Staying Sane

What Could You Buy That Could Help You Make the Most of Where You Live?

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Author Melody Warnick asks a very smart question that immediately resonated with me:

~ What could you buy (or borrow or rent) that would help you make the most of where you live? ~

For me the answer is the 2 outdoor chairs that you see in the above photo 😊

I make no secret about the fact that I LOOOOVE to spend time under the wide open sky in the evenings. I used to just stand or walk in circles looking up at the wide, astoundingly beautiful night sky, say my prayers and feel grateful & content. Evenings are usually cool and breezy making the personal time even more pleasant.

A few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea to buy those chairs and, now my evening musings are even that much more delicious πŸ’– At times my husband joins me, at times my eldest, but mostly I’m alone.Β  And sometimes, in the late afternoons, I also do my crochet outside thanks to these inexpensive chairs.

How about you? What’s your answer to the question? πŸ™‚

 

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The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

How To Cope With Expat Blues

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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.

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live, noisy ‘gargoyles’ poised to raid our garbage bins

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.Β  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.

happy minion

Create the future

I read somewhere – again, I should’ve bookmarked it! πŸ˜•- 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 πŸ‘πŸ˜ƒ

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!

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Create Happiness Within

This one is what I’m all about at the moment πŸ€— 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 treatΒ  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 πŸ˜€ 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?

 

Feel-Good Fridays, The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

The Sneaky Little Thing That’s Preventing Me From Finding A Job

I have this friend that is often the hapless beneficiary of my rants and confessions about the isolation of my life as an introvert expat SAHM (in a quiet, small city in a non-English speaking foreign country – sorry, I just somehow feel less maladjusted if I lay out the parameters like that πŸ™„).

For months now she has been passionately encouraging me to find work online. If not for anything but the mental exercise and the opportunity for communicating with more human beings.

I have been tempted many times – my resume is already polished, an online profile has been created, and feeble, half-hearted attempts at answering job postings have been initiated. But I always halt the process before it “gets too serious”.

And I don’t know what to think about the reason why. Sometimes I ask myself if the admission of which now certifies me as a majestic “bum” but the truth is – I have fallen in love with BEING IN THE NOW.

Being in the now – what does this mean?

Well to me it means asking myself at almost every juncture during the day “what do I feel like doing now?”.Β  Sometimes this means washing the dishes, or doing dance fitness videos, at other times learning something new or even just deciding to have tea while listening to the chatter of birds. It’s never the same and there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

But more often than not, it sends me off to bed at night with a feeling of serenity.

Turns out it’s really something that I have come to appreciate about being a SAHM (with no small children to take care of). And I’ve come to see it as perhaps a luxury only afforded to SAHMs (with no small people to take care of) – the freedom to spend the day however you want. The luxury of listening to the voice inside you and letting it be your guide πŸ€—

And I figured, if I had a job I would no longer have this luxury. And apparently it’s something I deem more precious at the moment than mental challenge and increased social contact.

And so I say to all SAHMs like me:

just-be

Enjoy it while it lasts! ❀

Blogging, Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Ending May On A Happy Note πŸ‘ πŸ‘πŸ‘

2c38b551b0b6670461009670874dbf4fHello e’rrbody! How have you been? πŸ˜€ ❀

I’ve been deliciously busy last week, just plunged the depths of my interests and curiosities in the face of my “boredom” problem which is now but a pathetic & cowering shadow dragging its feet towards the gates of oblivion.

My! How dramatic. XD XD

Today, I chose to close May with a list of things that make me happy.Β  And I have to thank the radiant Lindsay over at the always insightful Letters to Dutch for happiness-tagging me πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

I was so excited when I got the tag because, who doesn’t want to make a list of things that make you happy?! I mean, that has got to be the single most simple, thoughtful, cost-free and happiness-inducing act you can do for yourself, yes?Β  πŸ˜€

I was also happy because I really want to share with you a personal story. Something I did when I first started out in the corporate world, in a big city full of strangers, that was telling of the attitude towards happiness I’d soon come to embrace.

Ready? πŸ™‚

OK!

The Story

It was a huge job in a huge city away from home.Β  I was new, I still had no friends and, Valentine’s day was coming up.Β  I don’t know why but all the single ladies in that office made such a big deal out of it.Β  Talking loudly about their guesses and fantasies about how their boyfriends would surprise them, fancy dinners, gifts, etc.Β  I’d hear them and swallow saliva because I already felt so lonely and uprooted, and now I’d have to be pitied for not having romantic liaisons too???

Que barbaridad! 😠 😠

My agony grew as Valentine’s day drew nearer.

But then a miracle happened. 🌟 πŸ’« ✨

On that Valentine’s day I walked away with the hugest, most impressively arranged (and probably the most expensive) bouquet of veeery pretty flowers.

