When I realised I had that much time off it seemed a bit unreal, I was happy of course so I began the process of planning who and what to see and where.
I’m not intending to make this blog a travelog, I sit and write back now on Bawah, having been warmly greeted by staff and generally looking forward to getting back into what I call my “normal life”. Life living on an island isn’t really normal that’s for sure and before I went I was very ready to go and see friends and family and immerse myself in European culture and cities.
From Singapore to UK to Poland (Auschwitz) to Vienna to Zurich (some work) to Prague - all different and yet similar. The ease of conversation with friends not seen for a while, the hugs with parents, trying new food, being in typical drizzly weather, meeting new people, sitting in crowded bars and cafes people watching and drinking local beer. For 2 1/2 weeks everything was quite new, I learnt some history, felt the dark side of human nature, and realised how much being in similar cultures to my own was like putting on a good old pair of comfy shoes.
I loved it.
Then I find myself back on Bawah in a culture that is quite different, but one that has captured my heart. The small community we have on Bawah is beautiful, there are of course clashes in personality, gossip, tension sometimes, disagreements but at the end of the day we all come together for the Reserve and the guests.
As I arrived, chef is ready to leave, his year on Bawah completed and him and his family are ready to move on back to his home for a while, It’s both sad and happy. In the time I have been here a few people have come and gone and for those who have been here for sometime and I have got to know them more, a piece of my heart goes with them.
And I get the need to leave, I’m not ready to just yet but before this break I felt lonely, I missed being able to speak to loved ones easily - the time difference and wifi make it a challenge. I missed being able to sit in an environment that wasn’t my work place and talk about stuff other than work to people who have some shared culture.
But then as I sat on the plane and we did the island fly by, tears come gently to my eyes and the magic of these islands reminds me that it’s okay to miss things, it shows me how much I care for them, what I do is simply a matter of how much I miss them...
I unpack, do lots of "hellos" and go to sit in my familiar place in the library. Lunch.
That feeling of "was I ever really away" lingers but this time it's not as strong as I’ve felt before, I know I’ve been away,
I feel it in my heart and being and I feel a little tender/raw coming back. That’s not to say I don't want to be here but there’s an ache for the time I had away. It will pass I know, I hope - if it doesn't I have some questioning to do....
As the plane left with those departing, I was asked “Lisa, where is home?”…
Wherever I am and wherever I am heading to, that’s home - home is my heart, my heart is my home.