February 6, 2010


Om Swastyastu. This is my first posting in my new blog for learning basa Bali or the Balinese language. I chose the word nyumu which means start for the title of this very first posting as it describes precisely what I am writing here - nyumu for this blog and also nyumu for my undertaking of basa Bali.

There are three main reasons for me to start a blog about basa Bali and the culture of that beautiful island. First of all, if I am well organized by using this blog, I will perhaps be able to find a grammar point, vocabulary word, example sentence, link or other tidbit about Bali easier and faster than if I were to have to search through scraps of papers with notes and vocabulary floating around my apartment. My second reason is since I don't live in Bali and am quite out of touch with the culture there, I can use this blog as a little island in cyberspace where I might be able to meet others interested in the culture and language of Bali. This is my place for enjoying an educational experience with Bali. It would be wonderful to get help from anak Bali Balinese people since I am studying all alone or just some feedback and encouragement from anyone who is also struggling to learn basa Bali or anything related to Bali. Finally, my third reason is that if I am studying basa Bali in the open like this, on internet for the whole world to see, perhaps it will give me more pressure to continue rather than give up after a few weeks or so. I read before that if you really want to succeed at a diet, it is best to tell the whole world rather than keep it a secret. By telling everyone around you, it pushes you a little more and also you might get a positive word or two from your loved ones. This makes sense to me.

Ok, why basa Bali? I went to Bali for the first time at the end of last year, December 2009. It was my first trip to Indonesia and I chose Bali because I had been studying a little of the Indonesian language and was able to find a language school in Bali where I could study Indonesian in the mornings during my one week stay there. I had a hard time trying to speak only in Indonesian during my short trip to Bali and would like to have learned a little more basa Bali but it just wasn't possible. I couldn't help but feel that I was a complete tourist in every sense of the word when I spoke in English and at such a time there was a big wall and gap between me and the people around me. When I tried using my Indonesian, I felt that wall was lower and the people seemed to smile, but when I used the few little Balinese expressions that a taxi driver taught me, I finally felt that the wall was at its lowest between me and the anak Bali when I spoke even a word or two to them in their language and not the national language or the international language. While I was in Bali, I truly fell in love with the island, its people and culture. Only a month has passed since I returned from my trip there but this feeling of Baliness, which I call it, hasn't worn off the least and I am dreaming about my next trip to Bali which I hope to take at the end of this year!

I was able to buy a copy of the book Everyday Balinese byI Gusti Made Sutjaja this week and now I feel that I am finally ready to get started with a little basa Bali! But, I am extremely busy! February and September are my two busiest months here, with February topping all the other months without a doubt! I am a teacher and more or less work every day from nine in the morning until nine at night. Also, I am studying Indonesian with a teacher three hours a week. I need about four hours for preparation time for each hour spent together with my Indonesian teacher! In addition, I am taking some advanced classes for the Hawaiian language and have lots of homework to do! Can I really find the necessary time to study Balinese? It is a good question, but I have to try. If anyone else is just as busy but still feels the strong desire to learn Balinese, drop me a line! We need to stick together! Giving each other support, I am sure that we can keep at our Balinese studies.

It is Saturday night here and I am really exhausted. I don't usually have to work on the weekends but I have just too much work at the moment and had no choice. I worked today from about eleven o'clock in the morning until nine at night. I should just turn my computer off, but I want to get started with this blog and my Balinese studies.

Let me take a quick look through Everyday Balinese. There are exactly 23 lessons. If I try to master one lesson a week or even break it up into two weeks for one lesson, I should still be able to cover the whole book during this year of preparation for my December trip to Bali. I am trying to think of a good pace for using the textbook. Should I try to cover one chapter in a week or in two weeks? I know that my teaching job will keep me busy and I have to study a lot of Indonesian and Hawaiian, not to mention Korean! Just for the records, I already speak English, Japanese, French and Italian. I am working hard on Indonesian and Hawaiian while my Korean has not improved a bit because of the lack of study time. Hmmmm. Basa Bali? Also, I bought a few books and dictionaries to learn basa Jawa and I am very much interested in basa Sunda because my Indonesian language teacher speaks that language. There isn't enough time for all of my interests! Ok, back to looking at Everyday Balinese. There are roughly 35 new words for one chapter of my Balinese textbook and I am quite sure that I can memorize that number of words in a week. There are two levels of speech in Balinese like in Javanese or Sundanese and this textbook gives both, which means double studying for each lesson. I am sure that I have to split one lesson into two weeks. I will try studying the common speech level during the first week and the refined speech level during the second week. Wish me good luck!

I have an Indonesian lesson tomorrow morning and have to get up early to study for that. I should soon stop, but I will try to post something here in a day or two. I wonder how to say good-bye in basa Bali?

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