Monday, November 21, 2011

Which Direction Should We Take?

This week we spent many hours locked in intense discussion about what to do next. At the end of it all, we sort of know what we want but not how it will happen! Rene has been busily applying for an incredibly amazing job in Sydney which has shaken up our plans even further. We've got so many possible directions that could occur, that we've had to write up a big life map with all the different possibilities. I keep thinking of different options to add to the mix and I don't know if it's very healthy.
Here are just some of the options:
- Stay here in Danga Bay, living cheaply. Continue to look for work or work online.
- Move to Raffles Marina in Singapore for the half-price month we're entitled to as Sail Indonesia participants. Relax in the pool/spa/waterslide/gym and continue to look for work in Singapore. Stay there if we're successful. Move on if we're not.
- Give up on working here. Leave Anima either on a hardstand or tied up here in Danga Bay. Clean her up and put Anima on the market. Fly home and work and do the "normal" thing with getting a mortgage in the suburbs. I could return to teaching and even pick up my permanent position again (though who knows where they would send me.. possibly somewhere very remote).
- (If Ren gets the Sydney job) leave Anima here in SE Asia. Fly to Sydney and rent somewhere for the three years of his contract. OR try and sail Anima back to Sydney either in one big hit or in installments (each holiday we could take her a little closer) and then sneakily live onboard in Sydney somewhere.
- Spend all of our money and time fixing up Anima to be the boat we want her to be. Fly home next year to work, save money, have a baby and stay with our parents. Fly back to Anima after about a year or so and continue cruising. 
- Continue cruising up to northern Malaysia and southern Thailand where the waters are clean and it's beautiful. Put off making a decision about how on earth to make more money. Start making a baby and enjoy life. Continue to look for work and hopefully find something suitable.
- Do a TEFL course online and pick up work teaching English somewhere in Malaysia/Thailand. Live and work somewhere beautiful and fly home sometime in the future.
Confused about which direction we'll take!
With all of these possibilities whirring around my mind, I've been quite stressed out, too serious and a bit depressed!

I went to the local gym one night with Nikki - a yachtie who has lived here longer than us - to try out the Ashtanga Yoga class. The gym, Clarke Hatch Excite Fitness Centre has the motto 'Fit Happens' and is in a modern, clean and professional building. The yoga class was unlike any yoga I've ever experienced. Our instructor counted through our moves in a strange "soothing" voice which would be interrupted by a harsh 'BREATHE' or something in Chinese! Many of our asanas were not positions I'd learnt through Ashtanga Yoga - it was more like Pilates/acrobatics/yoga!! The weirdest part for me was that instead of bowing our heads in thanks at the end of the class, everyone clapped!

Myself, Kellie and Indi riding the carousel.
Our good friends from Molonga ventured down from their marina in Puteri, to visit us here in Danga Bay for a night. We last saw them in Belitung, Indonesia but it was as though that was yesterday when we caught up. Kellie cooked up a delicious chicken soup in her new pressure cooker while Indi showed me her new bed and we played with fairy dust and unicorns ponies. They shared their precious bottle of Champers (brought all the way from Darwin - thanks Kell's Mum!) and the fun continued well into the night. Poor Rene suffered for most of the next day thanks to some interesting mixes. We hung out in the Danga Bay theme park and got to go on a few rides - our choices were limited by which ones Indi was allowed on but I was secretly glad that we only got to go on the gentle rides - I'm a bit of a theme-park wimp!!
Rene, Youngie and Indi - a storm in a teacup!
 We were lucky this week because not only did the lovely Molonga captain and crew visit, so did our Australian friends from Singapore - Jodie and Sarah. Ren was a little worse for wear after our party night with Molonga so I met up with the girls in JB SentralAnima just before the afternoon rain started and enjoyed the lovely bottle of Red that Jodie had carried all the way here. 

Cute fashion shops abound around Johor Bahru central district.
Funky shop fronts with hand-made signs and artwork are popular here.
New shop owner wanted our photograph to add to her collection
Local friend Josephine took us girls along to a presentation by T. Selva on Vasthu Sastra - the ancient art of Indian Feng Shui. T. Selva gave his 381st talk to a packed room of mostly Tamil but some Chinese and us Caucasians. The session started with a focus upon how to find your Guru during which he discussed Mother Meera, Sri Ravi Shanker, Prem Rawat, Mother Teresa, Amma, Pramahansa Yogananda, Sathya Sai Baba and Shirdi Sai Baba. His stories about these guru's (masters who've reached liberation) were interesting (though some of the stories about miracles were pretty unbelievable).
T.Selva speaks in Johor Bahru.
The talk was free because as Mr T. Selva said 'the highest form of charity is sharing knowledge'. He moved onto Vasthu Sastra which seems to be quite a complex way of organising your home and life in order to encourage the best energies into it. I took notes throughout his talk, some of which I'll share with you here. I'm not sure if I really believe much of it (particularly the stuff about golden pyramids!) but I find it interesting to learn new things.

