Melbourne, The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

It Makes Me Happy to See The Hubs Happy: A Post-Melbourne Update (Part 1)


Some of you might remember that we moved to Melbourne in December 2016 to ‘escape’ the boredom and confinement I felt in Indonesia. (That is not to say the entire Indonesian archipelago is boring, no.  I’m just talking about my small slice of Indonesia here, where there is virtually nothing ‘out there’ for expat trailing spouses to do).

Anyways, so off we went to Melbourne where I promised myself giddily I was never looking back.

But, less than 4 months later, here we are back in Batam! What happened?

Well, honestly? The erratic weather drove us crazy. We missed our friends.  We hated how dry our skin and scalp became. And we hated how the mere act of taking a shower became such a test of willpower.

Also …

Not Even Steve Jobs

For those of you who don’t know it yet, when you’re a foreigner trying to find work in Australia chances are very high that you’re likely to start at a junior position despite how lofty you’ve already made it in your career.  The reason is because Australian companies are big on local work experience, and if you happen to have none, well ….

They even have this joke that even Steve Jobs applying for an IT position would be declined on the basis of not having previous working experience in Australia.  So many career high-flyers from the UK, US, EU and elsewhere have given up in frustration, even to the point of calling this preference for those with local work experience racial discrimination.

In our case, we were financially prepared to be without income for a year.  However, what we weren’t adequately prepared for was the impact to our confidence.

Feeling Guilty

We learned that I was pregnant again in February, so I stopped looking for work.  And while my husband bravely continued his job search, it was beginning to bother him that despite ace-ing aptitude tests and making it to the final interviews, the job offer still hadn’t materialized.

It hurt me a lot to see my husband experiencing rejection 💔💔💔 I know this is normal in any job search, but to think that the company he worked for in Indonesia (a world-leading German semiconductor manufacturer), was even prepared to move mountains just to keep my husband in their employ, made me realize I might have been a tad bit selfish to demand that the family move to Melbourne 😟😟

Confidence + Happiness = Sexy

Fortunately, only 3 months into Melbourne my husband’s previous boss [in Indonesia] called him and asked him to come back.  The offer was discussed and (of course) it turned out to be much more lucrative than even what he would eventually earn in a senior/better position in Australia.

My husband drove home the point when he said to me “Look, Batam might not be that interesting, but the low cost of living will allow us to live well & save for the future all while doing fun stuff like overseas travel, pursuing hobbies & celebrating special occasions in fancier ways than usual. And all that on just one income. I can’t say the same for Australia.”

And since all I could think of at that time was the wonderful, beautiful sunshine which I missed SO much, I immediately said “yes”!  😂😂

So now we’re back in Batam and my husband behaves as though he’s just had his batteries fully charged. It’s pretty fun to observe! He’s happy, and who wouldn’t be?  He feels needed, relevant, valued.  The big bosses were all happy to welcome him back and immediately swamped him with high-profile projects. Coming back from his second day at work, he cheekily flashed me his shiny new ultra-thin laptop. LOL! 🤣🤣🤣

As for me, the one who had everything to gain by moving to Melbourne? All that will be in part 2, coming very soon, I promise 😉


March Reads


Hello there beautiful people! 😀

Belated Happy Easter! I hope you had a meaningful observation of the holiday.

Here in Indonesia I didn’t notice Easter that much (were it not for a message from a friend) and it’s a first for me. Muslim and Christian holidays sorta just follow one after the other here and since Christians/Catholics are the minority, Christian holidays seem to  become more ordinary than festive. I don’t celebrate every holiday but it does seem a bit weird that the world around you is almost oblivious to it. I’ve become so used to having neighbors celebrate on behalf of an entire block where I came from and I sorta miss them!

Oh well, let’s talk books now, shall we? 🙂

So last week I decided to reignite my love for reading because ever since I stopped working the 9 to 5, my voraciousness for books has nosedived. My Kindle has become more of a gaming tool than anything else 🙄 I was therefore quite pleased that last week I really felt like reading. And so I did! I finished not one, but 2 splendid li’l books:

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by blogger turned writer Glennon Doyle Melton.


Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award

The inspiring and hilarious instant New York Times bestseller from the beloved writer, speaker, activist, and founder of whose writing is “like a warm embrace” (

 Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

What can I say? I really, really like this book 🙂 It’s so down to earth and hilariously so that I felt as though Glennon was a personal friend who’s got this crazy-silly side that speaks so much to me XD It’s definitely a feel-good book that I can see myself reviewing every now and then to remind me that life is “brutiful” – brutal and beautiful.

 “The Rules of Life: A Personal Code for Living a Better, Happier, More Successful Life”by Richard Templar

This is a motivational book of 105 bite-sized ‘rules’ that are practical and simple.  I really also enjoy books like these where a chapter is but two pages long and the take-away is immediately applicable. It’s not very deep or profound, which I like because I wasn’t in the mood for anything serious and analytical. It’s a book you can keep on your nightstand and open randomly to any ‘rule’ and then make that your intention for the day.

The book is divided into 4 sections – there are the rules for you, partnership rules, family and friends rules and social rules. I read everything in one go but I think it’s also a good idea to focus on one section (one area) of life per week and finish the book in 4 weeks (a month). Come to think of it,  I’ll definitely do it this way the next time around as the book’s definitely worth reading again and again just for  some quick reminders or to give yourself a mood boost 🙂

So that was me last week, lost in the pages of these 2 books. My rediscovered yen for reading seems not to be slowing down yet so I have already downloaded several other book samples to my Kindle.  Oh dear, less time for crocheting I’m afraid XD

And, did you notice that it’s the last week of the month already? Have a strong, positive ending to March,sunbeams! ❤ 🙂


The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands: A Book Review

The cruelest thing a wife can do to a husband is never to be happy.

