How to know if you stayed in Indonesia too long

Sometimes we feel that we stuck (at least I had such feeling ;)) – maybe in the same job position, in the same surrounding. All the time going to same places, eating same food, doing same things and etc. And we don’t realize when it becomes routine.

When we are traveling and stay in one place longer, we see how we start to adapt to surrounding, do things which locals do (even if in our country it wasn’t common) and somehow it’s starts to look like routine as well ;).

So what are the signs showing that you are staying in Indonesia too long?

And maybe it’s time to consider moving somewhere else or at least changing something?

  • You are driving motorbike like Indonesian: don’t show anymore turns; start to drive when traffic-light still red; not wearing helmet (at least for the short distance); on your motorbike take big amount of stuff (or big ones) or at least on motorbike already sit with 3 people; driving with slippers and dressed fully (even if outside so hot); when you are passenger, you don’t hold your hands in the back.
  • When you meet a person in a street or in front of his home – you don’t get out of motorbike, you just shout to that person what you want to say (usually even without turning off the engine).
  • You are crossing a busy street using your right arm to “stop” the traffic and go through.
  • You don’t searching ”clean” or “aesthetic” places to eat but eat in small street “warungs” where sanitary condition not the best.
  • Start to eat almost the same food – “nasi”, “sayur”, “ayam”, “tahu”,“tempe”, “nasi goreng”, “gado gado” and “soto”. As well can’t imagine food without “sambal”.
  • You wash your hands after finishing the meal instead of before.
  • You have your own rice cooker.
  • You sleep soundly through the first call of prayer at 4:30 am.
  • Indonesians no more asks pictures with you (they recognize by your behavior, attitude that you are staying already in Indonesia longer).
  • You start do things in Indonesian style (wearing sarong, eating with hands…)
  • When you meet foreigners you start to speak with them in bahasa Indonesia, at least use some Indonesian words in English sentences or in your native language sentences.
  • You start to use expression “yah” (“yes”) almost in every sentence (“Makasih, yah?” – “Thank you, yah”?).
  • You start to use question “apa” (“what”?) more often.
  • Start to be late to the meetings at least 30 min.-1 hour.
  • Even if it’s looks that you are doing something, most of the time you do nothing.
  • Start to be a bit lazy to travel, find new places for activities, eating.
  • You start to smoke or if you are smoker, start to smoke more.
  • When you have possibility – you move to a cheaper living place even if there condition a bit worse than in previous place.
  • In Indonesia nothing surprise you anymore.
  • Start to ask yourself maybe it’s time to go home (or at least somewhere else).

After almost 2 years of staying in Indonesia, I already have almost half of these signs. So it seems I need to “work” on it harder and stay here longer.



Booking.com

And here is Tomas (from Belgium) thoughts how to know if you live in Indonesia for too long:

  • at dinner, you automatically grab for a spoon first, then for a fork and you don’t even think about a knife.
  • upon hearing the words “sakitnya tuh di sini” (“feels hurt in here”), you pump your first against your chest.
  • you think car taxis are for pussies and you prefer an “ojek” (motorbike taxi) or at the very least a “becak” (bicycle taxi).
  • you feel deeply unnerved when you haven’t had rice for a day.
  • you hardly notice the “Hellooooo mister!”, “Bule! Bule!” or “Mau ke mana?” (“Where to go?”) anymore.
  • a stop at “Indomaret” is an integral part of your evening routine.
  • you think it’s outrageous to pay more than a euro for a haircut.
  • you sometimes involuntarily shout “Allah Ou Akbar” (“Allah the great”) or “LURUS! LURUS!” (“straight, straight”) in your sleep.
  • you feel more natural in a squatting position than on a toilet seat (but you still use toilet paper, because there are limits to your adaptability).
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to eat noodles for breakfast.
  • you wonder how the rest of the world survives without “Beng Beng”. Or “Es jeruk”. Or “Tempeh”, “Pop Mie”, “Roti bakar”. Or…
  • you can scoop up “sambal” with a spoon as if it were ice cream.
  • it upsets you if the gasoline price rises.
  • you don’t count sheep when you can’t sleep, you count geckos.
  • you’ve stopped using the letters ‘v’ and ‘f’ altogether and have replaced them with a ‘p’. You wonder how you’ll ever order a “kopi” in Europe again without being ridiculed.
  • you can only vaguely recall the taste of cheese and you don’t even remember that there is such a thing as wine.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to put cheese on top of milk shakes, pancakes and fruit salads.
  • you know that the last two points are not contradictory.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to drink from a plastic bag.
  • you can easily distinguish between the different rings and tic-tocs from the passing street sellers and know perfectly well which ones sell “bakso”, “siomay”, ice cream or bread.
  • upon seeing a white face, you have to refrain yourself from shouting “BULE!!” out loud.
When you living in Indonesia too long
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Which signs show you that you stay in Indonesia already too long?
  • Do you think you could stay in Indonesia longer than only couple of months?
  • If you lived abroad for a while, which signs there can show that you already staying in that country too long?

