… which, when left undone, will “nibble at your sanity” until you finally do/fix it?
And that’s Question # 3 folks!
Is it taking the dog out for a walk? Giving your cat a nice tummy rub? Making up the bed? Tell me in the comments section below 👇😀 👇
My answer: cleaning out the dining table.
It’s just a surface that naturally gathers “stuff” during the course of the day, be it earphones or breadcrumbs, and for some reason, I just need to have it wiped clean. Only then can I go on with my day 🤭
The marvelous month of May turned out to be much, much more than I anticipated 👍
This coffee date earned me 3 invitations to all-wives-only get-togethers that did wonders to my soul. Of course, they were a bit challenging to work up to, not just because as a SAHM with a small baby I have difficulty finding time to even get a decent shower every day, but that I’m also an introvert whose default mode is a preference for solitary activities.
Nevertheless I noticed that these get-togethers energized me so much that I felt like treating myself to some heels 🤣 🤣
Out of all the urgent things that my wardrobe needs RIGHTNOW, I focus on my feet (which is not the first time) 🤣 Well, for one they’re so easy to dress up, they don’t have flab to skillfully camouflage with cut or color!
I bought them for special occasions (or just for walking around the house when I’m feeling sassy 😉😆) since I’m always scrambling at the last minute for what to wear whenever a special occasion pops up. I guess the vague plan is to work from the bottom up as far as updating my wardrobe is concerned 😆
I also finished a huge lace doily. Is it still a doily if it’s that huge? I think it’s earned table cover status 🤔
Channeling my inner home decorator ….
This house, although spacious and I love its location, is old and old fashioned. It’s got paint chipping off a few of its boring white walls, the furniture is ugly & uncomfortable (but they came with the house and they function 🤨), and it only has windows on one side so it can get hot and gloomy during daytime. I am grateful but resigned. 😏
We can’t do any remodeling because it’s a “staff house” that comes with my husband’s expat package, rented long-term by the company to house any given foreign employee for certain periods of time. We can only request for repairs and maintenance; re-painting walls would fall into that category but we have a baby so we’re not very keen about that at the moment.
— end of digression:
Anyhoot, I decided no harm could come from letting my colorful personality shine now that I’m no longer pregnant & sleepy! So …
We had an A/C unit installed in the living room to counter the heat, I then claimed one of the boring walls with some frames, & put a carpet on the floor.
And now this is where the family loves to hang out, including the baby 😍 It gets really cozy in the evenings when only the lampshade is on, there’s a good movie on TV, and a huge bowl of popcorn is being shared 😘
The kitchen also needed some color so I was truly pleased that a simple yellow tablecloth could make such a huge difference!
What else …?
Oh yes, I did read a book, just need to finish a few more pages, but it’s technically done so I can rake this up to a May finish as well:
And the reason why I’m taking so long to finish this book – which is a lovely read by the way 💘) is because right after the pineapple table cloth, I went right in with my knitting needles for a racerback tee:
This is the back portion of the tee. I’m working on the front portion now alternating work on another project, a lace crochet pullover. I don’t know, I guess I’m just on a creative roll right now 😁
~ 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 💖 At times my husband joins me, at times my eldest, but mostly I’m alone. 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? 🙂
Hi everyone! I’m still here, in case anyone’s noticed 🤭
I’m still living life in 2-hour sleep-deprived increments and experiencing post partum hair loss as we speak (eeeek!). But I’m doing quite well under the circumstances.
So what’s new?
Among my goals for this year is to take better pictures and to (finally, finally) use my DSLR as I go along. I’ve always wanted to improve my photography skills and I bought the thing to seal the deal – you know, very much like buying a treadmill or a lifetime gym membership to affirm the veracity of your intentions 🙄
However, after leafing through its manual like it was some distasteful magazine, the DSLR turned into a pricey paperweight, gathering dust as the limelight went back to my ever handy, lightweight & uncomplicated iPhone. (Which reminds me of my treadmill which also became a pricey clothes rack & laundry hamper station, but I digress… 🙄🙄).
2018 will be a year of ‘more doing and less hair twirling’ for me though so the DSLR has been exhumed and together we will be bonding over some photography courses this year. To help get me started, I’ve decided to do WP’s Photography Developing Your Eye 1 course rrrright now.
The 1st assignment is to get oriented with your camera (gulp!) and to take a photo representation of what the word “home” brings to mind for you. Right away I think ~ hmmm, how fitting for someone who is all but home!
