During our road trip to the mountain, we spent a lot of time at the village home of this beautiful family.

The life they live, like everyone in the village, is a simple one.

Hand-washed clothes drying on the line. Non-western toilet with a bucket and water for washing and flushing. One TV, though I think solely for playing DVDs. No computers or WiFi. House made with cement, but also bamboo and mud, which was how all the homes were originally built.

The constant background noise of roosters crowing and chickens clucking. Two pigs in the back, cooling out in the shade. One medium-sized, old pup, basking in the sun. The vibrations of the passing and the tickle of landing of what seemed like swarms of flies. Everyone seemed rather indifferent to their presence, though the buzz drove me mad. Surrounded by the greenery and vibrance of the tropics, alive all around us.

Upon arrival, I barely got out of the truck before this woman, the Granny and village High Priestess, came rushing out to greet me. She began speaking to me in Balinese, took my hands in hers, and guided me eagerly into her home. I am a complete stranger, but she welcomed me with no hesitation; with such love and warmth.

She finally realized I did not understand a word she was saying to me, and she started laughing, loudly and expressively. Then she began to communicate with her body, with bits and pieces of their traditional Balinese dance: intricate finger waves and hand movements and head snaps. She is so lively and animated.

She is a strong woman, a leader — feisty with a sense of humor. A slightly intimidating woman, one who I would never hope to be on the wrong side of. I didn’t need Djuca’s translations to gather this.

She is affectionate and not shy to touch and squeeze at all my body parts: she grabbed at my arms, pinched my breasts, patted my legs, caressed my face. All in casual conversation.

She is incredibly intuitive. The outer edges of her eyes were grayish blue, and though the colors of her irises were significantly faded with age, they smiled with such energy; they gazed so deep into mine each time we conversed that I felt like she could read my thoughts before they even surfaced. Something about this woman felt so comforting, her presence and spirit so large and full of life. Words were not needed, language no barrier.

I will never forget this woman who welcomed me so openly into her home and touched me as if I was a member of the family.

Granny speaking to the camera

Me and Granny

The family

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