my bali family
I have celebrated my « one month » last week; it has been one month since I arrived in Bali. I hope that you bought me a little present and that you intend to come to Bali to give it to me. (To those of who are reading about me since my trip in India: big up, we’re getting our good habits back). I have the feeling that I left Paris a month ago. At the same time, I have the feeling that I arrived in Bali only a week ago. What did I do with the three weeks in between, go figure.
Yesterday, I left my huge house and my german roommate. It was a one month story. I left Arthur too, the gecko who was living in my bathroom, and this is maybe what makes me the saddest. I am back in my hotel room, exactly the same room where I spent two months last summer and a few days when I arrived in the beginning of February. The exact same room. My room. I get all my habits back and this is exactly what I was looking for when I decided to move to Bali. In a way, this small hotel room feels more like home than the huge villa in the rice fields I was living in for a month. Once more, it makes me think about our link to material things. About how much, without even noticing it, our choices are dictated by external comfort. How I fell for the huge villa, the huge room, the huge pool, without even asking myself how I felt when I was in it. And, considering all the incredible villas here, it is quite sure that I will fall for it once again, or maybe twice before I am to learn my lesson.
I am still in Ubud, but not for long. I plan to transport myself to another area of Bali in a few weeks, or a few days. Ubud is a wonderful place, in the middle of Bali (look at a map), in the center of rice fields. There is an atmosphere in Ubud that you can find nowhere else. Everything is peaceful, and humid (it has to be said). There is a form of really special spirituality here, we say that Ubud is the spiritual center of Bali. And so, most people you run into in Ubud are on a quest. And this is completely crazy, when we think about it. They are all here to find something, they are all working on themselves. It is amazing when we arrive, amazing when you’re here for that and for a while, it is incredible to do a retreat here. But in the everyday life, it is exhausting. It is exhausting to meet people who eat healthy and do yoga all the time, I eat healthy and I do yoga but I vote for diversity. People who are talking about energies and cosmic conspiration all the time. People who hug you continuously, the kind of hug that lasts long enough for you to be really uncomfortable. People who speak really low and so slowly, to whom you regret to have asked how they are because after five minutes of monologue, you still don’t have the answer. By the way, in Ubud, you don’t ask people how they are, you ask how they feel. All the conversations here are super deep. All the time. Sometimes, I just want to watch a super american movie eating caramel popcorns and chemically infused M&M’s. And be super confortable with it.
So I am going to Canggu, in the south of Bali (take a map), by the sea, and I will learn to surf. In a few months, follow me, I will teach yoga in the middle of the sea on my surf board, singing Jean-Jacques Goldman.
I don’t really miss Paris. I am deeply happy not to freeze my butt off in the snow with you. I don’t miss my apartment, nor my clothes, my books, my couch who is living his couch life I-don’t-know-where; I don’t miss the subway or bread, nor do I miss my Parisian routine, my Parisian comfort. I don’t miss any of this, I don’t even think about it. However, I can feel homesick from time to time. I talked about it with Stephanie. I met Stephanie while visiting a villa when I arrived. I really ran into her a quarter of a second while walking around with the landlord, she was living in the room which was about to be free. I asked her why she was leaving the room, she said that it was a little bit over budget for her. And our exchange ended here. Three weeks later, just after a yoga class, she was on her bike in front of me, she asked me if I had found a place and for how long I was here. We went for a coffee to talk about everything. And for many more coffees. I talked about it with Stephanie. I told her that I could feel homesick from time to time, but that my home was Bali now, that I didn’t miss Paris, that it didn’t make any sense. It is a really strange feeling, I miss something, but it is something that doesn’t exist anymore and that I don’t want anymore. She answered me that it was because I wanted to match home with a place, with a whole. Home is not a place, it is people. I had just written my article about going home to yourself. I was stubborn and narrow-minded. Not at all, home is not people. Home is inside of you. You don’t need anything for the outside. Nothing, neither anyone.
Then, her answer stayed in my mind for a few days. Home is people. And there was a part of that in my feeling, without any doubt. Missing people. Not really specific people, but a vague feeling of missing the people closest to me around me. I was missing a family.
My first reaction was to tell myself: no problem, life is so magical in here, I will convince all the people that I love to come live here and we’ll be super happy together. Then, I realized quite fast that I wasn’t the centre of the universe, ha! That Bali makes my happiness, for now. But that it may not make the happiness of the people I love. That finally, the happiness of the people we love can be completely different from our own happiness. It is an analysis who seems pretty obvious in theory. But in practice: have you ever seen one of your loved ones start a relationship with someone you hate without understanding why? have you ever seen one of your loved ones go live in a strange and faraway land without understanding why? Or on a different note: have you ever been dumped without understanding why?
We are so convinced by the things that we’re living with personally, and so sure that we know the people we love exactly how we want to know them. That sometimes we forget. We forget that they can have a happiness completely different from our happiness, or even from the happiness we’re projecting on them. At the end of the day, we all make our decisions while considering only one framework: our own personal happiness. Each one on his path, each one doing his best.
I have made decisions that have hurt people who love me. I am thinking about my parents who have four children on four different continents. I am thinking about my parents with a lot of compassion and respect. Letting their four children be happy, even if that means being far away from them. Because in the end, the happiness of the people we love, even if it is a happiness far away from our own happiness, is also what makes our happiness. (You’re still following, right?)
This doesn’t solve my « missing family » issues. If you are happy where you are, obviously I am happy. But I am also sad far away from you. So if you feel lost where you are, if you want to live a dream life, wearing shorts all year long, tanned, yoga, amazing fruits, surf, beach and peacefulness. Come to Bali. We could share a wonderful villa, full of good energies, and taking it easy all year long, and watch Marvel movies while eating ice-creams. Think about it.
Take care of yourself and of the people you love.