Rash by Lisa Kusel
Well holy crap guys. You know how sometimes it feels like the universe has serendipitously dropped a book in your lap, and you are so happy about it because you very likely wouldn't have stumbled across it any other way? That is Rash for me.
I LOVE a good memoir. Adore them. There is something very, very interesting to me about reading about actual events from a persons life. It can often be more wild than fiction, and you find yourself totally shocked that these are things that ACTUALLY HAPPENED. So bring me a memoir any day, I want to read them all.
Lisa connected with me some time ago through a recommendation of a mutual friend of ours. She asked if I might be interested in checking out her book, and the plot of the book sounded incredibly intriguing to me. In a nutshell, Lisa was living a very reasonable and comfortable life in California - except that she felt like something was missing. So when she found a job posting for a new international school in Bali, she convinced her schoolteacher husband Victor to apply.
Lisa, Victor and their daughter moved halfway across the world to live in paradise, ready for an incredible adventure and a whole new chapter of their lives. Instead, Lisa and her family found themselves completely immersed in the side of Bali that isn't on the tourist brochures - burning corpses, biting ants, and a millionaire founder who cared more about selling bamboo furniture than educating young minds. Every twist in a nightmare that was only intensified by Lisa's terror that her daughter might contract Dengue Fever.
Lisa writes in such an incredible way that I felt like I was living this world with her - the good and bad. I loved that Lisa is entirely candid about the realities of this part of her life - including all the ways in which she personally failed, and how much the move and the events surrounding this time nearly destroyed her marriage. This is all the more refreshing considering that in the era of the perfect Instagram, its so easy to see all the best parts of peoples lives, without all the dark parts creating such a sense of "I wish I had that".
Not to say this was a story that trashes Bali or teaching overseas - the opposite - it lets the truth of Bali shine through, good and bad, clean and dirty, pristine and bug infested, and recognizes that overseas opportunities are not always all they are cracked up to be.
Everything about this book can be summed up most effectively with a quote:
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle
This book is lovely and surprising and I would absolutely tell you to pick this one up if you love a refreshing, honest and poignant memoir, that will open your eyes to a whole new part of the world we live in, and remind us that the grass is not always greener.
Happiest Monday my friends.