Okay – the title may be misleading, as it will never snow here on an island just off of the equator; however, our “white” is white sand and sea foam – so that is sort of like a large part of the United States – sort of. But it is really hard to consider Christmas in this Hindu land, for so many reasons. “Christmas” can be a very personal thing, filled with memories and items that are unique to your family or traditions that you have created. While there are a few Christmas items up around Sanur village, with so many cultures combined here, there is little familiarity in the experience. For example, on a recent trip to the Euro grocery store, I thought I might surprise Marc with a stocking! But in the small table of Christmas items they had, there were only Christmas SACKS!?! Must be a Dutch thing, since Bali was once colonized by the Dutch, but even so, the price of a little tie-string bag was about 4 times the cost of a meal – so I will have to come up with something else for Marc.
I am singing in a Christmas Choir of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because it is supported by the international Christian Church for this one event. We are singing carols out of the hymnal – mostly in unison. And we meet where ever there is space – so it is a little ‘rag tag’ as it was described to me- maybe more like ‘Christmas Carolers’ but stationary. The beauty is that there must be 8 different countries represented, an age span from early 20 to late 60, and it is such a wonderful group of people that I have enjoyed the experience, even if I do have to sing alto (my music friends understand)! So, today was our rehearsal, held at the home of friends who are from South Carolina! What a small world. We were connected through a mutual friend in SC and they are the reason I am in the choir. I don’t know what is harder to keep in the humidity and openness here – a piano or a keyboard. I have yet to see a piano on the island, but we have had 3 different keyboards for rehearsals, and they all seemed possessed – humidity or Bali demons??
While I was singing, Marc followed the sound of the loud speaker outside our house, which lead him to the beach, and to a stunt motorcycle competition! There is no end to the things that you will find here – from the bizarre to the mainstream. He watched the competition until he was beet red (no suntan lotion) and came home with lots of stories.
Our dinner was enjoyable because we stopped at a restaurant that promised a ‘salad bar’ – and we were both craving salad. Well, the ‘bar’ turned out to be a plate of lettuce, and a plate with 4 slices of tomato and 4 slices of cucumber (whatever – it worked for them and got us in the door!). But the ‘prize’ was the unexpected Bali dancers that danced every 15 minutes. Bali dancing is a very special craft that combines pantomime, dance, and caricature as the dancer tells an ancient story. I have not yet seen it up close, so this made for a great evening.
I will do my best to bring photos of the comedy of the Balinese trying to please the tourists with Christmas decorations . . . but talk about ‘lost in translation’. Happy Holidays and Courage to All!