Stu Larsen – “Thirteen sad farewells” (Cover by Lilly Ahlberg)
As you might have read on my blog post “Bali Backpacking” – I was on holiday in Indonesia.
(In that blog entry you can also find loads of pretty pictures, if the read is too long for you)
In Bali there were two encounters I want to tell you about, because they have really stayed with me.
We talked with two men about love and relationships and it made me feel so upset and also even a bit sad to hear their stories.
Apart from that they also made me think about our culture and my personal past.
Let me share their stories with you:
As we watched the sunset at the Beach in Amed we met a local man. He, an owner of a little hostel, asked us – obviously after we’d already talked for some minutes – if it was normal that people from Europe have several partners. He said this because he met several men and also women who went with secret lovers to Bali, telling him they were actually married. I thought it was quite shocking what picture he had from our culture and it was even more shocking to realise that it was impossible for me to convince him that his idea of European relationships was wrong. However he told us, that traditionally in Bali the family decides who marries whom. The girl then has to move into the house oft he spouses family and is bound to make religious offerings every day and to look after the family. He seemed quite regrettable about the fact that he didn’t get the chance to choose his wife. He said, his wife is more like a friend to him, than anything else.
The second balinese guy who told us about love was our driver (about 34 years old). He fell in love with a Japanese tourist who he met during her stay in Bali. She got ill and he looked after her. This is how feelings developed and how he fell in love with her. They had a thing going on during her stay and she even came back once again. But then she vanished in Japan and he would hear later on that she’d eventually got married. Nevertheless his biggest wish is to go to Japan to meet her again, regardless of her being with someone else. He said he doesn’t feel complete without her, and just simply put: sad.
The Balinese people really seemed very gentle to me and I came to realise that love to them is much more valuable than it is to us. In our culture, love is a given, we can love several people, change partners, change our minds – we are a lot more free to act out our love and to explore every side of it. They however dream of a romantic ideal of love, because they don’t get to choose.
Although they still connect the idea of love with happiness, a happiness not all of them will ever experience.
What really made me think was the fact that our driver had fallen in love years ago, and how it still deeply affects him today.
I don’t want to be sad over someone all my life.
That’s why we have to fight for what we love.
Because we can.