Music can brighten our mood during the lockdown and COVID-19 stress…Why did we choose to come to India?…

This is where we dined each night with views of the pool and the sea while in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia in June 2016. We wouldn’t mind returning there someday.

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Today’s photos (final favorites) are from June 27, 2016, while wrapping up our time in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia. See the link here for more details.

Each day, as I begin the day’s post, I first add the “Year Ago Photo” which often prompts me with ideas for the new post. I assure you, in the majority of cases, I have no idea what I’m going to write about when I begin adding features of the post.

It was business as usual with Tom wearing a sarong as the required dress to enter the temple. He had a hard time managing the steps. He just didn’t have the same experience as women who’ve worn long dresses, knowing when to hold up the hem for ease in walking.

In some cases, I find a topic that easily prompts me to begin writing and at other times I am at a total loss. Being stuck in a hotel room in Mumbai, India since March, the ideas for topics are far and few between. 

Subsequently, on numerous occasions, I’ve had no choice but to be repetitious rattling on about the same topics over and over again. On behalf of our regular readers, we apologize for this redundancy. 

Me, at the monkey temple wearing the required sarong.

The two topics we’re covering today is: 
1. How can music brighten an otherwise less optimistic mood on a particular day?
2. Why did we decide to come to India one year ago today?

Hopefully, in time, we’ll move on to more diverse experiences to share other than those from being stuck in a hotel room, eating the same meals over and over, and walking the same corridors 10 times a day.

The flow of the river at low tide. 

And yet, yesterday’s walking presented me with a new perspective when I was feeling blue about my dear sister Susan’s status of moving into a state of hospice/palliative care as her life’s breath dwindles away.

First, I will address my music revelation while walking, while in that low mood, which is unusual for me. I listen to informational/educational type podcasts while I walk, figuring I may as well learn something while embarking on the otherwise boring walks. 

These two chaise lounges provided us with shade for part of the day.  Later, we’d move to the shade of the cabana. That’s me at the edge of the infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Over time, I’ve come to appreciate what I’m learning, not only about current topics, but also many other areas of interest to me. If you can so much as conceive of a topic, invariably, you’ll be able to find podcasts and videos wrapped around these topics presented by reliable sources. (Only each of us can determine what is a “reliable” source of education and information).

Yesterday’s educational podcasts just weren’t doing it for me. I wasn’t able to listen intently as usual, instead, allowing my mind to wander back to my state of sorrow and concern.

The villa from the beachside.

As I stopped in the corridor to find any podcast that could help, I stumbled upon a couple of music videos I’d enjoyed in years past and decided to give them a try. In no time at all, back in the room, I found myself watching the clock for my next walk longing to listen to the music once again. 

By accident, I’d found a sorrow/stress reliever I hadn’t considered in these past many weeks with Susan on my mind. The songs I chose to listen to are irrelevant to others since everyone has their own personal preferences. I found those that promoted a pleasant memory seemed to be the most helpful.

The infinity pool and Jacuzzi view from the second level.

In a matter of seconds, my walking pace picked up, and for the first time in days, I had a spring in my step, although my music choices may be considered to have a melancholy tone.

Now, I know, when a particularly sad mood strikes me, I have a “place to go” in my head that reduces the worry and stress, at least for a period of time.
I’ve never been one to listen to music on my phone. I always felt I needed to be learning something, but this simple experience reminded me that my mental state deserved some fluff in order to get out of my head and relax more.

Kingfisher sitting atop a palm frond.

We’ve been diligent about watching some binge-worthy shows in the late afternoon and evening, which surely has been a huge source of entertainment and relaxation for both of us. But, the remainder of our days need not be filled with “responsible tasks” while in lockdown. 

As for point #2 above, “Why did we decide to come to India one year ago today?” (for our new readers over the past year) the answer is uncomplicated. In Ireland in 2019, we watched a TV series with Trevor McDonald about The Maharajas Express Luxury Train. We were hooked on the idea. 

Almost every evening while we dined, these four buffaloes walked on the beach. It was amazing these young kids could handle the huge animals which obviously knew them and cooperated.

Within days of watching the episode, we had booked our journey beginning February 2, 2020, and ended on February 8, 2020, almost five months ago. From there we booked a 55-day private tour which abruptly ended early on or about March 15, 2020, when we began our self-imposed lockdown before we ever arrived back in Mumbai. Cases of the virus were rapidly increasing worldwide and also in India.

Once we arrived in Mumbai, after staying in four hotels in self-imposed lockdown, India’s national lockdown began on March 24, 2020, the day we checked in to this hotel. As of today, we’ve been in a state of lockdown for 104 days. Originally, our plan was to stay in India for a total of 64 days. Humm…

Dragon fruit, a popular local item. 

Never at any point in our lives, have we stopped learning, continually striving to enhance our knowledge, personal growth, and endurance. Now, is no exception. Anything we can do to inch one step closer to our personal potential is a step in the right direction. Fortunately, regardless of our age, that goal can never be achieved. We’re all a “work in progress,” present company included.

Be well.


Photo from one year ago today, June 27, 2019:

It was one year ago today we booked The Maharajas Express Luxury Train in India that prompted us to come to India. For more photos, please click here.