Wiser And Braver For It: A Post-Melbourne Update (Part 2)

macaque

In part 1 of this story I shared a bit of our (short) job hunting experience in Melbourne, and how I felt somewhat guilty watching my husband go through the process.

But this wasn’t the only reason I agreed to come back to Indonesia.  I had my own realizations too that allowed me to let go of my “anywhere but here (Batam)” mindset.

Was It Really That Bad?

The 3+ months we were in Melbourne gave me the chance to look back on my Indonesian experience without negative emotional filters.  I read many good blogs and websites about expat life and trailing spouses, and found out that what I was going through in Indonesia was in fact perfectly normal! (It even had labels, like the 5 stages of grief, homesickness, outsider syndrome and lots more).

Oddly, knowing that I wasn’t an anomaly at all made me feel in control, no longer a victim of circumstances.

I started to miss a few things in Batam – the weather, the food, the few friends I made, the calm rustic environment, the strong rains, the balmy evenings, how eating out was much cheaper (and so we could do it more often), and so on.

I know this is normal, given enough time any given place will have bits and pieces that endear themselves to you.

However these bits and pieces also encouraged me to look again at what I found to be inconveniences, and my brain just started to counter them with ‘solutions’.

I realized that my time in Indonesia was made more dismal than it really needed to be by focusing on what I left behind (home and a career), beating myself up for being such a “foreigner”, and idealizing our future in Melbourne. Instead of looking at what was right in front of me and making it work, I simply didn’t give it a chance.

I Do Love A Challenge

Are you familiar with these words credited to John Milton? ~

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. 

The more I understood, the more I healed.  The problem was no longer that small uneventful city in Indonesia (or wherever I might be for that matter) and what it didn’t have or couldn’t offer, but myself and what I chose to focus on.

Indeed I could’ve lived a perfect, convenient, productive life in amazing, awesome Melbourne.  In beautiful and exciting Australia, a progressive first world English speaking country that has everything I want and need! But I chose the road less traveled because … well because I do love a challenge.

And so, armed with this new perspective on being a trailing spouse, I come back to find that Batam is neither good nor bad, it just is.  It’s what I’m going to make of it, keripik and all.  I’m sure there will be bad days, sad days, annoyances big and small. But these will always be there regardless of where I am.

I guess I’m just more confident this time that I’m better able to handle it. (Plus of course, I feel really good at being a supportive wife) 😉

Finally, On A Lighter Note

On a lighter note, what would you and I have to talk about if I had no challenges to overcome? If everything came so easy and fast, and every problem already had a solution? Doesn’t it make for a more interesting read how I can’t find baking soda in this place and I have to travel to Singapore to buy a box? XD XD

Love you too! 😀

And there’s my story!

P.S. For expats/trailing spouses, here’s a good read/blog I recommend.

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11 Responses to Wiser And Braver For It: A Post-Melbourne Update (Part 2)

  1. Miriam says:

    Sounds like a challenging time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you all the best in your new journey back in your old place. I know that you will do well as you seem to adapt well and you are a wonderful wife to go back. And you have grown so much, I see you embracing your new surroundings in a different light. All the best to you and your family ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara says:

    Great post. I never thought of myself as a ‘trailing spouse’ when my husband took a contract in Papua New Guinea in the mid 70’s. I did find a job too, so perhaps that is why. I did miss England (where I lived at the time) and my family, but I also had a young son to take care of, so perhaps that made it less about me. Having said that it wasn’t easy. 40 or so years on, and now living in Melbourne, I still miss my family and a little bit of England, but as you say heaven can be wherever you are, it’s all in the mind. Regrets I have a few………………

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paardje says:

      Yes, I too think having a job makes a world of difference because 1) you maintain social connections which wards off isolation and 2) you’re occupied, which can mean anything from feeling productive, to being financially independent, to staying relevant.

      Feeling isolated is my biggest obstacle here as I really don’t mind being a SAHM that much. It’s difficult to find people who know how to speak English here and who are actually willing to talk to you in English – a problem I am currently trying on solutions to 🙂

      I appreciate your comment, Barbara! ❤

      Like

  4. I saw your pictures of your puppy, the one with your sofa and floors and thought, is she is China? Then I saw the first picture in this blog and went, nope. But somewhere in Asia! Wow!

    You used my favourite quote in this post by John Milton. It is absolutely true. Seventeen years in China (I’m a Canadian), and I am happy I’ve made a life here, but it is almost time to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paardje says:

      Wow, 17 years! I’m still homesick after about 2.5 years but slowly coming to terms with being in a foreign country. I don’t even want to think of how long I might still have to stay here … am I mal-adjusted or what?! 😅 😅 😇

      About 2 hours ago I enrolled in an online aromatherapy class with the intention of ‘throwing myself into something’. So now I’m thinking it’s kismet I found your blog too because I see that it’s full of inspiration 😍

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fantastic! We’re slowly starting to get a bunch of projects posted for you all!

        Unfortunately for me, I’ve always been keenly aware that I’m in a foreign country. I’m constantly stared at, felt up, laughed at and me arse gets a lot of hellos. I’m the maladjusted one for always wanting to live in a small city in China! Bigger cities would be so much easier! Good luck! It’s finding hobbies that bring people together to find your voice in a foreign country that makes life easier.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paardje says:

        Oh wow, I’m in a small city too and agree, the bigger cities would be much easier. But here we are and we bloom where we’re planted 😊 Thanks a lot for the tip! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you! This small city gave me so much to be thankful for! Look forward to how your DIY fun turns out!

        Liked by 1 person

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