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.