Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finding Peace in Bali

I picked the titled for my blog for several reasons, as you get older you realize that you have “seasons” in your life – the season of being a young mother, the season of the empty nest, etc. – so this Peace Corps adventure was to be my season of peace – peace related to actually being in the Peace Corps but also a season of little responsibility, a time to reflect and figure out what comes next….
Periodically over the past 18 and a half months of service here in the Philippines I have asked myself “Well, have you experienced that season of peace you wanted?” and many times I have answered that “No, I don’t think I have …..”
People enter the Peace Corps with many visions of how they will save the world and make a difference and as volunteers we read that many times it is actually us, the volunteers, who experience a multitude of changes. Peace Corps can be a 27 month self discovery journey, so again, I ask myself “Where has the season of peace been?”
The past 18 months has gone by SO slowly at times and at others SO fast. I almost can’t remember last January, each day here is so full, we go to bed each night exhausted from just processing culture all day. When I slow down enough to think, I have glimpses of peace every day – when the children at school ask me to bless them and touch the top of their head (I must do this 50 times a day, minimum), when I first got here I was amazed at the lush greenery, flowers and fruits that by now just seem common….my life here is simple and so with that comes a kind of peace. I don’t think I will truly appreciate that until I am back in the rat race in America…taking cold bucket baths and living with no screens on your windows can be annoying but accepting that as my reality has its own sense of peace.
I titled this particular blog post “Finding Peace in Bali” because when I visited Bali, Indonesia this past Christmas I felt the most incredible deep inner soul soothing peace I have ever felt. The week after Bali I traveled to the island of Palawan with 6 other volunteers and when we encountered any challenges, I just claimed my “Bali High” and said that I was in such a good place right now and no one or anything was going to mess it up.
I went to Bali alone, originally a friend was going to meet me there but she couldn’t make it. So, either go alone or not go…the night before I left I actually panicked for about 3 min. and asked myself “Are you sure this is a good idea, really? Bali, Indonesia, alone?” but Peace Corps Indonesia knew where I was and that was a comfort in itself. If anything weird happened I had them as back up. So off I went with a few pre-made plans for adventure and for 7 days I never felt alone.
Eventually I will post photos of my adventure in North Luzon (previous blog post). To come Bali Part One, Bali Part Two and Feb.1st Grand Opening of Library and Reading Center!!

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