Sunny, what are you doing after France?

Well, that is in fact a good question.

Because what I will do next is something awesome.

I have been searching for an internship to finish my studies for a while. I wanted to do it in Paris at first, I wanted to work at an HR department. Because of the language barrier that didn’t work out, which caused me to go to France for something else (a summer job). And even though I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t do that kind of internship in France, I knew with 100% certainty that it was for a very good reason.

Which turned out to be the case.

While I was in France I was searching for an internship. I applied for a few positions, send letters to companies that interested me. I did so for companies in The Netherlands, in France and even back in Indonesia (where I totally would have gone again had I not gotten this internship).

One day, I was feeling a little dramatic. I figured I wouldn’t find anything, I was restless because my future wasn’t planned after September and I just really needed a break.

Well, I got it.

While I was at work that day and I scrolled through my Facebook timeline, I noticed an ad from a publisher that I like on Facebook. Coincidentally it was the only publisher that I like on Facebook. The ad was for an intern for their PR and marketing department. Starting in September. I got very, very excited about this. In my mind I was already writing my application letter and when I got home I typed it out in half an hour. It was the most honest letter I have ever sent in for a job, it was a great letter and I was very proud of it. So without even thinking twice about it I attached my CV to the email and sent it.

It was not even two hours later that I got a response (at 11pm!) telling me that they really liked my letter and profile and they would send me an email tomorrow to set up a time to do the interview. In that email they sounded just as excited with the prospect of hiring me as I was with the prospect of working for them!

The interview was not me trying to convince them to hire me, it was just a conversation where they told me about how they work, what I could expect and it was me trying to contain my excitement about where this was all going. In the end of the interview they said they would love to have me and that I could of course think about it. Obviously, I didn’t need to, so I immediately accepted and walked around with a smile for the rest of the week.

I am so happy about this, because this internship is exactly what I need to actually launch a career as a writer. It will give me insight into the business, it will give me connections and it will give me the knowledge to promote the books I will write, which seems the hardest part of the process to me. Even though in general I am not that much into PR and marketing, when it comes to books, I could not be more interested.

After the excitement from this news slowly faded away a bit (which does not mean it’s gone, it just means the thoughts of it don’t take up my entire day), I realized what this means. I will have to move to the capital of my home country. So I entered the jungle that is the real estate market in Amsterdam.

It took me quite some time to find a place to live in Amsterdam, but I also finally have this covered and so I’m more than ready to start this new challenge in less than a month. I just know it is exactly the right place for me and that I will learn so much in the five months they will have me for.

I’m just… so excited.






Random things that didn’t fit into one specific blog

  • Sometimes, when I was on the motorbike, it could happen that the drivetumblr_nmvck83Hn41tlakrlo1_1280r was hitting the brakes rather suddenly, which caused me to jolt forward and hit my helmet against their helmet. This made me feel immensely stupid and a little bit like I was in a cartoon.
  • You get really good at rejecting people. I have been proposed to a lot, have gotten a lot of offers from guys who offered to be my boyfriend within the first five minutes of meeting me. You learn to say no.
  • You also learn to say yes. You need to, in order to get friends, join activities and do things that you maybe wouldn’t do otherwise.
  • During my time in Jakarta, I went to see the Star Wars movie in the cinema. It was a very interesting film to see in an Asian country. In the end of the movie, a lightsaber is being offered with a left hand, and the whole scene is supposed to be very respectful. But in Indonesia, it is very disrespectful to hand somebody something with your left hand, because it is seen as unclean. It was interesting to see the movie from their perspective like that.
  • There are a lot of unwritten rules in Indonesia, which is why you should totally connect to the locals to find out where things are and how you should behave in certain situations (buying a bus ticket is not the easy process it once was when you were in a western country)
  • Musicians in Indonesia don’t get paid for their musical talents. They get paid to leave. After giving them money they move on, which is what most people want. It is really a different world out there.
  • Smiling is like second nature to the Indonesian people and after a while it will become yours too.

