Letter sent home in April, 2001

Just thought I’d catch you up to date on what life in Bali is like for our little family. Less than 2 months for go before we reenter the land of Bush, something both Bill and I are dreading (not coming home, but the new Republican era). This week was Nypei, the Balinese New Year, which starts their 210 day calendar off. It is one of my favorite holidays, of all the religions I like to hitch hike on. It starts off with a huge celebration – a wild party – the night before with a big parade of larger then life creatures (much like in Where the Wild Things Are) carried on bamboo stretchers by about 40 young men. They carry the Oga Oga around (about 15 or so different ones in our village) much like the Macy’s Day parade, with the intention of making as much noise and hoopla as possible to lure out all the evil spirits for one big party. Music blares, fire works explode, shouting and screaming and music all with abandon. Needless to say, Daniel was a bit wary at first but then he got into it. So with the evil spirits out and about we all head home by about 10 pm and then the next day and a half, it is officially Nypei. This means all is quiet, still, and silent on the island, no one leaves their home, no lights, cooking, music, cars, airplanes in or out of Bali – the island is totally empty – or so is the illusion of it. The evil spirits who are flying around from all the fun of it all the night before think the island is deserted and they leave Bali alone for the year, until the next Oga Oga parade. Staying at home for the day and a half is so sweet. All except the roosters and frogs who don’t know to be quiet, it is relatively peaceful – not to mention our three year old who didn’t like being quiet too much. Like a Shabbat for all 3 million residents and tourists alike on Bali (is it that if everyone celebrated the Sabbath, then the Messiah would indeed come? Well the evil spirits will indeed leave, we hope). Lots of reading and napping occurs, eating prepared food, and taking in the splendor of no visitors for the day. So nice. Life returns to normal the next day with all the hustle and bustle of life, as we know it.

Our deluge of visitors began last week, with more arriving tomorrow in the likes of Bill’s mom Adele and sister Jan. Then another wave is in April. Unfortunately next week we have to move out of our wonderful home that belongs to Susan and Bob (who are returning from the States) and into lesser digs. No worries, we have been spoiled but I know that something wonderful will turn up in the next week. With only 7 weeks left, we are busy, busy, busy. I will have a show at the end of April of my work done this trip, about 25 paintings in total. Some good, some great, some ok. It has been great to paint again; my soul has loved the movement of the hot wax again. I have a sweet little studio near the house where I can work in silence for a few hours each day. Daniel and Bill head to playgroup three mornings a week where Bill keeps all the moms and nannies (Indonesian equivalent of maid/babysitter) entertained with his guitar and attempts at making puns in Indonesian. Daniel’s Indonesian is coming along quite well; he is a curious learner and looks up things in his Disney English – Indonesian dictionary that he wants to learn. He spends much of the day naked outside watching billions of ants in neat rows move from one part of the house to the other; lizards dancing on the walls are another reminder of the Nature Channel that we don’t have televised, but live 24-7. Today we will head off to his swim lessons where he is becoming a little fish. Bill is busy as ever this month (after a scary dry few months) working for clients here in Indonesia, India, England, and the US. He has become quite the local poet as well, finding his voice with slightly smart ass observations of a tourist about the local culture. He has give two poetry readings already, and besides his gorgeous looks, the audience just loves his slightly southern twang and keen insight to our funny world of Bali. He has dreams of self publishing a small book for sale here in Bali.

As the water in the fish pond gurgles and Daniel sings his Indonesian children’s songs in the background, I will sign off. This trip has been fabulous for me, for Daniel, Bill and us as a family. It isn’t really a trip, but an important part of our life as we make it. For all who encouraged me/us to come, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We will be home mid May and will need lots of support to re-enter our lives in the States that we also love so. I strive, as always, to find a balance between these two worlds of mine. At least we come back in warmer weather so Daniel can stay naked all summer long.

Send us a note if you can,
All our Bali bliss and love, Laura, Bill and Daniel

Posted in All, From Laura

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