Thursday the 9th of April
Now five days into our trip, I have become accustomed to not being accustomed to the time zone in Indonesia. Daylight savings in Australia expired upon our arrival here so Bali is a mere two hours behind home. This means my body clock wakes me daily at 5:00 am although I persevere until midnight and I am pleasantly surprised to find I don’t get tired throughout the day. Rather than wasting our time waiting for the breakfast buffet to open, dad and I ventured to the edge of ClubMed. We stepped over the low gate marking the end of its territory to find ourselves standing in tall weeds near shabby construction. To our right, a tall reception tower was disguised as a palm tree with large leaves positioned at its tip. To our left, the wall of the resort separated the artificial construction of paradise from the reality of the country and its people. The smell of incense from bamboo boxed offerings placed at the front of each toko (shop) cut through the scent of the leafy plants and the humidity. Low hanging branches obstructed our walk on the footpath, but we ducked and bobbed to avoid stepping onto the road that had many a motorbike whizzing down it already. Small shops seemed sordid but humble. I looked strikingly out of place with my blonde hair and bare midriff; the eyes of those around me lingered as I passed. I realise now that viewing Bali sheltered within an air-conditioned shuttle bus is astoundingly different from the impression of the streets on foot in an untainted atmosphere.
Heading back to the room after breakfast, my parents and I were surprised to see some landscaping taking place. Of course this is necessary in a high scale resort; what surprised us was the men had no harnesses, only the strength of their bodies to pull them up the tree to balance safely in the leaves. The tallest palm tree standing between the bar and the beach I believe to be at least ten times my height. Many such trees are trimmed of the greenery on which coconuts grow as that is very far for a coconut to fall. Regardless of this, there is still the regular fall of coconuts from nearby trees – on Tuesday I was splayed out on a bench when mum walked past; had she made her way to me a moment earlier she could have been in the dangerous coconut projectile zone! Do you know how many coconut related deaths there are recorded per year? ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY! That’s more than shark attacks!
Today must be the hottest day we’ve had so far! The foam pit made another appearance just before lunch but I found as much joy watching comfortably from the shade than actually in the hot froth. I could tell mum was tempted to join in on the foam party but she refrained, being a little bit embarrassed going in alone – she’s going to have to learn to grow up and play in the bubbles by herself sometime soon. The pool was home to numerous happenings this morning. Aqua gym was lead by staff members clad in jungle themed attire. A group of asians wearing life jackets snorkelled in the metre deep water. From sitting in the hut unofficially claimed by my family for the week to onlooking the pool has been a worthwhile and entertaining move for the morning.
Still I have not completely justified my deferment from university. My spare time there was spent intentionally secluded. I avoided interaction, constantly anxious of the impression I made and the perception of those around me. I have always heard it said that university is the place to meet like-minded individuals from all interesting walks of life but I found myself self-conscious and disinterested as my expectations of friendship had taken a nasty turn. I had once been the girl involved in everything – I had become the girl who was unmotivated to do anything and beyond all else insecure. This was the opportune place for networking, but if the prospect of this made me distressed, why was I even there?
There is no doubt the pivotal point in my mindfulness occurred in the events shortly after my graduation from high school. The dynamics of my friendships changed with distressing rapidity as I entered into the real world. There were always a few people I wished I had become better friends with. There were always people I knew would be around for the rest of my life. But my doubts and certainties were thrown into confusion – my premonitions had been completely incorrect!
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Of course there were other people who were for me to lean on. The friendship of Bella and Daniel became my lifeline. I had also become friends with a girl from school following our graduation who offered me much valuable advice, but I felt guilty for being a deadweight in her company, still attached to the ones who had hurt me so. Having fallen out of dignity with the girls, I was scared to make an appearance in group situations for the prospect of being disliked and ganged up on like once before. The boys helped me overcome this by being unconditionally inclusive: they invited me to cards nights and I felt I was part of a group again. Honestly, with them I had more fun than I ever had with my old friends so (a piece of advice from my aforementioned new friend) this silver lining proved it was a change for the better.
Most people had a period of calm between high school and university in which to settle the mind and in doing so, mentally prepare for the new chapter that was to soon begin. Throughout this time I was battling the insecurities rising within myself whilst I tried to hold on to the withering connections I had once cherished with those friends. For these reasons and due to my revelation of what I am interested in studying, as well as my understanding of what I need to do to become healthy once more, I deferred from university. So far I have had no second thoughts and am extremely excited about future prospects, which wasn’t the case before I made this decision. I don’t believe my time here in Bali would have been so enjoyable had I still felt that weight on my shoulders.
I have been spoiled with another spa treatment this evening. My family and I had made the most of the brightly burning sun as we spent the day poolside, hence some skin soothing therapy could not have been better earned. Mum and I were lead out of the spa centre to a dome roofed hut adorned with bamboo panelling and stained glass windows. We had booked a duo-room for a frangipani body glow treatment as a relaxing way of spending quality time together. It was rare for us to get along so well for so long a period of time but the outcome of last few turbulent months required a new level of understanding and support. Only products deriving from frangipanis, intended to calm and cleanse the mind and soul for optimum relaxation, were used during the revitalising package. Firstly, hot oils were drizzled over the skin on top of which a full body scrub was applied. Having never experienced this before, I was amazed at the way in which it left me tingling, acting as a massage for the nerves in my skin. After a quick shower to rinse away the exfoliation residue, we found the protective plastic on each bed replaced by a metallic sheet resembling a space blanket. We were again rubbed in rich moisturising oils, wrapped in the insulating space blanket and left to soak as our body heat intensified. Meanwhile we received a mini-facial and head massage that released what little tension was left in my head and shoulders. A final shower whilst the coverings were removed found us then laying on soft linen. Our skin now deeply nourished, it was time to focus on our deep tissue with a balinese massage. The treatment using frangipani was were the ultimate indulgence – we had never felt more relaxed.