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.

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

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A World Away

no worriesI think the best way to start this challenge is by sharing the biggest thing I’ve ever done for myself by way of self care – quitting my job at the start of this year.

Now if you knew me personally, and rewind a few years back, you’d never ever imagine this to be something I would do. Me, competitive, independent, proud. And to leave a lucrative career to become someone who was financially dependent on a husband – preposterous!

But we were a fragmented family then. My husband was an expat abroad and our only child was beginning to express her unhappiness at our situation. Being a quasi single parent was also taking its toll on me. While I relished the freedom of solo decision-making, anything unexpected, no matter how small in hindsight, would drive me up the wall. I was feeling exposed on all fronts, with not a solid wall to back up against.

Resentment was building up. And mentally, I was feeling increasingly tired.

So I swallowed my pride and told the hubs about it. Fast forward a couple of months later and here I am in Indonesia, uprooted from everything dear and familiar, practically confined within the 4 walls of this huge, old house, and with only the occasional visit from a mischievous monkey to call as the day’s highlight XD

But oh how much relaxed I feel. How nice it is to have someone take care of you – no more stressing out about flat tires, leaky faucets and things that go bee-doo-bee-doo in the night!

How luxurious to have that much time to do whatever I want. To not have to rush, to sleep without stress, to wake up without stress… amazing!

And to be able to singularly take care of something truly important for a chance – my family ❤

It’s my time to take stock. To curate what to bring along unto the next journey, and what to leave behind. This is my ‘grace of interruption’. And I’m glad I took it 🙂

~0~

This post is fondly written for Writeful Mind’s Feel-Good Friday weekly challenge 🙂

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The Toilet Paper Pilgrimage

main street

Finally, I ventured outside the confines of our house this morning for something besides exercise.  On my own.  No husband or friend with me.  It’s a feat!

I was looking outside while having breakfast and thought, “Wouldn’t it be rad if I did a little exploring?! Just a little outside my comfort zones (house and oval)”.  After a superficial argument with myself, the adventurous me won – we ran out of toilet paper after all.

So there I was out on the street, seemingly the only living being in sight.

Now despite the cloudy appearance of these photos (that never ending haze be damned!) it was actually pretty hot.  As I was only on foot, sweat was pouring down in rivulets from my forehead as the sun was biting voraciously into my bare shoulders.  I had planned to go all the way to a forlorn mall that I noticed had a coffee shop but, maybe next time and with an umbrella.

old buildings

So I went to a small general merchandise type store and took what I needed from the shelves and the only thing the lady at the counter said to me was how much I needed to pay.  Well, I didn’t actually understand what she said but I saw the digits on the cash register. So much for conversation! :/

Then I walked back to our house as fast as I could.

manmade lake

Well, this is a pretty subdivision indeed but I am going loca over the absence of human beings o_O I need some socialization!

My new friends live in much smaller subdivisions where there’s people and activity on the streets. And I can’t help but think that if I lived there, I would know how to go about in Bahasa Indonesia by now as I’d be pestering all those sidewalk resto people with my limited vocab until I was fluent! Who knows, maybe we could even trade – his Indonesian for my English. What a blast that would be! 😀

Sigh!

There’s a price to pay for this posh subdivision after all o_O

I wonder how else I can ‘get out there’..?

A Step In The Right Direction

new friends

Lately I haven’t really been talking about my stay here in Indonesia, and there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that. Though no longer homesick, I’ve mostly confined myself indoors, taking care of my family’s needs and indulging in my newfound love for crochet. This isn’t bad per se, but I don’t think it’s the best way to enjoy my stay in this beautiful country.

Last week I made an acquaintance via my daughter’s swimming classes, who in turn introduced me to a group of fun and spirited ladies. Fortunately for me, they speak English and, best of all, they liked me enough to invite me along to a birthday celebration 🙂

We went to a native Indonesian resto which wasn’t just lovely and served delicious food, we also ate by hand and were squatting down on the floor 🙂 You could eat the usual way of course, seated on chairs and with spoon and fork. But we wanted something fun and truly casual and relaxing.

charming native restaurant

It felt good to be out, to try something new and to engage with other people 🙂 Being a foreigner in a country with a different language is not easy.  It can be a slippery slope down isolation – I guess, even more so if you’re an introvert like me. Confining myself indoors also does not give me the push I need to learn the local language.

So as of this writing I made it a point to enroll in the same gym as these ladies, thereby guaranteeing I get out of the house on my own at least twice a week. I also see this move as a way to learn the language, maybe even find a buddy or two who can help me. (If all else fails, at least I get my cardio in!) XD

Kidding aside, it is for me a step in the right direction.

after the feast

Have a great weekend, y’all! ❤

Mostly Sunny With A Chance of Fish Sauce

just keep looking upAh, it’s time for another monthly look-back. How time flies! Very soon I’m gonna have to start thinking about crocheting for the holidays 🙂

So how was June for all you beautiful people? Did you make the most of it? I hope so 🙂

For me, it was an about-face month. Let me tell you why.

Lethargy, lethargy go away! Paardje wants to play!

I was immensely homesick, as can be expected from someone who just moved to another country.  I seemed okay on the surface, but I was emotional-eating, wasn’t sleeping very well and just felt unhinged. Tears would come rushing out of nowhere especially at bedtime, I was irritable and could see no beauty in my surroundings.

