I am spending my week tucked up into the hills of East Bali. Around me is a dense swath of tropical forest: banana, palm and coconut trees and a thick mysterious bush. It rains everyday during this season and it makes the most wonderful sound. It falls on large leaves and dark earth. It drips from the grass roofs. It tinkers against the tin. It makes large, unavoidable puddles on the ground that run off the terraces into the jungle below. It is reliable, beginning every morning and every night with a gentle drizzle and then a pounding anger. It cleanses.
This is where EBC is building the East Bali Immersion eco-lodge, at the base of a fickle volcano that plays a hiding game behind clouds. The hills echo with the calls of birds, the ever-present crow of the rooster, the sound of women giggling and a temple prayer. The sky is full of flittering swallows feasting on the mosquitoes and a puzzle of blue and gray. It smells of wetness and life, a clean, organic health absent from the city.
In the mornings I shadow the preschool, brainstorming ways to improve the curriculum. I teach a small English lesson to a handful of employees who have taught me it is always better to laugh at oneself.
I hike the paths of the eco-lodge and work on preparations for our first guests.
I stay with the headmistress of the preschool and her family and have rice with every spicy meal. I spend my mornings watching the sky lighten while sipping thick, grainy coffee and eating fried bananas. We go to the beach on sunday. The family compound is littered with roosters who parade their masculinity for anyone who cares. The only crowds here are the bugs that fill the air. It is so calm.
I struggle in moments of deep, profound loneliness. I grapple with the state of my country. I read the most beautiful words that bring me strength. I stumble through Indonesian with an easy laugh. I listen mostly.
I love it up here, where the nature is pure, the bonds between family palpable, the lesson of patience omnipresent. I hate it here, far from my family, my love, the pain of my country, the need to take action. I want to go home and scream and love and write and fight and feel the familiar around me. I want to stay and learn and grow and shift and adapt and reflect. I take each day.