I found this letter I wrote home, the first time I took my daughter on a long haul holiday back in 2010. She was seven months old. As this site is as much about therapy as it is about providing a record of the parenting journey, I figured I should post it
Yesterday I spent most of the day staring out to sea.
I did the same yesterday.
I plan to do the same tomorrow.
It’s not that it is a particularly captivating scene. Nothing much changes. It’s big. It’s blue. And apart from the odd jet-ski ripping past and para-glider coming into land, it remains relatively constant.
So why is it so captivating?
Perhaps it’s the way that the crests of the waves capture the sunlight and send shards of light twinkling all directions?
Perhaps it’s the tantalising fragrance of salt, fresh limes and divine frangipane carried by the trade winds that ventilate the island?
Perhaps it’s the fact that we have secured a spongy raised water bed, right on the beach that is the size of a small room and with as many soft furnishings as an Ikea showroom that allows Asha to roll around to her heart’s content?
Perhaps it’s the fact that there is a nice man who keeps bringing us drinks and food all day long?
I dont know.
All I can say is that for a view that changes only once every half hour or so, this is strangely compelling.
So what of Bali? Well we have hardly seen any of it. There really is no need when you have a swimming pool right outside your front door and a beach about a cricket balls throw away.
Our hut is beautifully arranged, along with 7 others nestling in the tropical undergrowth, around the centrepiece swimming pool. We have an outside shower where you can enjoy a nocturnal cool down under the stars listening to the gentle burr of the Cicada’s and surrounded by the enveloping fragrance of jasmine.
To one side of the hut there is a massage table under a thatched Pagoda shade, and everywhere else is lush green foliage, hidden statutes, paths and God heads, bright tropical flowers and the constant sound of gongs, wind chimes and trickling, running water.
What we have seen is reminiscent of both Sri Lanka and Zanzibar.
But unlike the former that has been torn apart by conflict and the latter that has been criminally overlooked by corrupt governance, there is something balanced about this island.
From the diversity of cultures, to the gentle ambiance of the people; from the sticky warm fresh fruit served with coffee and a smile first thing in the morning to the gentle flux and flow of everyday life. This just seems to be an island that gives something back.
Unlike the happy mania of Jakarta, the people here seem more considered, down to earth.
Asha is not a celebrity here, in the same way that she was in Jakarta, but people have much more refined views. They still take her, and fuss over her, and tickle her until she smiles her smiles but you can tell people are taking her in when they look at her.
And they have time to see her in a different way here.
One man we met was captivated by her and said she had amazing charisma.
Another, after many minutes of looking at her, compared her to the Hindu Goddess Krishna.
I have been glowing with the inner pride of knowing I have a charismatic God baby ever since.
Like I said, Bali gives something back.
And despite the fact that we have forced Asha across 8 time zones, made her stay up late far too many times, dropped her on her head on a hard marble floor, made her sleep in a room where even the mosquito’s sweat and watched her vibrate for 2 hours after feeding her some chilli fish she is just loving every minute of it.
She continues to squeal, gurgle and grin her way through every day.
She is very happy here.
And as I write this next to the swimming pool fringed with mini Baobab trees with fragrant pink flowers, I know that I feel extremely content here.
And I am sure my wife, who is currently indulging in a one hour body massage, is also feeling it too.
And later today we are going to go and stare at the sea.
Tomorrow we will do the same.
I will let you know if anything has changed.