27 October 2012

Berry's further abroad in Bali

When I was in grade nine, I flew beyond Australia for the first time in my life. I went with a school friend and her parents, and they took me to Bali. Whilst time has blurred many details of that trip, the memories still inspire feelings of fondness. I didn't really know what I liked about this place, all I knew is that I wanted to live there; and so on arriving home I declared to my parents that I wanted to do a student exchange in Bali. In retrospect, I think maybe this proposition was just high school naivety or the fact that I didn't want to go back to school; but there was something real in that moment that I remember distinctly; and connecting with where I am now, I can't help but think it was the ignition of my international spirit. Ironically, eighteen years on, married and into my second career, I'm livin' across the oceanic road. So last week, Nath and I decided to whip over and visit this favoured Island of the Gods.

As many Australians know, Bali can be a great little place to visit. Living and working Jakartans' will often enjoy a quick and easy dash over to Bali to absorb the blue skies, the crashing waves and general rest and relaxation. We too enjoyed a very pleasant break from school, and we now feel refreshed and revitalised!

We enjoyed blending in with the many holidaying Australians. They generally expressed surprise followed by interest when we told them that we were holidaying from Jakarta. Their familiarity with Indonesia extends only as far as Bali and we encouraged them to venture across to the capital for a taste of the new Indonesia. We have not been away very long but it is long enough to start to get a glimpse of Australian culture from the outside looking in. Various parts of our culture are highlighted in a place like Bali. Some parts of our culture are brilliant and they illicit a sense of pride whilst other parts of our culture that are highlighted in a place like Bali, are quite frankly embarrassing.
The differences between Balinese people and Javanese people (people who come from the island of Java e.g much of Jakarta's population) was another realisation worth noting. They look very different from each other; they speak in different dialects (although all speak Bahasa Indonesia); but the most obvious difference is their religious expression. This is generally demonstrated in the way they dress. The Javanese will generally dress conservatively whilst Balinese dress in a much more relaxed style much like we do. The other noticeable difference is in the attitudes a typical Balinese and Javanese person shows towards animals. I was so delighted when I saw a young policeman nurse a baby bird up into a tree - it was a beautiful moment and a refreshing break for me, being the animal advocate I like to think I am (or wanna be). Muslim faith doesn't place the same value on animals that the Hindu or Christian faith does. Poor old Missy doesn't get an easy ride over here but she is well loved in our household. Our Muslim helper has already been won over by her kinda ugly, kinda cute pug-lookin face.

This was our first holiday away from our new home. This was a time we were to practise the ability to switch off from all things linked to school. Coming into this career we were both acutely aware of the reality of teachers taking their work home with them. This is an unfortunate difference from our old jobs. Teaching comes home with you and is certainly not solely contained in the classroom. But as many of you wise and talented teachers have told me, if you can't learn to switch off in this job ... you'll never survive!  So - despite what many may think, teachers DESERVE their holidays - which in this case included sand between the toes and freshly squeezed juices.

Bye for now!

Nomes xo

No comments:

Post a Comment