Can we change the world?, Midlifecrisis

Post Bali Blues

English version further down

Jeg skriver dette i en tilstand av kjærlighetssorg nesten. Med en følelse av at noe viktig har gått tapt. At nå er det over og tomrommet det etterlater er rungende som et mørkt, hult brøl. 

Leaving with tears in our eyes
Our flight to Norway left in the evning. To make the time pass we surprised the girls with a golden spa experience. A Bali experience only, for our sake!

Neida, Norge er ikke ille. Det er rent og pent og sivilisert, og både venner og familie står med åpne armer og tar i mot oss. Det er deilig å treffe dem alle og føle seg både velkommen og ikke minst savnet. Likevel, en drøm og et eventyr er over og tilbake står vi med en slags følelse av at det bare var en drøm. Eller at det kanskje bare blir stående som en parantes i livene våre. Det gjør meg vemodig, frustrert og en tanke oppgitt. Det må bare ikke skje!

Finally back in Grandma`s arms! On our local airport on the morning of our arrival back in Norway.

Om å komme hjem

Vi har sovet i norsk luft i 10 netter. Ti deilige netter med frisk luft, absolutt stillhet, myke senger og deilige dyner på vårt sommerparadis; mine foreldres hytte. Jentene sover minst en time lengre på morgenen, det samme gjør forsåvidt jeg, av den enkle grunn at det ikke er en hane som galer på hvert hjørne rundt oss. -Og vi står opp til vår favorittutsikt; synet av norsk skog, hav og mammas blomster. Samt duften av nybrygget kaffe. 

Reunited with big bro Christoffer and our standard poodle Bono.

Første uken var den norske sommeren mild og fin, og overgangen fra varme Bali var overraskende liten. Vi trodde vi skulle fryse mye mer. Så snudde det, og den iskalde vestavinden trenger nå gjennom marg og bein. Etter over ett år i sommerklær er det et ork å kle på seg, og bh`ene jeg nærmest sluttet å bruke på Bali føles som ei tvangstrøye når jeg nå tar de på igjen. Selv om vi er nordmenn, har vi blitt så vant til minimalt med klær, at jeg tar meg i å fryse heller enn å finne frem langbukser og sokker. Plutselig forstår vi hvorfor utlendinger er så dårlige til å kle seg etter forholdene.

Family, who also happen to be near and dear friends gathered on the doorstep of where Nina`s mum grew up. It feels good to be among people who have known us always. Nothing needs to be said or explained. We know each other and love each other unconditionally
Nina`s parents in front of the summer cottage`s fireplace. Exactly how they have spent their summer evenings as long as we can remember. Only the stick is new; customized by Mighty Bambino Ink aka Ted Guidotti and brought with love from Bali

Å møte sin egen verden i døra

Huden sprekker opp nesten som gammel pergament, håret er knusktørt og hodet fungerer fremdeles dårlig etter at klokka nærmer seg 22.00 Bali-tid (altså i 15-16tiden). Min første joggetur var en trist opplevelse. Det skal jammen jogges mye før formen er tilbake til 2018 status. Kuleisene her hjemme har forøvrig antatt enorme proporsjoner. Jeg fikk helt sjokk da vi bestilte to kuler is på isbaren i Høllen her om dagen. Det gjelder forsåvidt ikke bare is, det samme kan vel sies om alt fra smågodtposer og popcornbegre til sjokoladeplater, brusflasker og middagstallerkner. Det er en skikkelig tankevekker!

Another Seseh Stick handmade and hand decorated by Mighty Bambino Ink, and brought to the small viewpoint of Eidsveden with love and gratitude.
Our first day in Norway and the same days as we flew in; Morten decided for a refreshing bath in the ocean

På en bytur her om dagen kikket jeg inn i byens restauranter og kafeer, mange av dem nye siden sist jeg var her, og ble trist over å se hvor mørkt og tungt alt er. Jeg savner de lyse, lekre interiørene og alle valgmulighetene. Kristiansand har helt klart blitt en større by de siste årene, men noen verdensmetropol er den så visst ikke. -Og allerede nå er søppelet og min frustrasjon over alt annet som ikke er så lekkert på Bali, glemt. 

Our very last breakfast at Copenhagen, with dear friends. Copenhagen is probably our favourite morning café in Canggu -also with a beautiful interior!
Only in Bali

Mitt Bali

Jeg har nesten glemt lyden av nabohunden som nesten daglig hylte når den ble slått av sin herre eller nabokona som etter et helt liv på rismarkene ikke lengre kan rette ryggen mer enn til 90 graders vinkel, og som burde pensjonert seg for lenge siden. Jeg husker bare estetikken og følelsen av å være i et internasjonalt miljø der alt er mulig, på en skole uten like, sammenvevd med den fine delen av den Balinesiske kulturen og den slående tropiske naturen. -Og ikke minst gartneren vår og hans lille familie som vi er blitt så inderlig glade i.

