I’m warning you now that this is going to be one of those rambling stream of consciousness type posts, so if you’d rather just skip knowing what my mind goes through at midnight on a Tuesday, go right ahead.
Tomorrow is Galungan and as usual has been preceded by weeks of preparations and stress about lack of money and why I’m not helping and what’s going to happen when Made’s mother is too old to do all the ceremonial stuff. It’s very sad but the longer I’m here, the less I enjoy anything to do with Balinese Hinduism. I think in essence, it is a very beautiful religion and makes a lot of sense but I find myself turning away more and more each day. In fact I realise now that I pretty much hate Galungan due to all the stress and subsequent arguments it causes, which is a real shame as it is supposed to be the biggest celebration on the Balinese calendar.
The fact is that Galungan and other big ceremonies may seem colourful and exciting to visitors but for the Balinese, or rather the Balinese women, they are a LOT of work. Work on top of taking care of the children, looking after the home and doing their normal paid work. Made’s mother has been preparing offerings for months and once Galungan and Kuningan are over, it will just be onto getting ready for the next ceremony.
I think the idea behind doing offerings to show your thanks for everything the world has given you is a great one. The simple daily offerings can be a joy to do. However backbreaking work for weeks on end and families getting into debt just so they can make a load of offerings for some big ceremony that will be thrown away or eaten at the end of the day – why?
Sometimes I feel like the longer I’m here, the less I understand and I don’t even try to understand anymore. I’m used to the fact that Made will be moody and quick-tempered in the weeks running up to a big ceremony. I’m used to walking on eggshells until it’s over with and we can go back to normal, that is until the next ceremony.
Stress, stress and more stress. Stress about his mother working so hard with no support, stress about having no money, stress about me being on my computer all the time trying to make money. We go round and round in circles and get nowhere.
There is so much that I want to do. I have about a million business ideas and about an hour a day to put them into practice. And of course I use that time in exchange for money so we can keep limping along until the next month. I don’t want this blog to just be pictures – I have a million words dying to get out (if you couldn’t tell by what you’ve read so far) but there just isn’t any time to sit down and write when I should be doing something else. I want to draw but in my free time I work and feel guilty that I’m working and not weaving palm leaves or studying the Hindu vedas or something.
I never really realised how hard it would be being in a multicultural relationship before we got married. After having kids, things only get harder because while you may be willing to compromise when it comes to yourself, everyone just wants the best for their children. When you have conflicting ideas about what is best, of course it is bound to lead to arguments.
I’m trying to pick my battles and be less obsessed over the things that don’t really matter. I no longer glare and slam doors when I see my in-laws chasing Maya around with a bowl of rice – I just sigh, hand them a spoon and let them get on with it. But some things just seem to wind me up more and more and I don’t even know if it’s really a cultural thing or just me disagreeing with them.
For example, I hate the way they lie to Maya. I hate how they will say they’ll take her swimming or to see the monkeys when really they just want to say anything that will get her dressed and out of the door. I hate how they just give children whatever they want if there’s the slightest hint of a tantrum. I’m not harsh in my parenting style but I really don’t want to be raising little spoiled brats.
I’m not even really sure what my point is here but sometimes I feel like I’m an alien just landed on this planet and I look around and think “who ARE these people?”. Yesterday I cut a good 6 inches off my hair and I’m still waiting for someone to comment or even notice it. Is that normal? Maybe it’s not polite to comment on someone’s appearance here? But no because every time I go out, someone is sure to tell me that I’m getting too skinny. Maybe they’re just worried that I cut my hair off because I’m going slightly crazy and maybe that isn’t too far from the truth.
I do love my life here most of the time but wow, is it hard. I know I should be trying harder to fit in, to learn more, to do more but I have two small children crying for my attention, a mountain of credit card debt and not enough hours in the day. I’m so behind on everything at the moment, it’s not even funny. I feel like I’ve been working harder and harder these last few weeks and yet I’m getting less and less done. I can’t even stay on top of my project 365 photos.
Anyway I guess I should get some sleep so I can wake up too late (ie after 4am) and get glared at again and apologise silently for not being born the perfect Balinese housewife. But tomorrow is Galungan so maybe things will improve for a while until the next ceremony rolls around again. Such is life.
This post is brought to you by my rapidly degenerating grip on reality and the fact I’m up way after my normal bed time supposed to be catching up on work that is already 2 days late but I’m blogging instead. I rock.