A Comparison Study: Los Angeles vs Bali

I leave Bali in one week. In a way it feels surreal; it feels like 8 months and the blink of an eye simultaneously. I'm excited to get home but I already know I'll miss this little island. These thoughts are currently bouncing around in my head:

WHAT I MISS ABOUT LA:

Indoor Kitchens. One time I was washing dishes and found a gecko in our pan. We also had an issue of mice eating our produce that was left out in the fruit basket (we've since relocated fruits to the fridge). Generally speaking though, I have enjoyed eating while feeling the morning breeze.

My Bathtub. Solace.

Trader Joe’s. I used to follow the Trader Joe’s List Instagram account but it became too torturous and I had to unsubscribe.

Amazon Prime, Postmates, Grubhub. Basically anything that allows me to select something online and have it immediately delivered to my door. Yes, it makes me even lazier than I intrinsically am, but you can’t really put a price on convenience. My amazon cart is full and the day before I fly home I’m clicking order so my necessary trinkets will be there waiting to welcome me back.

In N Out. No explanation necessary.

Mexican Food. I can’t deny my heritage. The spicy food in Indonesia has somewhat sated my need, but nothing compares to fresh salsa and cheese enchiladas.

Quality Entertainment. The livestream for SNL here is at 12:30pm on Sunday for me and is extremely shoddy at best. I also really miss ironically live-tweeting meaningless awards shows (AMAs, VMAs, etc.). Also, not having live comedy in my life for the greater part of a year has not been kind to my psyche.

Making Cultural References without an Explanation. Recently I made a pretty good Helen Keller joke to an Australian and a Hungarian and was met with blank stares. I learned that people raised outside of the US have no idea who Helen Keller is. They don't know about Anne Sullivan either! I grabbed people’s hands and wrote/spelled in their palms like how Helen learned, but no, nothing. Her life was shoved down my throat in middle school, and for what? To go abroad and make great jokes that nobody else will understand? I was so frustrated that I forgot my joke, but I swear it was really good.

Family Feud. One thing we Americans take for granted is being able to turn on the television at any time of day and be greeted by the mustachioed face of Steve Harvey. I can't even begin to explain my love for this show. It's a cultural zeitgeist of the 2010's. If you want to tap into the pulse of America, turn on the Feud. It's always airing, and it's even on multiple channels at 4pm!

WHAT I'LL MISS ABOUT BALI:

Friendliness. Balinese people are so freaking happy. The (multiple) times I’ve eaten shit on my scooter I’ve always been immediately helped back onto my feet. People here smile with their entire faces. I smile at strangers on the regular just because it’s such a luxury and something I’m unfamiliar with. In LA you’re lucky to get a smirk. If you give a random a full smile at in the street they’re more likely to snarkily tweet about you before smiling back.

Quality of Life. Piggybacking on the above point, people here just seem happier. The overall vibe is infectious, and when my westernized mind falls back into a negative head space all it takes is a walk around my neighborhood to get some much-needed perspective.

Cost of Living. The other day I had a flat tire on my motorbike (my first one ever!). The replacement tire cost $4.75.

Cheap & Compassionate Medical Care. I think I’ve seen more doctors here in an 8-month period than in the last 5 years back in America. One doctor in Vietnam even personally apologized that I had ‘such a long wait’ after sitting for maybe 20 minutes as a walk-in. It’s all been the same level of care (or better) that I’ve received back home at a fraction of the cost.

Coconuts. I try to drink one each day because it’s so hydrating and good to deal with the hot and humid weather. And scraping out the coconut meat inside is so fun and really nutritious.

Nasi Campur. Pick what kind of rice you like and then just point at any of the thirty or so dishes already made in a large glass case -- there’s your meal. It’s so good and SO cheap. I usually have it once per day with brown rice, mixed veggies, corn fritters, spicy chicken and some tofu. Everything’s homemade with Indonesian and/or Balinese spices and is delectable.

Animism & Love of Nature. Balinese Hindus treat every living thing with the same reverence. The human experience is of equal importance to a spider or a tree. The daily offerings are made from palm fronds and colorful flower petals and placed in front of their doorways and temples. Being here has given me a new appreciation for nature -- which is very easy thanks to the lush greenery and abundance of fruit trees. Taking a few seconds out of my day to pick up fallen flower and give it a sniff is something I really enjoy and hope to continue.

Thanks for a life-changing 8 months, Bali. I know I'll be back.
Sampai Jumpa Lagi!

Show Comments

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox.