One Day – Jeni Smith

Jeni Smith
On a quest for decent – or any – herbal teas in Bali, Australian Jeni Smith threw in the search towel and started blending herself. The 51-year-old mother of three, who with her architect husband Charles has three grown children, is a registered nurse who has turned her focus to curative herbs; she shared her day with The Bali Times’ Indra Prayogi

I wake around 7 and the sun is streaming through. What a nice way to start the day – that and chatting to my dog Genie. I try to live healthily and the first thing I do in the morning is have a cup of tea and do some yoga, which I started learning in Perth five years ago. After yoga, I’m free from stress and can relax. I also cycle, with Genie, three times a week around the beach in Sanur, where I’ve been living for two years now.

I have a maid but I prefer to make breakfast myself. I believe when you make your own food you put an essence of love into it. The only time the maid cooks is when she’s teaching me how to make something new. Charles and I usually have something light like cereal; we thoroughly enjoy our breakfast and talk about we’re doing for the day and other things.

I’m at my best in the morning, and that’s when I do a lot of things. On Wednesday mornings I have Indonesian classes – I need to learn the language as I live here, and I also try to converse with the maid, and she helps me.

Ever since the first time I visited Bali I hadn’t been able to find any good tea here, and so as a herbalist and naturopath I started to think, Why don’t I make good teas here? And so my idea was realized and I started importing teas from Australia and blending them here. Now I have eight teas, all my own creations and using natural ingredients. They’re distributed to cafes and resorts in Bali and now the spas are showing some interest.

In my free time I like to paint, and am involved with the Bali International Women’s Association, where we’re currently exhibiting our paintings at the Danes art gallery in Denpasar. Six of my works are on show and proceeds from sales will go to charity.

I have lunch around midday – just a salad sandwich or pasta. Sometimes I’ll cook chicken curry, which the maid taught me how to make. I don’t eat fast food or any other kind of factory-processed foods, and I don’t think low-fat milk is good – it’s also processed.

After lunch I’ll try to come up with new ingredients for my teas. I’ve heard in Bali there are villages that use special herbs to prevent illness and I’d like to find out about them, and maybe use them.

If Charles is not working abroad, he gets back home in the evening and we’ll take a stroll down the beach with Genie. If we’re a bit drained, we’ll stop off at a café and have some fresh fruit juice.

We’re back home around 6pm and Charles does some meditation while I do yoga again. Then we cook dinner – we don’t go out to restaurants that often, and I love to cook, usually something vegetarian or a seafood dish. We’re not vegetarian but we just try to eat meat as little as possible. There’s no special reason for it other than it’s healthy to not eat meat all the time.

I’ll check my email to see if there’s anything from my children. I have two sons and a daughter, all in Australia. Peter, my eldest, has his own family, with a four-month-old daughter, and works in water treatment. Erin works at a university, and Luke, the youngest at 24, is a farm manager.

I’m not a night owl, and usually don’t go out unless I’m invited to something – so I’ll head off to bed early, around 9:30pm, and get ready for the day to come.

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