Friendly Faces

Throughout the duration of this trip I have learned the major differences between being a tourist and being a tourist who immerses oneself into their new environment. I have never felt so apart of a culture that wasn't even close to mine. The Balinese people make it easy to feel not only accepted but also wanted within their culture. Each and every person we have passed have greeted us with warm and radiant smiles and a loud "HELLO!" We have learned that the Balinese are very community oriented and are never shy to help thy neighbor. A few of the students and I experienced that first hand today. As we set out on a sunset hike, we asked many locals for directions to the temple on the mountain. As expected, they were all helpful and welcoming. Especially this young woman named Amy and her family. She was so eager to help us that she lead us throughout the mountain and became our personal tour guide for a half hour. Amy took us to her house, introduced us to her family, and passionately shared how much she loved Justin Bieber. At the end of our hike, she even thanked us for walking with her. This was one of my favorite experiences thus far because it highlighted the warm hearts of the Balinese. This stands as an example as to how we should all treat our neighbors, regardless of religion, nationality, or gender. We also experienced the true kindness of the Balinese during our interviews today. As my group was interviewing a restaurant manager, Ketut, he offered to give us a tour of the restaurant/hotel and answered all of our questions with a contagious smile on his face. It didn't matter that we came by the restaurant for an unexpected interview. It didn't matter that we weren't buying food at the restaurant either. All that mattered was that we were curious people with questions for Ketut. The culture here is an extremely beautiful thing to not only witness but to also be apart of. If you ever need a friend, the locals here are more than happy to chat.

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