2011 and we have been offered a three month artist residency with a school in HK and Beijing. Bagni di Lucca is cold and damp and any winter anywhere can get long and dreary.
So en-route to HK we have four weeks to indulge ourselves on a Thai island. Last year we spent five days on an island called Koh Pu. It was very rustic, monkeys pounding over the roofs of the bungalows in the mornings, hard beds, dogs yowling in chorus spontaneously through the nights. But somehow it all relaxed us, the good food and juices, the warm turqoise waters, the banyan trees and above all a resident masseur who was a healer.
We decided to go back to this same place because of the masseur as Mike had many accumulated back, shoulder and leg problems due to a car accident years ago. And, oddly, I manifested my own set of problems, long buried, but to make themselves known under her probing fingers. The results only a week and a half after arriving here is that Michael is pain free for the first time in years and I have new slender legs that had been accumulating blockages and stiffness, to the extent that plane travel was unbearable. I was also sleepless for the previous week and this, it turns out, is related to the blockages in the legs which was exacerbated by the swelling on the plane trips. So, after a constant regime of much patient and sometimes painful unravelling, we are both feeling rejuvenated.
Yesterday we met up with Sollai, who is having a holiday also, before he starts a job teaching English in Jakarta. He is staying on the same island but his part of the island, south, is called Koh Jum. His bungalows at Bodang Resort, are very rustic and hippy. He has a little bamboo hut right on the beach. His many friends, young and old come to visit him on his verandah, strewn with hammocks and lounges, chilling out in this very simple world with nothing to do but watch the turn of the sea and the setting sun. Yesterday he arranged a small boat trip for 10 of us to another beach, isolated, perfect and idyllic, where a small bar had been set up. The bar people had caught a ton of seafood; barracuda, squid, and crabs and on this we feasted, lounging on a low bamboo platform in the sand. It was simple and wonderful and in the company of people who were interesting and eccentric and above all, super relaxed. Lovely to know people like this in holiday mode, stripped back, nothing to prove.
Now we are sitting on our verandah in our garden paradise, the waves lapping gently on the shore in front of us. We have collected curious finds on the beach and drawn them, new language for our art. We are gently at peace, and are looking at this new crossroad in our life as our last child is no longer a child but embracing his own journey. Both the boys on their way now. So before us, life offers an abundant basket full of endless possibilities and we have nothing to distract us from having a look inside.
How wonderful! I am here in Bagni di Lucca loving the cold weather. You need to wear pressure socks when you fly. It makes a world of difference. I wouldn’t fly without them.