Monday, 17 August 2015

dream retreat part two

Home is a funny thing. There have been many places that I have called home in the twenty-two years that I have been alive, which is impressive considering that I lived in the same house from birth until I was sixteen. My time in many of these places was fleeting... often only a few weeks or a few months. I fall in love with places easily. It doesn't take much for me to slip into a sense of home.

Returning to Ubud felt like returning home. I had left a part of my heart and soul there a year before and going back was beautiful, but the parts of my heart and soul that had followed me back to Canada the December previous had weathered so much and I couldn't ignore the fact that though it was the same place, I was not the same girl. It was so good to be back and my new friends were so incredible, yet I soon felt like Ubud was pushing me away and I was pulling away from Ubud. This feeling intensified after the first two weeks. Many of my new brothers and sisters left for their homelands. I started to grow restless. I had no idea what I would do or where I would go after Bali and everything seemed impossibly possible and terrifying. I spent many late nights talking with Bella or Mercia about life and love and purpose and happiness. Plans and energies were shifting rapidly. One of our favourite cafes burnt to the ground. And then two of our kittens passed in spite of all our efforts to keep them safe. Meeko wandered away never to return and Ernest suffered a fatal fall on our last morning together. There were hard days. But there was so much light too.

I went for long scooter rides nearly every day, always craving the wind and movement. I soaked in the land. Breathed it in. The rich greens and rolling hills and thick valleys. The evening sun turned the landscape into a fairytale and the light became pure magic. I could always find peace on the road, even when everything else turned chaotic. Sometimes Natasa or Mercia would ride on my back and we would try to have conversations even as our words were blown away.

We ate a lot of cake and raw lasagna. There were many photoshoots and though I was never the one doing the shooting, I enjoyed watching my peers in their enthusiastic creation. I assisted Bella sometimes and took sneaky pictures of Natasa and Isabel. There were monkey bites; a few more scooter accidents; and several incidents with cockroaches and other flying creatures, which caused several quick evacuations. We danced in the heavy rain that comes to Ubud at the end of November when streets can become rivers in a blink of an eye and you can truly shower under the open sky. Jarrad Seng came to visit us for 48 hours. Natasa, Bella, and I sang karaoke at the warung down the street. A group of us visited a waterfall and the ocean, getting soaked first by rain and then by waves. We watched many sunsets in complete amazement.

In the waning days of November, I felt ready to move on. In 2013, I had wanted to stay in Bali forever, but this time, in 2014, I knew that I had learnt all I could from Ubud and that I had to seek my path elsewhere. I have so much gratitude for everything that Bali has given me and I do miss it, as I miss all my homes, but I don't think that I will go back for quite some time (you never know though!). A few days before I was supposed to depart, I tried to delay my flight so I could follow my friends to the Gili islands and then to New Zealand. There wasn't enough time. I flew away from Bali late on November 30th on my way back to London.