A bit about Hannah:
I was born in the US, raised in the UK and from a very young age determined that my rightful place was in the tropics. After university and trying my hand at the rat race in New York I decided it was time to head East.
My Asian grand tour began when I landed in Bali in June 2005. After teaching a short stint as an art and English language teacher I was introduced to a tall drink of Balinese water called Ketut Ongky, fell completely googly-eyed in love and got married just less than 3 months later. This is where my Asian odyssey ended. Pretty much everyone thought we were completely mad, but 7 years later we have a gorgeous 5 year-old daughter Lola and a handsome 9 month-old boy Marlow.
Life is pretty sweet in Bali but it can also be a whole mess of emotions. Being 8000 miles away from my family in the UK, living with 21 other people in our family compound, differences in child rearing, immigration, corruption, corruption at immigration, always being the foreigner, chickens, speaking a different language and everything that comes with being the wife of a Balinese Hindu are just a few of the issues that I deal with every day.
My happiest moments are sitting outside my little house bordering the jungle wallowing in the sweet smell of night blossoming jasmine and spending lazy days on the beach with my family and friends. My most insane are generally stuck in traffic shouting obscenities at people doing kamikaze stunts on the roads.
Life in Bali can be hilariously funny and getting over cultural roadblocks is often eased with a good dose of humor. I’ve spent many a day intoning “If I don’t laugh I’ll cry, if I don’t laugh I’ll cry”.
A bit about Nina:
Thirteen years ago I came to Bali on an anthropology based study abroad program in college. At the time I liked it, but I felt it might be hard to live in a small town, on such a small island. But really what did I know at 21? Clearly, those thoughts were premature, as I ended up coming back frequently, for longer stretches each time, eventually getting married to a Balinese man who had originally been helping me with my studies, both literally and figuratively.
After going back and forth between the US and Bali with my Balinese husband of 10 years, riding the steep learning curve of every type of cultural immersion imaginable all the while, we finally put down roots in Bali two years ago, and now live permanently in the cultural ‘hub’ of Ubud, with our 6 year old daughter. Given that the most surreal, ridiculous, and inspiring things always seem to happen to me here, it pretty much means I have to stay, no matter how big the town, or the island, might seem on the outside.