The day-to-day life differences in places miles away from home earn their own blog. Some things are funny or interesting, but all are different and intriguing, something we would never see at home.
Old McDonald had a farm – The sun comes up over the countryside. A rooster crows; the horses whinny. The chick-flick movie begins. Back to reality: the rooster does not stop crowing! Across the road, in the city not the countryside, there lives a rooster. Even in the middle of Seminyak, a couple of chickens and roosters aren’t unusual. The rooster crows in the morning, at around 6, which is now the time I wake up, and doesn’t stop. He crows all day long, invoking murderous thoughts among people who wish to sleep in. So the fantasy of 1 rooster crow from the roof has now dissolved.
Ganesha’s symbol – Something that intrigued us from the moment we’d spotted it was the swastika symbol and how it was integrated into life here. Long before the Nazi regime had used the symbol, it was used in India, other parts of Asia, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The name swastika comes from the Sanskrit and means any lucky object. For different religions and regions, it has different meanings. In Hinduism it is a symbol of the God Ganesha, while in Tibetan Buddhism it is a symbol of eternity. Here, Swastikas are in daily life everywhere.
A grammar teacher’s nightmare – Something we have always appreciated abroad is the will of the people when it comes to learning our language. We take English completely for granted, and here everybody strives to be relatively fluent, making them all bi- or tri- lingual (Balinese is a different language than Bahasa Indonesian). Of course, it would be most arrogant to assume they can perfectly spell, as we’d probably fail in an instant in Indonesian, but some mistakes we’ve spotted are just hilarious! As they could have just written it in Indonesian rather than struggle with the rules-with-exceptions based English grammar, we appreciate the effort even more – however some things will always be funny.
Where the Sidewalk Ends – This is meant literally. In Chicago, on Michigan Avenue and other wide sidewalks, there are these large, metal grates I always avoid. I’m scared they will bend and I will fall into the gaping, watery, blackness below. And now, it’s real. The sidewalks really do end, the cement blocks we walk on shift, have moved over each other, crumbled, cracked, or have gone missing, and now there is a wide open hole, revealing the black collected rain water, mud, and bits of plastic and other garbage – not exactly what we’d want to fall into. So we’d better watch where we step!
The Art of Happiness – As I’ve mentioned before, people here live life the way they want to. Maybe they do wish they’d become rich, or that it’d be easier to put food on the table for their children, but they are all content with spiritual happiness. They pray, combining their religion with the iPods and motorcycles and other things that have become part of their modern life. And yet, the teenagers and their parents, cousins, grandparents, and other members of the family go to celebrations in their beautiful sarongs and traditional outfit, content and celebrating it, giggling about the latest gossip in the teens’ cases. Instead of striving for happiness they realize it’s something you can make for yourself anytime, anywhere. So why not?