Three flights later, and the last chime of the landing bell onboard flight VA7 dinged. I couldn't see much of what was below, nothing more than a blanket of clouds over the land my husband and I would explore.
- Bali. I've been fascinated by the country far before arrival. One may think we are following the Eat Pray Love book given we were in Italy earlier this year, but no, we are here on other terms. Or maybe it works out that after eating our way through Italy, that we need to learn to love ourselves.
- It's the kind of humidity that hits the back of your throat — the kind that holds enough moisture but packs a dry punch if you're not careful. That was my first initial reaction, but slowly as the day went on, my skin became okay with the occasional bead of sweat rolling down.
- Something about watching my husband visit the country his mother's family is from is comforting. There is an air of significance with the act of return. Even with a length of distance from his roots, but growing up marked by traits of Indonesian decent and fond memories of eating soto ayam, you can feel the return to one's family origin as important, rather sacred.
- The air is fragrant, containing all that is Bali — floral, vibrant, and lush. There's this irony I found on the second day when we woke up to thunderstorms. In one breath it's easy to be disturbed by the rain fall, but then in another, completely satisfied by the lush greenery — one cannot exist without the other.
- The pace is slow. In fact, I don't think I've ever moved this slow while traveling. Our bodies feel satisfied—grounded—in a way that I didn't know was possible. Mornings are early, spent with the emerging sun and squirrels chasing each other across the palm trees. Coffee in hand, it feels appropriate to not move from the porch before the cup empties.
- It's the kindness I hoped for. There's a sweetness in each smile and greeting. Like seeing an old friend, each hello feels like an embrace. The locals look right into your eyes, as if they're letting you know they are happy to see you without words.
- From fruit to spice, the excitement with each meal is undeniable. Slowly learning what each dish is, I feel like a mad scientist, tasting each ingredient both individually and together. You can't help but favor the moment your tongue burns, and the time it's sweetened with ripened fruit.
- There's an appreciation for both the old and new. Whether its design-forward cafes or local street carts, both exist blissfully together.
- (Hope) It starts in your toes, and the feeling immediately rises to the top of your head. (Spiritual) The sacredness is felt in every space. (Love) Learning to love myself, and in return love others.