Crowded bus stop waits, to get to your desk in the morning nestled in a cubical, then nestled, once again, in the corner of an office and nestled for the last time, like a Russian doll, in the corner of a thriving city in a corner of the world, in the vastness of the universe. Have i made it clear? We didn't want that. We chucked that in.
We wanted nature. To be surrounded by her on our daily basis of waking; to the squawk of the squirrels and the throaty calls of the geckos. To hear the trickle of the local Subak (canal of water) that flows past our homes. To have many a visit from lizards and butterflies and to have sparrows nesting in the bale (alang alang grass roofs of our homes) at home, happy. To pass a ceremony and be invited in to share in the experience with the families. To be privileged. Sounds perfect doesn't it? Idyllic. Well it is. There is always a trade off and it's not for everyone. It takes time and patience. It takes plenty of both to live on this little island that most people on earth know nothing about.
It was never easy from the start. Development had only just begun 7 years ago. There was no licence yet for foreigners to take possession of land for the long times they can now. There was practically NO big foreign investment allowed and Indonesia looked like she might miss out. But then it happened. The big money gates were opened and a slew of investment came running through her like a tidal wave.
We did not have wads of cash hanging around and want to divide build and conquer like the ones after us. Villa after villa sprang up, hotel after hotel. We were here for the beauty. We were here for the peace. To recover, to mend, to learn about ourselves and to grow. We have loves for design and nature and skill sets we thought we could share, but how to do it? It takes brains and brawn here. It takes a solid belief that you CAN DO ANYTHING even if the odds are stacked against you. We believed in ourselves and what we could offer our students, all the while thinking about our own designs for later and spending days when there were no classes for us, drawing and walking and swimming in the nature around us. Finally 3 years on and we have carved a bit of Bali for ourselves. We have brought smiles to our students and helped some of them launch their own jewellery brands. We believe in collaboration. We believe in sharing resources. There is enough to go around for everyone.
We had many upsets, many disappointments, but all the while experiencing all of this, not in a box, but in our paradise home. She has taught us lessons, she has been kind. She has been hateful, but she has been eye-opening and helped us to be better designers in the end.We honour her, our island, by making our own line of jewellery that is a direct response to the beauty we see in her perfections and imperfections. She is our canvas of art and for that we are grateful.So what is it like to have a business in Bali? It's worth it!