What do we think of when we think of home? (oooh I realize that was very Carry Bradshaw sounding…I apologise…I won’t now deliver another 498 words of angst about not yet being married/ having a baby / finding love with someone with the improbably stupid moniker of Big).
For a while now I’ve been wanting a space that feels like home. Our house is very nice and everything but it’s not home. It doesn’t feel like home… if it burnt to the ground I wouldn’t much care (so long as John and Alula weren’t in it and someone rescued my computer and my Kindle). But like most ex-pats in Bali we compromise. Houses here aren’t built with comfort in mind. They’re not built with anything in mind I don’t think other than ‘box, giant bathroom, tiny bedroom, outdoor kitchen, now let’s ask for 10million rupiah and see if any Bule is stupid enough to agree!’
When I close my eyes and picture my perfect home I see a place with a wooden veranda and swing chairs, creaky floors and sun-drenched windows, sandy soil and scrubby plants, a wild and rambling garden with roses trailing, somewhere so close to the ocean you can taste it and smell it on the air. It’s hot, it’s sunny, neighbours say hello and wave, there’s a wholefoods shop down the road, an awesome café bookshop, lots of independent stores and places to buy cake. It’s hippy and liberal and filled with awesome people all transplanted from Ubud.
I have a room in this house that is all mine and where I write – with paintings on the wall from all our travels, my usual plethora of post it notes, photographs and notes from Alula. There are book cases to the ceiling and a sofa for lazing on. There is also massage on demand, incredible sushi and frozen yogurt delivery.
In all these visions of home, despite all the plus points of living here – coconuts on tap and the incredible friends we’ve made – I don’t think of Ubud. Which is all to say that I, Sarah Alderson, vagabond, wanderer, consummate Saggitarius, am getting itchy feet. I want that room of my own. And partly that might have to do with the fact we got back to Bali and found someone building a house right in front of ours, blocking our unspoilt rice field view. All in the name of progress as the stunning town of Ubud gets eaten up by greedy developers without the foresight to see that if the views get spoilt the visitors – both tourists and longer term visitors – aren’t going to come and stay anymore. Dur. Someone please show these people pictures of Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Sigh. I sat in my swing chair this morning trying to avoid looking at the naked workmen (they were getting dressed – they don’t work naked) and trying to meditate on the concept of home. A voice in my head tried telling me that home is John and Alula. It’s a place inside you. A building is just a building after all. But still, this image of our home sticks like one of my post it notes to my frontal lobe and won’t be peeled off. I have no idea where it is and maybe, like the prophets and the Buddha and probably Steve Jobs said, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
So now I just have to work on convincing John to take part in Can we live here part 2. But what if the search is futile? What if this dream home doesn’t exist and I spend the rest of my life on the road, dragging my family around, searching for it?
PS. This doesn’t mean we’re about to quit Ubud. We’re here for at least another 4 years. We have seeds to sew and friendships to grow (as well as an organic veg garden courtesy of Alula) and massages to have and school to finish and I’m not quite ready to give up Kadek. So we’ll see. Watch this space.