Our gardener and helper with their daughter which we shared garden with for a year. We miss them dearly
We already miss our Bali home a lot

Skolerett

Jentene skulle ønske de kunne begynne på skolen og flytte inn i huset vårt sporenstreks. De er utålmodige etter å komme inn i en norsk hverdag igjen. Jeg er plutselig overrasket over hvor fritt norske barn kan leve. Etter et år med barna “fanget” i vår varetekt, der de ikke har kunnet dra noe sted uten at vi ordner det, er det plutselig rart å tenke at de kan være rundt i sine nærområder, sykle til venner og ordne seg selv, en hel dag. 

Dina og jeg stoppet innom skolen her om dagen. Jeg sa ingenting, det gjorde ikke Dina heller, men i mitt stille sinn ble jeg trist over å beskue betongkolossen plassert på en plett av asfalt. Savnet av jungelen, de runde bambusbygningene uten vegger, gamelan-musikken og det yrende livet som syder i og ut av Green School slo meg i magen som en knytteneve. Skal vi faktisk ikke fortsette å la barna våre blomstre og utvikle seg i det eksepsjonelle miljøet Green School representerer? Kan de noen gang tilpasse seg norsk skole igjen? 

Green School offers creativity and a learning environment unlike any other. Here represented by musician and activist Khiran Gandhi as the key note speaker during the 2019 High School Graduation ceremony. What a role model to offer the students! What an inspiration! Notice the home-made and creative graduation hats on the graduates sitting in the front row!

Svaret på det siste er nok ja, og jeg må minne meg selv på at vi mang en gang tenkte at Green School og Lovisenlund Skole faktisk ikke er så ulike selv om de fysiske omgivelsene er som natt og dag. -Men selv om Green School har sine svakheter og på ingen måte er en perfekt skole, og i alle fall ikke en skole for alle, hadde jentene de siste månedene sine livs opplevelser. Jeg håper de kan komme tilbake og fullføre videregående der.

Karla`s graduating friends -done with GS primary! Maybe they can be reunited and graduate high school together too!
Some of our magnificent crew!

En ugjenkallelig virkelighet

Da regntiden ga seg og luftfuktigheten sank, parallelt med at jentene ble stadig tryggere i sine relasjoner, gikk det gradvis opp for oss at det vi var en del av er så spesielt og så bra, at det ble vondt å tenke på at vi ikke skal tilbake etter sommerferien. Alle menneskene vi har blitt kjent med, samtaler vi ikke får fortsette og muligheter vi går glipp av. Veldig mange av våre venner blir et år til, og vi skulle veldig gjerne gjort det samme.

One of our last Bali afternoons -in our beautiful garden. What a heartache it causes to grasp the fact that it will never happen again

Antakelig kommer det et punkt der vi må sette oss ned og bestemme oss for hva fra året på Bali vi skal integrere i våre liv her hjemme. Åpenbare punkter er å redusere forbruket, handle brukt, spise mindre kjøtt og handle så mye organisk og lokalt som mulig, unngå plastemballasje og annen engangs-plastikk, fly mindre og bruke bil så lite som mulig. 

Our first week in Norway was nice and warm, and we did not feel like the transition was all that hard. Photo by Anne Solvang Salvesen

Akkurat nå bor vi på hytta og hverdagen har ikke helt kommet. Det er supervanskelig å velge annen mat enn den vi er vant med å spise i feriene, og jeg innser at vi må ta det gradvis. -Og så tror jeg det kan være sunt for oss å gå gjennom en fase der vi observerer hvordan vi lever her hjemme først. For så å gjøre noen velfunderte og realistiske endringer, steg for steg. Livet tilbake i Norge blir bra det er jeg overbevist om, men akklimatiseringen koster noen krefter, det er helt sikkert. I mellomtiden gjør vi bare så godt vi kan.

God sommer alle våre venner ute i den store verden, vi savner dere!

Visiting dear friends and enjoying their view. A view we have revisited numerous times and which has become like a symbol of a lasting friendship and continuity for us- Morten still in his Bali-look 🙂

English version;

Our Post Bali Blues

I write this almost in a state of heartbreak. With a feeling that something important has been lost. That it is over and the empty space it leaves feels like a dark, hollow roar.