The five elements are related to the five senses and must be arranged in their proper order so as to promote peace, happiness, prosperity and good health.
1. Ether - Hearing. In the morning play soothing music and avoid disturbing sounds.
2. Air - Feel. Burn incense / uplifting scents. Light the incense at the house entrance, making a prayer before you light the flame. Then walk through the entire house, allowing the smoke to penetrate and cleanse every area's energy. Focus especially on the corners as this is where bad spirits dwell. Keep indoor plants.
3. Fire - Sight. Look at the sunrise every morning. Practice Surya Namaskara (yoga sun salutation) and harmonise your body. Wear bright colours - avoiding black, grey and dark blue.
4. Water - Taste. Drink adequate water. Fix plumbing leaks in your home as they symbolise money leaking from your life.
5. Earth - Smell. Get connected to the earth. Walk barefoot on a grassy patch each morning.
If you practice these five principles each day they will apparently discharge the bad energy from your life. You will become more alert, cheerful, have clear skin and achieve results in your career. Hmmmm...
Vasthu Sastra principles on ideal room placement in your home.
The house can be divided into quadrants and Vasthu Sastra recommends the optimum locations for each living space. The South West is an inauspicious entry and having a house / land which is oddly shaped creates negative energy. There are many principles here that T. Selva talked quickly through accompanied by many slides of diagrams. One of these was that steps in a house symbolise your finances. The first step is profit, second is lost, profit, loss.. repeating. You need to have an odd number of steps to ensure that your house promotes profit, not loss. If you live in an apartment complex, it must five story's or below so that you remain connected to the earth energies.
Vasthu Sastr devotees.
Towards the end of the talk, T. Selva moved onto discussing 'ancient wisdom' that he wanted to share with us all. Some of it was interesting, all of it was based upon superstition and some of it seemed to be just plain strange to a cynically trained mind like mine.
- Apparently, if you wish to get rich, buy a small packet of salt every Friday. Add it to your salt jar and during the week, use that salt so that the jar goes down to 1/4 full. Do this for 27 weeks and you will see results.
- To avoid being cursed by others' evil eyes, wear the Turkish jewellery that casts the evil eyes away from you by distracting them with additional "eyes".
- On your birthday each year, buy as many birds as the date of the month. Tell the birds your problems and then free them. Your problems will fly away and you will become much richer. I like the symbolism of the bird freeing though this ritual would be really easy in a place like Asia where buying birds is cheap and easy.
- The technique that I found most strange (and which, surprisingly was the most popular among the audience) had to do with golden pyramids. T. Selva said that if you get a golden copper pyramid which is hollow from the base, and place this over money / a wish / your body / whatever, the energies of the universe will be concentrated down through the point at the top of the pyramid into your money / your wish / your body ailment / whatever. This extended to having miniature pyramids to carry with you in order to encourage the energies into your life / wallet / car etc.

During question time most people asked about techniques to use the pyramids. With Josephine's encouragement, I asked T. Selva if he had any advice for me because I live on a boat and the directions change often, I'm not attached to the earth and my furniture is not movable. His response was that I should try to face East as often as possible. I'll try it and report back if things suddenly start changing for the better. After the talk we wandered through the Muslim night markets. I bought a second hand backpack for about $12AUD.
Muslim night markets in JB.
Jodie and Sarah stayed over on board Anima and we played Scrabble with them on Sunday morning before heading into town to totally pig out on the most amazing Indian food feast of my life. I wish I'd taken a photo but I couldn't bear to stop eating!!

The beginning of the week had me feeling really confused about what to do next. I felt quite out of control and a little upset by our lack of direction. Gradually we worked out some knowns. We want to have a child soon - possibly as early as next year. We don't want to completely give up cruising. It has become a part of us and we love it (most of the time!). But we don't wish to live away from our friends and family forever. The only real issue is money - we need more of it, soon. How we go about getting more of the stuff is the difficult part. 

I'd like to either keep cruising Malaysia and Thailand somehow (anyone want to sponsor us?) or live and work in Singapore like we planned. Sitting here in Danga Bay is not what I want. It's polluted, mosquito-ridden, has no amenities and there is no nature nearby. The only benefit in staying here is the price (free until January, then about $33AUD per week).
Rene pulls a full garbage bag out of Danga Bay. Rubbish floats by constantly.
After a heavy rain storm, the marina was clogged full of rubbish.
Johor Bahru is not the most amazing tourist destination. It's just a big city that acts as the gateway between Malaysia and Singapore. It's busy, crowded and dirty. The main pastime is shopping either in markets or large centres. There are some funky areas with arty shops and despite everyone's warnings, we haven't had our pockets picked or our bags snatched (though it does happen). I'm looking forward to moving on soon from this place. We've met a few nice people here which has been great but I'm craving some nature that isn't ruined with pollution!

Busy street of Johor Bahru.
Walking over the 6-lane motorway after shopping at Kip Markets for fresh food.
JB - a non-stop shopping adventure

1 comment:

  1. I read a lot of blogs.Yours is compelling in its open honesty. Your fearless approach to adventure is enviable, outstanding and admirable. Keep it up, life will look after you. There will be good times and bad but finally you will it will be worth it. I have been there.