Tag Archives: house

What I’m Going to Miss About Living in Indonesia

When I moved to Indonesia in July 2017, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d only been once before, and that was just for a few days when I was interviewing for the job earlier that year. While I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with living here, after 3 years, I will miss a few things when I move on in June of this year.

My House

Since moving abroad 10 years ago, I’ve solely lived in apartments until moving to Jakarta. Because I was so used to apartment living, I looked for one here, but ended up falling in love with my house, despite the fact that it’s entirely too large for me. What I love most about it is all the windows and the greenery outside. Most people who visit can’t believe this oasis is in Jakarta, a metropolis with a population of over 10 million. Another thing I love about it is that I’ve made it my own. Everywhere else I’ve lived has been fully furnished, which left me with limited options when decorating, and while I had to spend a lot more initially, I was able to pick out the furniture that matched my personal tastes. I just feel at home here.

My School

I’ve really grown attached to the students, families, and colleagues at my school, and I’m definitely going to miss them when I’m gone. I know all of the kids’ names in Primary school, and they are some of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. Becoming a teacher again a few months ago has allowed me to develop relationships with the Year 6 students and our class bond is very strong. I’m going to miss seeing them transition into Secondary school next year. I’ve also developed a few close friendships with colleagues that I’ll miss, but I’m not worried since we will definitely keep in touch!

My Live-in Pembantu (Maid)

As much as I am embarrassed to say it, I have a live-in maid. It’s pretty common to have a maid when you live in Asia, but it’s more common in Indonesia to have a live-in maid. At first, I was really put off my the idea, but once you get used to it, it is hard to give it up. Rohana is such a sweet lady and we have gotten to know each other over the years. When my friend Linner visited last month, she said Rohana and I had our own little language. I think she’s right. We speak in a mix of English and Bahasa, and most of the time, we know what the other one is saying. 🙂 She cleans, does my laundry, and helps with the cooking. I love that I have my breakfast and lunch ready each morning to take to work so I don’t have to worry about it. I also love cooking when I don’t have to worry about the prep or the clean up. I’m most definitely spoiled and will really miss having her around next year!

Deliveries

This is something that is growing in popularity around the world, but I have to say, being able to order up almost anything and have it delivered is an absolute luxury! There’s the obvious take-out and grocery shopping, but you can also have someone go buy you anything you would ever want (alcohol, movie tickets, random things from any store, etc.) and deliver it to you for a very small fee. In a way I will really miss this, but in a way I won’t, because it makes it way too easy to never have to leave your house!

Go-Jek

Going along with the deliveries is Go-Jek, a ride-sharing service with motorbikes and cars, a delivery service, and a services service, meaning I can Go-Jek a massage, a mani/pedi, a car wash or oil change (if I had a car), a cleaning lady, a hairstylist, or make-up artist to my house. This is so convenient when you live in the city with the worst traffic in the world, but again, it makes you so lazy. The fact that these services are dirt cheap makes it even better. I can Go-Jek to work for 10,000 IDR (about $0.75) or order a massage for an hour for 80,000 IDR (about $6.50). It’s heaven!

Bali

Being so close to Bali is a real treat! Who else can say they weekend in Bali?!? The fact that Bali is a quick plane ride away (about 1.5 hrs) and is so cheap (about $100 round-trip) makes it easy to get away. Bali is one of my favorite places to visit. It’s so unlike Jakarta. It’s quieter, has less traffic, has delicious, healthy food, is close to the beach, is walkable in many places, and is just so darn cute! I know that even when I move away, I’ll still come back to visit. Sadly, it just won’t be as often.

There are definitely things that I won’t miss about living here, but I’ll save those for another slice!

Not a Good Start

Feeling exhausted and sluggish this morning, and snoozing for as long as I possibly could in order to still have time to shower before work, it already wasn’t the best start to the day. Looking at the clock, I didn’t have much time before I needed to leave. I ordered a Go-Jek, but instead of the normal message saying someone would arrive in 1-2 minutes, I was met with a 10-minute wait. Noooo! I’m probably gonna be late now!

Grumbling to myself, I decided I might as well wait in the living room, since waiting outside in the humid stickiness that comes with living on the equator leaves me sweaty and makes my glasses fog up. As I aimlessly looked out the windows to the lush greenery, I did a double-take. What in the… No way!

One of my windows was completely shattered! And due to the wind outside, a large hole had begun to form near the top, as shards of glass had fallen down on the floor. Bewildered and wondering how this could have happened, I felt my heart beating faster, going into a bit of a panic. Right about this time, a light rain started. Fearing that another downpour would kick up any minute like it did yesterday (and the day before), I worried about my house getting water damage, as undoubtedly the hole would continue to get bigger, as the wind and rain pushed its way in.

I immediately called my boss, telling him I would be late, and cancelled my Go-Jek. I then called and called the property manager, but he didn’t pick up. Ringing security was an adventure in miscommunication, as I was passed from person to person, before someone said they would come. My level of Bahasa Indonesia does not include vocabulary such as broken, window, glass, shattered, or emergency. So heaven only knows what they thought was wrong with me or my house!

Once the security guard arrived and assessed the situation, he smiled and let out what I felt like was a laugh. In my not-so-nice voice, I told him that I don’t appreciate him laughing nor do I think this is a funny situation. This only made him do it more! Calling Veronica, my friend and neighbor who is Indonesian, I asked her to speak with him and ask him why he was laughing. She explained that it was more of a nervous laughter due to his inability to communicate in English and that all of the security guards basically drew straws to see who would have to come and deal with the bule who doesn’t speak Bahasa Indonesia. Calming down a bit, I understood his situation, having dealt with similar ones in China before. However, it infuriates me when someone laughs at me when I’m upset and dealing with an unpleasant situation, and I have a hard time understanding this cultural behavior. But I’m trying to accept it.

A few minutes later, a few more people were called in to assist. Soon my house looked like a tornado had hit it, as furniture was shoved to the other side of the room, carpets were rolled up, and the area was cleared to make way for the plastic sheeting that was laid on the floor. Conscious of the time and my 8:40 lesson observation, I called another Go-Jek. Although it was a bit unsettling to leave not knowing what was going to happen and what I would find when I came home tonight, and the fact that I had to leave my house unlocked with several strangers in it, I finally left for school.

For reference, this is what my living room normally looks like:

I received a message later this afternoon from the property manager with a photo of the wood that replaced the broken window. Apparently the glass takes about a week to come in, so for the time being, my lovely view is obstructed by this beautiful plywood. It was definitely not a good start to the day, but luckily it got better as it went on.