Norway is not bad. It is clean and neat and civilized, and both friends and family have greeted us with open arms. It’s great to meet them all and feel welcome and even more importantly; missed. Still, a dream and a fairy tale is over, we are left with a kind of feeling that it was just a dream. -Or that it might just end up like a parenthesis in our lives. It makes me sad, frustrated and thoughtful. I just can`t allow that to happen!

We have slept in Norwegian air for 10 nights. Ten lovely nights with fresh and clean air, absolute silence, soft beds and delicious duvets in our summer paradise; my parents’ cottage. The girls sleep at least an hour longer in the mornings, as do I, for the simple reason that there is no rooster crowing from every corner around us. -And we wake up to our favorite view; the sight of Norwegian forest, sea and my mother’s flowers. As well as the scent of freshly brewed coffee.

During the first week, the Norwegian summer was mild and nice, and the transition from hot Bali was surprisingly easy. We expected to freeze much more. Then the weather changed and the ice-cold western wind now needles through our bones and legs. After over a year in summer clothes, it is a chore to dress warmly, and the bras I almost stopped using in Bali feels like a straitjacket when I now take them back on. Although we are Norwegians, we have become so accustomed to minimal clothing, that I choose to freeze rather than to put on long pants and socks. Suddenly we understand why foreigners are so bad at dressing according to the weather.

The skin cracks almost like old parchment, my hair is crunchy and the head still works poorly when the time approaches 10 pm Bali time (ie 3-5 pm). My first cross country jog was a sad experience. I need to jog a lot before my shape is back to 2018 status. The ice scoops here at home have assumed enormous proportions by the way. I was completely shocked when we ordered two scoops of ice cream the other day. That applies not only to ice cream though, but the same can also be said of everything from candy bags and popcorn to chocolate, soda bottles, and dinner plates. It is really something to think about.

During a downtown stroll, I looked into our city’s restaurants and cafes, many of them new since the last time I was here and was sad to see how dark and heavy everything looks. I miss the bright, gorgeous interiors and all the options in Bali. Kristiansand has clearly become a larger city in recent years, but it is certainly not a metropolis. -And I have already forgotten all the garbage and my frustration with everything else that is not so delicious in Bali.

I`ve almost forgotten the sound of the neighbor dog that almost daily whined when it was beaten by its master or our neighbor who, after a whole life on the rice fields, can no longer straighten her back more than to 90 degrees- She should have retired long ago. I only remember the aesthetics and the feeling of being in an international environment where everything is possible, at a unique school, intertwined with the fine part of Balinese culture and the striking tropical nature. -And our Bali gardener and his beautiful little family.

The girls wish they could start school and move into our own house straight away. They are impatient to return to a Norwegian everyday life. I am suddenly surprised at how free Norwegian children are. After a year with the kids “caught” in our custody, where they have not been able to go anywhere without us arranging it, it is suddenly strange to think that they can roam around in their neighborhood, cycle to friends and help themselves, all day long.

Dina and I stopped by the school the other day. I didn’t say anything, neither did Dina, but in my silent mind, I was saddened to see the concrete building placed on a spot of asphalt. I missed the jungle, the round, wall-less bamboo buildings, the gamelan music, and the bustling life that seeps on campus and out of the Green School. It struck me like a fist; Shall we not continue to let our children flourish and develop in the exceptional environment Green School represents? Can they ever adapt to Norwegian school again? 

The answer to the latter is probably yes, and I have to remind myself that we many times have thought that Green School and Norwegian schools are actually not that different, even though the physical surroundings are like night and day. But while Green School has its weaknesses and is by no means a perfect school, and by no means a school for everyone, the girls have over the past few months had the time of their lives. I hope they can come back and finish high school there.

When the rainy season gave way and the humidity dropped, in parallel to the girls becoming increasingly secure in their friendships, it gradually became clear to us that what we were part of is so special and so good that it is painful to accept that we are not going back after the summer holidays. All the people we have become friends with, the conversations we cannot continue and the opportunities we miss. Many of our friends will stay another year, and we would very much like to do the same.

Presumably, there comes a point where we have to sit down and decide what from the year in Bali we will integrate into our lives here at home. Obvious things are to reduce consumption, shop second hand, eat less meat, shop as much local and organic as possible, avoid plastic packaging and other disposable plastics, fly less and use a car as little as possible. 

Right now do we live in the summer cottage and everyday life has not completely come. It is super-easy to choose the food we are used to eating during the holidays, and I realize that we must make gradual changes. I think it will be good for us to go through a phase where we observe how we live our lives in Norway first. Then make some well-founded and realistic changes, step by step. Life back in Norway will be good I am sure, but the acclimatization takes some effort, that is for sure. In the meantime, we`ll do the best we can.

Happy summer holidays to all our friends out there in the great, wide world. We miss you!

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