Tag Archives: Eat Pray Love

Meeting Wayan From Eat, Pray, Love

The memoir Eat, Pray, Love, topped the New York Times bestseller list for a year. Author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her quest to ‘find herself’ after a devastating divorce. She spends four months in Italy eating fabulous food, four months in India meditating in an ashram and four months in Bali finding love and contentment. I read Eat, Pray, Love just before my  trip to Bali

Wayan from the book Eat Pray Love prepares food in her restaurant

Wayan was my favorite character in the book. She’s the proprietor of a small healing shop and restaurant in the city of Ubud. Elizabeth Gilbert is riding her bicycle in Ubud and falls injuring her knee. She goes to the shop for some ointment and ends up making friends with Wayan and her daughter, Tutti. Wayan has left an abusive husband and is having difficulty surviving since in Balinese culture divorce carries such a stigma. Wayan is often forced to move her business from one site to another and so has trouble holding onto enough established clients to be financially solvent.

Wayan’s shop in Ubud, Bali

Elizabeth Gilbert puts out an appeal to American friends to donate money to buy Wayan her own shop. It doesn’t take Gilbert long to collect $18,000. Before she leaves Bali, Gilbert sees Wayan established in a mortgage-free two-story building.

Inside Wayan’s shop in Ubud

It isn’t hard to find Wayan’s shop. Gilbert’s book says it is a few doors up the road from the Ubud post office and that is exactly where my friend Kathy and I found it.

Having a massage at Wayan’s shop in Ubud

The hand-painted sign out front invited us in to have a massage, learn Balinese dance, buy medicinal plants, eat a healthy Vitamin Lunch or be healed of whatever ailed us. Huge pots on the shop’s front patio contained various herbs like ginseng, jasmine and aloe vera. Each pot had a sign that told you what illnesses that particular plant could help to cure.

Wayan’s assistant serves us

We wandered inside. The restaurant had three tables. Wayan met us and after escorting us to the one table available asked if we had come to eat or be healed. We told her we were hungry after a morning of wandering the shops of Ubud and so she and her assistant began bringing food to our table. They grated turmeric and mixed it with ginger, honey, and water to make a delicious juice.

The food at Wayan’s restaurant

They brought us three different kinds of seaweed, each flavored in a different way. We ate uniquely spiced melon and tomato served on banana leaves. We had rice and salad.

Wayan describes the different things she is serving us

As each dish came to the table Wayan told us whether it was good for our stomach, kidneys, hearts or love lives. Wayan said for only a small, added cost we could have a healthy body check at the end of the meal, but she was very busy when we finished eating doing body checks for a group of French women sitting at another table. I noted one of them had a French copy of Eat, Pray, Love tucked into her bag. The book has been translated into more than thirty languages.

Wayan chatting with a guest from France

One of the things I like to do whenever I travel is to read a book set in the country I’m visiting. It makes the place come alive for me. I don’t always get a chance to actually step into the pages of the books and meet one of the characters I’ve read about. Happily, I was able to do that in Bali.

Other posts about Bali……

A Bike Ride in Bali

Other posts about visiting a book’s setting……

 A Great House Haunts Me

Walden Pond

Michener’s Hawaii



Filed under Bali, Books, Food, People, Restaurants, Travel

Planning Ahead Pays Dividends

It may seem ironic that in a blog titled What Next? in which I am trying to journal my attempts to live my first year of retirement more spontaneously, I am going to write this post about the importance of planning ahead. In the meditation I gave in church yesterday about being a pilgrim rather than a tourist in life, I talked about how planning ahead can enhance our life journeys and make them occasions for personal growth and learning.  

bullet holesIt took a great deal of planning and cutting through endless red tape to arrange a one day visit to a Palestinian refugee camp when I took twenty-four of my Hong Kong high school students to Israel.  It was thanks to the helpful MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) workers in Bethlehem that we were able to make the arrangements. When I read the students’ reflections after visiting the camp I knew that every minute spent planning the experience had been worth it. 


dave at daniel peters tombstone nikolaipolLearning about our families’ histories before we went to Ukraine made our trip there so much more meaningful. Here is Dave trying to read the German script on my great, great-grandfather Daniel Peters’ tombstone in the former Mennonite colony of Nikolaipol. I would never have even known that Daniel had lived there if I hadn’t prepared for our trip by reading the transcripts of the interviews one of my aunts did with my grandparents. 

A few years ago I had to help chaperone a  school trip to Spain. The art teacher who was leading the trip gave the students quite a number of pre-trip assignments.  I decided to do the assignments too.  I learned all about Picasso’s painting Guernica before I saw it at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Knowing why Picasso had painted this masterpiece and the message he was seeking to convey, made viewing the painting a powerful and moving experience for me. 

dave and shayliPhoning Shayli Patrick and arranging to meet her when we visited Australia added a delightful evening to our Sydney sojourn. Shayli was a former student of both Dave’s and mine, who had left her Manitoba home to work for a year as a nanny in Sydney. We were so glad we had contacted her ahead of time to arrange to get together. 


wayan eat pray loveReading the book Eat Pray Love before we went to Bali, allowed my friend Kathy and I to meet Wayan one of the characters in the book and have her make lunch for us at her restaurant. We simply followed the directions in the book and they led us down the right streets in Ubud. 

with jack and jon cambodiaBefore I, and two of my colleagues took 24 students to Cambodia in May, we met with the kids at least a half-dozen times. We played get to know you games, ate food together, planned for the service work we would do, talked about rules and the behavior we expected and learned about the history and culture of Cambodia.  The relationships established during those pre-trip planning meetings helped make the trip more fun and a breeze to chaperone. 
friends in fiji The planning for our trip to Fiji with our friends Alan and Simone and my sister Kaaren and her husband Ken began seven months ahead of time. Making arrangements so far in advance was the only way we could have coordinated all six of our schedules.

dave retired golfer new zealandSince we knew retirement was looming on our horizon we deliberately booked into bed and breakfasts in New Zealand that were run by retired people.  My husband Dave made all the arrangements and his careful planning resulted in us gleaning lots of great advice about how to approach our retirement years. 
dave and marylou with mustaqBefore we went on our trip to India we consulted with a number of our teaching colleagues who had traveled to India before. Through them we found Mustaq, the travel agent who arranged our private tour of northern India. He did a great job adding in all the ‘extras’ we wanted like a tiger safari and a tour with street kids in Delhi

In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell says when on the threshold of a new adventure, we should consult allies like maps, music, artwork, books or people who point us in the right direction.  Planning ahead for a trip or for any experience in life can often make that experience richer and more meaningful. 

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Filed under New Experiences, Reflections