Musings in the Dark: The Expat Diaries; Volume III: Indonesia


The Expat Diaries; Volume III: Indonesia

So I’ve been in Indonesia for two whole months.  My shipment still hasn’t arrived (Saudi service sucks), so I’m not 100% where I need to be in terms of my headspace.  But I’m doing all right.  I like my job and I live five minutes away from it in a nice house.  I’ve never worked near my job, so to be able to hop in the car and be at work in under five is every damn thing.

Once again, the school where I work is small.  Small schools have advantages and disadvantages.  The main advantage is that I don’t have to do direct collaborations with two or three other teachers, which allows me to do what I want.  The main disadvantage is that because the school is so small, every instructor has to wear multiple hats.  I have a huge course load, plus some administrative duties.   It’s a lot and some days I feel overwhelmed, but I do the best I can do and that’s that.  The school is in a nice location; it’s lush and green and there’s a pond near my office.

The rainy season began last week.  Apparently, that means it’s going to rain every single day until sometime in March.  As my stuff is slowly making its way towards me, I am unprepared.  It rains a lot and fortunately there are trenches and drains that allow for runoff.  Even with that, it’s a lot of water.  My flip-flops broke yesterday as I was walking towards my car.  I got drenched.  My homie JVNX told me to invest in a good poncho, quick-dry pants and wash my feet after every rain shower. 

I love rain.  I love listening to it and love the cool breezes a good rain allows.  I don’t like being out in the rain.  So this is going to be an adjustment.

I’ve finally started exploring, but on a limited basis.  Found a good movie theater and now I go to the movies every weekend.  Found a nail salon, so I can get pedicures every couple of weeks.  Just found a massage parlor, but I’m going to try a different one closer to the job.  Found the wine shop and scored four bottles.  Wine is expensive as hell over here…but it’s here and that’s all that matters.  After two years in a literal and figurative dry country, access to wine is a wonderful, beautiful thing.  My next objective is to explore different restaurants.

I don’t know if I mentioned this in my last post, but I have a live-in maid.  This is a first for me.  I thought I’d freak out because I’m used to being alone, but no.  She’s a sweetheart.  I don’t have enough for her to do because my stuff isn’t here and I’m not a messy person.  She keeps the house clean and—dig this—prepares meals.  I’ve had a housekeeper for every country I’ve lived in sans the US, and I’ve never had them cook for me.  I’ve got a fairly sensitive palate and just didn’t trust them to cook to my standards.  But my current maid (let’s call her Nancy) asked me if she could cook for me.  I said that it wasn’t necessary.  Never mind that I was hardly eating, and when I did, it was cereal and sandwiches. 

But one day, I came home from work starving and exhausted.  I had a package of noodles and asked Nancy if she would prepare them for me.


She hooked them noodles up with veggies, scramble eggs and chicken and I housed the entire plate.  Then Nancy gave me a cookbook and told me to pick out what I liked.  Now you got to understand that Nancy doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak or read Bahasa (Indonesian).  I ended up telling her to cook whatever took her fancy as long as it wasn’t spicy. 

This was one of the best decisions I made since moving here.  Nancy prepares fairly healthy meals and she makes sure I get fresh fruits and veggies with every meal.  I eat about 95% of what she cooks.  I look forward to coming home to a hot plate.  She has taken to making me breakfast and lunch as well.  So I eat better than I did when I was cooking for myself.  It certainly makes a difference in terms of digestion and my overall health.

What’s different about my experience here so far is that I don’t live in the same compound as my colleagues.  We’re spread out over the city.  As a result, I do everything alone.  I don’t mind it too much, as I’m used to being alone.  But I will admit that sometimes I do get a little lonely.  I don’t really know how to fix the situation, so I just try to keep busy and make sure I have different activities lined up...and trips to take.  Bali, here I come...

Anyway, life is good and all is well.  That's as much as I want and need in my life.

Be talking to you soon!

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