Build Diary 10 – Start the build!
Choosing a builder to bring my vision to life was a crucial decision. In fact, the build itself will cost more than our 25 year lease. After struggling with working out how to afford the build, and doing a lot of financial juggling, we found a way. It’s time to start the build!
Unlike building in Argentina (where I was born and raised) or Australia (where I moved to at age 18, and have lived for 20 years), the build is more expensive than the land. This is because we chose to take a 25 year lease on land in Bali rather than buy it outright So, in some ways, choosing the builder was a bigger decision than choosing the land.
Our architect Silvia was an important factor in our decision. We wanted a builder who she had worked with and recommended. After some time exploring our options and doing our due diligence, we knew who we wanted. We just had to find a way to afford it!
My husband and I debated our needs vs wants (short version: he wants safe/practical, I want beautiful/inspiring). Most importantly, we got there in the end. We made the decision, drafted the contract and signed! Our first question was when do we start the build!
Ceremony in Bali life
Before we moved to Bali, we had visited many times as I used to be a jewellery designer. It seems like a lifetime ago! I manufactured out of Bali, so I spent a lot of time here doing quality assurance and quality control.
One of the first things that people notice about Bali is that religion and ceremony are an integral part of daily life. It’s not simply lip service, religion heavily influences the way many people think and behave.
Those gorgeous offerings that can be seen everywhere are just one example of how important religion is. They are absolutely everywhere, and are often placed in important places multiple times a day. They are placed to show respect to the gods and keep people safe in the home, temples, and the local area.
Ceremonies and offerings occur daily
A friend had once given me this incredible book about the importance of religion in Bali. It was an eye-opening read. However, a far more informative way to learn about the culture was through speaking with one of our amazing nannies, Wayan.
We have been fortunate to have 2 amazing women who have worked with us since we first moved to Bali. Wayan is Balinese Hindu, and Umi is Javanese Muslim. We respect their beliefs and it’s important to us that they are comfortable expressing their religious beliefs with us. Our son, Phoneix, has been in Bali since he was a bub, and loves mimicking the daily prayers that Wayan and Umi do. Whether he is following Wayan around the villa praying with her, or singing along to Umi’s call to prayer app on her phone, he feels completely at ease in multiple cultures.
We spend hours every day, 6 days a week with Wayan and Umi, who both speak English very well, and it has been a privilege to share our lives together. They are certainly part of our Bali family and we love to learn about and experience their beliefs. Respect for local cultures, religions and traditions is part of living in Bali.
Our villa ceremony
One of the things I was adamant about when we thought about building was that we hold a ceremony to start the building process (as well as one after the build is finished). Fortunately, our builder Agus always does these ceremonies for his projects and was planning to do one anyway. Agus brought his wife and mum to lead the ceremony
Agus explained to us that this ceremony asks the local spirit, who had inhabited the rice field, to move away from the land to the local temple during the build. The second ceremony that occurs after the villa is completed invites that spirit to come back and reside in the little temple we will build on the villa grounds and keep both us and our home safe.
Of course, we wanted to show our respect by dressing appropriately for the ceremony. We don’t usually wear these traditional clothes, but it was a lovely experience to share.
Such a privilege to experience this ceremony!
A vision in the night
Agus’ team also made a temporary shrine that was part of the ceremony. It will stay on the site during the build.
Interestingly, the following day, Agus’ mum told him that she had had a vision in the night. The spirit of the land asked her to not cut down one of the trees at the back of the land as the spirit likes to sit in the shade under that tree. Of course we will follow those wishes!
Ceremony completed and spirits happy, it’s time to the start the build!
The land spirit likes to rest under one of these trees