Monday, September 19, 2011

Missing Madame Barbara

I am, unfortunately, down to about 40 hours left in Ubud. I would like to say I'm taking long romantic walks in rice paddies and swims in the ocean as a way of saying goodbye, but in truth I've mainly been running around like a mad woman--faxing my health insurance company, doing laundry, packing, catching up on skype dates while I know I have internet, and running around town saying my endless goodbyes and thank yous to the people who have made my time here so memorable.

I do have an hour reserved tomorrow for something I've been waiting to do for a long time. Ubud is sort of surrounded by magic. Not only is it notoriously a place of healing, but there is an entire religion and culture built (partially) around protecting people from evil spirits, watching performances based around the idea of trance, and calling on ancestors from the dead. For a usually skeptical person, I have been proved wrong time and time again when so many things here just seem too coincidental to be entirely random.

Some of you may smile reading this because I've often talked about wanting to see a psychic. I think it started when I was about seven years old and went through a phase where I was really convinced I was psychic because I sometimes guessed days of the week correctly. (Maybe every kid goes through this phase?) I've gotten as close as walking into a psychic's office and have always decided not to. I am a dangerous combination of being extremely skeptical and extremely sensitive, as in, "I think all of this is absolutely false and purely psychological but I WILL BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU SAY TO ME!" Knowing this about myself has been reason enough to stay away. At least so far.

Many many travelers come to Bali to meet with balians and psychics and healers. And after doing some research about people in the area, and already making several appointments and chickening out, I am booked for 3:00pm tomorrow. Because, when in Rome...

The rational part of me is already laughing at myself and the other part of me is so nervous about what she might say that I might not be able to sleep tonight. What I recently remembered, however, is the video below, which has become famous with my close friends and family. There are a lot of things my parents got really really right when my sister and I were growing up, and one of those things were birthday parties. Having a former teacher turned education professor for a mom means that your birthday parties were at home, built around a theme of your choosing, and had scheduled activities to make sure the two hours didn't end in sugar-high kids having melt downs. At one of these events, the "magic party" for my 6th birthday, my grandmother dressed up as "Madame Barbara" and told fortunes. I think the video says a lot about how this went over.

I think Madame Barbara may have inspired tomorrow's event. And although I really hope the psychic tomorrow does not also tell me I'll be having five children, I'm willing to say that Madame Barbara was right about a lot of things. Tomorrow's psychic has some competition.

p.s. Happy late birthday Grandma!


  1. Ask the psychic what I'm wearing.

    ps-i love this video.

  2. Reading these may be making me get a little emotional....
    Also, I keep thinking:
    "Maybe, can you see my father?
    No, not in the spirit world.
    He’s in New Rochelle. No he’s not dead, it’s just that he doesn’t have skype and I was wondering if he’s wearing the shirt I bought him for Christmas."

  3. GAH. St. Clair you're making me so nostalgic. I am still so proud of that play. I was recently going through major Cartogoraphasia-missing. Let's revive it! Let's go to Scotland!

    And in a less public sphere, I NEED to update you on what the psychic said. Super creepy, super interesting, scarily accurate.

  4. Nella,
    There are lots of inquiring minds who would like a public version if that's acceptable. People keep asking me "What did she learn from the psychic?"xox

  5. Hah! It seems silly to dedicate more than one post to it, but I'll send you a gchat update next time we talk and you can spread the gossip all you want. xox