Six Years of Happiness. Pop!

 

Life in Bali hasn’t been now and then a sparkle of joy. No. It’s been six years of uninterrupted happiness.

As soon as I made that statement, I started to question it. What about when Dad died? I had to ponder that. My dad was, still is, my hero. I was holding his hand when he left this realm.

Death is a giant thing and I’ve realized that happiness isn’t made up of giant things. Happiness consists of random pops of amazement that happen dozens of times a day. So even though I was overshadowed by giant death, the pops still happened. Right through the days and weeks of sadness, Pop! Happiness didn’t stop just because there was another presence in the room.

Today was a Pop! topper.

Ketut and I had one of our several-hours-long conversations. It started when I told him I would be going to two writing groups and the new one would start tomorrow.

“So you can finish the book fast?” he asked.

Who would assume that? Nobody. Pop! Amazement. He’d hit the reason square on the head. He wanted to know if writing made me feel stressed or relaxed. I told him writing a book was like play for me, but writing letters to agents to try to make them like my book was big stress. He agreed that must be so.

Then he told me he had loaned his car to an uncle to take offerings to the temple. Now, he said, his car was in the hospital because the uncle hit a truck.

“Oh, dear. Is your uncle okay?” It sounded serious.

“Yes, of course. There is only a wound on the car that needs new paint.” Then the inevitable Ketut wisdom, “Never all good, never all bad. Always a little a little.” Pop! Amazement.

The conversation meandered from the car to the placenta of Ketut’s new baby daughter. As custom dictates in his village, the afterbirth is buried beside the door to the house and every time the child cries, the sadness is sent there and she stops crying. Pop! He asked if we do this with placentas in my country.

“No, Ketut…’fraid not. The baby just cries.” I’m sure he thinks our practices are nothing short of barbaric.

Should I go on? I mean, this was a really long conversation that rambled without obvious connection. One topic sparked another in random disorder punctuated by gut-busting laughter.

I wouldn’t want to bore you…well, okay, just a bit more.

I have white walls and a few of them are empty. Today I bought a gorgeous sarong. “What if I hang this here for decoration, Ketut? Nice, ya?”

He eyed it then said, “Ya, but the fan will make it go like this.” He caught one end and flapped it furiously. Pop! Then he brought up the idea of putting a mirror on the empty wall. “It’s better than art because every time someone new comes into the room, the picture changes.” Pop! Pop! I love his quirky logic. I’d never thought of a mirror that way but I’ll never be able to look into one again without those words ringing in my head.

Coffee and treats always accompany our chats. Today I had a plate of coconut bars sitting on the table to my left. I picked it up and offered it with that hand.

In Bali all things are given with the right hand for very good reason. I know this but I sometimes forget. I apologized as soon as I realized what I had done. Ketut launched into a lengthy explanation that Balinese children are trained from very young never to offer anything with the left hand. He slapped his own hand away to show me the nature of the training. “That way they never make a mistake,” he said.

Then he let me off the hook. “But for you, it’s okay. You are not a Bali person and it is more difficult for you because you are already not young.” Ouch! But he was just getting warmed up. “And,” he continued, “if someone is upset and points at you with his right hand, it’s a warning that he is a little angry. But if he points at you with his left hand, there is no more talking. You run.”

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“Okay, then,” I said. “Get ready, Ketut. This is for calling me old.” That’s when I pointed at him with my left hand.

 

 

 

At the beginning of this story I said happiness is small things. But a visit with Ketut is like a banquet of delicacies complete with Veuve Clicquot champagne. I never want it to end.

Usually, though, the first Pop! of the day is the sound of a rooster crowing. Then the pink of dawn. A holy man chanting prayers. Sweet fragrance of incense. Steaming hot coffee. Dragonfruit. See what I mean? Happiness. Uninterrupted. Pop! Pop! Pop!

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24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 00:28:08

    LOVE IT!!!!! So happy I have a sense of Ketut’s delightful energy. Give him my greetings please.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Linda Glascock
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 00:47:59

    Love your stories of your life in Bali! Keep’em coming!

    Like

    Reply

  3. Lucy
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 06:19:37

    Beautiful. Thanks for a happy pop! at the start of my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. dibrandt030
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 06:37:43

    Thankyoy so much for your snippets of happy wisdom from the island I too love with a passion but can no longer visit.
    Thankyou for the reminders of the Balinese people I love in Ubud.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. shanemac
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 06:53:05

    Living in Bali is a whole magnum of pops. Thank you for your beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to live here. Pop!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. gerard oosterman
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 08:30:54

    And then there are the sounds of sweeping, early in the morning. The crowing of the roosters. So many pops.

    Like

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 02, 2018 @ 16:25:57

      Sweeping. That’s another one I love! The list is long – endless – and the culture is so different from anything western that there is an inexhaustible supply of fascinating information which varies from village to village.

      Like

      Reply

  7. Julie Marshall
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 10:53:31

    Thank you so much for this post. It has brought sunshine and laughter into an otherwise gray and rainy day. I must remember the finger pointing!!!

    Like

    Reply

  8. smartalextravels
    Jul 02, 2018 @ 12:01:59

    I.m looking to get back to my happy place in August! POP!

    Like

    Reply

  9. Kimi
    Jul 03, 2018 @ 22:27:07

    Every once in a while we need to be reminded of the every day happiness we are surrounded by and to open ourselves to receiving it. Thanks for the reminder. Miss you 🙂 – Kimi

    Like

    Reply

  10. Angel House Ubud: Boutique 3 suite only bed and breakfast or Whole Villa Rental.
    Jul 19, 2018 @ 22:04:10

    Love ❤️It’s such a delight to have these kind of insightful conversations with my Balinese friends and family also. Lots of ahha moments!We are blessed 🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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