Friday, September 15th, 2017
First of all, thank you for all the sweet, uplifting e-mails, messages, and calls over my homesickness. I didn’t intend it to be a ‘cry for help,’ but I guess it sort of was. And all of the support I received from across the world helped. I’m feeling so much better and rejuvenated.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait…she’s in paradise, not working, and can sleep in every day. How can she be feeling sad?!” At least that’s what I was asking myself. But I faced the truth…it can be lonely. I was feeling very homesick and wanting to buy a plane ticket home after getting into a negative headspace. I was missing my family and friends, and I am surrounded by groups friends and couples on their vacations. It finally hit me in a bad way, but thankfully I was uplifted by lots of people reaching out.
Sending all my love your way. Sama sama.
The day after my meltdown, I was on a mission: find a new place to live. Diver’s Cafe was wonderful – amazing location, affordable price, and I made a couple friends out of the staff. But one of the things that made me feel I needed to look elsewhere is the fact that I had no wi-fi. I haaaaaate hate hate that wi-fi is even an issue, but it started frustrating me enough that I wanted to move. I could get okay wi-fi in the restaurant, but I was tired of running down several flights of stairs and across the street to check messages. And even then, it had to be just the right wind for me to connect to anything. Plus, it was strange having FaceTime conversations with people and having a bunch of diners and divers all around me. And e-mails? Forget it. Wouldn’t load if my life depended on it.
Worst part was I couldn’t write. I’d have to walk somewhere else to use their wi-fi. I’m not opposed to that, but I always had to buy something in order to use their wi-fi. So in my own room, I couldn’t write, have real conversations with family and friends on FaceTime, or even stream a video. Part of the allure of Bali is disconnecting from technology and social media, but if I’m here all alone for a long time, I need to have easy connection back home.
So the mission began. My 3 hopes: wi-fi in room, decent view, and air-con (by the way, NO ONE says “air conditioning” here. Always “air-con”). My hope was also to spend less than what I paid for at Diver’s. I hopped on my scooter and rode from Jemeluk to a little past Lean. I stopped at about 15 places and by the end of it, I was feeling like a bridezilla trying to pick out a wedding dress (Too much sparkle. Not enough sparkle. It’s not the right kind of white. No ruffles, please. Can you remove the bows?). I felt like maybe I was being too picky…
Here are the moments worth mentioning:
#1 – Budget: $
Everyone in Amed has a cousin or a friend with bungalows or a homestay, so I was told to check out this cheap place near Diver’s. I walked into the room and the sound effect from the shower scene in the movie “Psycho” immediately started playing in my head. Dead cockroaches in the corner. ZERO view since it’s tucked back into a local village. I sat on the bed and noticed cat prints on the pillow cases. Then I saw the bath in the bathroom and thought, “Oh how nice – a bathtub!” Then I walked closer and thought, “What died in this bathtub?!?” Veto on this room, regardless of how cheap it is.
#2 – Budget: ?
A cute place I ride by all the time has signs for meditations, yoga, and a shell museum. Kind of random, but kind of quirky. You never know! I walked in and met a French woman with armpit hair almost longer than the hair on my head and I asked if she had a room for a month. We went down my checklist and she was checking them off. Then I said, “Do you have wi-fi?” “No. This is a place for healing.” I quickly apologized and walked away. I totally get it – I’d feel healed after a week of no wi-fi, but I’m not good enough to last a month…
#3, #4, #5 – Budget: $$$$
A few places I stopped at looked a bit nicer (Why not try? It’s slow season!) and as I would walk back to the reception table, it would become very apparent that these hotels and villas were waaaaay out of my budget. One in particular had an older couple lounging by the infinity pool and they watched me as I spoke with the owner. It’s like they knew… The conversation lasted less than one minute after I finally said while chuckling, “I don’t think I can afford this place.”
#6 – Budget: $$
I had good feelings about Good Karma Bungalows. I’d eaten lunch there before and loved the vibe, the staff, and the food. When I walked in, I spoke with Made and she showed me an affordable bungalow. No air-con and open-air. Strikes one and two. I wouldn’t get sleep and I’d get eaten alive by mosquitos! Third strike was no wi-fi. Again, I didn’t want to have to be in the restaurant to keep in touch or write. Made was so sweet that she told me about their other location that has wi-fi and air-con.
#7 – Budget: $$$$$$$$
The other location… Made hopped on her scooter and led me down the road to the other bungalows. I started laughing when I walked through the gate. I was looking at the most beautiful bungalows with their own private lawns. She opened the door to the bungalow and it was two levels, the bottom had a huge couch with a TV (TV’s are very rare in Amed) and huge windows looking out onto the lawn and the water. I didn’t even let her show me upstairs because I knew this one wouldn’t happen. She said, “I talk to owner. Maybe he will do something special for me because I like you and you are good.” I appreciated her earnestness, but the cost of this bungalow for two nights is my entire monthly budget. Sure enough, the “big boss” showed up, didn’t even shake my hand, and had about a 30-second conversation with Made before he walked away. Not one English word was said. She looked back at me and said, “I’m sorry.” I actually loved that she tried – very bold.
#8 – Budget: $$$
Another cute place I’ve been drawn to had a yoga theme so I stopped to check out a room. The owner was an Australian woman that was really lovely to talk to. She said she had a ‘budget room’ that I could have for a month. Basic room, barely any wi-fi, and the view was of a wall and laundry line-drying. After going to all of these places, I got a better feel of what rooms were worth. When she told me the price for a month, I would have spit out water if any were in my mouth. Budget room, ha! It was twice as much as what I was paying at Diver’s so I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
There were a few more that were okay but I ultimately knew they weren’t right. Creepy owner; too far away from the hustle and bustle; a driveway that I literally would die scootering on; and an owner that bargained so hard and wanted me to cut a deal right then that I felt too much pressure.
Was I being a homestay-zilla?!
But I kept going…
I was told about a place on Jemeluk that has a room right on the beach. I’ve checked out 15 places, why not make it 16?! You know that feeling you get when you just know something is right? As soon as I walked in, I breathed a sigh of relief and knew this would be my home for the month.
Within budget, big room, air-con, hot water, breakfast included, in my favorite neighborhood, private, and I wouldn’t die on the driveway. Then the wi-fi test – passed with flying colors (helps that the router is on my balcony). Instead of watching sunrises from my room, I’ll be watching sunsets. I shook hands and the deal was done.
But wait, there’s more! I have a neighbor from Switzerland who is staying for one month as well. Her name is Francisca and she writes children’s books. Soooo yeah, I am meant to be here.
I will miss Room #7 at Diver’s and the little chickens that would come and eat by my deck. It was a perfect place to ‘land’ and I’m happy that I’m still neighbors with them.
But right now, I’m sitting on my deck, writing. My beer and a plate of French fries were delivered to my room and the sun is setting. And literally just as I was about to hit “Post” – fireworks lit up the bay.
Glad I kept going.