Thursday, July 9, 2015


I was going to write something depressing, but I'll write this instead.

I was just thinking, as I walked over to Limamike's Coffee, about how very unkind people can be, when I was stopped midway on the walk by a Balinese man standing in front of his house. He introduced himself as Budi and, of course, wanted to know all about me - where I'm from, how long have I been here, where am I going, how many children do I have, and so on. All pretty routine, for Bali, to that point.

And then he asked if I'd like to come to his house and sit with him.

Excuse me?

You see folks, this just doesn't happen in America. Someone may ask you to get off his property, but not to come onto it. In fact, if you are just passing by a person, the greatest extent of conversation you might expect is a sort of begrudging grunt of acknowledgement. They're certainly not going to ask you to come up on the porch and sit awhile. Not in this century, anyway.

And so he introduced me to his youngest child, and to his wife and invited me to sit with him and visit on the porch.

We talked about my family and his family, his original home in Lovina, a relative who lives in America and hasn't been back for five years; about the Balinese people and the Hindu people and the Indonesians and Muslims, and about his job as a taxi driver and how he drives to Kuta every day because that's where the fares are. Just small talk, but intensely friendly small talk of the type we no longer know or engage in back home, unless maybe you're traveling in the deep, deep South.

And so I am encouraged anew, and renewed at heart. People are not so bad after all.

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