BALI | May 23 - Jun 6
The peak before the parasite | Mt. Batur Sunrise hike
We all know how Bali treated me. Safe to say I will never return - message received Bali. However, there was a time I got to see something besides a bathroom. One morning, before anyone, including myself was awake, some mysterious force of adventure took me from my bed and into a van headed toward Mt. Batur. I tried to sleep on the ride but my mind was in a daze, curious enough about my surroundings to keep my eyes open, but too tired to process anything. The only thought I remember was "these stupid dogs need to get out of the road."
We arrived at the base camp at 3am. Some people got coffee. I prayed to the bathroom gods that they'd grant me peace for the next few hours. A little later the hike began and I cursed my self for skipping leg day so many times and slacking on cardio. Abby and I blasted Espresso (ikyk) to keep up morale. The next three miles would be a steep incline and heavy sweating. People passed us on "Bali Volcano Jeeps". I cursed them for filling my desperate lungs with exhaust and mocked them for their cowardly way up this mountain. 
We stopped a few times to maintain the group. Those in the front were zooming up the mountain as the rest of us climbed gasping for air. Bringing the camera was a mistake. My bag was so heavy on a hike I would struggle with without a bag. Nevertheless, after 4 stops we made it to the peak. Immediately, I sat down and waited. My legs had had enough. All I cared about was seeing the sunrise. 
The horizon was had scattered lights sprinkled all over the base of the mountain and around the lake. From the mountain across from us, we could see headlamps from hikers flash occasionally. Hundreds of people were at the peak with us, and it looked like more were gathering on the other mountain too. As the sun began to emerge, I understood. The reward of the peaceful sunrise was the difficulty of the journey up to see it. The view was beautiful, but its significance was the shared challenge to get to the peak. I was no longer jealous of those who took the "Bali Volcano Jeeps". They only enjoyed the beauty of the view, not the significance. 
The Balinese Souvenir | The Parasite
Well, we know the rest. Bali gave me the souvenir of a parasite. Two hospital visits, a car ride I will never talk about, and a ruined trip to Taiwan. I am thankful every day that I was able to escape. I was the exact minimum health I needed to be to take the long journey home to Boston. A day sooner and I believe it would have been a disaster. Here's what I will always say: Bali is like that toxic relationship we've all been in. Bali is beautiful, but I've never felt worse. 

That being said...
I am grateful of the trip overall. My favorite place as a tourist was Bangkok and my favorite spot as an academic was Jakarta. I learned so much from the experiences, speakers, and friends around me. I knew I needed to do another Dialogue before I graduated. I'm extremely certain I made the right choice with this one. Thanks for the memories :)
- Andrew

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