We have been in Bali for just over three months now. We are settling in; feeling at home, more and more every day. We are acclimatising and getting used to the humid climate, the insane traffic, the earthquakes, the bugs, and even the fact that we will occasionally (literally!) stumble upon a snake in our bamboo village in the midst of the jungle.
Furthermore, the beauty of the jungle, the rice-fields and the sea, the constant scent of incense from the many daily offerings, the kind smiles and hellos the locals send us, the amazing food, and the sentiment of always being outside, of never being constricted to a “home-box” suddenly seems comforting and familiar to us.
There are things my family and I miss about Copenhagen, but far fewer than expected. And strangely; what I miss is not at all what thought I would miss!
Before we left Copenhagen, and whilst we were selling the majority of our belongings and packing the items we had decided to keep into boxes for storage, I was sure that I would miss many of the material things I was letting go of; like furniture, especially our carefully collected vintage chairs, Moroccan rugs, paintings, clothes, ceramic vases that I loved looking at every day, toys for the kids, and books.
And, when we were saying goodbye to family and friends, I felt overly emotional and was suddenly hit with the thought that we were not able to go through with this; to leave everyone that matters to us behind.
But we did; we had to. We had made the decision.
I thought I would miss the comfort and sentiment of our home, the coziness of our neighbourhood, local cafes and the familiarity of my surroundings. But I miss none of that. I thought I would miss my bed, my books and my kitchen. But I miss none of that. I thought I would miss our beautiful, comfortable furniture, my boot collection (yes, seriously, my boot collection; it seems ridiculous to write now!) and my paintings. But I miss none of that. I thought I would miss Copenhagen during autumn, the big park close to our apartment that we used to enjoy on the weekends, the art museums and harbour areas. But I miss none of that.
I never thought I would miss bicycling everywhere, listening to very loud music on my record player and cooking at home. But that is exactly what I miss. I never thought I would miss having a daily rhythm (I have always done my very best to flee routines) and being productive. But that is exactly what I miss.
However, that being said, since we moved into the jungle house we have actually established a very nurturing daily rhythm that isn’t too routine based, but contains enough structure to allow for space to write, read, work. Our first months were rather turbulent, and working at times felt like a spa retreat! But the jungle house during the day is very peaceful, and every day that goes by I feel more and more productive and inspired.
Still, what I miss the very most about our life in Copenhagen is the feeling of freedom and autonomy; of being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Of “mastering” my surroundings. Here in Bali I haven’t quite found my way yet. I am practising driving my scooter every day, as I have found out that motorbiking is the key to personal Bali-freedom. But still, despite my practice; driving through the insane, chaotic traffic in rush hour feels weeks away. I am taking walks by myself everyday and extending my “territory”, even though the many wild, street dogs still scare me when they bark and growl at me. And I am not yet in a place where I feel completely indifferent to their bared teeth. I will get there – I know that. But I am impatient. And my need for freedom and autonomy is a part of myself that I have become very acquainted with, whilst being here.
I also miss the closeness of my family; the warmth of my parents and my brother’s beautiful face, as well as deep conversations over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with my beloved, close friends.
But that was expected.