The touchscreen technology in Indonesia

In contrast to what you may suspect after seeing this title, this post is about food, not technology. In Indonesia, there is this thing. This amazing thing. It is the kind of restaurant that they should have everywhere. Actually, a variant of this does exist in several countries under the name of ‘buffet restaurant’. But it is not the same.

In a warteg (Warung Tegal, named after a certain region in Indonesia), they have many different features, which all create a technological idea causing many people to name these kinds of restaurants a touchscreen restaurant.

Feature one: touchscreen. You can look at the different kinds of food, and point at what looks good. Then, the seller will put it on a plate for you (if you want to eat there) or wrap it up in paper (if you want to take away). It’s very easy.

Feature two: voice-activated search. If you are not sure what you’re looking at (which is not uncommon with Indonesian food) you can try to use the voice-activated search feature. If you want to eat some vegetables, you just say ‘sayuran’ (vegetables) and the seller will point at one of the plates that has vegetables on it, all the while looking at you questioningly. If it looks good, nod once. If it does not look good, shake your had, or give a small wave of the hand.

This kind of restaurant is really great. There is something for everyone. But, most of these restaurants make the food in the morning and they will leave it out until it it sold. So if you go there for dinner, you should know that the food won’t be very fresh. For me, a person who doesn’t eat meat, fish or egg, that’s not a problem. But I wouldn’t recommend buying these foodgroups late at night (but, me being me, I wouldn’t recommend buying these foodgroups at all :) ).

This will be the only piece of vegan propaganda on this blog, I promise :)

A funny thing is that when you want to eat at a warteg and your friend wants to eat at the street-cart outside… there is no problem. One of you can just get the food and sit at the other establishment (if you can call them establishments). You can also bring your own drink to the warteg if you want. Oh, and, you will probably never spend more than a euro when you eat at a warteg. They also have loads of krupuk, free for the taking. But you have to pay afterwards ;)

There is also another kind of shops, called warkop (warung kopi). Literally translated this means coffeeshop, which is funny because I am from The Netherlands. While at the warteg they sell full sized meals, at the warkop they sell snack-like foods. To go with your coffee, or tea.

And remember, if all else fails: NASI is everywhere.

The efficiency of bureaucracy

Let me start this post by giving you the conclusion: The title is a lie. There is nothing efficient about bureaucracy. Nothing at all.

In the past four months I have been to the immigration office eleven times. Take some time to let that sink in. Every time you want to extend you visa, you have to go to the office three times. Or, if you are lucky, as I was, you get an interview, and get to hang out with the workers there four times!
This is globally how the extension process works (at least for the socio-cultural visa I am here on):

Step 1: You go to the immigration office. Which on its own can be quite a challenge, given the morning traffic in Jakarta. There, you go to a random counter to ask for the extension forms, and they will point you to the counter that hands these out. If you are expecting signs to make things easier for you… well, there just aren’t any.
So once you get the form, a lot of websites tell you to go home and collect the proper documents, and then go back the next day and hand them in. Don’t. I will tell you what documents you need, and all you need to do is bring a pen when you go there for the first time, so you can fill that lovely form in, right then and there. And when I say bring a pen, I mean bring a pen. Don’t forget it. Because there are no pens lying around, and only if you ask the receptionist really nicely, they will loan you their pen. But they will watch you write everything down and wait impatiently until they get their belonging back, so this option may cause you some stress (it did for me). So bring a pen!
And also bring the following documents:

  • Your sponsor letter
  • A copy of the passport of your sponsor
  • A copy of your passport (don’t know why, because they also want your actual passport – see next point)
  • Your passport
  • The printed confirmation of your flight leaving the country
  • Details of your stay (addresses, phone numbers, email addresses of all people involved. In my case, the address of the office where my internship is – and my own of course)

You can hand in the documents, together with the form and they will tell you to come back two days later.

Step 2: Go back two days later. Working days that is. Don’t show up on a Saturday if your first visit was on Thursday.
If you are lucky, today you will get to proceed to step 3 immediately. If you are unlucky, you will have to do an interview. Sometimes they say it is random, sometimes they say it is because they have a question about your documents, but what I can say for certain is that they won’t save the notes they take during the interview, because I had to do one twice. It was kind of a test for my patience, because they asked me all the same questions. Anyway, if you have an interview, they will need another day to process that (i.e. put the paper in the correct folder) and you will have to come back the next day.

