A Nice Break

A change is as good as a holiday, but a change and a holiday is a whole new me. Let’s talk about this in two parts:

Bali

Nathan came with me to Bali for a long weekend (and is an absolute hero for doing so – his work schedule was hectic but he still carved out some time for us). It was so… needed. After all theĀ everything of this year, it was our first time to actually just enjoy each other’s company. Nathan used some points to get us a little chalet at our resort away from the hustle and bustle of the main area, and it was blissful.

And we’ve had many conversations about whether we need a twelve foot bed in our house and a pool in our backyard (answer is yes, duh).

After Nathan had to go home, I went to Ubud to stay in my favourite little bed and breakfast style hotel. The plan was that I would just write and write and write – this didn’t happen to the extent that I hoped for. First reason was that fluctuating power in Ubud meant that my laptop electrocuted me while charging, twice. Second reason – the medication I’m (still) on for trigeminal neuralgia has had two nefarious effects. It has given me a rash all over my body that has been driving me mad. The second part is that the medication is well known for turning people into bumbling zombies. We’re talking major cognitive deficits. I have struggled with things like paying for my prescriptions with a credit card or ordering from a menu, so as you can imagine, writing has been an insurmountable task*. So I didn’t get much done. But reading has been fine, swimming for about 4 hours a day (I have a tan!) and eating – I found a warung near my hotel that made the most amazing tuna curry (I know – tuna in curry? I was shocked too, but it’s really good) that was so delicious that I went back for it three times.

Here’s a story though: one night, I went out for dinner and made my first fatal mistake – I ordered beef carpaccio. In low season, in a regional area. It came out from the kitchen and I could immediately smell it. Like a toilet. I froze up, knowing that I was the only person in the restaurant, they would see if I flung it into the bushes, and I would die of shame to send something back or refuse to eat it. So I ate it. Tasted like a toilet too (I imagine). I struggled on through, diplomatically eating about two thirds of the plate before fussing with the remaining slices to make them look smaller and hiding them underneath some rocket. It was so bad, and yes, I paid for it later. Only for about thirty six hours, but still – I am so ridiculous that I will risk getting typhoid or whatever rather than hurt a stranger’s feelings.

Aside from that, my trip was calm, peaceful and uneventful. I skipped a lot of things that I usually do – no massages, no classes, no sightseeing, not a lot of shopping. Just a lot of restorative time by myself to recover from the year that was.

Home

When I got home, Dad had put in a mammoth effort and put a shower in our bathroom for us, after nine months of having to go to Mum’s every day. It took him three weekends, but I can’t even describe how much this has changed my life. Yes, seriously. The day after I got home, I just woke up, had a shower in my own house at my leisure, put on clean clothes, and it was such a revelation. There is so much self-esteem and positivity in being able to do these small rituals of self-care.

Conclusion

Both of these things together have signaled such a fresh start for me, it’s unbelievable. I came home full of hope and optimism, like I’d shrugged it all off and the year’s worth of bad things was all behind me. It was such a relief, and now I finally feel like I can get on with things. Aside from the novel, I have a bunch of upcoming projects and instead of approaching them with dread, I’m so excited. Instead of feeling tired before we’ve even begun, I can’t wait for what the future holds.

* This is slowly getting better. I am weaning off the medication because the flare seems to be over, so we’ll see how this goes. It’s really hard to be a writer who isn’t writing, and it’s especially hard when everybody is crowing about their NaNoWriMo triumphs and you are averaging 300 words a day. But it’s coming back. Maybe January will be my novel writing month.

I Write This From the Pool

Seriously.

I’m in Bali. Nathan was here for the first weekend, now I’m on my own. I’ll write more when I get home, but it’s all about sleeping*, eating**, swimming***, writing**** and reading***** right now.

* Luxuriously for as long as I want.

** Lobster rolls and dragonfruit and mahi curry.

*** Every single day, sometimes twice (part mermaid, after all).

**** Trying, mostly.

***** Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain and Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman at the moment.

bali – part three

Although we spent most of our time together, there were a few activities that we did alone. On Saturday, I went out again by myself on a bike tour. According the website, this was meant to start with breakfast overlooking an active volcano and then a leisurely downhill ride through the countryside, stopping at a temple and a traditional Balinese village, finishing with lunch overlooking some rainforest. Everything was correct, but they neglected to mention the hellish bits where we were riding on main roads. It was terrifying. The edges of the roads were unfinished, often with steep drop offs down the mountain, and trucks and buses were zooming past with less than a metre clearance, beeping their horns like crazy the whole time. The surfaces were so rough that I fell off my bike a couple of times and still have some lovely bruises on my legs. The whole experience rattled me so much that I gave up at the 3/4 point, and got the van to take me straight to the restaurant instead. I did manage to get a couple of nice photos along the way, though.

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It wasn’t the most enjoyable day, unfortunately. There was nothing objectively wrong with the tour or the organization, it was just terrifying and too much sun for a ghosty girl (you can see how pasty I am in comparison to the other girl above). Nathan had gone back to Tulamben for another scuba dives, and I was a bit jealous that I hadn’t gone with him.

We spent our last day in Bali mostly relaxing – running out to buy a cheap suitcase to haul all of our shopping home, and lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. I begged to go, just for the novelty factor, and Nathan rolled his eyes at me the whole time. At one point during lunch, the entire staff of the restaurant accosted a couple at another table and sang a song at them. We sunk so far down in our seats, praying that they wouldn’t come over to us too!

After a swim and a few more mojitos, we made our way to the airport, a little too early. So naturally, we took a billion photos while we waited:

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Can’t you tell what a brilliant mood Nathan was in? It got worse – the airline had changed their schedule, so instead of doing a direct flight, we had to endure a four hour stop at Sydney at 6am. By the time we finally got home after nearly 20 hours in transit, we collapsed, and we’re still recovering now. But it was worth it. Despite everything, it was a really great trip, and it was even better to get away from everything and do it all with Nathan. Bring on the next adventure!