April. Gurrrl how fast you go! But you gave me some awesome victories that I am definitely grateful for:
👉🏼 I sorted out my feelings about blogging and this blog. As a result, not only does this blog now enjoy a fresh “coat of paint”, but more importantly, I’m staying true to sharing about me and my life as it unfolds.
👉🏼 I started on a path to beauty because I hit rock bottom on this matter. There was a time when I was younger when I didn’t care about my appearance, and I could get away with it. But now I need to swallow my pride and get help because, as a stay-at-home-mom and as I grow older, I’d rather be an inspiration than a warning 🤭
👉🏼 I discovered a new & interesting author, understand Indonesia better, and no longer feel guilty for a few not-so-nice observations I’ve had about this country and its people (in general) because the author has actually observed the same! As they are fond of saying here “begitulah” (that’s just the way it is)!
👉🏼 This month my husband went on his second overseas trip and I’m no longer panicky about it 😀 As a matter of fact, I kinda enjoy the change of atmosphere 😀 It’s not that I no longer worry about what to do & who to contact in the event something unforeseen happens. But I think it’s because I’ve been learning a bit more Indonesian lately and I’m exposed to more people as a result of my new hobby.
👉🏼 And lastly, I think it could be the start of the rainy season. Yay! It’s been raining the past few days and right about time too because the heat was sweltering. (When is it ever not sweltering hot over here, eh? 😜).
And Now for Making May Marvelous
A lot of people have a monthly bucket list and I enjoy reading them. I do agree that it’s a wise & deliberate way to ensure time is well spent. I’m also an enthusiastic goal setter myself (ok, way too enthusiastic most times) although the implementation part is often a bit problematic 🤭
But anyways, in that spirit, here’s what’s on my May bucket list:
👉 👉 Stay away from anything crochet (or knitting) 😁
I just thought it’d be cool to give something I’m obsessed with a break and see what rushes in to fill the void. I’m considering the following in its place:
💄 read a book, maybe 2
💄 learn a new recipe, maybe 2
💄 craft something out of paper, maybe 2
💄 have coffee with a friend, maybe 2
💄 celebrate Mother’s Day in a positive way
💄 buy a doll
Now on to YOU:
What are some of your April highlights? Looking forward to something special in May? Do share! 😊
Prior to coming back to Indonesia, I was reading a lot of expat blogs focusing on feelings of displacement, homesickness, sadness and other such expat woes. It helped a lot in bringing the size of the problem down to ordinary proportions. Knowing that what I was going through is normal for expats, and reading stories of those who have gone before me and flourished despite the homesickness & displacement put me in my place, so to speak.
I was also surprised to find out that even those who’ve moved from one Western country to another (for example, US to Australia) would still feel depressed! Truly, I couldn’t relate to this because my ‘problems’ seemed bigger in comparison. For instance, the language, the lack of things to do outside the home, the sleepy nature of this whole place, and quirky things such as still having to eat with your hands at the local KFC outlet, finding squat-type toilet bowls in the malls (scary if you’re pregnant and not used to it), wait staff at restaurants forgetting your order or delivering the dessert before everything else (annoying if you order ice cream or lava cake like we do), and people freely jumping queues at an international ferry port without regard for others or authority.
At this time though, I’m over it. It’s old news. My eyes have glazed over. This hot momma is moving on ….
I’ve since come to a peaceful acceptance of all these things as simply part and parcel of my environment. Getting irked over them is choosing to be ignorant. Besides, focusing on things you have no control over is a recipe for misery. Sure, I’m still homesick, I still feel uprooted and have even come to accept that I might never find belonging in this country. That’s okay too. All the more reason to find ways to foster happiness any way possible.
Here’s what I’ve learned from all those blogs I was reading
In order to help cope with expat depression, we need to focus on these 3 things that are within our control –
create the future
create new routines
create happiness within
Did you notice that they all start with “create”? There’s so much power to that word, so much authority. And it doesn’t mince words, the ball is in our court.
Create the future
I read somewhere – again, I should’ve bookmarked it! 😕- that the future is not something you step into, it is something you create. And if all we have, honey, is an internet connection, then we’re ready to play ball.
Is there something you want to learn? Do you want to become something in the future? Chances are, there’s an online course or video tutorials for that and an online community too. If you’re fortunate to be in a country that offers live classes (in a language you speak), then use that as a platform to socialize and make new friends as well. Let’s get busy learnin’ and let’s amaze ourselves a year from now!
I keep a list of things I want to get into. Here’s a short version of it. I also have becoming IELTS certified, becoming a book editor and becoming a daycare owner – and I just keep adding more (I’ll narrow the choices down later). I’ve put all the major ones on hold though because of the (coming) new baby but once conditions become conducive, I’m going to tackle that list with gusto 👍😃
Create New Routines
Something about having routines that involve as much of our new environment as possible helps to anchor us to the new place.
I have to admit though that this is somewhat of a challenge for me because I haven’t found anything worthwhile outside of the home to ‘latch’ onto. But examples would include identifying a new favorite coffee shop you could visit every morning or twice a week for some ‘me time’, a restaurant you go to for dinners with your husband every Friday night, maybe a park to jog in, a church to hear service at, a library or hobby outlet to lift your spirits … Go out and explore. Let’s find those nooks and claim them!