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Asian people are not poor – they live easy

When I wrote few articles about my life in Indonesia (in Lithuanian one of the popular portal) I got some comments from the readers. They were calling me stupid to coming to this poor country. Asking what I left in Indonesia, why I want to live in that dirty society and etc. I met some travelers as well, who felt pity about Indonesian people, that their life is hard, they live in unsanitary conditions: have only cold water, doesn’t use toilet paper, eat with hands; live in small, almost transparent, houses without any comfort. I couldn’t understand those people at that time.

When I arrived in Indonesia, somehow I didn’t thought about it. Maybe because I had to take care how to find a place to live, how to deal with transportation here, buy some things, understand the system and people behavior. Deal with very hot weather and health condition (I got sick on the first week of living in Indonesia). Or maybe those things, Indonesian people lifestyle didn’t shocked me too much, I wasn’t pay attention in it? People live like this all their life, so what I can change about it?

Now, when I’m going back home (for Christmas) to Lithuania, I started to think what I experienced in Indonesia, what I learn here, what I discover and many more things. Even if I feel that holidays at home is just temporary, but still I will leave behind 1 and a bit more year of my life in Indonesia. And I know that after I will come back, many things will be different because of my ideas for the future.

And during my last days thinking I saw one video from TEDxDoiSuthep. It put all things together, what I was thinking recently. Jon Jandai from Thailand says a speech about his life, about one thing that he understood:

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?”

Even he is not from Indonesia but the things that he says, I think, possible to put to Indonesia, maybe some parts of Vietnam as well :). I haven’t been in Cambodia or other similar countries, so can’t generalized to all Asia.

What came to my mind after watching this video – Jon says true (he uses some funny comparisons) – life is much easier that we think. We – who decide to make it hard. We who put aims for our self (nobody ask us to do that), we who chase the fancy life style. Like a humans we don’t need all those things to feel happy.

We just need things that can satisfy our daily life needs and the rest of the things depend just on our way of thinking.

One of the things that I learned in Indonesia – live simple. Even if my European brains didn’t accept this still (I have to do list in my mind, schedule when and what need to do, what I want to reach) but the way of living I see that I already changed. And I feel really happy.

I live in my “big tent” without proper walls, without windows and all other things that I used to live with in Lithuania. I make things from used stuff, I bought only couple new clothes (and in second hand shop) during this year in Indonesia. Because clothes that I have are still good, I take good care of it. I try not to spend money for those things that I don’t need, I think couple of times before buying.

Even Indonesian people sometimes surprise when they find out that I live in “gedeg” house. They can’t believe that foreigner can live here. But almost all of them told me, that they have been living in such houses in their childhood. Or at least was visiting their grandparents in such houses and they felt happy. Does they feel happy now, in big houses which they rent for a big amount money that it’s hard to earn? I didn’t ask this, didn’t want to “pour salt on the wound”.

I just remember how stressed I was making repair work in flat in Vilnius (my friends know it :D). Searching the best things, quality ones, wishing to be more happier in the place that cost a bit more :D. Now it’s seems so funny. I think if I really needed all those stuff? Even if my place not crowded with much furniture or really expensive ones but still I spend much money on it and worked so hard to earn it. Now I think I could spend those money more wise – travel more, try new things and etc.

Jon Jandai words make sense and I could say conclusion – Asian people are not poor, they know how to live easy. Yeah, there are every time exception, and here lives more than 255 million people, so I can’t generalize all of them. But at least from places where I have been in Indonesia, the surrounding where I live, I can say that most of people doesn’t have a lot of money but you will see the smile on their face every time when you will meet them. They have in their garden plants that they grow – it’s enough for family and sell. Those who knows how to make handicrafts – make it for their home and sell it. People who know how to cook, they sell it in “warungs” (street eating places) or with “kaki lima” (street vendros). People take it easy – sell things in front of their house, for the neighbors, for bigger shops. Even if they don’t have money – they know how to enjoy the time with family, neighbors – meeting and chatting, making local events, solve problems in slow way, walk slow (for Europeans this part is hard to understand and make much more stress when they need to deal or solve some problems with Indonesians:D). They live in simple houses without expensive things because they don’t need them. They learn from their childhood how to enjoy time playing with animals, nature. They dress simple clothes as well. And you don’t need to judge Asian people because of their lifestyle. Don’t need to be surprised, just need to accept and not try to change them. Just think what they think about us – people from abroad? Probably when they deal with us, they don’t understand many things, why we are so in a rush, why we all the time have problems and etc.

And when I think now about coming back to Europe, I think how I will live now there – will I manage to bring this easy Indonesian my life there?

Yes, my 1 and a bit more year of life in Indonesia was easy as well. Just I didn’t see it all the time. You know, people need more time to change the way of thinking, understand and evaluate things that they get. Maybe you can say that easy life came because I got scholarship – no need to work or take care of the family with small amount of money. But for me, like a person from totally different word, not the money was a problem. But the things that I needed to accept, the things that I needed to change and understand. Sometimes this part is more difficult. If you are professional in your field, I think you can find the way to earn money in any country but to open your mind, heart and eyes not so easy everywhere.