Then by the 4th week of May, an angry voice in my head said “quit whining and smell the flowers!”. I ran out of patience for myself and sulking was no longer an option.

Exercise. Podcasts. Crochet. Repeat.

So I took on a fitness challenge for June, and I told you all about that here, here, and here. I am so happy I did that because it’s been really therapeutic. I love waking up early, enjoying nature sounds and seeing the sun come up. My spirits lifted a bit higher each day and it gave me something good to focus on.

yarn bingeI also threw myself into crochet.  I remember feeling really anxious to take on a project that I actually binged on expensive 100% cotton yarn – to the tune of 100 US dollars! – without having a particular crochet project in mind! I’m still suffering from this yarn binge but, lesson learned 🙂

Meantime, while my hands were busy I bombarded my brain with positivity in the form of podcasts. Hal Elrod, Tony Wrighton and a host of others became my constant companions. This prevented me from brooding and overall just fed my brain with practical ideas for living with more motivation and a better attitude.

Seeing my surroundings for the first time.at the supermarket

Much calmer now, knowing that happiness is something you [have to] engineer for yourself, I am finally able to appreciate the charm of my surroundings.

We go on mini adventures on most weekends – even a simple roadtrip is something to look forward to.  Recently we just found out where to buy tasty whole wheat bread that actually has a chance of being actual whole wheat bread! And it’s a fun discovery 🙂 I am able to laugh at stuff that used to irritate me, and I see smiling faces everywhere.  As a matter of fact, I’m starting to enjoy being a foreigner.  I can be crazy and say “haloooo!” loudly at anyone while waving like silly and it gives me a kick 😀 Nods and a curt “mornin'” just don’t do it for me anymore.

Feeling grateful.

The best part is I am beginning to genuinely feel grateful at this opportunity to be abroad.  When I get to be old, I can add “having lived in Indonesia” to my resume.  Now doesn’t that sound pretty awesome? 😉

let it go shake it off

Experiencing Indo Food the Local Way

good food (1)

So far we’ve always been eating out at the malls but each time we pass by these side-walk structures I’d always tell my husband I’d like to experience Indonesian street food someday.

So we finally did a couple of nights back 🙂 It was definitely a novel experience – everybody was al fresco, our table was a bit wobbly with the uneven ground and we were right outside the kitchen, separated only by a wall.

There was live entertainment right in front of us in the form of live crabs :

live crabs

There was also some action going on to my right as coconuts were being prepped for serving their juice (that yellow chair is my husband’s just to show you the proximity).

Thankfully the lady stopped her chopping as she caught me sneaking alarmed glances at her sharp implement (and imagining it flying out of her hands):

fresh coconuts

We were in lively company.  That table in front of us was just vacated, in case you’re now wanting us to move away from the coconuts:

lively company

And best of all, the food was absolutely delicious!  We had ayam goreng bawang, cap cai, and cah kangkung.

Indonesian food

I loved it!  We walked back to our car shamelessly burping and rubbing our bellies with satisfaction.  Well, it was already dark and nobody there knew me/us so … 😉

The Universe Has A Sense of Humor, Fo Sho!

De Patros Seafood Batam The other evening, to celebrate our 1 month milestone of being together in Indonesia, we had dinner at De Patros Seafood Café, another fine resto by the sea. I was feeling sassy and was looking forward to a great evening. But while standing at the parking lot shooting the above picture, things took a turn for the worse.

I failed to heed a car that wanted to park where I was standing, so naturally, I got honked at. Under normal conditions, that honk wouldn’t have affected me as I knew I was wrong to be standing there to begin with. But I was not under normal conditions, as I later on realized. I felt miffed, and I felt the unreasonable urge to stare down the stupid driver of that stupid car who did the stupid honking. Fortunately they hastened inside and the lady driver did not look my way.

The evening was beautiful. We sat al fresco and the food was delicious, certainly much better than at this place although this place is nicer (perhaps to compensate). We had an attentive waiter who actually made recommendations in his halting English, something I truly appreciated. Our daughter was in a jovial mood. The sky was clear and the evening breeze perfect.

But I was still miffed, and unfortunately continued to be so till yesterday 😦

The Universe must have found my funk royally silly because it sent me a surprise cheer-me-up gesture in the form of a monkey. Yes, a cousin of this guy was watching me from our balcony as I was feverishly cranking out more g-squares.

source
source

I thought at first it was a stray cat so I almost jumped out of my skin when I finally looked into its eyes. We stood there looking at each other for a while until I tried walking to it but, it quickly ran away :/ Each time it would stop to look back at me I’d wave at it like it was a long lost friend 😀

It was just too funny.  I thanked the Universe for bringing me out of my funk and realized I was just having one of those days. Relocating is uncomfortable and challenging and I’m on a roller-coaster of emotions. There are good days and there are bad ones. The bad ones are insidious. I don’t know when I’m in one until something happens and I feel an emotional reaction disproportionate to the stimulus.  Think sobbing when watching videos from TheEllenShow.

But I’m getting there 🙂 For one, I feel truly lucky to have this blog to share my misadventures on. It feels like I have people rooting for me to find success and happiness.  That’s another blessing right there ❤