Different and the Same

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Different

From the Seattle Freeze to the Bali Heat. I went from a city known for being standoff-ish when it comes to new friendships or new relationships. In Seattle, men rarely approach women. Women want them to, but when a man is brave enough to approach a woman, the woman will think, “Whoa! Too forward!” This isn’t just me saying this…Google it. Personally, I was raaaarely approached by men. And when I was approached, it was oddly enough, usually when I was watching a sunset. Multiple guys have come up to me asking if I was okay. One guy at Golden Gardens even came up to me and said, “Who broke your heart?? Are you doing alright?” He was assuming I was at the beach alone because I had just been dumped. It was so strange. 

In Bali, it’s very, very different. Today, I was serenaded by a guy on his guitar and another man drew me a picture of a temple. Not bad ‘pick-up lines.’ (And no, Mom and Dad, I do not have a Balinese boyfriend!)

Same

I get asked by about 15 kids every day to buy a bracelet from them. The money they receive goes towards school and learning English. I wish I could buy a bracelet from every single one of them…but my arms would be completely covered in bracelets and I’d run out of money real fast. 

Kedek is a kid I would often see playing volleyball on the beach with his friends, and every time he saw a new tourist, he’d stop playing volleyball, run over and say, “Buy bracelet?!” These kids put their childhood on pause so they can make money to go to school. It’s powerful to witness. I love watching them break from their sales pitch and get back to the game. Wrestling with their buddies, shouting, dancing when they scored. 

Kedek often approached me and one day I told him,”I’m here for a long time. I promise I will buy one before I leave.”

He found me the next day and said, “You promised!” Better now than later I suppose. He helped me pick a good bracelet out and put it on my wrist. I absolutely love it. I was especially tickled when he asked my name, I said, “Mo.” I saw him for the next minute whisper under his breath, “Mo……Mo……Mo.” How could I not buy a bracelet from this cute kiddo?? 

This bracelet does NOT go on my “Things Cheaper Than a Starbucks Tall White Mocha” because it was $7. I’d say it was money well spent. (Random thought: if any of you would like me to get a bracelet for you, let me know. Win/Win)

Last night, I went to a performance by one of Bali’s Universities and it was held in Bunutan village. Before the show, everyone was hanging out on the beach during the sunset. I couldn’t speak the same language as all the kids, so instead I taught them how to skip rocks on the water. Sometimes we don’t need to speak in order to connect.

I had such a blast during the show, not necessarily because of the performers, but because of everyone around us. Stacey and I were the only tourists in the audience and we were surrounded by a ton of Balinese children all playing with each other. I could tell a couple of the kids had crushes on each other, other kids were fighting over the plastic chairs, and others were watching YouTube videos on their parents’ phone. I was 100% entertained. The madness was constant, even during the speeches and songs. But when the Balinese dancers came out, Oni and her friend froze and watched intently. I knew they were both thinking, “That’s going to be us someday.” I get chills thinking about it because I know one day, they will be the beautiful dancers little kids look up to.

After the show, as we were walking back to our scooters, Oni grabbed my hand and my heart swelled. No words were necessary. We are different, but more importantly, we are the same.

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