Just want to say – I’m happy with simple my life in Indonesia even if sometimes I struggle to deal with myself here. But I still have time to work with it and the main thing that I still want to do that – learn how to live 100% easy life – live in Indonesia and enjoy the life here:)

So if life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? Maybe it’s already enough what you have? Maybe it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment?

 

Just spend 15 min. of your time to see Jon Jandai talk. If it won’t give you any incentive you won’t lose anything beside will have break :).

 

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What to expect from Indonesian concert?

Sometimes, when we are traveling, we can’t feel that close connection with local people or be a part of their daily life. But if you will ever have possibility, try to visit any local show (I’m not talking about those which is organized for tourists but those – which knows only local people :)) – do it!

If I have chance, I always try to attend local events, especially in Yogyakarta, where I live. I have been in many Indonesian concerts, exhibitions, events, festivals and other celebrations which were organized by local people or participants were only Indonesians. So I have a small “image” about Indonesian events.

Earthernity Fest poster

This time I want to share the discoveries of Indonesian concert, which I see really different from European ones. Even if past some time after visiting one of Indonesian concert in Yogyakarta – “Earthernity fest” (annual concert dedicated to celebrate earth day), the impression still lives in my mind. Probably this concert can be that one, which had all Indonesian events “attributes” :D.

Why this Indonesian concert was so special that I decided to go there?

First of all, I came here just because of Indonesian band “Payung Teduh”, I felt in love with their music already before coming to Indonesia :). Second, because of singer “frau”. Both of these artists in one place? I just needed to go! And for a big surprise – I discovered here new Indonesian group – TIK! TOK!.

So what you can expect from Indonesian concert?

Organizers performance

It will be late

and you can’t take inside your food or drinks (the security will take it from you) – but where it’s not happen? So this not counted like “unique” :D.

Sitting on the floor

Indonesians have sitting on the floor culture (when they are visiting people, eating, doing other things). So nothing surprising, just come to the concert and sit on the floor. People takes off their shoes, like at home :). For me – it’s not usual. If there are no chairs – you stand, in open area or very cozy place where is not enough seats – yeah you sit on the ground, but it’s not must. In this case, to sit 5 hours on the floor – some of the lower body parts really hurts :D. Nobody warn me that I need to take sitting pillow to the concert :D.

Long talks of “masters of the ceremony” (MC)

Almost none of the event (concert as well) won’t be real without MC’s. 1 – 3 people who tries to interact audience before the concert, during it. The funniest thing that MC’s speaking sometimes longer than performers stays on the stage (for example the band plays 10 min. – MC’s talks 20 min.):). Usually they just make some jokes (sometimes not funny at all), interactions with the prizes and a lot of self talks with the partner on the stage. Some of the event hires better MC’s, others takes amateurs. Because of MC’s interruption, this concert lasted 5 hours :D. How to be patient and wait for the last band the most important performer ?:)

Audience singing louder than the band on the stage

If Indonesians really like some songs, they will scream (imitating the singing) louder than the band on the stage. Even when you will ask them a bit make lower voice, because of their scream not possible to hear real singers – they won’t stop. In such way they express themselves.

Young couples dating

You can imagine how hard for teenagers and not marriage couples in the Muslim country to express their relationship? :). If they have a chance to be a little bit in private with the partner, they will try to go where is dark and a lot of people, because no one will be in attention of them. In this concert was the same – darkest corners was busy with couples: holding hands, touching shoulders. More braver was sitting in the crowed and hugging each other from the back.

Instant noodles

Most local people habit – eat instant noodles everywhere, even in the concert. Sellers even have more instant noodles types than other snacks. First I didn’t understood from where the smell of noodles is coming, just turn around and saw one guy eating them, then another girt in front, other guy in left. It’s looked that nothing can satisfy Indonesians stomach like “sambal” and instant noodles. Noodles “must” to be in every event.

Funny facts:

  • even if organizers didn’t deal properly with sound and lighten, but they didn’t forget to take out the brands labels from the water bottles which singers where drinking on the stage.
  • guess who was the “security” leading famous band out of the backstage? Girls with hijab :). Wondering why? In Muslim country none of the men can touch women with hijab (if it’s not your family member). So, even if somebody would like attack or do something, by the religion it’s not allowed :). Clever, yeah?
  • as well, I was the only one foreigner in the concert – so you can imagine how “popular” I was there :). Guessing who got more attention, people on the stage or me :D.

 

About all unsuccessful things during the concert I won’t write. Organizers, guests and bands probably already saw it. I hope for the next year concert, organizers will fix it or at least won’t do the same mistakes.

Some moments from Indonesian concert:

 

Have you been in any local performance during your trips? What was the most impressive thing or differences from what you used to?


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