Well I’m definitely back in Indonesia. Nothing works. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but it’s pretty much true.
I absolutely loved my time back in Australia. It was so relaxing, fun and easy.
That last word, easy; that is the number one descriptor for my time in Oz.
I could get around to wherever I wanted to go, the roads are excellent, there is good public transport, I was free to go anywhere I wanted to go without fear for my safety, I could buy anything I wanted at a shop, anything that needed fixing could get fixed. Here, things are not as simple. Mundane tasks can become a big deal when a lack of convenience stops you doing seemingly simple things.
When I arrived at the Jakarta airport from Singapore (which is AMAZING by the way, the airport that is) I didn’t know where to go and there were no signs telling me, just a hundred people trying to get me to use their taxi. I ended up having to ask a security guard how to get to my connecting flight. Public toilets in Indonesia are also something you don’t really want to know about, let alone use… But at the airport you don’t have much of a choice. Ew.
My Indonesia SIM card was fine to use now that I was back, so I put that in and had forgot how slow the internet is here. I got used to Australia and Singapore speeds again pretty quickly. I bought a drink at a shop and no one bothered to serve me for ages, I had to go and ask someone if I could pay for my drink. The announcements in the airport are done in Indonesian, then again in English, except for some reason most of them weren’t being translated, so I just had to hope that I wasn’t missing anything important. My Indonesian isn’t very good and I could only understand snippets of what was being said.
When I arrived in Sentani there was a baggage delay. Of course there was. I stood there for ages, in the heat, after an overnight flight (it was almost 8am by this point) just wanting to sleep.
I got home to ants in my house (a normal occurrence even if you don’t go away), something I had really enjoyed not dealing with for a few weeks. It’s also pretty normal to find them crawling on you. I hate that. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a super hot day. Sure the humidity was 86%, but it was only 27 and there was a breeze. It got hotter in the afternoon, but it was pretty good again at night, so I slept well. I went to make a loaf of bread ready for breakfast the next day (I make my own bread here because bread in Indo is awful!) but I couldn’t get to any of my measuring cups because my drawers had swollen and wouldn’t open because of the weather. I got most of my drawers open after a while, but the one with all my kitchen utensils and measuring cups still won’t open (I’ll try and get that sorted today). I just had to guess the measurements for my bread. It turned out ok, but not great. [Addition: it turns out it wasn’t the weather swelling my drawers. I have termites. Great] Also my kitchen tap is now leaking from the base. I guess that’s why so many ants were hanging around it. Usually they hang out in my shower for the water.
Given that I had no food in my house I went out for lunch with some friends. You would think that if you order lunch, you’d get lunch, but we’d all finished eating and Rachel’s food still hadn’t come. She ordered a sandwich, so it shouldn’t have taken long. She ended up getting it to take away because her kids needed to go home to sleep.
My phone works in my lounge room, but not my bedroom. Apparently my wall is too much of an obstacle for decent reception. It also doesn’t work properly at school. Yes, I live on the school campus, but at the opposite end to the school buildings. Speaking of phones, smartphones are notorious for having terrible battery life, but when your phone has to constantly struggle for signal it dies even faster. Usually I fully charge my phone overnight, then again after school.
I have no hot water in my apartment. Granted, this is not the norm for the people I know here, but my hot water system has been broken for months. Although cold showers aren’t as awful as they sound. It’s hot anyway, and the water gets heated up in the pipes because of the weather, so it’s cool, but not cold. It’s still a bit of a shock when I first turn the shower on though!
I went to a friend’s place last night and when I got back to my house a gecko dropped on my head as I was trying to get into my front door! Let’s just say it would have been funny to anyone who was watching…
I’m going food shopping today and that’ll be interesting, as always. The supermarket has terrible fresh produce, so I usually go somewhere else for that (the local market is the best place), but the supermarket has more non-perishable foods. If you have a shopping list you usually need to go to 2 or 3 different places to get everything, sometimes a lot more. I usually give up after 2.
The point of all these stories is that everything is just that little bit harder here, normal activities take a lot more time than they should. It can be mentally tiring, but it’s also just time consuming.
Having said all this, there are of course some lovely things about living here. I love my job and I’ve made some great friends and met lots of wonderful people. And, as you’ve seen, there are some very beautiful places. It’s not all doom and gloom.
I’ve tried to strike a balance on this blog between talking about the good things, and the hard, daily realities. I am not persecuted, but life isn’t easy, especially for a single woman. Sometimes it’s good to share the hard and annoying things too. It’s not all beaches and sunsets.
I am certainly back in Indonesia!
[Addition: I wrote this yesterday, but the internet hasn’t been working in my house until just now.]