When you just keep falling in love

For someone who’s sworn off men, I’m not doing too well. I’m alone, that isn’t the issue. But my defenses have been shot to shreds in the loveliest possible ways and I find myself falling in love a little bit every day.

First there’s Ketut. I’ve written thousands of words about Ketut, glowing, gushing words. When I first came to Bali he was my room staff. I remember when he met me at 3 a.m. as I disembarked from a taxi after a trip of thirty-six hours from the States. “You Zely?” he asked, then hoisted my brick-heavy suitcase on his shoulders and told me to follow him. The next morning, there he was again. “Breakfast?” he said. “Kopi? What you want?”

P1030558

Ketut with baby daughter Nengah

I remember my thoughts. A man? Why? Couldn’t I have a sweet girl cleaning my room and bringing my breakfast? Drat! I don’t want to put up with man-energy. But I didn’t understand then that the Balinese man isn’t like the men I’d known in the West. Ketut filled my room with flowers, daily. He anticipated me, knew when I would be hungry and showed up with treats. Knew when I wanted company and hung around to chat. Knew, even more importantly, when I wanted to be alone, and left me alone. His intuition was far more highly developed than mine, and I’ve come to realize that’s true of Balinese people in general. (But I won’t go into details here! Another time.) In short, Ketut healed my heart.

Enter, Gede! He’s another member of the staff in the neighborhood where I live. Gede is a clown, a twenty-one-year-old little boy who loves to laugh and make others laugh too. One day he gave me a lift on his motorbike and told me he wanted to bring me a kebaya. That’s the beautiful, traditional blouse that women wear to ceremonies here. It seemed far too generous a gift for someone who doesn’t even employ him, but the next time he went to his home in Kintamani, he came back with not one, but three stunning kebayas for me. They all fit like they had been custom tailored for my body. I fell in love with Gede long before the kebayas, but I fell a little bit deeper that day.

P1030524

Gede…always the trickster!

The Tukangs working on my house, we’ll call them Dewa One, Dewa Two, and Pak Mandi, all have a slice of my heart. Dewa One scared the bejeezus out of me when I first met him. He had an angry man look, his hair was wild and his body was as tight as a coiled spring. He snapped orders at his crew and I steered clear. But his work was immaculate and one day I drilled up the nerve to tell him how happy I was with his skillful precision. He smiled. No, you don’t understand. He SMILED! There isn’t a more beautiful face on earth than the smiling face of Dewa One. My heart became gooey. Now I find every possible opportunity to praise him and he graces me with that gorgeous grin every time. I love Dewa One.

workers that took down the yoga deck

Dewa One…you’ll have to trust me about the smile!

The most outrageous of my loves is Pasek. He’s blatant, calls me his second wife, makes highly suggestive comments and enjoys watching me bristle. I’ve met his first wife and I adore her but I wouldn’t want to be her. Her hubby’s a handful. But do I love him? Oh yeah. Pasek is the one I call when my electricity goes out, when my faucet leaks, when I need food from the market, or when I want to know about Balinese culture. His harmless joking has become just another part of life here. And he, too, anticipates me and shows up just when I am about to dial his number.

Bali - Pasek's Family (26)

Pasek and his wife, Nyoman

But it doesn’t end there. I’m in love with my tailor, with the taxi drivers, with the man who sells tickets on the street, and the shop keeper at the corner convenience store. I’m in love with my neighbor’s husband, and pretty much every Balinese man I know. Do I use the word too loosely? I don’t think so. The men in Bali are kind to me. I’m susceptible to that. In the West kindness has become a lost art. We have bumper-stickers to remind us to be kind. But here it’s a fact of life, so I just keep falling in love.

P1060558

The neighbor’s husband! (Don’t worry, Nina…you have zero competition here!)

 

 

Advertisements

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jan Borchers
    Aug 17, 2014 @ 23:44:45

    Oh, how wonderful to see some familiar faces that my Sherry-friend loves. And to know those characteristics which you describe. You are indeed surrounded by some wonderful ones….Balinese men have been a real source of healing for you. And soon you must tell more about Balinese intuition–I’m interested!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Lottie Nevin
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 01:23:38

    Oh, Sherry. That love you feel, radiates from the page. How wonderful to have your heart mended. I am very happy for you. I had a friend from Lombok – a sweet young man that I met about 2 years ago. Unfortunately his ‘love’ started to get a little out of hand. Facebook messages changed from ‘hi how are you’ to full blown lust/love proclamations which was a bit unnerving since I’d never courted his attention and, he knew that I am married. I felt bad but in the end I had to block him. I know you are, but please be careful xxx

    Like

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 04:31:22

      Darling, careful isn’t necessary when you’re 65 (well almost) and have no intention of ‘going there’ with these sweet, albeit hopeful, young men! They seem to have no age consciousness whatsoever and that does my ego worlds of good. I can flirt to my hearts’ content and at the end of the day go home to my singular solitude. As always, I appreciate your concern!

