- Sometimes, when I was on the motorbike, it could happen that the driver 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.
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.