I suppose people change and relationships end, despite of what best-selling novels and Hollywood Christmas movies would like me to believe. I suppose life doesn’t always come with happy ends. Diseases aren’t cured, and distances aren’t overcome. Fathers die and don’t make peace with mothers. Promises and plans of a future life together disappear in nothingness. I suppose that’s a dismal, yet somewhat realistic view of the world. The thing here is this. I really don’t want to be realistic. Continue reading
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
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.
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
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
California is sunny and hot these days, San Francisco fog clouds nothing but my memories. It has almost been a month since we took off for Lihue International Airport. Can you believe this?
Well, my dear friends, upon our return from what might very well be called paradise on earth, aka the island of Kaua’i, it turned out that we had taken close to 500 photographs while on vacation. That’s as close to an excuse as you will hear from me for the August silence on Monday Notes. Sorting through all those pictures continues to take its time.
I am sitting at the Copenhagen airport, clinging on to what is probably my third cup of coffee this morning—who’s keeping count at this point—in the hope it might heal the current state of pain my brain is suffering after only 3 hours of sleep last night. Memories of the week at home sooth my state of mind. Besides running endless errands, going home in my case always means indulging in delicious meals, indulging in many pleasant conversations with my grandparents, about the past and the future, and about how to live in the present despite them both, and finally, indulging in cuddles with the world’s cutest puppy, Madame Flo.