Go Light on the Blues – A Family Gathering in Bali

I’m beginning to get cabin fever by osmosis! People send me emails and pictures from the polar votex otherwise known as Minnesota. My brother-in-law takes a photo from their east facing window every morning at sunrise. He sent this one a few days ago. Minus thirty-nine degrees Farenheit. That’s obscene!
Sunrise over Lake Imagination - The Farm

Sunrise over Lake Imagination – The Farm

Although I’m light years removed from it physically, the memory of the endless cold and dark elicits a psychological response.
Winter was never a good time for me. Many nights when I went to pick up my daughter after work, I sat in the frozen parking lot blasting Bob Marley’s reggae song and belting it at the top of my lungs…Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right!
I clung to those words like a drowning woman clings to a life raft. When I go to a reggae cafe here and they play that song it’s a different experience. I get up and dance. Cold and snow are the farthest things from my mind.
But last night it was blues, not reggae. There was a family get-together at Sudi and Nina’s next door, and I was invited. The morning before, a crotchety old gentleman had come huffing and blustering into their yard. “Excuse me! Please! Your music is too loud. I’m staying right there,” he pointed to the wall behind Sudi’s house, “I can hear everything. Either turn it off or play Mozart!”

You have to know Sudi. He’s the most considerate, kind, cooperative soul ever hatched on the planet. He bends over backward, does flips and handstands, to live peacefully among his neighbors. As he was apologizing and turning off the music, Nina and I were glowering in the background, mentally filleting the ornery gent.

So last night the blues weren’t blasting. They were a subdued, barely audible version of blues. And the conversational peaks and valleys as the family members chattered in Balinese, Indonesian, Dutch, and English, were easily heard. The party honored the arrival of Sudi’s twin brother and his two daughters from Holland, and Nina’s father from Milwaukee. The menu couldn’t have been more American, pizza and beer or Jack Daniels for anyone who was so inclined!

We gathered on the front lawn enjoying the warm night.

In the front yard chowing on pizza

In the front yard chowing on pizza

Everyone had finished eating when most of us felt the first tiny droplets of moisture. Nina’s dad chose that precise moment to say, “What a beautiful evening!” We burst into laughter as the bamboo mat was collected and everyone scrambled inside out of the rain.

Nina and her father, Ted

Nina and her father, Ted

The three brothers Suda left, Sudi center, Belos right

The three brothers
Suda left, Sudi center, Belos right

Ubud is a global village and that was evident in our gathering last night. I visited with Naomi and Amber, Suda’s gorgeous Balinese/Dutch daughters.

Naomi 20, and Amber 17

Naomi 20, and Amber 17

Their pronunciation is lovely, but every so often they turned to their dad and asked him in Dutch, “What is the English word for ___?” As soon as he answered they were back in the flow. As so often happens here, I was grateful, but embarrassed that the world’s children are required to learn English, while I who grew up speaking it, reap the benefits.

Dewi, usually front and center, is Sudi and Nina's 6 year old fireball!

Dewi, in her happy place front and center, is Sudi and Nina’s 6 year old fireball!

Joe is the 'almost' 13 year-old son of Belos and Kadek

Joe is the very grown up, ‘almost’ 13 year old son of Belos and Kadek.

Kadek, captured in a rare moment. I'm told she doesn't drink beer!

I captured Kadek in a rare moment. I’m told she doesn’t drink beer!

Here's the same Kadek posing for her installation ceremony

Here’s the same Kadek posing for her installation ceremony. She heads up a local decision-making group of about 200 women. Her makeup is done professionally. “It takes less than one hour!” she tells me!

Ted lounges comfortably as Mark joins the group on the terrace. Mark and I were the only two non-family guests.

Ted lounged comfortably as Mark joined the group on the terrace. Mark from Milwaukee, and I, were the two non-family guests.

I think it rained for a while. I’m not sure. I agree with Ted, it was a lovely evening. The point is, whether the rain is coming down in torrents, or the sun is a blinding radiance, it doesn’t matter. It’s Bali, and that’s MY happy place!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 01:48:22

    Happy days! sounds like you are having a lot of fun! 😀



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