Finding Friends

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I have a PACKED few days ahead, and it’s going to be awesome. I’m in Bali; the experiences I could jump into are endless. So I’ve narrowed it down for myself:

  • Some light shopping of exotic Bali goods (which may include some or all of the following list:)
    • dresses
    • an orange bikini
    • raw cacao powder and raw cacao butter
    • tokens for select loved ones
    • post cards
    • chocolate and coffees and teas
  • Laying on the beach
  • A 13-hour “Bali Experience Tour” (BET) that includes BARONG DANCE, KINTAMANI, VOLCANO, LUNCH, UBUD, MONKEY FOREST WATERFALL, KECAK FIRE DANCE, LEGONG DINNER
  • Laying on the beach
  • Eating awesome food
  • A sunrise hike up the volcano Mt. Batur, the second highest peak on the island, followed by a hot springs spa and local cuisine for lunch
  • Refining my Chinese New Year so I can start the year of the snake right
The welcome arrangement on my bed
It’s already been an awesome first day, despite the 4:30am start. (A HUGE shout out to my friend Josh who woke up that early with me to call the cab and send me off.) At 11:45am, Nyoman, the driver from Bali Surf House (BSH), was waiting for me outside at the Denpasar Airport holding a sign with my name on it. That was the first time that has ever happened to me! Nyoman is a local who has been living in Bali all his life with the exception of a few months during college, and he loves it. We had super pleasant conversation on the drive to BSH. At the surf house, I was warmly greeted by everyone who was there and was reunited with my acquaintance Matt, who I met briefly in Taipei through a mutual friend and the person who told me about the ministry that is happening at BSH. (The Bali Surf House is an international home stay  ministry that does so much more than host guests. Hosting guests is what brings in funds for the building and the ministry.) 

I get the tour, get myself settled, talk to Matt about some logistics, book a tour, and make a trip to the ATM. About the tours: I randomly (or not so randomly) pick up these Bali brochures, since I’ve really done nothing as far as think through an itinerary for this place. They’re AWESOME – the tours and the prices. There are so many choices, so I think through my time here and then make the call. It’s the first tour I’ve ever booked for myself! I’m traveling alone, so I don’t want to accidentally waste my time or be lame.

Uluwatu Beach on the Bukit Peninsula of Bali Island
The rest of the afternoon needed to be spent at the beach. Matt wasn’t sure if there are any motorbikes available and they’re also not rented out for such a short amount of time. One of the guys at the surf house heard our conversation and offered his. So I take this guy’s motorcycle, experience the green & lusciously shrouded roads of Bali, and hit up one of the nearby beaches that Matt gives me directions to.

It’s a beautiful drive, a beautiful sky, a beautiful time in the sun and water. Since I was borrowing Dustin’s bike, I made my way back after a couple hours before sunset. I stopped at store I saw on the way in with the words BIKINI. I found my orange bikini. 

Back at BSH, I ended up chilling with the director of the place, Paula. She’s the one who helped me with reservations and all the stuff that got me here. We got into conversation as I was on my way into my room and she was on her way out. There was no need for it to end, so I asked her what she was doing for dinner. She was cooking and invited me to join her. 

And this is why I titled this blog “Finding Friends.” Every destination on my CNY trip has had friends as a part of the equations. All of my traveling destinations do. I do love experiencing new places and visiting different countries. But at the end of the day, it’s a story about a human connection that gives everything meaning. 

This is why I’m staying at the Bali Surf House. Because of a connection through a friend. Because of the intrigue I felt when Matt first told me he was a missionary in Bali. And all of this led to me making an awesome connection with Paula over dinner tonight. 

We talked about ministry, why we’re doing what we’re doing, how we got there, what life is like in another country. Books. Food. There was so much testimony-sharing. It was the kind of conversation that adds my to life and reminds me who I am and what I love. There were tears in my eyes when Paula told me how she finally ended up in Bali. 

I’m not just sleeping at a hostel this week. I’m staying with family – family that I hadn’t met until now – but family all the same. 

God does this to me every time. He removes me from my immediate context, puts me in a new environment and reminds me of things he taught me in my youth. Remember you Creator, he seems to always be whispering whenever I travel to faraway places. He reminds me through people, through conversation, through experiences – all while I’m traveling. I’ll have more to say about this later. 

But for now, BALI HERE I COME! Alas, I have already arrived. 
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