If you are just jumping into our series onDrenched in Balinese Culture, make sure to read Part 1 here! This culture is the complete opposite of everything we have ever known. Part 1 describes the head spinning differences we learned within our first short hour on a Balinese family's compound on our Tinggly experience!
If you already read the first bit, you are one of our biggest fans! Thank you so much! Cheers to Made (Part 2)! Enjoy!
Picking up where we left off, the first hour of our morning was hearing all of the shocking differences between Balinese culture compared to everything Adam and I have ever known. Our minds were reeling in the midst of hearing and seeing the family temple, their human temple, buried placentas, and the dynamics of an entire family living together. To get a grip on it all, I asked our hostess, Made, to sum up the difference between American culture and Balinese culture. Made was hesitant, but honest with us when she answered, "Americans spend their days working and a Balinese day is spent with their family."
I was smacked in the face with her honest answer!
I wasn't offended at all, because I was totally prepared for that kind of answer. It doesn't mean it didn't hurt to hear, though. Everyone in the world knows that American working culture is tough with little or very few vacations. We have spent the last year hearing from Europeans about their lovely, annual six week holidays and their four month honeymoons. When we say Americans get two weeks per year everyone gasps! "What?!? Only two weeks?" We are a bit embarrased and definitely envious of our European friends! So, Made's honest opinion of the true differences and priorities of both cultures was valid. It makes me a bit sad, though, because we are and have been surrounded by Americans continually striving so hard to find the absolute balance between their faith, family, health, friends and work. Just the effort that goes into the balancing act is stressful in itself! We have all felt stretched too thin and pulled in every direction. To hear Made call us out, well dang. I'm sure my eyeballs hit their size limit many times throughout our day with her.
Made continued to tour us through the family's compound. Through every small bit of conversation, we were slowly putting the pieces together and seeing the fruits of communal living manifest themselves around us.
Another auntie waved as she came by to feed the pigs. The family raises pigs and cows to be sold. Made shared, "We don't need all that meat." All I could think was BACON!
Making our way to the chicken coop, Made's face cringed at the thought that we eat chicken eggs. "No. We eat duck eggs." If they take their chickens' eggs, the chickens will stop laying. No good! They need the baby chicks for future chicken dinners.
So, when in Bali, do as the Balinese do. We tried duck eggs. Now, we ain't no egg connoisseurs, ya hear, but by golly they taste just the same!
We were also learning this family was full of entrepreneurial spirit and had been very creative in finding different forms of income. As we continued walking down the path, we waved to men in their jungle. Had to be uncles working on the banana trees, right? Made laughed, "No, I don't know those people." The family has so much land covered with banana trees, they sell the leaves as another form of income. "Everyone always needs banana leaves for all of the ceremonies, offerings, and cooking," she explained. "Ah!"
We heard about members of her family as taxi drivers and painting class instructors. Then, we toured the family's rentable guest house and swimming pool overlooking their rice terraces. Just beautiful! The family even rents access to the river on their property for white water rafting tours to use. We already heard they sell cows, pigs and banana leaves. Oh yeah, we can't forget the cooking class we are currently experiencing and we hadn't even stepped into the kitchen yet!
Seeing the family's creativity in using their strengths to find income inspires Adam and I. Along our nuventures, we have been traveling and seeing new places but it has also become a journey of dreaming about our future. We continually dream and brainstorm ways of diversifying our income so we aren't fully dependent on one source. Also, we are always thinking of ways to make passive income on the side as an extra boost each month. This is all in an effort to have more time for our family now and our family to come. We dream of working and making incomes remotely so we can travel for a month to Canmore, Alberta or to take off for the summer and road trip to see our families across the US. We want that to be "no big deal."
We have met so many fellow travelers and families along our journey that have been creative, figured out how to diversify their income, are working for themselves and have control of their days. We want that, too. We want to be able to go for a bike ride in the middle of the afternoon or get lunch with our kids at school and not have to explain ourselves to anyone.
We are working on giving this lifestyle a go. We may fail or we may decide the lack of a schedule and structure doesn't really work for us. We may realize we are working so much more time for less money than we did while working for an employer. Who knows how we will fair in taking new leaps of trying freelance work or developing passive modes of income. It's scary, but we know what we are working and hoping for in our future. More time. More time to do what we want, when we want, with the people we want to share time with. Made's family and their different lifestyle inspired us.
With those revelations all wracking through my brain, I snapped back to the task at hand as Made continued to lead us down the path guiding us toward their rice terraces.
Want to check out the lush, green rice terraces or just get some comical relief from our conversation with the women harvesting? Read on to Drenched in Balinese Culture: Nyoman (Part 3) here!