Volunteer's Blog

Being Bule in Bali

Volunteer's Blog

Denpasar, Bali, Mai 2015 (Eeva Variksoo)

BULE – word to describe a foreigner, especially Caucasians.

Before coming to Bali I had 1 fear, what if I don’t like it there, what if I won´t like the people I will live with. For me it was hard to commit myself to one place, one thing for 3 months. Felt a bit like giving away my freedom. And, for me freedom is something I need. Right now it feels like I have to face my fear.11272192_974349795929534_813681746_n

Now, I´ve been almost 2 months in Bali, and how I saw it in the start and how I see it now has completely changed. The first 2 weeks I was amazed by everything – smiling people, beautiful places, delicious food, crazy traffic, funny language, and how damn cheap it is.

Third week here I started to get used to the lifestyle here, and it was not really special anymore. I started getting annoyed by the never ending traffic, people staring at me, beautiful places ruined with tourism, eating rice every day, not being able to communicate with locals well (this must be my own fault, as I got lazy with learning Bahasa Indonesia).

Bali has been ruined by tourism, almost every beach I´ve been to has a ticket or paid parking. It´s not always expensive but only tourists have to pay it, locals go for free. Everywhere it’s necessary to bargain, and mainly I will always have to pay more for everything than locals, just because I´m a BULE.

I can´t blame the locals in this, this is more the image that tourists have created here. Indonesians are just using the opportunity to earn more money, but as a volunteer, this really makes me angry, as we live like locals, our monthly budget is the same as theirs. Therefore, paying always more helps to empty my wallet real quickly.

I´ve been trying to make locals friends, and at some point I thought I´m doing well, and I might have some Balinese friends. I was excited about it way too early, now I have realized that local men don’t want to be my friends, they are either hoping to have sex, money or are proud to have a BULE friend.

Now I have given up a bit on making local friends, maybe it will work with woman here, but it’s harder to meet them.

These things are a few things that make my time in Bali a bit difficult, and as well sometimes it makes it hard to enjoy life here.

I´ve had a lot of different emotions here, but it seems to me that Bali is not really the place for me. I don’t feel like I belong here, I don’t feel that locals will ever accept me, I will always be a BULE here, and that’s not what I wanted, it’s not what I expected. But its life, full of surprises.

Last weekend I went to Nusa Lembongan (small island, near Bali), I wanted to get away from Bali, get away from everything. That island is beautiful, less tourists, different kind of tourists, less people, normal amount of traffic, amazing beaches. There I felt happy again, more accepted. I hadn’t really felt happy for some time, I missed it a lot.

My days in Pemogan (this is where I live) are not really exciting, I do think that it’s up to me to change it, but I’m having difficulties with coming up with a solution. On a normal day, I go to Act Global office around 11, I walk there from home, it takes only about 5 minutes to get there, I think that’s the longest distance I walk usually. I really miss walking, but it’s difficult here, no pedestrian roads.

I work in the office until around 5 PM, then I go home, and we hang out in front of our house. Not doing much, there is not a lot of places to go in the evening, unless you want to party in Kuta.

So I wait for the weekends, to go on an adventure, to feel happy and free again. I would like to feel like that every day, but right now it’s too difficult.

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