Life in Lyon

 

During my time in this French city, I really enjoyed the little things. I was extremely happy every time I went to the market on the square behind my building, where I bought large amounts of fruits and was always greeted with a smile and sometimes even free stuff! I also really enjoyed an evening at home with a good book, a walk along the Rhône, taking a bath, drinking my morning smoothie, talking to my friends, writing, improving my French… I have not done a lot of big things and I actually haven’t really traveled outside of the city during these months, but I don’t regret that. I needed it like this and it was great.

Every week there was an event from Couchsurfing; a boardgame night in the center of Lyon. It was in one of my first weeks there that I went to one of those evenings and I became a regular instantly. We played all sorts of games with people from all kinds of different countries and it was such a blast, again and again, every week. I’m still sort of amazed by how much fun I’ve had there every week. The people who showed up were very nice and I spend a lot of time with the ones who were also regulars outside of these nights too. I’m very happy with my group of Lyonnais friends, even though I did betray one of them in a spy game and they didn’t feel like they knew me well enough until we played a game of two truths and a lie. I would have thought inventing lava sharks and mushroom cacti were ingredients for a lifelong friendship, but I guess it takes more than that ;)

I actually didn’t take many pictures throughout the summer, so in my last week in Lyon I went crazy with my camera to capture all the great memories. You may not enjoy watching them as much as I do, but I hope they are at least a little entertaining :)

Advertisements

I thought it would be harder

It’s been a month now. And I really – really – really – like it here. I heard a lot of stories from people going abroad, that they would have moments where they would get homesick, they missed Dutch food, and most of all they experience culture shock.

I am not homesick. I’m sorry to all my friends back home, but I am just not. I don’t miss The Netherlands at all. I do miss my friends but we still keep in touch and Skype whenever I can. Maybe I don’t miss it because I prepared for this for so long, I was ready to leave it all behind and start over.

I can write a whole post (and maybe I will some time) about the food. But here, suffice it to say… I love it. I am in love with it. Everything I eat is so good and it is all so cheap. You can buy it everywhere and anywhere and it never fails to amaze me. I tried to discover why it was that I loved it so much and I came to a conclusion. It’s because everything they use is pure. It’s just vegetables, herbs, rice… Okay, sometimes they add some oil (or a lot of oil), which is the only downside, but still. The ingredients are not processed and that really improves the taste. I have to say it again, I really love the food. Really.

I have not experienced any culture shock. But I think that is because I came very well prepared. I had already seen a little bit of the world and I actually made everything way more scary and different in my mind than it really was.
I also have a theory that the culture shock will be bigger if you try to hold on to your Western beliefs and ideas. I like to think I am a very open-minded person and so when I got here, I just let everything happen and I literally went with the flow. I wanted to eat what the locals ate, travel the way they travel and learn as much about the culture as possible.

I imagine if you intend to find the Western food and culture here and you don’t find it… that might be a shock. But I immersed myself in everything Indonesian and that made it really easy. I was looking forward to all the cheap fruit, the rice and the joy of not having to cook. I wasn’t looking forward to going around on the back of a motorbike, but I gave in to that experience too and now I love it.

And I discovered something very important along the way.
I love Indonesia…Honestly, I didn’t think I would and I don’t know why. I figured I would miss the comfort of home, having people around you who you can count on and knowing your way around. But a new place is only new for so long until it becomes something else…
It becomes home too.

I think a big part of me loving it here is the food and the other part is the people. Because making friends is not that hard. Great people are everywhere and the Indonesian people are just so nice. It is impossible to not feel good here, when everywhere you look you can expect to find a smile on someones face. Where in The Netherlands something would be too much effort for someone, here they do it for you without complaining. They even offer!

I do have to admit that another part of my love for Indonesia has to do with the prices. Everything is so cheap here. You can take a taxi or ride on the back of a motorbike to go to places, food is super cheap and the rent is cheap.
I feel like I get such a good deal every time I buy something and really… It all adds to the happy feelings!

So, if you were wondering how I am doing here, the answer is great! I’s been a month and even though I still have four months left, I am already dreading the moment I have to get on a plane to leave it behind (but then again, it will be to travel, so maybe excitement will overrule my dread).
Regardless, I already know I will definitely come back to Indonesia after I leave it this time.

happiness-1

How about them resolutions?

