Since 15 months I am here in Bali now. I left my safe European home, left any medical support I could get in Germany, hung out strictly with local people to learn from them why Multiple Sclerosis basically doesn’t exist in Indonesia and how to fight my disease.
I am about to move to the rather remote island of Sumba in July and this are the facts helping me so far the most:
Daily meditation helps me better than anything else against spacicity
Daily yoga helps me with the pain in my back and the general physical coordination
Is it true? A very friendly and quite young man has putten around 25 needles in my body, told me to relax and wait 35 minutes. Then he left the “cabin”. Around me just a language I roughly identified as Chinese and some rather unidentifiable sounds. Afterwards an assistant(?) removed the needles and I paid 200k Rupiah to the man stitching the needles all over my body.
Sounds like Acupuncture, right?
Darn right. It was the second acupuncture-treatment of my life and even though it hurried a bit, it feels… well… quite okay good so far.
What you CAN`T see
…are the needles in my head, in my legs and in my arms. Lets pray for the higher cause!
If you ask a local person “Possible?” and the expected answer is as simple as “yes” or “no”, you might not get a true answer. The answer you might get is the answer that the person you asked thinks(!) you want to hear.
Probably its an act of politeness or even respect, but the answer is not necessarily true in a western meaning and I am a westerner.
Let me give you an example
If u ask how a third person is doing and the asked person thinks you are really interested in the wellbeing of the third person, you will probably get the answer “she/he is doing good” – even if the third person is quite sick.
Whats your problem with something minor like this?
My personal problem with such a minor adjustment like this is that I am really having a problem in building up trust and adjustment after adjustment is making it extra-hard for me to trust.
What does this have to do with Multiple Sclerosis?
The MS shook me in my foundations. The diagnosis literally took away the base that I was standing on and left me in a free fall. Loosing something quite essential like my ability to walk, slowing down my previously rather eloquent tongue and so much more.
So I long for trust – maybe more than ever before in my life.
Things started to get a bit… unusual at the Imigrasi. I texted the number I got from Nenggah, hoped for the best and went to the Imigrasi on my scooter relatively early in the morning.
The Imigrasi is feared and often hated by many expats. Long waiting queues and a feeling one is completly helpless to the quite spontaneous decisions of authorative people in a still fairly unknown country.
Okay, but so far nothing unusual, no?
It started when I sat on my chair in the waiting queue. I was quite tired and afraid of the things I knew that would happen soon, with all the people I neither knew nor understood. Insecure, scared and overtired.
Suddenly a local man appeared out of nowhere. He smiled all over his face and headed directly towards me. He sat down next to me, kept on smiling and asked me if I was Chris. I confirmed and followed him to the room where ones fingerprints and photos were taken.
From that point it started to get unusual
With the greatest polite- and friendlyness the people in the photo-room helped me to sit down and even handed the fingerprint-scanner to me. Smiling all the time and showing their best manners and behavior, so I got to be back where I had parked my scooter after max. 5 minutes.
Normally it takes around 2-3 hours for this process. When I left the building, the security even opened the door for me. When I was looking for the scooter, 2 men in uniform stopped me and pointed on my scooter which already stood there, held by 2 other men in uniform.
So I just had to sit on it, turn around the key and drive home. Felt a bit like valet-parking. So my first rough calculation was that I might be back around 12, but in fact I was home around 9:30a.m.. after a nice and pleasant trip to the Imigrasi.
It started all when I noticed I was close to missing out my date of entering Indonesia. I was very close to be more specific. In fact it was the evening before.
Every expat on a visit-, or tourist-visa is very eager to extend the visa or get a new one, simply because you will get charged 300k for every day you are in Indonesia without a visa when leaving the country. It doesn’t sound much, but like so many things here – it sums up quickly.
So what did you do?
I knew I needed somebody local being registered in Bali, so I took (or rather “sat” on) my scooter and basically started to think. Who could be my “sponsor”, who I could ask, who wouldn’t charge me for that favor and who is registered in Bali, because only rather few local people are.
So I simply drove in the yard of my neighbor Nenggah. I knew by his name, his dress and the dresses of his family he was “Bali asli”, an original natural-born Balinnese man. He said “no problem. I’ve got a friend working at the Imigrasi, just give me your passport!”
Then actually the first part of my weird story began…
I felt naked, vulnerable and helpless without my passport when I rode to the Imigrasi the next morning, because I had no idea what would happen there. From Nenggah I got a number that I should text in exchange for my passport.