And I lived happily ever after was beset with inquiries from curious (nosy) ladies for days after! XD XD

How did that happen?

Well, I bought myself that bouquet and told everybody it came from a “secret admirer”. End of agony. XD XD

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And that was perhaps the first time I realized that happiness is something you engineer for yourself.

Granted, my example is petty and simplistic. But I know now that happiness doesn’t have to be complicated or profound.

This phrase “happiness is something you engineer for yourself” is not mine by the way. I came across it reading blogs on WP and the blog author was an engineer (not surprisingly). I can no longer recall who this person was, but I thank him and give him credit for something so simple yet profound. Note the use of the word “engineer”, because indeed, happiness does not fall out of the sky and most of the time, circumstances do not cooperate.

Shine anyway! 🌟 πŸ’« ✨

There are SO many things that make me happy – from the obvious (my family) to the mundane (that mug of coffee in the morning) and anything in between (looking up at a magnificent moon in the evening). For this post however, I have to narrow it down to 5 and, off the top of my head, these are:

⭐ Exercise ⭐

The fountain of youth! I cannot do without exercise now that I’ve gotten used to it and have fallen in love with it. My body and mind crave it. It makes me feel grateful for being healthy and capable, and I am dosed with feel good hormones for the rest of the day. Truly, exercise gets me out of any funk I might be feeling at any moment.

⭐ Music ⭐

Mainstream top 40. Lounge. House. Spa. Meditation. Acoustic. Medieval. Instrumental. Beach… I’ve been blasting The Black Eyed Peas on my speakers lately and then shift to Medieval when I’m reading my medieval mysteries. I listen to House when I’m doing yoga. It’s crazy but it works for me. Music makes me happy! ❀ ❀

As a gift to you, here’s the song that’s predicted to be the happiness theme song for 2016 πŸ™‚

⭐ Kindness/Generosity ⭐

The two are synonymous, I believe. An act of kindness gives my feet wings and even just seeing it or reading about it being done by others warms my heart. That’s why I watch the Ellen Degeneres show whenever I can because those surprises she doles out to unsuspecting people, they just make me want to swim from the chandelier (in a good way). LOL! XD XD

In my ‘confined’ state I am unable to do Random-Acts-Of-Kindness (RAOKs) directly, so I’ve taken to doing this via the games I play.Β  I’m currently obsessed with Seeker’s Notes: Hidden Mystery and I take great delight in helping my “friends” complete collections by gifting them with special items I have in surplus. The harder the item is to come by or build, the more excited I am to gift it πŸ™‚ ❀

I’ve thought of knitting/crocheting for charity too but, I really prefer doing an act of kindness in person. It just gives the most satisfaction ❀ ❀ ❀

⭐ Crocheting/Knitting ⭐

I am project oriented and I relish having a practical end-product at the end of my efforts. And if I can accomplish this with the least amount of equipment, then that’s just purrr-fect!

That is why crochet -and just very recently- knitting, appeals so much to me. The whole process is just so juicy! From choosing the project, the materials, the recipient and finally the making of the product itself. Yes, crochet and knitting definitely float my boat! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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⭐ Choosing to be a SAHM ⭐

I love it! Little to no stress. The luxury of time to take care of your family and yourself. I even love the luxury of “boredom” that comes with it because I can cure that with something that nourishes my soul, mind or body. It’s just the perfect setting to be so deliciously self-focused.

~ oOo ~

And now it’s time for me to choose 5 others for this happiness tag πŸ™‚ πŸ‘ πŸ‘

The beautiful Minaxi over at Gameplan Happily Ever After.

The inspirational Debbie of Forgivingjournal.

One of the earliest blogger friends I made here on WP, I call her Karla (but I don’t really know for sure!) who takes the prettiest pictures and blogs over at My Messy World.

The cheerful & witty Carlos of Thoughts of a Trainwrecked Pineapple.

And … I just realized I’m gonna choose 6 instead because I have these 2 new blogging friends I just can’t leave out πŸ™‚ ❀

Yanti of New Lives and Opat of Handsy Craftsy. These lovely ladies are from Indonesia and they do not know (until now!) that they made me very happy when they responded to my meltdown post by inquiring about where I live in Indonesia and offering to be contacted if I ever should visit Jakarta ❀ ❀ ❀ (There’s just NO reason for me to sulk now, is there?) I’m just blessed like that πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

OK, that’s me.

But what about YOU? What makes YOU happy? Let me know in the comments section so I get more ideas for my happy-list πŸ˜πŸ˜ŠπŸ’ž

Thank you for reading, and B-Happy! 🐧

The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

Today …

… I opened up some additional doors (creaky old ones I didn’t know could be opened any wider!)

… I did my yoga in another location (of the house)

… I did the laundry (all of it!)

