Two of my close friends, Lauren and Melissa, came to visit us in Indonesia. Their trip has been this big, exciting thing on our schedule for the past few months and the time had finally come for real, live hugs.
We split our time between the jungle of Ubud, riddled with tattooed yogis and American Expats sipping detoxifying juices, and Gili Trawangen’s white beaches and Bintang chugging traveler scene. I had planned much of our time, but left a bit of the schedule open so that we could add in adventures or change plans along the way. Zach and I hadn’t been to Ubud or Gili T yet, but we had gotten pretty good at planning, negotiating, and making our way around Bali and I was excited to both explore and use my sassy traveler skills with my friends.
But there were three or four different times throughout the week when a little voice in my brain stomped her feet and whined, “This is not how this is supposed to be going.” Like when I split my forehead open in the pool and had to go to the medical clinic for stitches, or when I couldn’t drink fancy cocktails at the swim up bar because of the antibiotics that I was on. Or when our hotel that looked pretty good online was run by crystal meth addicts. Or when we all got sick and were just barely able to share the one toilet.
The trip was not how I had envisioned. I envisioned a funkier version of a vacation that you might see in a movie. I saw us making cocktails at our bungalow and going to bars at night, kind of like what we might do in New York. But over the course of two weeks, we didn’t finish the booze that the girls brought from the duty free shop or go to bars. We spent our days exploring shops, taking yoga classes, finding shady spots to enjoy a fresh juice and telling stories. And when we talked about the big stuff, we talked about the little stuff and asked about family and got our nails painted. We went to bed early and were awoken by the sound of roosters and iguanas and the call to prayer coming from the mosques.
Our trip had highs and lows just like life does. There was a point every day when I held my forehead while laughing hysterically because I thought I was going to rip my stitches. There was the night we all snuggled in one bed and ate Ritz crackers because that’s all anyone could keep down. Melissa accompanied me to medical clinics to get my bandage changed and take pictures of my wound. Lauren let a monkey sit on her shoulder, somewhat that no one else had the hutzpah to do. We shopped and negotiated. We barfed and drank ginger ale. We talked about Miley Cyrus and Syria. My friends got to experience what our life is like these days and we had the pleasure of their company, which is the biggest thing we miss about home.
As Melissa said in an email when she got back,
I had such a good time doing nothing. It’s rare to not have the internal nag saying “you should be going to the gym, you should be doing this that or the other pain in the ass thing you don’t want to do.” I love how no matter what we do, sitting on a beach, snorkeling, hiking, eating, etc. We know we are going to have an adventure, laughs, heart-to-heats with our without wine… it’s always guaranteed.
Couldn’t have said it better, Melis. Thank you guys for coming, we had a phenomenal time. Much love.