Create Happiness Within
This one is what I’m all about at the moment 🤗 This is very easy to do and has the most impact, in my opinion. Simply ask yourself what would make you happy and do that. Or buy it. Like in my case, it’s real books that I can hold and inhale the smell of. I have to buy them online because there are no English books here, so buy them online I do.
It could just be as simple as creating a mood boosting morning routine. A personal treat every month to look forward to. Dance exercise videos. Throw pillows & curtains in favorite colors. Blogging. Starting a new hobby.
I’ve begun a project at home of surrounding myself with things that, in the words of Marie Kondo, spark joy. I tend to plants and see them bloom (or not!) under my care. I’ve begun buying stuff that help me cook better because -and this is new to me- there is satisfaction in preparing a good, well-thought out meal.
My goal at the moment is to make my my house a place I’d never want to leave 😀 I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve that but the process sure is fun and worthwhile.
~~ oOo ~~
Give me some advice: Are you an expat suffering or have suffered from expat blues? What one or two things can you do right now to lift your spirits up? What have you done to create happiness away from your home country?
Dearest friends, have a seat, help yourself to some chips and wine and lend me your ear. I need to talk.
So as you probably know I just came back from a wonderful (say that aloud 3 times while doing a body roll!) week in Melbourne, and I had SO many things in mind to tell you. I was SO excited. I worried about the length of my post, and then how many posts I would make because one would surely not be enough.
But I was not prepared for what met me when I boarded a ferry – the final leg of our homeward journey – to Indonesia.
Boredom. It hit me hard, right smack in the face and chest. It made me feel angry, irritable, annoyed and in despair. This demon is one I knew was already lurking in the shadows, just waiting for its chance to pounce on me. It finally did.
Yesterday was Mothers’ Day, but I found no relief nor solace in it. I had a fight with my significant other and even attempted to pick a fight with my daughter (I know, right?). Thankfully, by the time the lights were turned off for sleep something made me Google “why are housewives bored”, and “how to avoid boredom as a SAHM”, and I read and read and am still reading and somehow all the information I gleaned has calmed me down significantly.
Okay. Exhale. I am not going crazy, and I certainly am not the only one to feel this way.
(What’s that? Oh of course you can have more wine and chips. Now pay attention).
When I say “bored”, it is not for the lack of things to do. It is rather how my life as a housewife has imitated that of a laundry cycle – wash, rinse, dry. Repeat.
Plus, and this is a big, fat, imposing “PLUS” – my social life is practically non-existent. I am boxed inside the house. Circumstances as well as personal preferences make it difficult, if not impossible, for me to cultivate a life outside the house.
My current world is very small.
And this is not healthy. Not healthy at all!
And it’s also very difficult to not have anyone to talk to. If you don’t want to sink any deeper you have to self-medicate. Which is what I’m doing via Google. (And I am most definitely not talking about cyber flirting or affairs! It’s amazing what I found about this online supposedly as a panacea for bored housewives).
(Yes, of course you can take your shoes off & prop your feet up. Stop distracting me!).
The good thing about hitting rock bottom though is that it makes you face your demon. I mean really face it and see it and figure out how to either kick it hard in the gut or learn mad make-up skills to make it look better.
I don’t know if I can kick this demon hard enough to make it go away. But I also still have my wits about me enough to realize that I am in fact pretty lucky to not have to work. And that I am not paralyzed by feelings of uselessness nor helpless. And that I know where to find the sexy genie who can make it go away – she’s not in the bottle, she’s in the mirror.
How I wish it [ennui] would never come back indeed. But I know all of us, regardless of individual situations, yes even those who have demanding 9-5 jobs, must face the scourge of boredom from time to time.
(Pictures of Melbourne you say? Will you please focus?!)
Okay so I have already amassed a handful of ideas from all my reading about bored stay-at-home-wives/moms and, some have spoken to me. I’m making a list, checking it twice and planning my next moves. And do you have some ideas maybe, some tips? More wine or chips?
Okay then, we’ll talk about this some more soon. I just wanted to check in with you because I missed you too. And I already feel better just by putting this out there.
My alter-ego Crankyrella has been making quite a lot of appearances this past week on account of feeling homesick. I’m keeping it together on the surface (like a lady should) but I noticed I’m irritable. Change can make me lose my zen like that, I admit 😖
Tops on my list of cryptonite is the language barrier which is making me feel claustrophobic. Of course I knew Indonesia speaks a different language but I was expecting a little English somehow. Well, that is not to be (at least, not in this part it seems) and I have resigned myself to the fact that my husband will have to explain everything the next time I go for a bikini wax as I am doubtful my translator app will be,shall we say,technically precise enough.
Fortunately, I get a little bit more settled as each day goes by and, mayhaps the weather has something to do with it too as it’s finally a bit sunny this morning.
Anyhow, I believe my sour mood is also aggravated by the total absence of exercise, I have been missing my daily shot of feel-good endorphins for a bit of a stretch now. I was thus very pleased to find out that this subdivision has a generous sized oval dedicated to walking, jogging, running, even biking. What’s more, it’s within short walking distance from our place. Score! 🙂
I absolutely love it! The openness of the oval lifts my spirits and allows my eyes to roam luxuriously over the surrounding hills and the wide open sky ❤I am glad to have found a perfect alternative to my home workouts. And who knows, maybe I can make a friend or two as I get more comfortable. At the minimum, I’m sure the daily treat of fresh, balmy afternoon air will soon lift me out of this funk 😉