1. You grew up on a beach. Obviously.
You’ve sunk your toes in immaculate white sand beaches in Nusa Dua, and volcanic black sand beaches in Sanur. You learned to surf at Echo Beach, then moved on to world-class waves at Ulu Watu and Padang Padang. You’ve dived in one of the most diverse and beautiful marine ecosystems in the world when you were in Nusa Lembongan. You remember the rare, liberating sensation you felt when you watched the sun rise at Kuta and Double Six as you sobered up.
2. You don’t bat an eyelid when you see an entire family of five on one motorbike.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and you’ve had at least three full-grown adults on one bike yourself.
3. Regardless of gender, you can guess almost any local’s name.
And not because you’re psychic. You know it has to be one of the eight names they were lucky enough to be born into. Since we don’t use family names, it’s pretty easy: first born is either “Gede” or “Wayan” or “Putu,” second born is “Kadek” or “Made,” and so on until the cycle starts again on the fifth child…
4. Bintang is your go-to drink.
But you cringe every time you see the belligerently drunk foreign masses sporting the branded singlets.
5. You will always respect and admire the strength of women.
Traditionally, women are up before 5 a.m., they’ve been to the market and back, and have already prepared breakfast for their families before they even wake. Thanks momma! And you know that in some more rural areas, you can see women transporting 50-pound bags of rice or fruits over long distances using only their head.
6. You’ve tried Magic Mushrooms at least once.
Up until a year ago, it was more than common to find those little shacks that made your favorite hallucinogenic milkshakes and omelettes.
7. You were driving a motorbike way before puberty.
But you still don’t have your license.
8. And you have a heightened sense of awareness on the road.
Thanks to the more-than-occasional drivers on the wrong side of the road, red-light runners, and those practicing a ‘go’ philosophy at ‘stop’ signs.
9. You have a big family, like for real.
Notice how I mentioned the names cycle after the fourth child? Yeah, that’s no joke.
10. No meal is complete without rice and sambal.
Spice + rice = life. It just doesn’t taste as good without it — even McDonalds and KFC understand that we need our fix.
11. You have mixed feelings about monkeys.
You’ve had some inhospitable and even hostile encounters with some of these seemingly adorable creatures. All in all, it’s a love/hate relationship.
12. You’ve been to some of the best parties in the world.
Kuta’s seedy alleyways — with bars shelling out dirt-cheap drinks and the mega-clubs teeming with sweaty tourists rubbing against each other. That was your spot growing up. Now you’re drawn to the ultra-chic venues around Seminyak, with some of the best cocktails on the island and its lineup of international DJs pumping out house and techno beats on top-of-the-line sound systems. On those days when the party started earlier, you spent the day drinking, swimming and flirting at the countless pool parties, beach clubs and rooftops at Double Six and elsewhere.
13. Your godsends are Padang and Nasi Jinggo.
14. And you don’t mind eating it with your hands.
In fact, you prefer it. You sit on the floor and relish in that food wrapped in a banana leaf.
15. The warung was your hangout spot during break and after school.
This is where you would get lunch and a coke-to-go poured in a plastic bag with a straw sticking out of it. And the only place that would sell you cigarettes by the singles.
16. You went through an Arak phase.
Our national variant of moonshine, straight from the village bathtub and with just the slightest aftertaste of corrosion and death. You’re glad this part of your life is over.
17. Indomie was, and still might be, a staple for you.
Who knew this small packet held so much instant-happiness? You did, of course. You’ve had it with eggs, fried, in soup, with veggies, fried onions on top, rice on the side, and extra spicy.
18. You are never on time.
You run on Jam Karet, literally ‘Rubber Time’. You’ve accepted that time is flexible and erratic, and that punctuality is not a priority. You are not rude, that’s just the way things are.