As you may remember I had some plans for the time I would spend here. At first I was very optimistic, but when I arrived in Jakarta, things were a little different than I expected. Even though I googled intensely, I still found some things I didn’t prepare for (shocker…).

The first thing I wanted to do was walk to work everyday. Well, when I worked in the hotel I did it two times, but it was more like a hike than a walk and it was much further than I predicted. Furthermore, the area that I lived in did not have a sidewalk. Soon I discovered the amazing go-jek, which is like a taxi service but for motorbikes and it was so cheap and fast that I caved and stopped walking to work.

The second thing I wanted to do was eating a lot of fruit and rice with vegetables. Well… It was harder to find the food I wanted than I thought. So in the very first days that I stayed here, I ate way too little, because I didn’t know where to look for it (and secretly I was a little scared to go outside because everyone stares at me… all the time). But finally I found a good place to eat dinner, lunch was covered because I ate with my colleagues and I bought fruit at the supermarket (which was really cheap).

The third thing was learning yoga and creating a morning routine. Up until now, my bed is so good to me, but then in the morning it will not let me go. We’ve got a bit of a love/hate relationship going on (but mostly love). As you may have guessed, the yoga thing is not yet happening.

But now that I moved to a new house, things already feel so much different. Even though the current bed is even more comfortable than the last one, I am confident that I can start my morning routine here. I can walk to my new internship. I did it today, while listening to music, and it was great. There are sidewalks, there are less people staring at me and when I take the time to look up it is into a smiling face. Finally, there is just one road I need to cross like I don’t care about my own life.

Also, even though I already figured out the food, still it becomes easier and easier to find places and things to eat. Every time I order something I will look at it skeptically, because I am sure that this will be the time it is something I will not like. Statistics tells me it must be coming up, because it is impossible to like everything the Indonesian kitchen has to offer. But three weeks in and I still haven’t eaten one single thing I didn’t like. Obviously, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I am a little surprised by how much I like it here. I was so sure I was someone who would miss the luxury of my own house, I thought it would be so hard to make real new friends here and I thought I would have a lot of moments where I just wanted to stay in and not make an effort. But none of this happened. Sure, I would miss luxury, but there is luxury here. They clean my room every day and do my laundry and I pay less than half of what I did before. Making friends is easier than ever with couchsurfing, not to mention the great colleagues that come along. I have met so many amazing people already, and I want to hang out with them all the time (which makes that I don’t want to stay in, but I want to take a freaking go-jek and go out)!

So far, so good. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here has to offer.

Office life in Jakarta

Wow. It is different from The Netherlands, let me start by saying that. Every morning between 8.30 and 9, people start coming in, looking like they just got out of bed. The first hour is dedicated to brushing and curling hair, applying make-up and changing clothes. When everybody looks presentable, it is time to check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, e-mail and if there is time left (and there is always time left) we will watch some Youtube videos. By then it is time for breakfast or a snack. And maybe at that point, somebody will start working. But other times that is the time to create some Dubsmash videos, or for me to learn some Bahasa Indonesia.

In the afternoon there is time for lunch. It is for free in the cafeteria, but for me as a vegetarian/vegan there is not always something to eat. Luckily, my colleagues also like to eat out, so we go to the Wartuk, a place nearby, where we eat. Some would say, isn’t it expensive to eat out to lunch every day? My answer would be no. It is not even a euro, so I can afford it. It is even cheaper than bringing my lunch to work in The Netherlands, because then I would spend even more money in the supermarket.

There is a lot of time for socializing, and I think this is good. It creates a team spirit and a good atmosphere. Everybody is ready to help each other. Also, the social media activity is good for a marketing department. They should keep up to date about current events.

At the end of the day, after there is a lot of time spent relaxing and socializing, it is time for a meeting. Then, after the meeting, when it is 17.30, a lot of people get motivated to immediately get to work on their tasks, which causes them to work later.

A lot of time, afterwards, it is time to eat something together. There is a foodcourt that is part of the hotel and we eat there. I have eaten Martabak, which is delicious. It is a sort of cake/pancake. It’s hard to explain, at some point there will be a picture of this deliciousness. But the truth is, there is not one piece of food I ate here that I didn’t like.

Now that my first week is almost through and I handed in some of my school assignments, this weekend it is time to explore Jakarta again!

Disclaimer: It is not like this everywhere. This was just one day and after I changed internships it also became clear that this is not necessarily the common way of working.