The Proper Care & Feeding of HusbandsI had some trouble finishing this book towards the last few chapters because I already got the one golden message by the time I was maybe a third of the book through – be nice to your husband.

The message of being nice to your husband is repeated in 8 chapters, under different contexts including among others the fact that men do have feelings (Chapter 4), communicating with your man (chapter 5), intimacy (chapter 6) and, guy time (chapter 8).

It was still a very good read though and reminded me of how easy it is to take your husband for granted. This book reminds wives that husbands are really very simple and straightforward creatures who need the following from us – acceptance, approval and appreciation. The preferred source of these 3 A’s is us, the wives, and Dr. Laura Schlessinger reminds us throughout this book, in no uncertain terms, that if we fail at this task, our marriage is doomed.

Not to end on such a gloomy note, here are some notes I took as I journeyed through the pages – just a caveat though, although there were a few exceptions, I found this book depicting a picture of a wife that is childish, selfish and narrow- minded. (I don’t think I belong in the same box although I do hope I have the honesty to realize it when its happening!).

  • In marriage, it is very easy for the wife to be selfish and self-centered, usually there’s too much focus on what’s not right and not enough on what’s going well. Too much criticizing, not enough complementing.
  • Husbands don’t want to be displaced by their children. Give it a think: We get up several times in the middle of the night to tend to a crying child, but can’t even give our husbands a backrub or a glass of water after he’s fixed the roof immediately after coming home from a hard day’s work.
  • As husband and wife, we must prioritize each other, don’t allow the demands of daily life to get in the way of making each other happy.
  • Husbands need some downtime after coming from work – so don’t immediately welcome him with a “honey, I think our sink is clogged”.
  • On communicating to the man of the house – wives should just say what is on her mind, discuss the possibility of a solution and then move on. Do not sulk and let the husband ‘guess’ at the problem, do not whine and sound like a broken record, do not bring on the waterworks or the cold war.
  • Allow men to do things the way they want to do it. The dishes need not be color coded, as long as they are washed clean, dried and put away properly.
  • Male nature responds dramatically to visual stimulation, so don’t be a frump around the house. Make an effort to look more like a happy wife than a frazzled mom.
  • Do not be envious of husbands’ ability to have hobbies and friends, use the time instead to cultivate your own hobbies, or treat yourself to some ‘me-time’.

Husbands with friends and outside interests are happier. It adds to their happy relationship with you when you gracefully support their relationships with others and not behave like a spoiled brat who wants to control their lives.

  • It is the responsibility of both spouses to refresh themselves so that they can give the best to their relationship and their family.

What I learned – just be considerate, think beyond myself, the house, the daughter, the bills, etc, and recognize that another human being, the most important one in my life, with needs just like any other, is sharing life with me.  In the words of Luciano De Crescenzo~

We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.


I Let Myself Loose In A Dollar Bookstore

books Nori dollAnd … ta-daaaah!  Et voici my new acquisitions.  I just love dollar bookstores by the way because I can go crazy without having to worry about how much it’s gonna cost me 🙂 Plus, I can get hardbounds for much, much less.

It was an interesting surprise for me to note that 3 of the 6 books I bought are about family & marriage.  I wasn’t even thinking as I pulled out and set my choices aside – you know how it goes, something catches your eye, you open to a random page, like what you see, into the check-out basket it goes.  Methinks it has everything to do with me having recently quit my job and opting for a year (or more?) of domestic adventures.  It’s always been about getting ahead at work before but, maybe those days are blissfully over.

Anyhoot, and without further ado, these are the reads that’ll keep me engrossed in the next few weeks:

The Ten Laws of Lasting Love by Paul Pearshall.  Described as a book that will help all kinds of couples renew and recapture the feelings that originally brought them together.  This book presents 10 principles to re-energize relationships and transform routine monogamy into the kind of intimate partnership that endures.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano.  The husband and I are thinking of modifying our diets to be more plant-based, but we don’t know how, so this book will hopefully give us some ideas.  On the back cover it says this book will make the reader – understand how to transition to a vegan lifestyle, learn to get all your protein from vegetables and nuts, find calcium in soy and rice mild and other plant-based products, discover ways to apply compassion to all aspects of your life, not just what you eat, provide your vegan baby with all her pre-and postnatal nutritional needs, and finally, shop and dine out, vegan style.

Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman.  I had to throw something for the imagination into the mix and this fiction set in medieval times was a no-brainer.  (I just ❤ medieval!).  Matilda Bone is the compelling, comic story of a girl learning to live contentedly in this world.

Family First by Dr. Phil McGraw.  I’ve always wanted to create some simple family traditions but have never gotten around to doing so.  I opened this book to a random page and, what do you know, my eyes were greeted with the bold section header Factor#3: Establish Meaningful Rituals and Traditions. I am sure I manifested this book!  I think this is more of a parenting book than anything else though.  From the back cover (and Dr. Phil): ” what I intend to do in Family First is tell you with great precision what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing to lead your family with sure a pure purpose and power that the competing messages (from society and media – my note) are drowned out”.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  This book is mentioned as the author’s most provocative book yet and “urgently reminds women that to take proper care of their husbands is to ensure themselves the happiness and satisfaction they yearn for in marriage”.  Well, there’s always room for improvement! 🙂

The Girl Genius Guide to Sex (with Other People) by Cathryn Michon.  Another work of fiction that’s described as “a rollicking romantic comedy cum self-help guide”.  Kewl!  I’m always up for some laughs.


And there you have it, my delicious and dear companions on the couch. I don’t usually buy this many in one go, but a mere glance at this stack of 6 is enough to make me smile 🙂 I’m definitely up for some review and discussion in the coming days … hold me to it, won’t you?  Meanwhile, what books are keeping you company?