If you haven't been following my blog, we have been in Bali for 3 weeks now. This sweet little girl is our balinese neighbor. She lives in a shack-like structure tucked beneath a culdesac of trees right behind our villa. I've never seen her with shoes on or without a friendly curiosity in her eyes.
Sometimes she's wearing clean clothes but most often shes wearing nothing but underwear, playing with her toys in a dirt driveway surrounded by cows, chickens and more than a few poi dogs. Her mom is always nearby hanging laundry, making handcrafted offerings or doing other chores around their home.
This child fascinates me. Her life seems so simple yet so full of love. It reminds me of the way I was raised. She may not have much, but she does have something most children don't; a childhood uncrippled by materialism and technology. A life full of imagination and wonder, and empty of the constant want for more. She is happy. She is proof that less is more.
My first world self wants to buy her a new bike and all kinds of toys and clothes or whatever she could ever want or need. We did buy her a brand new bicycle, as we noticed she was growing out of her old one. At 4 years old she rides impressively without training wheels down her rocky driveway.
But my true self knows the greatest gift I can give is kindness. I would converse with her so much more but she doesn't speak any English. Smiling is our common language.
Every morning when we set out on our daily exploration, I open the gate and there she is. I routinely wave and say Good morning. She sends us a heart-melting smile and an excited wave and we are on our way.
One night Graham and I were getting ready to leave our villa for dinner. I opened the gate and there she was out front riding her bike. She lit up, beaming with excitement to see me. I was so flattered my eyes welled up. I smiled and said Hello. She stopped her bike and gave a short pause seemingly out of confusion. Then she looked at me, smiled, and said "Goodmorning." it was 6pm. I love her.