You know how every once in awhile, signs appear in your life, like fortune-telling fairies bearing hints of what’s to come?
If you walked down the streets of Ubud – such as been my daily ‘habit’ over the past three years – you might like me do a double-take, and imagine that you might have landed in Israel rather than Indonesia. What’s with all the Hebrew signs?
A shop called Kus-Kus sells clothing – rather than coconuts. And Ken-Ken is one of the most common phrases in Basa Bali – but it also means “yes yes” in Hebrew.
Some examples are puzzling while others make sense: Moti, Nava, Adi and Gili are all common Israeli names, while Adi is common among the Balinese as well. But I’ve not yet stumbled across an indigenous Moti or Nava on this island – nor do I know if either word has a Balinese meaning. As for Gili, the word translates from the Sasak native language in Lombok to “island.”
My favorite find of all, is this delicate script painted towards the bottom of a storefront window: nu. Just yesterday, for the first time, I stopped for a moment to peer inside and noted that they sell hand-made crocheted goods. I’ve never seen the store actually open during daylight hours, but one day if there are signs of life inside, I will walk in and ask about its meaning. Surely it can’t be in Hebrew: Nu = So? Now What?!
However, on the off-chance that there’s some connection to Hebrew (and Israel), I’ll take it as a premonition and good omen: Five more sleeps… (NU, where am I going?)