      Like

      Reply

  3. shanemac
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 02:51:47

    Lottie, she’s safe. Maybe. Sherry thinks her feet are firmly on the ground. I think she’s floating just a tad. But I do understand just what Sherry is saying because It is the same with me. I am so in love with the Balinese people in a way I never have been before Bali.
    Sherry, thanks for another lovely, well-written, heart warming story.

    Like

    Reply

  4. judy
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 03:19:11

    I understand exactly where you are coming from a place of love and maybe a little bit of floating. But that is the magic of Bali and the people. Your heart is open. It’s wonderful. I feel the same after just coming back after only spending 3 and a half weeks there and I’m planning on coming back in September all because of the way the people and the place make me feel. I feel “homesick” for Bali. I hope I’m not being nieve and that it’s not all about my being a relatively affluent westerner.
    My choice is to love and float while I can. Thank you so much for putting into words exactly what I have been feeling too.

    Like

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 04:25:13

      Ah, Judy! Beware…Bali, the temptress, has seduced you and you’ll never be the same! When I left Bali after a two month visit I was smitten. Homesick didn’t begin to describe the grief I felt when I was away from this island. When your heart finds a home, don’t fight it. Find a way to be here. I’ve been back for two years and I don’t plan to leave again. I’ve created a wonderful life for myself in Ubud and I’d love to get together with you when you come in September. sherry@writingforselfdiscovery.com

      Like

      Reply

  5. sageblessings
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 08:39:39

    Sherry….great piece. I too enjoyed seeing the photos of people I got to know a bit through you. I can attest to their special warmth and happiness. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the energy put forth and I, for one, say receive all there is. Nothing but joy can come and be payed forward.

    Like

    Reply

  6. Val Boyko
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 14:40:49

    May your heart continue to be open and these wonderful people continue to nourish your soul!
    Val x

    Like

    Reply

  7. judybali
    Aug 18, 2014 @ 19:24:28

    Ha ha hi Sherry I know I have been totally seduced. I have been to Bali quite a few times before.
    But this time I returned to Amed to a place I had been to last year and I felt uplifted by being around the people in my favourite cove. Its a combination of the place, the people, the connection. I am also in a similar situation as you as I’m 63 this year and single and as long as the flirting stays as just that flirting it is all harmless and does wonders for one’s ego. I also went out by myself on one of the small boats with a fisherman and sailed into the sunset with just the sound of the water and the sail flapping in the breeze. The fisherman was totally silent and I was awestruck by the peace, simplicity and beauty and wept silently as we headed into the open sea with the sky and clouds above and then was struck by how beautiful the coastline was as we sailed adjacent to the coast. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Just me my bathers, sarong and my camera and a silent fisherman wearing a sarong and bare feet manouvering a tiny boat so peacefully. My heart just melted.
    Anyway in September I have limited time as I will be in Amed for 8 nights with 2 nights either side in Legian to be near the airport.
    I would love to catch up with you another time, but in the meantime I will be tuning in to your wonderful missives. Hearts open we fly. Best wishes from Australia. xx

    Like

    Reply

  8. healingpilgrim
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 11:08:48

    What a sweet (and funny 😉 testament to the Balinese brotherhood that have encircled, supported and assisted you at every turn. What you give out (ie love) is what you receive in return, in one way or another. And you’ve got lots of love to give!

    Like

    Reply

  9. writingforselfdiscovery
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 19:01:27

    I wasn’t giving out much of that when I got here! I was suspicious of kindness. I had to be won over.

    Like

    Reply

  10. Jessa
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 20:17:45

    I love this, mom! I totally get it! 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  11. janig717
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 21:54:35

    This piece resonates with me. I have been to Indonesia several times, and well let’s say I wish I had discovered the country a little earlier in life. The people are enchanting, and I feel that I have left my heart behind every time!…nice writing.

    Like

    Reply

  12. Trackback: Overcoming Your Fears Requires You to See Through Their Lies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: