(I wrote and published this article on April 20, 2011.)
This week I visited Bali with my family and took a special tour to visit Ketut Leyir, the medicine man mentioned in Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert. He appeared in the Eat Love Pray movie as well. After my visit, I thought about this article and decided to republish it here to encourage women to go for their dreams and get out of “your comfort zone!”
As we approach the end of 2014 let’s make plans to act on our bucket list of things to do. The secret to getting things done is to act… take small steps to reach your goals.
Eat, Pray, Reminiscence: Food, Friendship, Action
Most of our social gatherings and celebrations are centered on food. We have a feast for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays or a celebration to make a loved one feel special and loved. Every culture of the world has their way of celebrating around the dinner table or in restaurants.
In countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, the normal greetings are, did you eat yet? It is a dying form of greeting in this modern day and age.
The book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert attracted worldwide attention when it was published in 2007. My first impression of this book was, it is a book about food! Many women in particular were attracted to the title of the book. You’ll read about a woman’s journey through three distinctly different countries. In Italy she found the joy of food, wine and friendship. In India it was a soul searching experience. In Bali at the end of her journey she found her true self and balance in life.
As I was writing a letter of invitation to a close friend, I thought about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. How so many of my friends who are in their 30s and 40s living a life of singlehood, married or divorced… wanting and yet unable to break free from the day to day agendas of life. They read, pray and imagine and don’t act on their hearts’ desires.
How they talk about the someday, somewhere, somehow… we know it will not happen unless acted upon. It is fear of the unknown and fear of getting out of the norm that made them ‘stuck’ to their circumstances.
Browsing through the first few pages of Hindsights by Guy Kawasaki, I am compelled to write a letter to my friend immediately. Mr. Kawasaki said the book was born of pain because he was facing the truths about his marriage, how it was about to end. He went through a period of counseling and soul searching.
Today he lives a life of enchantment… because he acted!
My friend needed to get out of her routine and she and I should spend time eating, praying and reminiscing for old time sake and it is time to put some things into actions.
Here is the letter:
Remember how you and I always talked about our favorite food when we were in college? Our favorite noodle house… the huge shrimp, the scallops with the spiciest ingredients?
I was just thinking about that while I was at a restaurant by the water recently with my family. While enjoying a margarita with the sun setting in the distant sky… soft Latin music playing in the background… the tide was coming in… I could hear the sound of the water splashing onto the dock. The sound of water and Latin music… what a combination!
It brought me back to the memories of our music renditions back in the days… How about one with Latin music and splashing water on a keyboard and guitar? The many jazzing and popping of random music that we had when we were in the college concert hall… awaiting for some boring professor with their gamelan and gongs.
This will be a perfect place to bring my friend Jane, I told my husband. The waiter was really attentive to us. Since this was only my second time, he did not know me. However, he seemed to notice my need of garlic bread… that garlic bread when hot and steamy… is just perfecto. Even though, I was told carbs will make me fat at the waist. Who cares when it is time to indulge in some of my favorite foods on a restful family night out! I bet you would do the same.
And then the shrimp… shrimp scampi…my favorite. While this is not an Indian restaurant with spicy curry… you, the seafood devourer will enjoy the shrimp cooked with butter and garlic the right way – not too cooked. Or the salmon with teriyaki sauce… yummy!
Just to let you know, most restaurants in town do not serve salmon with skin on. But Pedro’s Restaurant is unique. Pedro the owner realized there are some freaks like you and I who like fish head and fish skin. So, our salmon will be grilled along with the skin. Our salmon head split in half and grilled to perfection. Grilled salmon with crispy skin… and the thick teriyaki sauce to top it up!
Another great treat here is the mahi mahi salad with cold angel hair and sesame oil and seeds. In fact, this dish was voted as one of the top 20 best innovative menus by Bon Appétit, the food magazine. Funny, how Pedro threw in a non-traditional Italian dish into his menu. It shows the adventurous side of him.
While writing this… I am salivating. I love food…. You too my friend! I can’t wait for you to try it. Not to forget, Pedro speaks four languages. He emigrated from Italy about 20 years ago to St. Petersburg, Florida and still has that heavy Italian accent.
You may even try to speak a word or two with him in Italian and feel like you are in Florence all over again. He always gives personal attention to his customers even when there is a crowd. He is also single… still waiting for the right person, just like yourself! Just kidding…
All kidding aside, this place is also reasonably priced and is only 30 minutes from my home. You and I can take our time chatting and eating while talking about the good old days. We may have time to do some souvenir shopping as well at the local art gallery.
Don’t worry… dinner is on me. I will throw in an art piece too if we see one that you like. For old time sake…
Oh yes, one more thing. How many times have you watched that movie Eat, Pray, Love? Last time I checked, you said three times… isn’t that a little obsessive?
As curious as I was, I went to Amazon just to look at the comments coming from readers of the book of the same title. To date, there were 2,678 reviews. Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (the one that we discussed via Skype) had 430. Who wants to know Tiger Mother when they can dream about traveling to faraway lands and discover oneself with Eat, Love, Pray?
So long, see you at the airport on Friday!
Note: The above letter is fictional but the character is a combination of a few friends of mine. The letter is dedicated to my girlfriends who are still contemplating after 15-20 years. Leave me a comment. Do you think many women are struggling with the lost art of being one’s true self? Not living in one’s true calling and destiny…