However, it didn’t take long for me to decide on a subject: our living room.
Okay, I do know that you’re supposed to take pictures with the light behind you, but that view just wasn’t as nice as these ones so …
I chose our living room because it’s one of my pet projects in my quest to making Batam work. I love this space because it is sunny and airy, and I want to build on this by turning it into something cozy and fun.
I still have a long way to go [because I get distracted] and have only managed to add everything else that’s not the black couch, the 2 black sofas and the square table. (Unfortunately, they come with the house so there’s nothing I can do about them). On a good day I’d put a few of my potted plants here and there but I was too lazy to get them for this shoot so you’ll just have to do with fluffy-huggable Anais and Mr. Piddles instead 🤭
So anyhoot, this space represents the concept of home for me. Familiar, pleasant, comfortable, fun.
I’m baaa-ack! 😁 Or at least, I’d like to think so. My world is still upside-down what with our 1-month old baby – but she’s absolutely the cutest so she has VIP pass to do so 😘😘
Sleep-deprived me (or is it, I? 🤔) however, have been missing blogging, so I thought I could warm-up via this week’s SYW. (By the way, you can participate in the fun 👉 here).
If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?
No. If the test were that important then I’d rather find out through failing that I lack mastery on the topic & do it over again.
What things in nature do you find most beautiful?
Verdant blooms, mysterious forests, bewitching bodies of water, fierce rains, noisy thunderstorms, gay rainbows and the wide open sky.
Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to….
Watch & soak. Most people want to take pictures and I’ve tried that, but found that it takes away from the experience of being in that place and enjoying the moment. So I usually just take a few pictures as souvenirs and then sit in a cafe or someplace public and just watch what’s going on. I love it! 😍
Oh, and buy keepsakes of course! 😉
What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I absolutely appreciate my husband and eldest child for being so supportive of what new moms go through – sleep deprivation and its not-so-pleasant effects.
My eldest, who enjoyed 10 (yes, ten!) amazing years as our only child, has gracefully accepted the fact that there’s a new baby in town. We thought at first she’d act up as she never seemed that excited while I was pregnant, but she’s been very sweet to her little sister instead, and helps out whenever she can.
My husband takes over without prompting upon coming home from work and on weekends, and is always ready to pitch in during night feedings (we supplement) or when the baby is just fussy.
Being in a foreign country, I certainly do not have the luxury of friends and family to call on for help when I need some time off. This does bother me but I get a second wind each time I think of how wonderful my eldest and husband are to me and the baby. I feel very blessed indeed 💖💖💖
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?
Today is a sunny Sunday over here at my small, sleepy corner of Indonesia and as usually happens when I’m not alone in the house (the hubs and daughter are home), I get a burst of energy 😊
So up I went to my potted plants to finally start the repotting process I’ve been putting off for about 2 weeks now.
But first let me introduce you to them (no names because I don’t have a clue 😀):
This is how they look now after I transferred them away from direct sunlight. They looked so much worse a couple of weeks back due to my ignorance 😟 I thought as long as they weren’t in direct sunlight for an entire day and they got enough water, they’d be good. Well, as you can see from the 2 in the front row, the Indonesian sun is just way too much for them.
I was able to repot 3 (back row) and salvaged a 4th that had died but had these little off-shoots that seemed like they wanted a chance to live 🤞 (3rd from left).
I’m going to do the rest sometime within the week as I believe they are the most challenging. The pink one has a broken stem that produces weak and sickly looking leaves. But it keeps producing new leaves so I take that to mean it hasn’t given up yet. 😘
I don’t think I need to repot the aloe vera but it’s borne children so maybe they should be transferred to a separate pot.
The 3rd one is giving me some blooms – so maybe it’s happy where it is? But I do feel that the pot is too small and I might have to divide the plant because it seems there are 2 of them in the same pot.
The last one (partially hidden) has an ugly pot and I might as well move it to a bigger one to anticipate future growth (here’s hoping 😆).
Brawns Vs. Brains
OF COURSE, I don’t have a clue about the proper repotting of plants, I just mimicked what I saw the lady selling the plants did. As usual, I read up about it after the fact 😁 And now I have to go back up and water them. Duh! 🤣
Oh and before I go, did you know that plants can make your brain work better? Here are 14 more reasons to add plants to your life. Me, I just wanted a new active hobby that would beautify my home at the same time ❤️