Step 3: On this day, you will have to go back for two activities. First, you will have to pay. For an extension it costs IDR 355.000 (December 2015). Second, you have to take a picture and give them your finger prints. Of course, the queues for this are kind of long, so bring something to entertain yourself.
And mind you, you only have to take the pictures the first time you extend. Because of the slow process and their lack of methods to save documents (like my interview notes), I assumed you also had to do the photos every time. So for my second extension I waited to get my picture taken for half an hour and then they told me it was not necessary to do it twice. So I wasted some time there.

Step 4: The last day (for this month at least). You get to pick up your pasport with an amazing new stamp, waiting to be admired by you and all of your friends.
So all in all, my advice would be to live close to an immigration office, because you will be there a lot. And if you have to travel to go there and back for hours, your life will be unnecessarily hard and those nice immigration officers (who also spend a lot of time on their phones, until you show up at their desk) will not show you any mercy.


Living the life

I recently came to an important realization. I won’t see snow this year. Of course this is never certain, but usually, at least there is hope. In Jakarta there is no hope. No hope at all.

What I will see, is rain. A lot of rain. Flooding the city kinds of rain. But that’s okay. Because my life is awesome.

Every time I tell people my plans for the coming weeks, months (year!) I still almost cannot believe this is my life. I am doing so many amazing things, seeing so many great places and meeting tons of lovely people. Even though I was living towards this part of my life for quite some time, It still didn’t seem real. But it is real. And I never want it to stop.

And the great plans keep on coming. Besides the global planning I already had, I have some more concrete ideas about what I want to do when I travel through Southeast Asia. The trips that I have planned in December are approaching rather quickly and even my ‘regular’ days in Jakarta are great.

I feel so grateful being able to do all of this and I feel like I’m learning something new every day (and not just words in Bahasa Indonesia, although… that too). It’s already such a great experience and the best part is…

I’m nowhere near finished. IMG_0635.jpeg



Change of plans

So… Things went a little differently than expected. Some things happened that a lot of people may see as a setback, but I just view it as more experiences and I always trust that everything will turn out the way it is supposed to.

Bottom line, I left my current internship and will start another, and I moved to a completely different part of the city.

I will keep this short and sweet, because it is late and tomorrow I have to be at the office at 8am. The new office, that is (and it is in a skyscraper, just thought I should add that). The hotel where I was supposed to do my internship was at a point where they did not organize a lot of events that needed marketing and there was not much to do there for me. They offered me other opportunities, but it went in a direction I didn’t want to take so I contacted the agency that helped me find an internship here and asked if they had any alternatives. They did, they even offered me three. I was really happy with the way they jumped in on such short notice (thank you Kim!) and two days after I decided I wanted to leave, I had an interview at another office. I was supposed to look at two other companies as well, but I had a really good feeling about the first so I decided to go for it.

So today, on Sunday, I walked around the area near my work to find a new house. It is very easy here in Jakarta to get a room. You just look for the big buildings (the ones that are too big to house just one family) and you knock on the door, asking if they have a room. We passed some expensive ones (and by that, I mean 3 million rupiah… or should I say 200 euros. Super expensive, right?) and then we arrived in the area where the prices were more reasonable (again, everything is relative). After looking at some rooms, I ended up at a really nice residence. I will take some pictures or make a video later, to show you where I ended up.

Added bonus: I now have a double bed.

I was very sad to leave my previous residence though. The family running the place was really nice and I met a sweet young girl there that always helped me if I needed anything. Thank you so much Ulfa! I hope we meet again soon.

I’m a sucker for documenting everything, so of course when I was about to leave, it was time to take a picture with all the people from the residence.


They all helped me with my bags (of which there were way too many. How I gathered this much stuff in such a short period, I have no clue. But I will get rid of all of it before actually starting the traveling part of this experience) and waved goodbye as I drove away.

So now I’m settled in the new place, and tomorrow I will start a new adventure, all over again.

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.