Saturday, August 16, 2014

Live from Jakarta

Flowers that fall front the trees at our pool.  
It took ten days for us to get internet at our new apartment in Jakarta.   I actually wrote this blog post on the second and third day after we arrived in Jakarta.  Technically, we've only been in this country for two weeks but it's amazing what a difference a week can make!  We're entirely settled in at this point but I still want to share my first thoughts on our new home.    
Once again home with embassy furniture.  It's oddly comforting!
My thoughts on day 2:

It's hard to think of a proper introduction on my blog for our new life in Indonesia. So much has happened since we left Ethiopia and yet it's still so close to our every thought. One thing that is an interesting feeling is just how comfortable and normal it feels to once again, be in a third world country. It's also wonderfully familiar to be in SE Asia. Many of experiences we're having are very reminiscent of our time in Manila, Philippines. Ethiopia is so different from Indonesia but all one does upon arrival in a new country is compare it to the country you were coming from. We have enormous grins on our faces every day in Jakarta. When comparing Jakarta to Addis Ababa it's easy for Jakarta to come out on top. I'm sure this city has it's own set of challenges but for our family, coming from Addis Ababa, we can't see anything but the positive. We've only been here since Sunday, August 3, so we haven't seen much, but so far everything is so nice. It's wonderfully easy settling into a country where the roads are clean and well made, the city is crowded with a growing economy, grocery stores are full of everything we could ever need and the Indonesian people are wonderfully friendly.
My favorite part of our new apartment.  Our closet.
Some very small things that have made us very excited about our life in Indonesia:

Immediately getting beef pho for lunch after just a few hours of sleep in our new apartment
Walking into the Hypermarket at Lippo Mall (which I can see from my apartment window), and seeing rows and rows of fresh produce, entire refrigerated sections of chicken, beef, milk, yogurt and imported cheese, as well as staples like peanut butter, olive oil, and cereal. And this was the low-end grocery store.

Seeing the eager friendly faces of Indonesians when they see our sweet girls.

Lippo Mall has a Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, and Mod. It's so nice to see familiar brands.

Nannies with white nurse-like uniforms, carrying the toddler, and pushing the stroller, while Mom walks empty handed. To clarify, it made me smile because it's something we're used to seeing in the Philippines, it's just as ridiculous in Jakarta as it was in Manila.
My least favorite part of our new apartment.  The Asian mini fridge.
Siting on our embassy issued couches watching our welcome kit TV felt wonderfully familiar.

The ache in my feet and ankles after a day of walking on our all-marble floored apartment.

Amazing New Zealand apples at the grocery store. I know I'm from Washington State-home of awesome apples, but I love New Zealand apples. They are so crunchy!

When my new Indonesian pembatu (nanny/cook/maid), Aunty, arrived and immediately displayed super human patience with my 3 year old and a book of stickers. SE Asian women are the most patient human beings on earth.

When the girls and I returned from the playground and the floors were sparkling and the laundry was folded. Day 1 of housekeeper-win!
Batik shopping on weekend 1
Fireworks every single night. Gotta love all the fireworks in Asia.

Pools, gym, playground, sauna, cafe, mini mart, produce stand are all within our apartment building.

Meeting ladies who lunch, Jakarta style.

KFC delivery men on motorbikes!

Dumping a quarter of our first bottle of water on the floor, since it's been so long since we've used a commercial water dispenser. I sort of miss the endless supply of water the distiller in Addis provided.

No travelers tummy! Maybe our guts are just used to the changes. We've also had conflicting advice about properly washing our vegetables and fruits. Our sponsor washes only with bottled water. Other people insist on vegetable detergent and bleach. We followed our sponsors advice and ate our first few fruit and vegetable heavy meals without washing and rinsing with bleach or detergent and have had absolutely no issues. Yay for stainless steel stomachs and not having to bleach soak our food!

Eggs come pre-washed in plastic egg cartons. Oh be joyful!

Food Network on our cable package! No way!

It's fun to see and experience so many of these things similar to Manila. It's great to be back in SE Asia. We have tons to explore in this new country. We aren't entirely naive honeymooners though. We know this lovely dreamy phase will pass. For now there are only a few things I can see, I might have trouble with.
We have noticed that the language barrier is fairly significant. After a few days, I still cannot decipher what “hello” and “thank you” in Bahasa is. With the chaos of the first few days, I haven't even had a chance to look it up!

The traffic is pretty epic and from what I've deduced, this keeps people from exploring and getting out. It tends to overtake people's lives here. If you live in the North, close to the embassy, you stay there. If you live in the South, close to the schools, you socialize there. Which means there is a good portion of the embassy community you likely won't get to know very well.


I've also found it to be true that a larger post may provide more efficient services but looses much of the small community feel. I'm already missing the idea of knowing every single family at post and automatically rounding up all the moms with little girls to be our immediate friends. That's not to say we haven't met wonderfully lovely families. We are going to have lots of good friends here, I can already tell. 

More to come!

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