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Belinda Breyer, CA

Senior Writer

Belinda likes to spend time in her impractically large vegetable garden in the Sierra foothills, skiing at Lake Tahoe, and going wherever frequent flyer miles will take her. She worked in editorial departments at various San Francisco publishing houses for over ten years, and writes for the local newspaper. She loves being a freelancer. Her motto is “Have laptop, will travel.” She became interested in a career in publishing during college when she realized that poetry was not going to pay the bills. She has a BA in English with a minor in Creative Writing, and earned a certificate in Publishing from UC Berkeley.

As a Story Terrace writer, Belinda interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

A Matter of Interpretation

It’s early morning and I’m walking through the courtyard of my hotel in the beach town of Sanur in Bali. As I round the corner, a person is sweeping the pathway with a sparse hand-made broom.

“Salamat pagi” I say to him, and his face lights up with a surprised smile.

“Salamat pagi” he says back to me, wishing me good morning in Bahasa Indonesian. I suspect they don’t get too many tourists that speak any Indonesian. I had taken advantage of the language program on the in-flight entertainment system on my way to Bali, and learned about fifty words of the national language, although Bali also has its own separate language. I always like to learn a least a few key critical phrases wherever I go in case I get stuck, for example; Thank you, Hello, I don’t understand, I’m sick, Where is the bathroom? May I please have a beer?

These last two phrases may well be the most important.

So I head to the lobby to meet my guide. Ketut tells me our plan for the day is to visit some temples. The first one we visit is over one thousand years old and very beautiful with ornate carvings of frightening demon faces and brightly painted animal figures.

As we are driving through town, on our way to the next temple, chatting with our guide, we pass by a man on the side of the road carrying a long open-weave cylindrical basket. Ketut asks if we know what that basket is used for. I know, and I reply with the Indonesian word for pig – bebe.

He gets a horrified look on his face and says “No! Not Baby!”

Then I make a little piggy noise and he understands that I understand and we all have a really good laugh.

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