Sorry for taking so long to post. It started out tough – Matt battled his sinus infection on bad sleep for about 8 days before it finally went away on its own, about the time we were preparing to road-test our new insurance at a clinic. During that time we didn’t leave the house much. Between the sickness, taking care of the dogs, and Matt’s work, we didn’t have but a handful of hours to get out together. It has been on me to get out and scout out interesting places, and I had a big drop in morale at first. I knew this would happen at some point, I just didn’t want it to happen HERE.
Bali has been good to take time and reflect on some things. I realized that I had packed my life nonstop with work, friends, church and family for the last few years. Now that I have all this free time, I want to ask myself some questions on what I like doing for work, what I don’t like so much, and take evaluation of myself. That’s one of the points of a sabbatical, right? Get more in touch with yourself/cultivate an inner thought life/etc? Well it’s hard. There’s a lot of self discipline there, and a lot of scary realizations when you turn down the noise of your life.
I flipped to the section on this stage in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week, and while I’d read it before, it really hit home this time:
“Self-criticism and existential panic attacks start around this time.”
“Learning to replace the perceptive of time famine with appreciation of time abundance is like going from triple espresso to decaf. But there’s more! Retirees get depressed for a second reason, and you will too: social isolation.”
This journey we’re on is amazing, don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful, and I’m very very grateful for the opportunity to be here. But put yourself in this position and ask yourself – if you all of the sudden went from 60 mph in your life to 5 mph, where several hours of your day were free, you’d love it. For about a month. Maybe less, maybe more. Eventually you’d crack, and suddenly it wouldn’t matter how many beautiful beaches there were – you’d be bored out of your freaking mind. That’s where I found myself. I felt very useless. There is no travel planning for me to do at this moment, only so much I can draw, journal, budget or read. I am not Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. I am not a lady of leisure. I am not used to having people do my laundry and dishes. While it’s lovely at first, you start itching for something to wash or do, and that’s the first step to day-drinking and a cooking sherry habit. Just kidding, Mom.
While I’m not keen to launch straight back into my old career (part of this time was to figure out what’s next) I found myself googling jobs I could part time remotely and looking up companies on Glass Door. My sweet and wise husband listened to me gush about some company: “I mean, who has 14 100% positive reviews? Do you think they had their marketing department write all of them? They’d let me work 20 hours a week!” and then he kindly said, “I will support you in whatever you do. But I think that getting a job just because you were unemployed for 7 weeks and freaked out and took the first job you found – isn’t that kind of counterintuitive to what you wanted to achieve here?”
And he’s right. Yeah, I could pick up hours here and there doing a variety of tasks. But if the point of this season is to figure out what to do with time abundance instead of perceived time famine and ask hard questions, it’d be lame to peer into the unknown and go, “Nope. Can’t do it. Too scary to be untethered. I’d rather work at Starbucks slinging lattes than be surrounded by quiet.”
What I’ve realized is that in addition to learning how to slow down, we also need community. I love Matt and we’ve been spending more time together than we ever have before. It’s been awesome (and difficult, but always awesome) for our marriage. But after a while you need variety and to get out of your own head. So Skype helps. If you want to chat, we would love to set up a date. But we also need people here too. One of our goals was to not pass through unnoticed, but to engage in community and relationship even if it was going to be for just a few weeks. Meetup.com has been invaluable so far. And from that app, I did a free sunrise yoga class on the beach with a girl I met at our bahasa class, as well as a promise to participate in a batik class if I could find one more person.
There are excursions, including the day trip we took on Saturday to Tanah Lot temple.
There’s my amazingly extroverted husband, who displays acts of social bravery like walking up to random people, making a comment and trying to start a conversation. We’ve met some really good people that way. Normally I have a limited capacity for how many of these I can have but hearing a new perspective and foreign opinions has been like water on my thirsty soul. We’ve joined a local church for the month and I’m attending their women’s Bible and spent Sunday evening at a potluck/birthday party for the pastor and they made us feel like family. Making new friends and settling into a place takes time, and we’ve started to feel more comfortable and have more to do. It will be a process we will have to get good at as we keep moving around every month.
So anyway. The food is good here. People are kind, it’s safe to wander around as a female alone (as long as you don’t mind guys yelling “Transport? Taxi?” to you on the street), and I have a growing list of all the stuff I want to get out and do when we can get away for a few hours. I took a cooking class yesterday that I’ll blog about next time. I plan on going back to yoga. We’ve eaten street food several times and NOT gotten sick.
We want to visit Nusa Lembongan, which is an island 30 minutes away by boat and has ridiculous beaches, lagoons, and snorkeling. I’d like to see a local dance performance. There’s a good cheap sushi place around the corner from us that I plan on eating at at least 3 more times before we go. It’s extremely cheap to rent bikes and scooters. I hope to be able to report on all this and more as we explore this lovely island.
Sorry I don’t have a lot to say here in terms of cool fun things we’ve done. Bali wasn’t the most convenient place for Matt to get a bad sinus infection or me to fall apart, but it’s allowed both of us to slow down, which I think is what we both needed. Matt’s working really hard and still loving his job and managing his time well, and he is the best travel partner. I’m lucky to have him.