Saturday, 6 September 2008

Introduction for the Jakarta Rocks

I am writing this blog as a journal for our amazing life that we are currently living as expats in Indonesia. We have been here almost 2 years and although this was something I considered doing, I never got around to it (regular occurence) until today.

Before living in this huge metropolis, we lived in a small country town in NSW Australia, in a house that we had built before having kids. We lived in the same town for 13 years and the same house for 9. We had 3 children while living there and had great jobs and great friends, we were very happy.

But, we were bored. Not bored like hanging around the house with nothing to, we never hung around with nothing to do. We were flat out. Both working full time, 2 children in daycare, 1 child at school (and after and before school care). My husband was away 2 - 4 nights a week and after many years of hanging washing out at 10pm, you have to start to wonder if there is something more to life.

Ah, I can here you say, just give up work. Not so easy. I am a wreck when at home not working (3 maternity leaves have definitely been great tests). I am happiest when I am busy, and work provided the best form of being busy. But enough already, there is busy and there is BUSY.

Anyway, after years of the work monotonous train, you get to a point where you say - enough. Am I enjoying my life. Do I enjoy my kids? Do I enjoy my marriage. What is the point of all this running around.

So we sat down and re-established our goals.

When at Uni (grad 1994), we always planned to move to South Africa after 2 years in the workforce (remote areas are the go for our line of business). But then South Africa became really dangerous and we were lucky enough to move to a great little town in the hunter valley (a nice area of Australia) straight out of uni. Whenever jobs came up in another little town, we just couldn't go (compared to 1 hour from the coast), so we moved jobs in our own little part of the world and stopped thinking about our dream. We climbed the corporate ladder just fine (I even beat my husband to the top). But we were like everyone else in the town, once you got there, you just didn't go (there are around 15 employers in the region so it isn't a limit on the career path to stay in the same town.

So after re-establishing our goals, we were focused. Lets move overseas. We talked to my husbands company and they had roles in Indonesia available quickly. I could also work in the same location (although for a different company (we are not stupid - ie same company), so we were set. We were moving to remote Indonesia. This was April 2006.

We asked our then 7 year old what she thought of the idea of leaving her friends (the ones she had grown up with) and saying goodbye to the only house she had ever known (this included two maltese terriers and a siamese cat). She said - fine, when do we go......and she has never changed her mind (thankfully). The youngest two were only 3 and 4 at the time, so they didn't get to vote.

Then the job came up in Jakarta. Instead of going to a small town in rural Indonesia, we were moving to a city. I had never lived in a city larger than 60,000 (and that was only for Uni), so it was going to be an adventure. We had a look at Balikpapan (city of 1 million - but like a country town) - as well as Jakarta. I got to decide. It didn't take long. I went to Balik first - flies all over the meat in the supermarket. My husbands boss took me to a big shopping centre (joins his office building), I was sold in 5 minutes.

We moved in the November. The only tears that were cried were when we said goodbye to our animals (Astro and Taz (the dogs) stayed together and Madi went to a lovely grandma type) and when the movers told us we had too much stuff and we couldn't take it all with us. Luckily the company were kind and got another shipping container organised. We said goodbye to our house (we sold it two weeks before leaving ) and stored furniture and set off on an adventure.

We went to our bestest friends house for dinner on the way out of town. Had a lot of crying when leaving there (the kids thought they were related for their entire life, we were very close). But we left on target (only there for 2 hours) - and drove to the next town to stay the night (get a clean break in the morning).

We drove to Sydney the next day. Did some duty free shopping. Flew business class and got to Jakarta at midnight (Australian time). Got picked up with two company cars (we had a lot of luggage) and were driven to the hotel that was our home for 2 months (3 bedroom apartment).

It took an hour to get there - no one slept, everyone far too excited. The next morning - the education began.

We had begun our life as Expats and we haven't looked back since.

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