Carpe Diem

Four years ago, our college friend Fu-Min invited us to his wedding in Singapore. It would be in December. Holiday mania would be in full swing. There probably wasn’t a busier, more stressful time to be traipsing off to the far corners of the earth. That’s why it couldn’t have been a better time.

We came up with a plan: After the wedding, we’d join the bride and groom in Bali for a few days of R&R.

And who did I call to invite along with us? Sue, of course.

She said this is crazy. She said it couldn’t be a worse time of year to get away. She said she’d never been there. She said it’s so far to travel for such a whirlwind trip.

I said, carpe diem, Sue. She understood, and she agreed.

It was one of those moments when you know, in your heart of hearts, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And, thankfully, neither of us were willing to let it pass us by. Sue rarely did let those opportunities pass her by.

Sue arrived in Bali first, alone, after 12 hours of flying, her first time setting foot in Asia … and without her luggage.

But Sue being Sue, she took it all in stride and was rewarded for it. The hotel staff took her under their wing. Not only did they assign her a driver for the day to take her to the neighboring villages to shop for clothes, but the driver also accompanied her from shop to shop, providing pleasant conversation about the history of the island. He even took her to the island’s traditional Bali Aga village, where he served as her guide and told her a bunch of backstage gossip that wasn’t in the tour books.

When they were shopping, he showed her a pair of board shorts he’d been saving up for. And again, Sue being Sue, she bought him those board shorts.

I remember a lot of things about that trip:

  • Rolling hills of rainforest and rice, the sounds of waves bubbling over the hotel’s pebbled beach
  • The ornate maze of the local painters’ shop
  • The charming mountain town of Ubud and its marble cliffside restaurant
  • An ocean picnic on a handful of tiny bobbing Balinese boats
  • A chocolate massage in the hotel’s ocean-side massage hut

But the thing I remember most is this moment: Sue and I, together, blissfully peaceful and content in the illuminating light of a Balinese sunset.

We knew our time together was limited, but we also knew moments like this make life worth living.

Don’t life get so hectic that you forget to live it. You only get one.

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