My daughter loves Lombok.
She practically bounces out of her skin every time we tell her we are going there. Leaving behind a room full of toys, Disney cartoons on-demand, structured school activities and a carefully curated fussy-eater menu, to spend her days in a remote place that is a world apart from our life in Singapore.
She doesn’t speak a word of the local languages Bahasa Indonesian or Sasak. She is a city kid – completely unaccustomed to village life. She is petrified of centipedes. She can’t even say the word ‘chili’ without pulling a yucky-face. And yet, she LOVES it there.
Our most recent two week trip was particularly nerve-wracking for me. We’d had plenty of long weekends in the tiny village of Selong Belanak – but I was nervous about how to keep a four-year-old occupied for two entire weeks with nothing to do. I needn’t have worried!
By day 2 of our trip, Little Miss had her very own posse. Each morning at 7:30am a group of no fewer than 6 children would arrive on our doorstep waiting for her to come out and play. They would pull faces together, dance, run around in the dirt, chase chickens, catch grasshoppers and read books together. All day long. Without a single word of common language between them, they somehow still managed to communicate simply through fun and laughter and silly faces.
This didn’t only happen where we were staying. Everywhere we went – to the beach, for a walk, out to dinner, she would constantly find new happy faces and new friends to play with. At one stage she gave one of her newfound friends her most prized Barbie Doll to keep, and (much to her delight) was promptly gifted a live chicken in return.
A small child’s experience of the world is framed in the current moment. They are capable of side-stepping the need to communicate through words and are extremely good at finding the common ground that is at the core of all human beings regardless of culture, religion or language differences.
When I see Lombok through my daughter’s eyes, I too love it all the more. Not just for it’s beautiful beaches and landscapes, but for the soul of its people – their ability to embrace and look after each other and to teach my daughter that happiness does not come from being surrounded by possessions or being constantly entertained by technology, but from finding joy, fun and laughter in the simple moments of the here-and-now.
Article by: Penny Pichler
(Penny is our Sales & Marketing Manager for Singapore)