What Balinese rice fields can teach us: Life lessons in emerald green

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Take a walk through Bali’s rice fields, and you’ll find yourself bathing in a sea of emerald green. Part of the paddies’ magic might be that they are located just a few hundred meters from the traffic jammed, hot, sticky roads. In the rice fields, you find yourself in another world, one that offers calm and a gentle breeze of fresh air. The endless rice paddies are speckled with scare crows improvised from bamboo sticks, as well as rusty huts that give barefoot farmers a place to doze off. And then, far away on the horizon, glistening in the sun, still partially under construction, you’ll see a three story hotel complex that could as well be on Ibiza for all you know.

What does it mean to live in a country like Indonesia? Continue reading “What Balinese rice fields can teach us: Life lessons in emerald green”

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Bali, Hashimoto, and other things with foreign names shaping my life

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I’m on Bali. Bali is one of over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia. Yes, that’s 17 thousand and not a typo. Did you know Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with 245 million inhabitants? I did not. Bali is about one and a half times the size of Mallorca. Unlike most other places in Indonesia, it is predominately Hindu, rather than Muslim. What do I do here, you ask? I am staying in what one might call the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud. The city is nestled in the rice fields that line the beginning of the island’s central mountain terrain.

Continue reading “Bali, Hashimoto, and other things with foreign names shaping my life”

The rewards of climbing volcanos (may or may not include banana pancakes)

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We got up at a time of the night that is neither late nor early. My cell phone alarm had gone off at 2 am, I wasn’t sure I had slept the hours before. Maybe I just dozed off. I slipped into my clothes, we got on the mini van. There were more people than seats. That seems to be the case often in Indonesia, but they make it work somehow. After a one hour drive through the night, we arrived at a parking lot, where thin tea was served with even thinner instructions on how to climb volcanos. The tour operator promised banana pancakes with chocolate sauce once we reached the top. And so the mount began.  Continue reading “The rewards of climbing volcanos (may or may not include banana pancakes)”

Bitter Sweet Everything

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With Bali it is as with most things in life. Some smiles are genuine and sweet, some are a labor of duty. Some roads give views on rice fields lush and green, some irritate your sinuses with exhausts and pollution. Some meals are raw, fresh, and delicious, some send you on a 24 hour hospital stint with a bacterial infection. Just like most things in life, Bali is a little bitter sweet. Continue reading “Bitter Sweet Everything”