What to do when life throws a curve ball? Catch it!


When I was a senior in high school in 1968, the year 2000 seemed impossibly remote and the likelihood of ever living that long was unthinkable.

Well, 2000 came and went. So did my 50th birthday that same year. If the thought of retirement ever came up I squelched it. I couldn’t imagine anything so boring.

But life has an interesting way of throwing curve balls. I couldn’t have dreamed in 2000 that in 2012 I would indeed retire and move to Bali. Nor at that point could I have envisioned my life now, 5 years later, so full of fabulous friends and adventures that boring has been forever banished from my vocabulary.

Take last Monday, for instance. A friend and I decided to spend the morning at the Arma Museum. She had never been and it’s one of my favorite locations in Ubud for many reasons: the grand Balinese architecture, extensive gardens, a broad spectrum of art both traditional and modern, and the free beverage in the Arma Warung Kopi that is included with the ticket.

Image result for Bapak Agung Rai

We toured the exhibits, marveling at the intricacy of the traditional Balinese style, remarking on the vibrant colors of the more current pieces, and wound up at the coffee shop about an hour later. We’d just settled in when a Balinese man in an old sarong, a none-too-clean semi-buttoned plaid shirt, and an iphone pulled up a chair and joined us. One of the wait staff set a cup of coffee in front of him.

Permission had neither been sought nor granted but that made no difference to the gentleman and it was obvious that whether or not it made a difference to us was of no consequence. So we visited. He wanted to know where we were from, how long we had been in Bali, where we were staying; all typical conversation starters here.  When we’d answered I had a few questions of my own.

“So, Pak, what is your position here?”

“You mean what do I do for work?”


“I’m the gardener.”

“These gardens are spectacular! How long have you been tending them?

“Fifteen years. And I found a plant down by the river that I’ve never seen before…here…I have a picture on my phone. I’ll show you. Have you ever seen anything like this?”

We agreed that it was very unusual and neither of us had seen such a thing before. After a few more pleasantries, one of the servers whispered to him that he had a phone call. He excused himself and left. My friend and I exchanged looks, finished our iced tea, and moved on, not giving the incident another thought, at least not then.

That afternoon she called me. “You know that gardener at the Arma?”


“Take a close look at the brochure they handed us at the ticket booth and call me back.”

You probably know where this is going. Our mystery guest, cleverly disguised as a gardener, was the owner, Agung Rai.

Image result for Bapak Agung Rai

We admitted to each other after the fact, that it had seemed a bit strange that the gardener could take time out of his work day to have coffee with random patrons. And the fact that he was treated so obsequiously by the staff had also been puzzling at the time. Then,  after I mentally took inventory of what exactly I had said to the man, hoping it was nothing too terribly inane, we had a good laugh. But I’ll bet Bapak Agung Rai laughed louder and longer than either of us.

kkkPosing beside offerings in front of a collection of ceremonial costumes in a corner of the museum.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nan
    Jan 01, 2017 @ 22:36:12

    I’ll never forget our visit to the Arma and our meeting with the “gardener” and the sly way he made mention the owner was a young man! Thanks for the treat and the memories!



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 01, 2017 @ 22:41:51

      Me too! I’m so glad you figured out who he was. The novelty of visiting with the gardener was fun, but the thrill of discovering that he was actually the master of the estate gave the event a bit more razzle-dazzle!



  2. healingpilgrim
    Jan 01, 2017 @ 22:45:17

    Ah, yes.. the famous gardener reference, gets people every time! He actually carries a pair of shears with him sometimes, so that he can clip and snip as he meanders around the gardens. How sweet that you had a chance to meet ‘Gung Rai.. even if he didn’t ask for your permission to join for tea 😉



  3. Lottie Nevin
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 02:56:24

    Love love love that you are having such a terrific time on Bali. Here’s wishing you many more happy years on your special island. Happy 2017 to you, dear Sherry. Love, Lottie xxx



  4. sageblessings
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 03:53:05

    Delightful read and what a fun mini-adventure. What can happen when one stays open. A great lesson.



  5. Still the Lucky Few
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 12:34:42

    So wonderful to read about all of the wonderful experiences you are having on Bali! I think you will have endless material for the future.



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 02, 2017 @ 13:07:29

      Yes! It’s great to know there’s an endless supply of stories just by virtue of where I live. All I have to say to a Balinese friend is: tell me about…and it’s a fascinating new piece of information that makes Bali even more mysterious and enchanting than before!



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