rolling with the punches
it's been a whirlwind of a time here in bali with some turn of events that really changed the course of this past week.
to start, I have been so happy as my parents came to visit me in bali. saying farewell to them back in canada over fourteen months ago and having them come visit me here now has been such an incredible experience. one of the best parts has been getting to show loved ones what I have been up to these last few months working at the ecolodge and have them truly understand and appreciate the place I've been fortunate enough to call home. getting to share this part of my journey with my parents has brought me so much joy and allowed me to see my home with a new sense of appreciation through their own eyes of wonder, excitement, and overwhelmingly gratitude that comes with visiting new places.
when planning the trip, my parents came to stay with me during my last week of work at the ecolodge before all heading off to travel around bali together. however, as I looked forward to their arrival, there was a sudden turn of events the evening before they were set to come that really brought me back to reality and put things into perspective.
not wishing to get into too much detail or draw it out anymore than need be, one evening last week we had heard there was someone roaming around the lodge, potentially going in and out of some of our bungalows. quickly getting up, we contacted the rest of the staff to help get to the bottom of who or what was going on.
as we searched the bungalows with no luck, I had a sense that whoever this was had moved onto another room further down away from the main area where everyone was. sure enough, as I opened up the bungalow I stood before a teenage boy (roughly 16-18) rummaging through some bags in the room. completely taken back, I yelled for him to get out and also called out for our staff to come.
the young man, running high on adrenaline, was spooked and ran at me towards the door - his only escape. all happening so quickly, he punched me in the arm and just as soon after took his clenched fist directly to my eye knocking me off my feet as he ran down into the jungle. as the staff came running, half chasing him down, others coming to take me off the ground, I couldn't think clearly as the pain and shock that overcame me was so great.
the events that took place after were incredible. it seemed everyone in the local villages had come together completely beside themselves, having never really encountered an incidence like this in their humble small village before. in fact, when putri called the village elder, he almost didn't believe it was true. seeing everyone come together doing all they could to ensure the area and people were safe was truly remarkable.
coming home after meeting with the elder and others in the village that night, my eye swollen like a balloon, migraine in full force, blurry vision and still in shock, I couldn't help but feel completely nauseated and later threw up. it all felt like too much and trying to sleep that night through the pain, shock, and stress of it all felt near impossible. to be honest, I feel torn saying I felt 'post traumatic stress' as I would never wish to compare it to other traumatizing events where people encounter even greater and more severe incidences, however, being physically attacked by someone and knowing the pain I felt was from the actions of another person was pretty hard to wrap my head around.
that being said, as all of this was taking place, I knew I needed to slow down and just breathe, simply inhaling and exhaling to calm down my mind. it was absolutely incredible to physically be able to feel the sense of release and calm that deep breathing and meditation was for me in those moments. so for that I am sooo thankful.
seeing my parents the following evening and making the call to let them know during their layover in taiwan, you can imagine their shock. I joke to them now, having last seen them in canada right after my bike accident with another huge black eye and now seeing them again fourteen months later seemingly just the same - a massive black and blue eye that had been swollen shut.
I think so much can be taken away from these kinds of experiences and while one's initial reaction may be to feel unsafe because of where they are, I wish to always see the good in people everywhere and break down stereotypes of people and dangers based on their geographic location, beliefs, culture, etc. of course, I understand one can't be completely naive when traveling and that there are certainly times you need to be more cautious and aware, but I think one needs to find a balance between travelling smart versus steering clear of places for fear of potentially self-imposed beliefs of danger that really could never come, or be no different than any risks that could and do occur back in the familiarities of our homes. my entire time time living up in the mountains of bali have been filled with daily solo trail runs, bike rides and walks, visits to our staff's homes and going off the main tracks alone, never once feeling unsafe or threatened in any way.
seeing the reactions of the locals after the incident, continually apologizing or wishing they had been there to support me when it happened, I know this really was a 'one off'. healing up quickly now and having received such an overwhelming amount of sincere apologies from all of the locals I can't help but try to see the good in this situation and know there are always 'take aways' from these occurrences in our life.
while this particular situation is unfortunate, I wish to remain grateful. honestly, things could have been a lot worse. someone else could have been hurt, it could have been more severe, more people involved, really anything. as the days go by, the colours and bruising moving around my face, the swelling and pain subsiding, I am continually healing. and as always I am left with a big smile on my face, understanding that sometimes these things in life can just happen, but it's not how hard you get knocked down that matters but your decision to rise up after the fall.
I left canada over fourteen months ago with a right black eye and I suppose it was just time to even it out on the left.