• Jonas Plass

On life (and love) at a distance

You know it already: this year, ACEBE traded the city lights for dimly lit (and often unpaved) alleys, the sound of rush hour traffic for that of mopeds, roosters, and quite a bit of hammering, electro music clubbing for sunset watching, and a life done mostly indoors for one where the main highlight of the house is the garden. The trading still continues, and with Alba now here with me in Bali, ACEBE’s ‘transitional phase’ can be officially declared successfully completed! Hurray! To honor this momentous event, we thought we’d post something of a more casual or personal entry this Sunday; a post reflecting a bit the pace that things have taken on for the past few months and what the beginnings of our life here in Bali feel like so far.

Indeed, until Alba could join me here, we spent two months and a half apart. Not that long when you think of it, really, but long enough to make you miss even the weird jokes and peculiar ways of your loved one. Still, we must confess that this time doing what Alba likes to call 'love at a distance' has allowed us to have quite a bit of space for independent exploration and self-expression –something we both truly longed for, even if we were slightly unaware of it at first. And so, though having a long-distance relationship was anything but ideal –and only we know how often we cursed whatever the name of the god in charge of handling online communication channels– the time spent apart went by relatively fast and came as something of a blessing in disguise. It forced us both to reflect on the nature of our relationship to one another after several years together and go back to thinking of each of our personal, individual goals and projects in a ‘me before you’ type of way. And of course, we don’t really know how this works for other people, as each couple seems to create its own universe in a way, but we believe that being in a relationship should not come at the expense of space for individuality and we feel this is unfortunately often the case.

So, these two and a half months apart have been a great reminder for us of the importance of taking time to be alone with (and true to) oneself while still finding space for togetherness to take place. We feel it is absolutely vital for us to have time to properly listen to what each of us needs and wants on her/his own, to then be in a better position to make compromises as a couple if necessary at all. The one without the other never works for too long.

The real perks of being in Bali together now are quite obvious. For starters, being back together itself just feels great. No more skyping at unreasonable hours with the connection breaking multiple times, only to eventually have to voice message to be able to talk at all. And also no more strategizing basic life stuff so that time difference would work in our benefit allowing us to do what we needed to on time. These two things together sometimes drove us a bit nuts!

Being together after a short break also comes (at least in our case!) with renewed interest on our project: on the project called ‘us.’ So that feels awesome too. Nothing better than a few weeks apart to make you realize that how your boyfriend leaves the contact lenses liquid always open, or your girlfriend bumps into random items in the apartment out of clumsiness aren't really that big a deal after all!

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As to our life so far here in Bali, the main highlight is the great amount of novel and interesting input we’re now exposed to on the regular. Berlin was already a pretty amazing place to be in when it came to doing new things, trying new food, or meeting new people. But here in Bali, the chances of running into individuals sharing your same wavelength seem to multiply. As noted in earlier posts, Bali is the new yoga capital of the world. Period.

Aside from this, this being something of a ‘transit island’ for curious seekers of all sorts where people normally come to stay typically short periods, the flow of new ideas and individuals is quite

noteworthy. The island is, after all, a true paradise for the curious and restless. It attracts a great variety of free-spirited individuals and entrepreneurs, as well as people in need of a bit of a break from the intensity of a life lived 24/7 in the ‘real world’; which means that most people have an honest interest in exploring new things, getting acquainted with facets of themselves they have no time to connect to while at home, and simply give life a fresher, newer go. And so, while still a rather small island, the offer for entertaining talks, friendly gatherings, exhibitions, parties, and experiences of all sorts is comparatively large –something that us, as relatively newcomers to the area, really appreciate.

As the weeks go by, though, one must also get used to the somewhat slower rhythm that a life in this latitude requires, mainly because humidity literally drains you out of any remnant of energy you once thought you once had. And slowing down a little, also allows one to see more clearly what aspects of our life back in Berlin were useful and which were, on the contrary, quite a struggle. Don't get us wrong, though; life here in Bali isn't perfect either, and many aspects about how things are done (and lived with) here would require some adjusting to say the least! But if there is one thing that Bali has brought to the table for us that Berlin somehow didn't has been time: time to reflect upon our day, our projects, our feelings, and our behavior. And not time tomorrow, or next week, or 'when I'm finally on holidays,' but rather time here, right now, today.

So, this is it for now as to how ACEBE is stealthily but thoroughly carrying its masterplan to conquer the world, starting with Indonesia. We’ll be back next Sunday with what we believe will be one of our most provocative and complex post to date: an exploration of the ideas of masculinity and femininity in yoga and how the way they’re often approached is, upon close inspection, quite a reductionist and inaccurate misinterpretation!

#LifeinBali #Love #ACEBE