A family that started living in Bali: Maybe we never really belonged in the UK

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Imagine that you are successful. Money growing on trees. A healthy child. Almost your entire life ahead of you. Would you go abroad?

When things are not going well at home, it is easy to decide to start a new life elsewhere. Nothing is holding the person in the old place. However, the following sentences show that a person does not have to be held down in a good place if his or her priorities are those other than success and money…

When about a year ago thirty-somethings James, Emma and their one-year-old Caroline were leaving the United Kingdom, they were seen as fools. They decided to try living in Bali. They returned this weekend. Just for a short time. To visit relatives. They expected to stay longer, but they booked a return flight for that Saturday. “We’re not handling it well here. I guess we don’t belong here anymore. Maybe we never really belonged here,” the satisfied married couple smiles and I cannot help but take a jab.

I know that Emma cried for the first three months in Bali. Without her parents, in a different world. I’m shooting myself in the foot because “later, she fell in love with the different lifestyle in Bali and she wished to see the UK and verify the difference. We wanted to turn around right at the airport in Prague. It was a shock. Just the fact that everyone frowns and everybody is burdened down. In Bali, you can be depressed, but everybody else keeps smiling and when you see it, you feel better right away. On the other hand, you can feel great in the UK, but the negative environment immediately runs you down. And that is just one difference,” James shrugs.

While he tells me about the business he started in Bali and that is so simple that almost anybody could manage, two-year-old Caroline shivers in her mother’s arms ”c-c-c-old…” After only a few days in the UK, she has caught a cold. And it is mid-June. After all, it is not that long ago that we were still driving on winter tyres even though there was no snow. Humidity and cold take turns here, while it is constantly around 30˚C in Bali. All year round. Not to mention other advantages. They would not find out about it.

James was a successful businessman in the tourism industry. He had loads of money. What he did not have was time. Emma had Caroline. What she did not have was a place to take her. ”We lived in a beautiful house, but we were surrounded by dusty air, asphalt sidewalks and roads. Children share every bit of greenery with dog-owners. When you don’t want to be surrounded by concrete walls, you have to have money. Trips, admission fees. You can’t even go swimming in Prague for free; you would be putting your child’s health at risk. For families, life has high costs and poor quality.”

For Emma, Bali instantly had the upper hand. “In the UK, when you walk into a restaurant with a crying child, you’re a bother to everyone. In Bali, the staff approaches you and starts taking care of the child so that you can have a peaceful meal. Not only do the Hindus there love children, they love others as well. Britons often have a problem of even loving themselves.” Uncompromising sentences. No mercy. So I take another jab. Then why did Emma want to go back home during the first three months? The answer is chilling. We realise the fatal difference between these two worlds…

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