It took about half a year of correspondence, before the date was set. I would quit my job and leave Cincinnati on 4/28/12. The last 3 weeks prior to my departure were intense. Lots of sadness, all mixed up with a lot of love from the people that mean the most to me. From here I went to Chandler, AZ for about 11 days; a nice gradual way to process my separation from my home, family, and friends. Left AZ on 5/11/12 to head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (I specifically stayed in a town called Putrajaya). I went from AZ to L.A. to Tokyo to Singapore to KL. My 7 hour layover in Singapore kept me entertained with tons of shops, gardens, koi ponds, butterfly gardens, a wide array of botanical gardens, free foot massagers, internet, people watching, a free 2 hour Singapore tour (that I got really excited about but could not make due to the boarding time of my next flight), and of course FOOD! I’ll share some photos of the delicious food and treats later.

It was refreshing to be immersed into the lush green empire of Malaysia, after seeing nothing but desert browns and reds in Arizona. I love the tropics, always have. The trees, the flowers, the birds, the cute little cicaks (lizzards) all made me so happy. This was the next gradual step in separating from the U.S. It is so easy to forget how amazing the rest of the world is until you step out of Western Culture. My parents have been so amazing in helping me through this transition, and I am so thankful that I’ve been able spend time with them, particularly my Madre. She is truly one badass lady, and great to have on your side =)

I’ve been spending time checking out the general attractions in Malaysia, visiting their monstrous shopping malls, getting a new hair cut, seeing a lot of women wearing beautiful fabrics as their head wraps (Malaysia is predominantly Muslim), adjusting to the tropical climate, and eating the local cuisine. It is Thursday 5/17/12, and one day before departure to my final destination to Bali. My Mom and I are getting massages today….YES!

Well, I must say- Thank gawd for the internet and Skype to keep me connected to the ones I love, as I welcome the journey ahead of me.

See you all in Bali! ❤ ❤

Healthy

More health documentaries and food/death news stories come out the more inspiration I have for being healthy. Lots of recipes on the vegan website, that r great for a directory of healthy food options and you don’t have to be a practicing vegan to do it =)

Now that I’m removed from an environment where processed foods deform my overall health and well being- I am feeling better already! I love eating things that are fresh, spicy, low carb, and crazy. Stay tuned for some food I’ve been trying…Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia here I come!