The sun sets over the island of Nusa Lembongan, off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 21. The island is one of the only places in Bali that uses the ocean for a large part of their economy, with most residents being seaweed farmers. (CU Independent/Stephanie Davis)
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The time has come where I’m preparing to leave Bali. I’m starting to think about where I should apply for jobs at home, looking for internships and wondering how I’m going to be able to go back to a full load after having so much down time here.
I’m also trying to avoid writing a 30 page paper due this week, so it seemed like a perfect time to wrap up the semester with my last column from abroad. It seemed appropriate, as it usually does to the point of being cliché, to finish up with the 10 things I’m going to miss most about my semester abroad.
So here goes:
1. Having all the time in the world to read. I think I’ve been able to read more this semester than I have in my three-and-a-half years of college. There’s just nothing else to do in the evenings. I’ve read at least 13 books this semester for well over 4,200 pages. Too bad I never do that much reading for any of my classes. My GPA would be amazing if I did.
2. Trying to figure out how to flush some of the toilets. It really is an art form. Some you have to manually flush by pouring buckets of water into the bowl, others just don’t have enough water pressure to do the job and you have to improvise.
3. Not caring about what I look like, or how dirty my clothes are. It’s going to be strange going back and thinking about primping for a night out, or heck, even looking in a mirror before I go to school. A lot of clothing I have here is now stained or ripped, and it’s nice not having to care. Although admittedly, getting out of the hot and humid weather that leaves me feeling—and smelling—like cheese will be nice.
4. The sunsets. I’ve never seen the sky turn so many colors. There are evenings where the sky is a brilliant shade of purple, others it’s bright orange. The ones over the beach are particularly breathtaking.
5. Waking up to the sound of roosters. I’ve grown strangely attached to waking up to the sound of their crowing. I’ve also started to give the roosters in my yard personality types. I was very upset when I walked into my yard and found my favorite rooster dead on the ground.
6. Martabak. I don’t know what martabak is, or how it’s made, but it’s some sort of flat, crispy egg and spinach thing. It’s perhaps one of the most delicious fried foods I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot. We would eagerly wait for 5 p.m. every evening, when a man with an adorable grin would come up the street, pushing his stall to his spot on the corner. We would watch him set up and pounce as soon as we could tell he was ready to start taking orders. I think he’s become the unofficial mascot of the semester.
7. Bemo rides. I never thought I would miss being crammed into a 1970s-looking van with 15 other people who had been working all day—all of us having some sort of funky odor. I didn’t realize I would miss it either until I was riding home about a week ago. There was no more space on the seats, so I sat on the steps of the open door. The woman sitting on the bench next to me just put her arm around me for safety without saying a word.
8. All the kids saying “Hello!” really loudly, with giant grins on their faces, and ducking shyly when we say “hello” back. They’re incredibly friendly, and as much as I hate children, I think I’ll even go so far as to say it’s kind of cute. The fun thing is it doesn’t stop with the kids. It seems like everyone here is rather friendly and wants to say “hello” and ask where you’re going.
9. My ibu, or home-stay mother, serving my lunch as soon as I’ve finished my breakfast. “For later,” she would say. On a few days I knew I would be out during lunch, I would throw the rice and noodles she gave me in a sandwich bag and take it to go. If I could pack her in my suitcase and bring her home, I would. And not just for the food, but for the company in general.
10. The people I have met here. It’s going to be strange not living with a family again, or be able to joke about the silly antics of my language teacher. Most of all, though, I will miss the friends here who I wasn’t expecting to become so close to in such a short time. Especially since I wasn’t sure I liked any of them when the semester started.
It’s going to be hard to say good-bye, but it’s definitely time to come home.
Contact CU Independent Contributor Stephanie Davis at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Life in a New Culture: Bali: Part 1
- Life in a new culture: Bali: Part 2
- Life in a new culture: Bali: Part 3
- Life in a new culture: Bali, part 4
- Life in a new culture: Bali, part 7