… I cleaned up my online bookmarks

… I cleaned up my desktop

… I emptied my laptop’s recycle bin

… I cleaned up my email subscriptions

… I cleaned up my YouTube subscriptions

(MUAHAHAHAHAAAA!)

… I organized my underwear drawer (hello, pretties!)

… I organized my crochet WIPs

… I organized my small collection of ribbons

… I decided to throw away leftover yarn

… I did not put on music

… I wanted to listen to myself

Because last night I realized I will still be spending the next 7 months of 2016 here in my small, uneventful, unremarkable, beautiful but un-exciting corner of Indonesia.Β  Where I can’t even find English reading material. (Or have it shipped to me). There! I said it.

Oh. My. God. Look. At. Her. Butt.

… I also started a new daily habit: hair pulling.Β  Errr no, not hair pulling! Oil pulling. Oil. Using coconut oil.

… and then wrote frantically in my notebook.Β  Anything that came to mind.

Dear Lord.Β  I have to somehow find a way to make those 7 months count.

Bitch. Better. Have. My. Money.

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Now what shall I do tomorrow?

Melbourne, Share Your World

Share Your World 2016 #19

Flinders Street

With your answers, please remember we are in the SYW world and which may not always match our reality.

You win a pet monkey but this isn’t just any old monkey. It can do one trick for you whenever you want from getting a pop out of the fridge to washing your hair. What would be the trick?

Iron clothes. No wait, massages! Yess, definitely massages πŸ˜‹ πŸ˜‹

What caring thing are you going to do for yourself today?

After a week-long, vacation induced hiatus from working out, my muscles are sore from yesterday’s strength training session. I’m going to do a deep stretching routine on my mat today and I can already feel the yumminess of it!

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Light neutrals & black.

Complete this sentence: Β When I travel I love to ….

… people watch, walk the streets, peruse their department stores and sample the food. I usually don’t flip out my camera to take pictures because I find that this just interrupts my mojo 😁

Melbourne Photo

Bonus question: Β What are you grateful for from last week ~

Easy! My amazing trip to wonderful Melbourne 😍 😘

and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?Β  ~

Going back to my exercise routine. Believe me I really did miss it although I also welcomed the break last week. I already feel flabby and ‘soft’ after missing just 1 week! 🀣

~ oOo ~

Join the fun! ❀

~ oOo~

The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

Thank You For “Melting Down” With Me + What I Did To Acknowledge Your Kindness

Mother's Day cake

Dearest friends, welcome back into my living room ❀ If you want, I have some leftover Mother’s Day cake in the fridge, just let me know πŸ™‚ I’m brewing coffee I bought from Melbourne too so, we should all be set.

(Cold drinks are in the fridge, feel free to help yourself you know you’re very welcome to do so!) ❀

This is a gratitude post for all your kind support, encouragement and ❀ to my meltdown post.Β  Every single one of your comments has lifted me up that I am walking around with swag and lightness πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

I do still intend to explore my ‘boredom’ further in upcoming posts. Right now though I feel a huge ‘thank you‘ is in order for reminding me that boredom happens, and that it is not a problem but rather a cosmic prodding. It is not a condition, it’s an opportunity.

THANK YOU! ❀ ❀ ❀

To acknowledge your kindness, I went out on a dinner date with my daughter πŸ™‚ Just the two of us, without my husband to translate.

Let me explain how this is a victory & celebration of sorts:

  1. The lay-out of this city necessitates a car of your own. My husband took ours to work so I had to choose public transport by way of a city bus or a taxi.Β  We preferred a taxi because city buses have certain routes I am not familiar with and I suspect nobody would understand a word coming out of my mouth. Taxi drivers would at least have some basic English under their belts.
  2. We still had to walk to someplace I was only half sure would have taxis. Luckily the sun was not as fierce anymore and we found a few available taxis right away.
  3. My daughter was worried about communicating and being understood. But I was cocky my pidgin Indonesian would suffice. And it did (somehow!) – I even managed to make the taxi driver laugh so hard (twice!) I thought he was going to have an asthma attack! XD XD

At the restaurant I was able to order, and order the right items. (In my experience so far it’s almost never a straightforward, point-to-a menu-item affair. The waitress will always have something to say whether it be the dish’ or a main ingredient’s unavailability, or how we want our drink or something about something — and stated in Indonesian that’s so fast I loll my tongue out and just pretend I’m dead) o_O o_O In any case …

My daughter’s fears were assuaged ❀

soto ayam

I assure you I ate with such gusto! This was a huge bowl and I wiped it clean XD For extra attitude I dunked all the tongue-numbing green chili they gave into the soup so nobody can ever accuse me of not knowing how to celebrate small victories πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Score! XD XD

And that is all for today πŸ™‚ Hugs!